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Tyler Bissoondial Named Broadcom MASTERS Finalist

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Tyler Bissoondial, a freshman at Kennedy High School in the Bellmore-Merrick Central School District, is one of the top 30 finalists in the national Broadcom MASTERS competition.

Of the 50,000 students competing in middle school science fairs last spring, about 2,300 received a nomination and submitted their research to compete at the national level. 

From these participants, 300 students were selected as semifinalists earlier this month, which included Kennedy’s Bissoondial and Adhith Jacob and Dillon Moi, current freshmen at Mepham High School. 

He conducted his research project, “Isolation and Characterization of Salt Tolerant Mutants in Raphanus sativa (Radish),” when he was in eighth grade at Grand Avenue Middle School. It focuses on addressing global soil salinization, which is an emerging problem facing crop productions. 

"It was through arduous training and dedication, both over the summer and throughout the school year, Tyler Bissoondial reached success in the prestigious Broadcom MASTERS competition once again this year,” said Tami Cruz, his science teacher at Grand Avenue Middle School, noting that he was also a 2018 national finalist.

As a result of being selected as a finalist, Bissoondial will have the opportunity to share his research project on a national stage and compete with other students for more than $100,000 in top awards. The Broadcom MASTERS Finals will be held in Washington, D.C. from Oct. 25-30. 

Broadcom MASTERS is the nation's premier science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) competition for middle school students. The Broadcom MASTERS, a program founded and produced by the Society for Science & the Public, seeks to inspire young scientists, engineers and innovators to solve the grand challenges of the 21st Century.

Mepham’s Stephen Arcese Creates Art From Steel

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Stephen Arcese, a senior at Mepham High School in the Bellmore-Merrick Central High School District and a second-year welding student at Nassau BOCES, said he has found his passion in creating art from steel.

The 16-year-old Bellmore resident recently finished a two-and-a-half-month steel replica of the American flag. 

“After selecting my sheets of metal, I used a welding tool called a MIG to make some shapes,” he explained. “Then I chose chrome for the stripes and used a plasma cutter to create the star design.”

He then gifted the finished flag to social studies teacher, Chris Patten.

“We had to bolt it to the floor because the flag weighs more than 80 pounds,” explained Patten. “It’s just a magnificent piece that we all get to enjoy each day in my classroom.” 

Last year, Arcese created a model of the Twin Towers. Both pieces of art are on display in Patten’s third-floor classroom. He is currently working on a vase with intricate roses, further challenging his welding skills.

Mepham’s Nicholas Carrano Redesigns Memorial Centerpiece

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With the rededicated memorial site serving as the focal point, students and staff from Park Avenue Elementary School in the North Bellmore School District gathered on the front lawn shortly after the school day began on Sept. 11 to commemorate the 18th anniversary of the terrorist attacks.

Boy Scout Nicholas Carrano, a 2016 Park Avenue graduate and current student at Wellington C. Mepham High School, overhauled the 9/11 memorial garden for his Eagle Scout community service project. During the summer, Nicholas and his volunteers built a stone ring around a tree, that contains a memorial plaque, a peace pole with the word “peace” in 12 different languages, and plants and flowers. He traveled from nearby Mepham High School to attend the ceremony.

During the ceremony, custodian Tom Clare taught sixth graders Isabelle Crocenzi and Dylan Tuccitto how to raise the American flag on the school’s flagpole, and also how to lower it to half-staff. All students recited the Pledge of Allegiance, sang the national anthem and “Proud to Be an American,” and observed a moment of silence.

“On Sept. 11, Patriot Day, we come together as a school community to honor all of those past, present and future servicemen and women, and first responders such as firefighters and police officers,” Principal Eileen Speidel said. “We thank them for their service and for protecting us and for being willing to give their lives for us.”

She additionally thanked Nicholas for his hard work in redesigning the memorial garden, and noted to the elementary students that is the model of good citizenship. 

MAMS Students Gain Cultural and Civic Awareness

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The Merrick Avenue Middle School World Language Department welcomed students to the program and to the school community with a special project that combined cultural and civil awareness. 

Students in each language; French, Italian, Mandarin and Spanish, created a poster that depicted ways the target language culture is observed and experienced in everyday life.  

This included famous people, food and products that students use in their daily lives. Using the posters as inspiration, each class then collected food and other items for the district’s food pantry, the Community Cupboard. 

Students from the M.O.R.E. and P.R.E.P. special education programs assisted in the efforts by sorting the items for packaging and delivery.  

“This was a great way for students to connect content to real life and to contribute to a community initiative,” explained Rosa Kaplan, a chairperson in the World Languages department.

Calhoun’s Sonia Sarju Accepted to Lab Program

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Sonia Sarju, a senior at Calhoun High School, is one of only 14 students across Long Island to be accepted into the prestigious Partners for Future program at Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory. 

Sarju will be completing 10 hours of work from September to March under the mentorship of a post-doctoral researcher and then participate in a final symposium where she will present her research.

“I’m interested to be able to know how things around us work on a molecular level,” Sarju explained about her passion for science. She hopes to attend medical school in the future and later become a pathologist.

Sarju’s Advanced Science Research teacher, Christine Boyce, and her AP Biology teacher, Kim Lascarides, met with Sonia’s mentor and toured the laboratory during the program’s opening reception on Sept. 9.


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