Wheatley Students Succeed at Long Island Mathematics Fair!

On Friday afternoon, 17 Wheatley students headed to Hofstra University in order to compete in the annual Mathematics Fair. Students competing included:

Grade 9

  • Manav Bansal (“Taylor, Power and Geometric Series”)
  • Anya Chabria (“Fractal Geometry: The Mathematics Uniting the Universe”)
  • Sarah Hassan (“The Biostatistics and Epidemiology Involved in Determining Disease Patterns”)
  • Viraj Jayam (“Projecting Onto the Generalized n-Sphere via Stereographic Projections”)
  • Eric Ness (“System of Numerations through History”)

Grade 10

  • Madison Ramos (“The Mathematics Behind Magic”)
  • Diya Shah (“Boolean Algebra”)
  • Rebecca Sparacio (“Determining the Association between Extracurricular Activity Participation and Performance on the SAT and ACT; An Observational Study”)
  • Trenton Wong (“Approximating Pi”)
  • Emily Yagoda (“The Math Behind Bitcoin and Cryptocurrencies”)
  • Sharon Zhong (“Finding the Figure for Foundational Failure”)

Grade 11

  • Manan Shukla (“The Banach-Tarski paradox”)
  • Vedant Singh (“Using Optimization to Increase Production Efficiency”)

Grade 12

  • Sufia Ainechi (“The Tipping Point of Buildings”)
  • Michaela Balboni (“The Fractal Component of Fibonacci’s Spiral and the Balboni Spiral”)
  • Abhishek Kumar (“Performance of a Parallelized Restricted Boltzman Machine”)
  • Justin Vega (“Using Mathematical Modeling to Calculate Neutron Cross-Sections Probability Distributions for Reactions on Zero-Spin Nuclei”)

While the aforementioned students were presenting their research, Maryrose Ambrose and Robert Teseo served as judges.

At the end of the competition, 9 Wheatley students earned Gold Medals, 3 Wheatley students earned Silver Medals and 5 Wheatley students earned Bronze Medals. Congratulations to the following medal winners:

Gold Medal Winners

  • Sufia Ainechi
  • Manav Bansal
  • Sarah Hassan
  • Viraj Jayam
  • Manan Shukla
  • Sharon Zhong

Silver Medal Winners

  • Michaela Balboni
  • Anya Chabria
  • Madison Ramos
  • Justin Vega

Bronze Medal Winners

  • Abhishek Kumar
  • Eric Ness
  • Diya Shah
  • Vedant Singh
  • Rebecca Sparacio

Thanks to Mr. Teseo, we have some photos from the competition!

Wheatley Brainstormers Recognized by Board of Education as JV Quiz Bowl Champions!

Earlier this evening, the Board of Education recognized the Wheatley Brainstormers team for its accomplishments earlier this month. As described by Advisor Joseph Crotty:

On Wednesday, April 11th, the Wheatley Brainstormers Club participated in the Long Island Regional Quiz Bowl Championship Tournament. At the tournament, the Wheatley Brainstormers’ Varsity and Junior Varsity quiz bowl teams competed against quiz bowl teams from across Long Island.

The Varsity team, represented by John Li, Eric Ness, Peter Cuomo, Tony Deluxe, and Viraj Jayam, was unable to progress to the final rounds of the tournament.

However, the Junior Varsity team, represented by Rahul Ajmera, Frederick Lin, Karen Li, Aamir Muneer, and Victor Li, not only progressed to the final rounds of the tournament but defeated all of the opposing teams to win the Long Island Regional Quiz Bowl Junior Varsity 2017-2018 Championship. Their victory marks the first time The Wheatley Brainstormers won a Long Island Regional Quiz Bowl Tournament in a decade—an impressive accomplishment for a young quiz bowl team.

Thank you to Joseph Crotty, the Brainstormer Advisor, for all of his guidance and support of the team. Thanks as well to Ms. Schrager for her service as a staffer during the tournament.

[Thanks to Mr. Crotty for some of the photos.]

Wheatley Students Achieve in Italian Poetry Contest!

Congratulations to our Wheatley Italian students for their excellent performance in the Italian Poetry Contest held at SUNY Old Westbury on Friday, 13 April.  Senior Adeel Anwar won 3rd place in the Level 3 category for his recitation of Dante Aligheri’s poem, “Tanto gentile e tanto onesta pare.”

