National Junior Science Winner

A South High student garnered a Second Place in Medicine for his project, "Decreased Density of Striatal NOS Interneurons in Individuals with Tourette Syndrome" at the National Junior Science & Humanities Symposium, held in San Diego. In his project abstract, he explained that Tourette Syndrome (TS) is a disorder of the human brain. Patients with TS perform involuntary movements and vocalizations called "tics." A region of the brain called the striatum is believed to be crucially involved in the generation of these tics. Within this region, there are various types of neurons, one of which is the NOS cell. The goal of his study was to determine if there was a difference in NOS cell density between individuals with TS and individuals without TS.

As a result of his work, he found that the density was significantly lower in patients with TS than in patients without TS. This finding is important when considering the nature of these NOS cells since they make adjacent cells less likely to function. Fewer of them in the striatum translates to less inhibition and regulation, which may partly explain how involuntary tics can arise. In the future, more samples should be used to strengthen this conclusion. Perhaps new treatments can be devised to increase the potency of these inhibitory cells in patients with TS. He also won a Best in Category at the Long Island Psychology Fair and an Honorable Mention at the Long Island Science & Engineering Fair for his TS project. His faculty advisor was Carol Hersh, science research teacher.


Physics Bowl Winners

Students from South and North High Schools took first and second place awards and South High School took top school awards at the 2011 American Association of Physics Teachers Physics Bowl, Region 3. (Region 3 consists of New York, Maritime Provinces, Ontario, and Quebec.) South High students took First Place in Division 1 (first-year, eleventh-grade students), and First Place in Division 2 (second-year, twelfth-grade students). A North High student took Second Place in Division 1. South High School placed First in the Region in Division 1, and Second in the Region in Division 2. The top five participant scores, taken collectively, determine school ranking. Physics Bowl faculty sponsors are Matthew Sckalor at South High, and Marie Van Nieuwenhuizen at North High. More than 4,000 students participated in this year's Physics Bowl from over 200 schools across the US and Canada, as well as schools in China, Japan, and the Republic of Korea.


Video Competition Winners

A team of North Middle School students recently took Third Place in the Town of North Hempstead's "Refill&emdash;Not Landfill" Video Competition. The three students created a public service announcement titled, "When Bottles Go Bad." Their video educates the community on the environmental effects of plastic waste associated with disposable water bottles. The students made their video under the guidance of technology teacher Daniel Ciccone. The students' winning video can be seen at It will also air on the Town's cable station and on YouTube. Students will receive an award from Town Supervisor Jon Kaiman and Councilwoman Maria Christina Poons.


South High Takes International DECA Awards

Written by DECA's Vice President

At the recent DECA (Distributive Education Clubs of America) International Career Development Conference (ICDC), 21 awards were copped by South High School's 29 participants. ICDC was held in Orlando. This large turnout represents one-third of the Club's members and a participation record. The ICDC is the most prestigious DECA competition, attracting over 15,000 students, teachers, and business people. To compete at ICDC, students must first succeed at the regional and state levels. Three students placed in the top three in their events, two students were among the top ten in their event, three students were finalists, six students won awards for top role plays scores, and seven for top test exams. Earlier this year, at the State Career Conference (SCC), a student won the DeVry Innovations and Entrepreneurship Challenge. She was honored at the ICDC opening ceremony. At ICDC, most students competed in the individual series events and team decision making events, such as Business Law and Ethics, Travel and Tourism, and Retail Merchandising. Similar to SCC, these students took a 100-question exam testing their knowledge of finance, marketing, business management and administration, or hospitality and tourism. They also performed a role play, in which they were shown a problem or situation and were required to present and articulate ideas and solutions.

