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Board Commends North High Students

Photo of North High student recognition recipients and school and district administrators and Board members

Seventy-one North High School students were recently recognized by the Great Neck Public Schools Board of Education for contributing to the quality of life at their school. Students, in alphabetical order: Meital Agagi, Isabel Amir, Michael Amrami, Nicole Berchansky, Talia Bina, Rachel Butchen, Cindy Chan, Samuel Cho, Samantha Damaghi, Danielle Damaghi, Brook Damaghi, Natasha Dilamani, Austyn Durham, Jason Feith, Kyra Friedland, Jonathan Goldman, Sarah Gorjian, Niva Haber, Aaron Hakimi, Emily Hakimi, Sasha Hakimian, Matthew Han, Benjamin Harooni, Rebecca Hirschhorn, Madlen Kavian, Samantha Kron, Jessica Lalehzar, Ariella Lerner, Keva Li, Kevin Li, Peri Litt, Chloe Mayeri, Aaron Naim, Shannon Nassi, Ariel Navi, Yael Paknoush, Jade Pan, Nina Raynor, Alec Rich, Jonathan Rismany, Orli Rofeim, Rachel Rothbaum, Tatiana Sameyah, Jovan Sameyah, Shannon Sarker, Isabelle Sarraf, Jonathan Sasson, Leila Sassouni, Cori Shalit, Celine Shamash, Sandra Shaoolian, Aaron Sheena, Kimberly Shokrian, Amy Shteyman, Kimber Simchayof, Jacqueline Slobin, Noa Solemanyan, Elena Sundick, Alexa Tubian, Cheryl Tung, Jenna Uhr, Gabriela Veras, Fernanda Wenzel, Elana Xu, Rebecca Yaminian, Isabel Yang, Hodaya Yazdanpanah, Ashley Youssefi, Marc Zalt, Sharlene Zar, and Elaine Zhang. Joining them are Board of Education President Barbara Berkowitz, Vice President Donald Ashkenase, and Trustees Donna Peirez, Rebecca Sassouni, and Jeffrey Shi; Superintendent of Schools Dr. Teresa Prendergast and Assistant Superintendent Dr. Stephen Lando; North High School Principal Daniel Holtzman and Assistant Principals Patricia Hugo, Dr. Daniel Krauz, and Ronald Levine. 


South High Fundraiser Concert

South High School’s Music Fundraiser Concert will take place on Wednesday, March 14, at the school, in the Ruel E. Tucker auditorium, 341 Lakeville Road. The event begins with a potluck dinner, at 6:30 p.m., followed by the Concert, at 7:30 p.m.

This performance is a fundraiser for the music program to help defray restoration costs of one of South’s two Steinway Grand Pianos. The piano was built in 1958 and is the primary piano in the choral room. After almost 60 years of use, the piano has deteriorated to the point where it requires restoration so that it will last for many years into the future.

The concert will feature performance ensembles and students in the band, choir, and orchestra. It will also feature our award-winning chamber music program and an opera preview from our upcoming presentation of The Tales of Hoffmann.

Admission to the concert is $10 for adults and $5 for senior citizens and students. The fee includes the potluck dinner that will take place in room 309, followed by the concert in the auditorium. Patrons are asked to please bring a favorite main-course dish with serving utensils.

Please RSVP for the potluck dinner to Michael Schwartz, performing arts department head, at, with your name and the number of people in your dinner group.

For further information, please contact Mr. Schwartz, at (516) 441-4851, or at


Junior Science and Humanities Symposium

Four students from Great Neck Public Schools received awards at the Long Island Junior Science and Humanities Symposium (JSHS) in February, and one student has been selected to participate in the National Junior Science and Humanities Symposium in Maryland in May.

The regional Long Island JSHS was held at York College in Queens on Feb. 4. Award winners from Great Neck Public Schools were Simona Fine, Aaron Geula, and Amy Shteyman of North High School, and Kelley Chiu of South High School. In a second round of competition on Feb. 28, Amy Shteyman was selected as a regional delegate to the National JSHS Symposium to be held in Hunt Valley, Maryland.

