Schools: Merit Scholar Finalists, Equestrian Success

Despite limited in-person classes and other challenges, school districts are carrying on. Here are a few highlights of what is happening in and out of the classroom.

Northport National Merit Scholars

All three Northport High School National Merit semifinalists have gone on to be named finalists in the competition. Seniors Camden Burk, Tara D’Amico and Rudolph Mastrocinque now each qualify for the final round and the opportunity to be named National Merit Scholars.

As finalists, each student received a Certificate of Merit. Approximately 7,500 of the 15,000 finalists will be chosen between March and June as scholarship winners.

“Attaining the honor of being named a National Merit Finalist is a reflection of many years of hard work on the part of these students and a title which they will be able to carry proudly throughout their lives,” Principal Daniel Danbusky shared. “Our school community is proud of their accomplishments and a great example in showing what may be possible when students are willing to work hard and challenge themselves to be their very best.”

Elwood National Merit Finalists

John H. Glenn High School seniors Brennan Finnegan and Rithika Narayan were both named 2021 National Merit Scholarship finalists.

Both students are among the top 15,000 students in the nation to be acknowledged for this prestigious recognition and will compete for some 7,500 available Merit Scholarships, totaling more than $30 million.

Brennan and Rithika are both active members of the school community and have won several noteworthy accolades during their time at John Glenn High School. After graduation, Brennan is considering attending Stony Brook University to pursue a possible major in engineering and applied sciences. Rithika intends to study artificial intelligence at Carnegie Mellon University School of Computer Science in Pennsylvania.

Brennan and Rithika both received Certificates of Merit from the National Merit
Scholarship Corporation in February in commemoration of their outstanding academic achievements.

Equestrian Success

St. Anthony student Jaden Diggs has been an equestrian for the past two years, taking lessons at Thomas School of Horsemanship.  Jaden has ridden with Farmstead Equestrian Team which traveled as a showing team from New York City.

They travelled out east, and upstate New York. He’s competed in many events, and got a second place at regionals (competing against everyone in his region) which qualified him to get sent to zones where he competed with his first year on the team.

With the help of multiple instructors, Jaden was able to take on many shows and win many rounds. Jaden worked at the stable in the office to pay off his $1,200 bill for lessons for the season. He also worked at the barn as a camp counselor to pay for his horse shows. Shows ranged anywhere from $200-$500 a show. Competing was something that Jaden always wanted to do.  Having his co-workers from the firehouse (where he volunteers), and even college coaches come watch was a major honor for him.

Students Win in Emerging Leaders Competition

Harborfields High School students recently won first and second place awards in the Young Professionals Chamber of Commerce’s 18th Annual Emerging Leaders Business competition.

On Dec. 2, over 300 students from schools across Long Island participated in the virtual competition, during which they shared innovative business presentations to a panel of judges via Zoom.

Bilingual Reading

 South Huntington’s Latino Heritage Club members volunteered their time to read bilingually to primary students enrolled in the dual language program at Oakwood and Countrywood. Despite the Latino Heritage Club members being unable to meet in person this year, they have all continued to provide assistance to our South Huntington community.
Student Assessment

The State Education Department is asking all school districts to outline how they approach student assessment in their schools and how their local practices may, or may not, differ this year from previous years.

The survey,  due by March 15, is intended to support New York’s request for a waiver from federal testing requirements under the Every Student Succeeds Act this year because of educational disruptions and health concerns raised by the COVID-19 pandemic.

“We hope to showcase the wide range of quality assessment practices that are taking place at the school and district level throughout the state,” said Assistant Commissioner for Public Affairs Emily DeSantis in a letter sent Tuesday to local education leaders.

Teachers Ad Campaign

New York State United Teachers  launched a $1 million statewide television and digital advertising campaign Tuesday to highlight the safety issues as districts reopen more classrooms for in-person learning.

Titled “My Kids,” the new 30-second ad notes the critical importance of in-person learning for students, drawing attention to the need for COVID-19 testing in schools, vaccine availability for education professionals, social distancing, mandatory masking, and sanitization and hygiene protocols as part of reopening strategies.



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