Other students participated in research and entrepreneurship events on topics such as Fashion Merchandising and Hospitality and Tourism Operations. These students presented comprehensive research on and creative ideas for an existing business or a business of their creation. After competing in testing or role plays, the top 20 scoring teams or individuals from the 150-200 competitors were named Finalists and advanced to the next round. In the Finals, students performed another role play or presentation. After this final round of competition, the Top Ten and First, Second, and Third place winners were announced. DECA advisors Sheryl Burger and Rick Vine contributed tirelessly to the group effort and cannot be thanked enough for their endless contributions and dedication. Their enthusiasm and expertise continue to fuel South's DECA. From early September to early May, they support members in their endeavors, encourage them to compete and to persevere, enable them to hone their skills, help them to expand their knowledge, and allow them to explore their interests. They constantly encourage students to rebound, learn, and grow from their failures, and cheer, celebrate, and rejoice over their successes. South High Business/Technology Department Head John Motchkavitz and student teacher Cara Burger also supported and mentored the Club throughout the year. The Club also gratefully acknowledges the encouragement and support of the Board of Education and school and district administrators. Participation in DECA gives Club members exposure to the business world, acquiring networking and public speaking skills, along with smiles, laughs, and memories. The Club continues to grow and stabilize with the work of enticed freshmen, energetic sophomores, eager juniors, experienced seniors, and expert advisors.


BOCES School Library Award

Marc Epstein, the Great Neck Public Schools district technology director, is this year's recipient of the Administrator of the Year Award from the Nassau BOCES School Library System. He was nominated for the Award by South High School library media specialists Judith McClellan (department head) and Damon Reader. In their nomination application, Ms. McClellan and Mr. Reader described Mr. Epstein's achievements and responsibilities that made him a worthy candidate and ultimate Award winner. Excerpts follow: Mr. Epstein has worked in his current capacity for 15 years, during which time he has fostered a strong connection to library programs at the district's nine schools. While the district does not have a "Director of Libraries," he has unofficially assumed this role by championing library issues. He represents the district as coordinator to BOCES (Board of Cooperative Education Services), assigns the district library liaisons, and handles all databases and technologies purchased through BOCES. Mr. Epstein is a strong advocate for new library technologies (networking, hardware, software, tech support, eReaders, Follett Destiny library automation software, etc.), and is responsible for most technology-related, staff-development programs offered through the district. He is also responsible for the district's Web site (


Senior Give Back Initiative--May 17-20

The senior class at North High School is holding its inaugural "Senior Give Back Initiative," a series of community service events, from Tuesday, May 17-Friday, May 20.

A Car Wash will be held each afternoon, from 3-5 p.m., behind North High, on May 17, 18 & 19. Residents are being asked to contribute to a Book Drive, also from May 17-19, during the day at the school. On Friday, May 20, additional activities will be held throughout the community, including sports events at the North Middle track. Proceeds from these events will benefit local charities. For additional information, please contact Dana Frey at 441-4755.


Student Biathlon Fund-Raiser--May 22

The Great Neck Public Schools (GNPS) Recreation Department, in cooperation with the secondary school physical education departments, will host a Student Biathlon Fund-Raiser on Sunday, May 22, beginning at 9 a.m., at the South Middle pool and campus, 349 Lakeville Rd. Students in grades 6-12 who have generated pledges will participate in swimming and running events. The fund-raiser will benefit the GNPS Summer Recreation Scholarship Fund that assists students who cannot otherwise attend the summer program. Primary sponsors are Brickwell Cycling and Excel Physical Therapy. Other sponsors include: Judi and Jay Bosworth, BWD Corp., Great Neck Community Soccer, Great Neck Mid-Week Baseball, Great Neck Soccer, Runner's Edge, Western Beef, and Veterans Transportation. Biathlon organizer is David Zawatson, district director of athletics, recreation, and physical education. To become a sponsor, or for more information about the event, please contact Mr. Zawatson at 441-4045.


One-Act Plays at North Middle--May 25

North Middle School will present an evening of One-Act Plays on Wednesday, May 25, at 7:30 p.m., in the school auditorium, 77 Polo Road. Plays to be performed include: Shakespeare's A Midsummer Night's Dream, by Carolyn Harper; Cliques and Cafeterias, by Laura Toffenetti, and The Prince Who Couldn't Dance, by Marcia Marsh. For more information, please call Daniel Tomaselli, drama and musical productions teacher, at 441-4500.


South High Concert--May 25

The South High School Spring Concert II will take place on Wednesday, May 25, at 7:30 p.m., in the school auditorium, 341 Lakeville Rd. Featured will be instrument groups: Jazz Combo, Chamber Orchestra, and Symphonic Band. Choral groups will include: Barbershop, A Cappella, South Singers, Chamber Choir, and Concert Choir.