Each high school can nominate up to six students to participate in the Long Island JSHS. Symposium officials reviewed science research papers by the nominees and invited select students to present at the Long Island symposium at York College. Symposium participants from Great Neck Public Schools conducted their research as part of their school’s science research program.

Students presented a 12-minute PowerPoint to a panel of professionals. Presentations were grouped based on area of study: Behavioral and Social Science, Biology, Chemistry, Computer Science, Engineering, Environmental Science, Earth and Space Sciences, Mathematics, and Physics.

Amy Shteyman earned first-place in the Behavioral and Social Science category at the Long Island competition for her research project, titled “The Language of Facial Expressions: a Neuroimaging Study of How a Smile is Generated and Perceived by Another Person.” This experiment investigated the difference between brain activity while a person smiles in an interaction with another person and the brain activity while a person smiles from a non-human stimulus.
Kelley Chiu took second place in the Biology category for her presentation, titled “Cardiac Glycoside Deslanoside Induces Mitochondrial Stress and Cell Cycle Arrest in Hepatocellular Carcinoma Hep3B Cells.” Her study investigated the anti-cancer effect and underlying mechanism of action of the cardiac glycoside, deslanoside, on human hepatocellular carcinoma (liver cancer).

Simona Fine won second place in the Computer Science category for her research project, “The Optimization of Scheduling Wireless Networks using Greedy Algorithm.” Her research analyzed the effectiveness and speed of different algorithms in transmitting information over wireless networks.

Aaron Geula won third place in the Behavioral and Social Science category for his presentation titled, “Using fNIRS to Determine the Effect of Distractions on Cross-Brain Coherence.” His research studied brain waves to determine how distractions, such as cell phone rings, affected non-verbal interactions between two people.
First-place winners from each category at the Long Island JSHS moved on to the JSHS Regional Final Symposium on Feb. 24. At this level, North High senior Amy Shteyman was selected as a Regional Delegate to the National JSHS Symposium.

As a delegate for the Long Island region, Amy is invited to attend the 56th National JSHS Symposium in Hunt Valley, Maryland in May. At the National JSHS Symposium, 230 high school participants will present their research, engage with world-class STEM professionals, and gain exposure to cutting-edge research and technologies. As one of the top two delegates for Long Island, Amy is also eligible for scholarship opportunities at the event.

The Junior Science and Humanities Symposia (JSHS) Program is a tri-service – U.S. Army, Navy, and Air Force – sponsored competition that promotes original research and experimentation in the sciences, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) at the high school level and publicly recognizes students for outstanding achievement.


Interschool Visits on Cyberbullying

Photo of South High School Facing History students presenting to Lakeville Schools students

Seniors enrolled in the Facing History course at South High visited fifth-graders at Lakeville School and Saddle Rock School to present lessons they developed on digital citizenship, with a focus on cyberbullying.

Most of the activities planned by the South High students were designed to simulate a cyberbullying situation. They shared anecdotes, created games, showed video clips, and created emojis to make the lesson engaging for fifth graders.  
The goal of these lessons was to raise awareness of issues related to digital citizenship and social media etiquette, while providing strategies for students to safely and respectfully navigate their online activity.

The interschool lessons at Lakeville were coordinated by Jean Reader and Leslie
Dalis, technology staff developers; and at Saddle Rock by Amanda Moore, first-grade teacher, and Evan Chen, third-grade teacher.

South High’s Facing History students created the lessons in conjunction with teachers Brian Fadde, Nicole Kinsey, Damon Reader, and Michelle Sorise.

The Facing History course is a unique program for students who want to make a difference in our school, local, and global communities. This course is designed to increase tolerance and multicultural understanding through literature, history, psychology, service learning, and research. It is co-taught by a team of teachers from the English, Social Studies, Library and Internship departments.


Student Selected for Honor Orchestra of America

Photo of North High Honor Orchestra selection with Music Teacher Joe Rutkowski

Megan Xu, a senior at North High School, has been selected to perform with the 2018 Honor Orchestra of America at a concert in Indiana. This is the second consecutive year Megan will perform with this prestigious ensemble.
Megan, who plays the viola, was chosen for the Honor Orchestra of America after submitting a recording and participating in the audition process. Her application was evaluated by music faculty members from some of the country’s leading universities.

