Intel Science Services held a national press conference at Schreiber High School last Monday to announce the 40 finalists for its prestigious award, formerly known as the Westinghouse. The district announced last week that it had nine semifinalists in the contest, the largest number on Long Island. On Monday, it was announced that three, out of the 40 finalists chosen, were Schreiber students. This means that Schreiber has the distinction of having the highest number of finalists of any school in the United States.
With great pride, Schreiber High School Principal Dr. Sid Barish announced the names of this year's finalists: Kristin Kovner, Viviana Risca and Lucas Hanft. He noted, "As we gather this morning to honor these wonderful and talented students, we should be proud and happy to celebrate their achievement. In a real sense, they represent the achievement of a long line of teachers, supportive families, caring school board members and administrators, and a community that supports quality education. This is the result you get when all of those forces work together with kids as the center of their universe."
Dr. Barish informed the audience that since 1985 when the Schreiber research program began, it has had 72 semifinalists and nine top 40 finalists. He then commented, "It is important for everyone to appreciate the significance of the research programs in our school. Clearly for the 90 students involved in the three programs it gives them a unique opportunity to engage in the highest level of research and exploration in a variety of topics. That research may someday lead to major discoveries or inventions. While that may sound like an exaggeration, remember that this competition is often referred to as the "Junior Nobel Prize." In fact, five former Nobel Prize winners were alumni of the Science Talent Search."
Dr. Barish noted that he was especially pleased with the finalists because there was one winner from each of the three areas of the research program: Viviana Risca worked in the science research program headed by faculty sponsor Phyllis Serfaty: Kristin Kovner was part of the math research program headed by faculty sponsor Elaine Labrocca, and Lucas Hanft participated in the social science research program whose faculty sponsor is David O'Connor.
In his remarks to the audience of parents, local officials, friends, staff and well wishers, Superintendent of Schools Dr. Al Inserra offered the following recipe for success:
*A community committed to excellence
*A BOE that continues to support our programs by providing the leadership and the resources necessary to carry out our mission.
*A talented, committed and creative staff of teachers
*Supportive and encouraging parents
*Outstanding, bright, self-starting students.
He concluded by stating, "We will look to this day to remind us of what is possible."
In terms of awards and scholarships for the finalists, the top prize will be a $100,000 four-year scholarship. The second place finalist will receive a $75,000 scholarship and the third-prize winner will go home with a $50,000 award. Fourth through sixth place finalists each receive $25,000; seventh-through tenth will receive $20,000. The remaining 30 finalists will receive a $5,000 scholarship award. In addition to the scholarhship awards, each of the finalists participating in the Science Talent Search will receive an Intel Pentium III processor-based laptop computer.
Next week the Port News will include interviews with the three finalists.
The Science Talent Search is America's oldest and most highly regarded science contest for high school seniors. The STS provides an incentive and an arena to complete an original research project and have it recognized by a national jury of highly-regarded professional scientists.
Created in 1942 by Science Service as a means for encouraging talented high school students to pursue a career in science or engineering, the Science Talent Search has become an American institution. Nearly six decades since its beginning, the STS has recognized almost 3,000 finalists with $4 million in scholarships. Alumni of the STS include holders of more than 100 of the world's most coveted foundation fellows, two Fields Medalists and five Nobel Laureates.
In 1998, Intel Corporation was named the new title sponsor of this competition formerly sponsored by the Westinghouse Foundation. Since assuming this role, Intel has significantly improved the STS by bringing back many of the traditions long associated with the program. In two years, Intel has increased awards and scholarships from $207,000 to $1,250,000.