Barbershop will open the evening with "Day Tripper," by Lennon and McCartney. The Jazz Combo follows with Duke Ellington's, " In A Sentimental Mood." Three choral groups will then perform. A Cappella presents, "21 Guns"; South Singers next with "Big Spender," from Sweet Charity; and the Chamber Choir with "Mon Coeur se recommande a vous," and "The Coolin," from Reincarnations. The Chamber Orchestra will perform "Czardas for Violin and Orchestra," Mozart's "Piano Concerto No. 21 in C Major k. 467," Strauss' "Concerto for Oboe and Orchestra," Ibert's Flute Concerto, and von Weber's "Andante E Rondo Ungarese." The Concert Choir follows with pieces by Mendelssohn, Offenbach, Fauré, Leonard Bernstein, and Richard Rogers, as well as the traditional, "Ezekiel Saw de Wheel." The Symphonic Band will close out the evening with John Williams' "The March from '1941'"; Ralph Vaughan Williams' "Toccata Marziale"; music from The Incredibles; and Holst's "First Suite In Eb for Military Band, Opus 28, No. 1." Instrumental students are under the direction of Michael Schwartz, performing arts department head, and teachers Mark Boschen and Alex Swerdlin. Vocal students are directed by Pamela Levy. The concert is free and the public is warmly welcomed. For more information, please contact Mr. Schwartz at 441-4851.


Upcoming at the Adult Program

The Great Neck Public Schools Adult Program offers a wide array of classes on topics of interest. Greek cooking, defensive driving for insurance and point-reduction, Word II and Microsoft Outlook computer training, and nature photography at Steppingstone Park, are among the highlights offered this June. All classes meet at the Cumberland Adult Center, 30 Cumberland Ave., unless noted. For more information, or to register, please call the Adult Program at (516) 441-4949 or visit, for online registration and catalog.

Greek Dinner from a Great Neck Newcomer

A new eatery, the Great Neck Diner (where Fredericks used to be), is the current go-to place for an extensive variety of food in a casual setting. The owners, Steven Tsakos and Mike Wach, will demonstrate an all-Greek menu of easily prepared food. Anna Tsakos will show us how to make a typical Greek dessert. Join us for an informative, relaxing evening of delicious food. Class meets Wednesday, May 25, 7-9:30 p.m. Fee: $19.

Defensive Driving

The Empire Safety Council, in cooperation with the NY State Department of Motor Vehicles, offers a way for drivers to lower automobile-insurance premiums, reduce driver-record violation points, and sharpen driving skills. This six-hour classroom course addresses accident-prevention skills. On completion, you will be eligible for a three-year, 10-percent discount on collision and liability premiums (including property damage, bodily injury, and personal-injury protection) on all vehicles for which you are listed as principal operator. Four points will also be deducted from the total on your driver record, if you have incurred violations during the 18-month period prior to completing the course. Bring driver's license and pen. Allow 6-8 weeks for certification. Roger Chizever leads this course on Saturday, June 4, 9:30 a.m.-4 p.m. (half-hour break; bring lunch). Fee: $40.

Word 2: Intermediate

After you've mastered the basics, learn the skills you need to create more elaborate and stylized documents. Create envelopes; use Character, Paragraph, and Section formatting; apply borders and shading; and utilize symbols, text boxes, and clip art. Create hanging indents, bulleted and numbered lists, and a simple table. Len Magnus teaches this course on three Mondays, June 6-20, from 7-9 p.m. Fee: $119.

Microsoft Outlook

Outlook has been the standard, corporate, personal-information tool for the last decade, but it works equally well for individuals and small-business owners. Learn to use the many parts of Outlook separately and together: a full-featured contact manager, sophisticated personal calendar and meeting planner, a to-do list with gentle alarms to prod you, and electronic "post-it" notes. Learn Outlook e-mail, the standard for Optimum Online and Time-Warner Cable, which has unique benefits for managing large amounts of mail. Find the best ways to integrate the parts of Outlook to more efficiently manage your professional or personal work. Woody Greenberg teaches this class on two Tuesdays, June 14 & 21, from 7-9 p.m. Fee: $79.