Joseph Rutkowski is Megan’s instrumental music teacher at North High.

The 2018 Honor Orchestra performance will be conducted by Larry J. Livingston, Chair of the Conducting Department at the Thornton School of Music at the University of Southern California. Sey Ahn, a fellow at the American Academy of Conducting at Aspen, will serve as the assistant conductor for the performance.

The Honor Orchestra of America is sponsored by Music for All, a non-profit organization that has been providing educational and performance programs and events for school bands and orchestras since it was founded in 1975. Music for All also focuses on music and arts education advocacy, providing resources for teachers and communities “to strengthen the message that music education is a vital part of the core curriculum.”


Middle Schools Participate in Math Competition

Photo of North Middle Mathcounts student participants Photo of South Middle students holding trophies with their math teacher Photo of South Middle Mathcounts participants

North Middle School hosted the 2018 Long Island MATHCOUNTS competition in February. Fifteen schools participated in this regional event, including both Great Neck middle schools.

The team from South Middle finished in second place and will advance to the state-level competition at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute on March 17. Team members are Brayden Chien, Jeremy Kotlyar, Collin Li, Matthew Tsui, Tristan Wan, Jansen Wong, John Xie, Rick Xu, Charlie Yin, and Richard Zhuang. The team coach is Diane Hodgson, mathematics teacher at South Middle.

Additionally, three South Middle students received trophies for their top scores in the individual portion of the competition: Matthew Tsui, Tristan Wan, and Jansen Wong.

The team from North Middle also performed well and finished in fifth place. Members of the North Middle team are Ryan Fu, Ryan He, Jonathan Kim, Jason Mei, Alicia Sun, Julie Sun, Sarah Tsai, Christopher Yang, Angela Zeng, and David Zeng. The team coach is Zachary Boyt, mathematics department head at North Middle.

The MATHCOUNTS competition focuses on problem solving and mathematical reasoning through collaboration, with points awarded for speed and accuracy. It is sponsored by the MATHCOUNTS Foundation, a non-profit organization that provides engaging programs to middle schools across the country.


South Middle Wins Regional Middle School Science Bowl

Photo of South Middle Science Bowl team winners

A four-member team from South Middle School won the Long Island Regional Middle School Science Bowl at Brookhaven National Laboratory on March 3. The team of Matthew Moy, Matthew Tsui, Jansen Wong, and Charlie Yin competed against 19 other teams at this regional event.

As the winning team at the Regional Middle School Science Bowl, this team from South Middle has earned an invitation to participate in the National Science Bowl hosted by the Department of Energy in Washington, D.C. This competition, which will take place in late April, will feature the top middle school teams in the nation.

At the Science Bowl, teams face off in a fast-paced question-and-answer format. Students are tested on a range of science disciplines including biology, chemistry, Earth science, physics, energy, and math.

The Science Bowl is one of the nation’s regional competitions of the 27th Annual DOE National Science Bowl (NSB). More than 14,000 students compete in NSB each year. Approximately 275,000 students have participated in NSB in its 27-year history, and it is one of the nation’s largest science competitions.

The team is coached by Dr. Doris Stanick, Earth Science teacher at South Middle, and Ms. Diane Caplain, a Biology teacher at South Middle.


E.M. Baker School Celebrates International Week

Photo of E.M. Baker students during International Week

Each year, E.M. Baker School celebrates its cultural and ethnic diversity with a host of activities during their International Week. The theme of this year’s event was “This Is Me,” based on the book of the same title by Jamie Lee Curtis and Laura Cornell. This multicultural celebration included special morning announcements and musical performances, culminating in a school-wide International Week concert on Thursday, February 15.

To demonstrate the diverse cultures represented in their school, students and their families were encouraged to decorate “suitcases” with items that represent their heritage. The projects were displayed throughout the hallways of the school. Here, ENL teacher Ms. Ellen Siegel joins Ms. Jillian Brock and her third-grade students with their suitcases.