Written by Daniel Offner Saturday, 14 June 2014 00:00
This year, Google asked students in grades K-12 to doodle an inventive way to make the world a better place as part of its national Doodle 4 Google competition. On Monday, June 9, Google officially changed its homepage to the winning doodle, “Back to Mother Nature” designed by 11-year-old Island Trees Memorial Middle School art student Audrey Zhang.
For Zhang, a three time Doodle 4 Google finalist, perseverance was key to winning the national competition. Receiving the most online votes, Zhang was presented with the grand prize for her artwork, which was selected among more than 100,000 submissions, 250 state finalists, 50 state winners, and five national group winners.
“To make the world a better place, I invented a transformative water purifier,” said Zhang. “It takes in dirty and polluted water from rivers, lakes, and even oceans, then massively transforms the water into clean, safe and sanitary water, when humans and animals drink this water, they will live a healthier life.”
Working with the different elements of Audrey’s design, Google helped her animate her artwork, making sure they twinkled each light, cleaned the water just right and took extra care for the illustration’s dragons—about whom she is also
writing a novel.
“We thought she might consider it a pretty cool gig, but alas, Audrey eventually had to fly back to New York with the $30,000 college scholarship and $50,000 Google for Education technology grant for her school,” the company stated.
“We were also so inspired by her doodle invention that google.org donated $20,000 in her name to a charity, which provides clean water to schools in Bangladesh.”
Last month, Google flew Zhang and the other state finalists to the company’s headquarters in Mountain View, Calif. for some educational workshops and the awards ceremony.
During the ceremony, Discovery Education stopped by the Google headquarters where they created three videos and activity packs for teachers to introduce students K-12 to the creative process.
Discovery Education has designed and assembled three activity packs, each of which include four activities for students in grades K-2, 3-5, 6-8, and 9-12 which are designed to help students warm up their creative muscles for next year’s Doodle 4 Google contest.
Saturday, 26 July 2014 00:00
A clown named Renaldo performed magic tricks for an enthusiastic audience as part of the National Circus Project, which visited Levittown Public Library on Wednesday, July 16.
All 150 tickets available for the performance were sold out in this interactive magic show for children. Throughout the entire circus act, children laughed and raised their hands as high as they could to be chosen as one of Renaldo’s helpers.
Raising her hand to participate was three-year-old Kirsten Cantwell from Seaford. “She was upset that she didn’t get picked,” said her mother Melissa Cantwell.
Kirsten Cantwell goes to any activity offered at the library, and is starting to enjoy watching magic shows. According to her mother, she really enjoyed the performance.
In the circus show, National Circus Project performer, Al Calienes, acted as Renaldo the clown.
“The show has different components of acts in the circus,” explained Calienes. “We teach children circus moves.”
With the National Circus Project, children get to see magic tricks performed live. “We infuse enthusiasm by showing them, and they in turn will be able to repeat the process,” said Calienes.
Renaldo performed plate spinning, where he spun a plate on a stick and passed it along to the stick of one of his helpers from the audience, who then passed the plate down a line of three more helpers. This interactive way of teaching the children magic tricks really allows them to absorb what they are learning.
The National Circus Project travels and performs for elementary schools, as well as middle and high schools. When the National Circus Project is not going to schools, they perform at library shows, summer camps, and other types of events.
The performance entertains the adults as well as the children. “We involve everybody,” said Calienes. “Everybody’s engaged on some level or another. “
At every library performance, Calienes donates the children’s book he wrote and illustrated Renaldo Joins the Circus to the library. He feels that he owes a lot to the library system. “Anything that ever meant anything to me I learned in the library,” said Calienes.
Calienes learned how to draw from the library, which is how he became a commercial artist. One of the main characters he would always draw would be Renaldo the clown. “I wanted to make him real so I joined the circus,” he said.
Calienes has been performing with the National Circus Project for seven years and has been in the circus business going on 26 years.
The National Circus Project brings magic to children at any school, camp or library all over Long Island as well as across the country.
Friday, 25 July 2014 00:00
Last June, Nassau County passed legislation that allows for the deployment of a speed enforcement camera system in school zones for each of the 56 public school districts in the county.
The new systems will be implemented throughout the county on July 25, and will be operational on scheduled school days throughout the year.
Thursday, 24 July 2014 00:00
Levittown’s Division Avenue High School varsity baseball team, under the direction of coach Tom Tuttle, won the Class A County Championship, garnering a third-place ranking in New York State. This is the team’s 13th county championship win and the second county championship for the school in the past four years.
In addition, senior Chris Reilly was named Championship MVP for throwing a complete game shutout in game two and going three for four with two RBIs.
Thursday, 24 July 2014 00:00
Taylor Traenkle, a junior at Division Avenue High School recently received the MVP award for the Nassau County Varsity Hockey League Association.
Traenkle, who plays no. 9 for the Levittown Ice Falcons, led the way averaging 2.8 points a game with a total of 25 goals and 23 assists in just 17 games.