Photo Workshop for Beginners

Meet at the entrance to Steppingstone Park as we explore bridges, bays, landscapes, and buildings through the eye of the camera. Develop and enhance your skills to capture quality imagery and get the most from your camera. Gain an understanding of how to use the basic elements and settings of your camera during the first half of this workshop. Then, a minimum of two hours will be spent capturing images in the field and applying the techniques that were taught earlier. The workshop will conclude with a critique of images selected from each participant. Bring fully charged, digital, point-and-shoot or single-lens-reflex camera. Instructor Jeffrey Kollbrunner is a wildlife and nature photographer. He works with the NYC Audubon Society as a consultant, photographer, and urban hawk and technical advisor. Class meets on Saturday, June 18 (rain date June 25), from 10 a.m.&endash;-2 p.m. at Steppingstone Park. Fee: $95. Must be pre-registered.


Boston Theater & Art Tour--Oct.25-28

Join the Great Neck Public Schools Adult Program for an autumn arts tour in Boston, from Tuesday, Oct. 25-Friday, Oct. 28, accompanied by theater instructor Shirley Romaine. Highlights include a performance at the Huntington Theater, followed by a discussion with the theater's artistic staff. A second performance will be at the Boston Symphony or American Repertory Theater (subject to performance schedule). A morning at the new wing of the Boston Museum of Fine Arts and visits to Harvard's Sackler Museum and the John F. Kennedy Library and Museum enrich the trip. Excursions to Cape Ann and Rockport and a stop in historic Newport to see Doris Duke's mansion provide further enjoyment. Depart from the Cumberland Adult Center by private motor coach and travel directly to Boston. The Lenox, an elegant boutique hotel, is in the heart of the prestigious Back Bay neighborhood near the Boston Commons. Begin in Cambridge with a tour of Harvard's Arthur M. Sackler Museum. Then, have dinner and see our first performance (TBA) at the American Repertory Theater, or the Boston Symphony at Symphony Hall. The following morning, visit the Boston Museum of Fine Arts exciting new wing. The centerpiece of the MFA's historic expansion is a spectacular new wing for the Art of the Americas collection, doubling the number of objects on view, including several large-scale masterpieces not displayed for decades. Continue to the John F. Kennedy Library and Museum. As the nation's only official memorial to President Kennedy, the library and museum will be the focal point of the 50th anniversary of his inauguration for visitors from all over the world. After dinner, enjoy a production (TBA) at the Huntington Theater Company, Boston's largest theater company based at Boston University. The Huntington creates seven new productions each season, featuring world-class theater artists from Boston and Broadway and the most promising new talent. The Huntington has transferred over a dozen of these productions to Broadway. The next morning, enjoy a scenic day along historic Cape Ann's waterfront towns. Visit Gloucester and Rocky Neck where almost every American artist of note has painted at some point in his/her career, including Childe Hassam, Winslow Homer, Edward Hopper, Maurice Prendergast, Mark Rothko, and many others. Today, over 30 working artists are displayed in Rocky Neck galleries and studios. Tour the Sargent House Museum, a fine example of high-style Georgian domestic architecture. You will see a collection of original works by the great portrait painter John Singer Sargent, a descendant of the Sargent family, who loved the house. The museum also houses an exquisite collection of American decorative arts and furniture. Return to Boston for our farewell dinner. On the final day, depart for historic Newport, Rhode Island, where we visit Rough Point, home of Doris Duke, heiress, philanthropist, and art collector. Enjoy her magnificent oceanfront estate, decorated as she left it, where you will see French furniture, European art, Chinese porcelains, and Turkish carpets collected from exotic locations around the world. Located on Newport's exclusive Bellevue Avenue, Rough Point provides a sweeping ocean view and expansive grounds designed by renowned landscape-architect Frederick Law Olmsted. After lunch, return to Great Neck, arriving in the late afternoon. Tour includes motor-coach transportation from Great Neck to Boston and return; three nights hotel accommodations; two orchestra tickets; three breakfasts; three lunches; three dinners; excursions to Cape Ann and Newport; visits to Boston Museum of Fine Arts, John F. Kennedy Library and Museum, and Rough Point. Tour, Tuesday, Oct. 25-Friday, Oct. 28. Fee: $1,475 (per person, double occupancy). Single occupancy, subject to availability, is $405 additional. A $300 deposit is due by July 11; balance due by August 15. For additional information and to register, please call the Adult Program at 516-441-4949.