Written by Daniel Offner Wednesday, 25 December 2013 00:00
The Robodawgs robotics team—a group of five intellectual Island Trees High School students—were given a warm welcome home, after taking first place in the Incredible Bionic Man challenge. The regional competiton, sponsored by the Smithsonian Channel and Cablevision, put the Robodawgs up against some of the best and brightest from 10 different states and Washington D.C., with the goal of creating a working bionic body part out of common household items.
According to the team’s advisor, Dr. Andrew Sass, the group was first inspired to enter the contest after attending a presentation at Half Hallows High School, last October, where the students were able to meet the researchers behind the Increidble Bionic Man. He said that when people ask why the group of high schoolers decided to enter the contest by building a bionic arm-hand combination—a robotic body part that researchers said was the most challenging to construct—that he would reply much the same way as George
Mallory did when he climbed Mt. Everest. “Because it was there,” Sass said.
Faced with their personal Everest, the Robodawgs robotics team constructed a working arm-hand combination using a CPR dummy, aluminum materials, a 12-volt motorcycle battery, and other household items. Once the bionic arm was up and running, the Island
Trees team submitted a two minute video showcasing their process of designing, building and demonstrating the arm-hand combination, which vaulted the Robodawgs into a finalist position.
Picked as one of four teams to compete in the final round, the Island Trees students pit their bionic arm against students from Bloomfield High School, N.J., Eastern Technical High School in Baltimore, Md., and Montgomery Blair High School in Montgomery, Md., for a chance at winning a $5,000 grand prize.
“We were very doubtful we were going to win,” said Robodawgs teammate Ben Wiener, an Island Trees High School sophomore.
After learning that they had advanced to the final round, Wiener, and fellow Robodawgs Matt Bacotti, Rob McCoy, Chris Schmidt, and Captain Marc Lubniewski, traveled to Washington D.C. for the final judging and award presentation at the Smithsonian Museum of Natural History.
“Our initial reaction was shock... they announced it so fast,” said Lubniewski, an Island Trees senior. “It was one of those heart dropping moments.”
At the ceremony, which was simulcast in 27 county Cablevision service areas, the Robodawgs were presented with a big check for $5,000 in college scholarships, which the team will split amongst themselves. The students were also treated to a visit from the
Incredible Bionic Man, fresh off his two month stay at the Smithsonian’s National Air and Space Museum.
Upon their return home to Levittown, the Robodawgs were greated with certificates from Superintendent Dr. Charles Murphy and the Island Trees Board of Education.
“We’re ecstatic about it,” Murphy said. “Dr. Sass is unbelievable... most people his age are retired, but he is just getting started.”
Wednesday, 12 March 2014 00:00
On March 7, members of the Division Avenue High School PTSA held their fourteenth annual Sweeps and Chinese Auction fundraiser. According to First Vice President of Division Avenue High School PTSA Laura Brown, there were about 150 Chinese auction baskets and 30 bingo prizes that were given out during this year’s event.
The PTSA has been organizing this event for the past 14 years, but it only started to get bigger in the last three years. It is now the largest event that the PTSA has to organize every year. “It wouldn’t be possible without the cooperation of the custodial staff, and all the PTSA members,” said Brown. “We reserve tables now because there’s probably 400 people in there.”
Saturday, 08 March 2014 00:00
Jessy Davidson, a student at MacArthur High School in Levittown, organized and held a blood drive at the John Theissen Children’s Foundation on Wantagh Ave. this past weekend.
Davidson, a junior, hopes to earn a small college scholarship through the New York Blood Center Bloodstock Scholarship Program by hosting this blood drive. If at least 30 donors come through, she will qualify for the scholarship.
Anyone who is in high school is able to participate in this scholarship, according to Davidson.
Thursday, 06 March 2014 00:00
The Island Trees track program is pleased to announce that four members of the team will be participating in the New York State tournament. Students honored include:
Alexa Dolgos with a personal best of 1.37 in the 600 meter run; Alyssa Mustafa with a personal best of 17 feet, 3.5 inches in the long jump and a personal best of 36 minutes 1.3 seconds in the triple jump competition; Andrew Zabala with a personal best of 43 feet 5 inches in the triple jump; and Joe Stanco with 47 minutes 10.5 seconds in the shot put.
— Submitted by Varsity Track Coach Joseph Manna
Thursday, 06 March 2014 00:00
The Island Trees Bulldogs Wrestling team finished the 2013-2014 season with an overall record of 18-8. The team defeated Syosset in the Dual Meet Championship playoffs 34-27, and then lost to Plainedge in the second round 48-29. The team had a strong season and was ranked no. 8 in Nassau County. The Bulldogs entered 22 wrestlers in the Nassau County Qualifying Tournament, out of which, eleven of the team’s All-League grapplers qualified for the coveted Nassau County Wrestling Tournament. Six wrestlers also received All-Conference honors, with one wrestler earning a wildcard into the tournament, for a total of 12 Island Trees wrestlers competing.