Receiving Honorable Mention in their respective categories were:

  • Eric Ness (Level 2)
  • Patrick Brady (Level 3)
  • Cecilia Jozef (Level 4)

Other participants included:

  • Dean Sheinman
  • Victoria Mora
  • Jason Liu

This annual event is sponsored by the American Association of Teachers of Italian.

Special thanks to Mrs. Susan Vasselman for her continued commitment and devotion to providing our Italian students with the opportunities to participate in such meaningful competitions.


Cecelia, Adeel, Patrick and Eric


Adeel with his 3rd Place Recognition

Wheatley Cybercats have a Breakout Week!

April 9th was the start of what proved to be a breakout week for Wheatley’s Robotics Team, the Cybercats. The week consisted of two different competitions—both held at Hofstra University and both part of the FIRST Robotics series.

The FIRST Robotics competition is the nation’s premier competition for high school robotics teams. For the ninth consecutive year, Wheatley has fielded a team in the regional competition for this event. Schools from across Long Island and the tri-state area compete in this event.

Within the guidelines of the competition rules, students are required to design a robot that would work with other teams in tasks reminiscent of a popular video game. You can view the sample video here:


It was an outstanding week, with the Cybercats performing exceptionally well at both competitions. Of course, the team had high expectations coming off their Half Hallow Hills robotics finals appearance this past year. It has been an extraordinarily prosperous season, as the Cybercats gained the mentorship and partnership of Orics Industries, owned by Ori Cohen a mechanical engineering and volunteer mentor.

The Cybercats, led by seniors Elan Mizhiritski and Abhishek Kumer, helped direct the design, fabrication and coding of this year’s impressive robot. With the help of volunteer mentor, Jonathan Goodman (Class of 2016) and Omri Cohen (Class of 2011), Wheatley earned its first major tournament award, taking home the General Motors Industrial Design Award. This award is given to a team that Celebrates form and function in an efficiently designed machine that effectively addresses the game challenge. The guidelines are as follows:

The design is elegant and efficient (simple/executable) and practical. The entire machine reflects a system design approach, i.e., the overall machine design addresses the many functional systems that must operate together.Designing the machine contributes to the team’s success in FIRST – not just in performance on the field of competition.Reliability and maintainability are considered in design. For example, it is capable of withstanding the rigors of the contest and servicing is easy.The entire machine design, or the detailed process used to develop the design, is worthy of this recognition, and not just a single component.

In addition to such a prestigious recognition, The Wheatley Cybercats earned their first regional semi-finals appearance, just missing the Worlds Games qualifications by 1 match. This has been an incredible season for the team, as we continue to grow and promote STEM in the community.

Thank you to the Cybercats advisor, Patrick Hurley, for his incredible energies and support throughout the season. Thanks as well to Joe Fina, who helped with many aspects of the design! Thanks as well to Patrick Hurley for help with the write-up of the week!

Brandon Zhu Qualifies for the Mathematical Olympiad!

Brandon Zhu (Class of 2019) participated in the 2018 United States of America Mathematical Olympiad (USAMO). Qualifying for this examination is considered one of the most prestigious recognitions for a high school student. This year, only 242 (out of over 350,000) students were selected to compete!

Top scorers on this examination are invited to represent the United States in the International Mathematical Olympiad!

Brandon was the first Wheatley student in 15 years to qualify for this examination!

Congratulations, Brandon!

Harvard Club of Long Island Names Adam Plana as a Distinguished Teacher of 2018!

This past Sunday, the Harvard Club of Long Island recognized eleven teachers from Long Island as “Distinguished Educators of 2018.” Wheatley’s own Adam Plana was one of the educators recognized at this event.

The  press release is as follows:

“This award honors teachers who transform lives,” explained Dr. Judith Esterquest, Harvard Club of Long Island Chair of the Distinguished Teacher Selection Committee. “Devoted teachers like Mr. Plana offer Long Island students deep expertise, extraordinary talents, and countless hours of attention.  By capturing the minds and imaginations of our children and preparing them for challenges that were unknown even a few decades ago, these teachers shape the future of our country.”

Mr. Plana will be honored at the Harvard Club of Long Island’s annual University Relations Luncheon on April 15, at the Heritage Club at Bethpage, along with 11 other teachers from across Long Island. Following the award ceremony, Harvard Professor Michael Klarman will lecture on The Framers’ Coup: The Making of the U.S. Constitution. A renowned legal historian and constitutional law scholar, Prof. Klarman will discuss questions that resonate today: why so many features of our constitution insulate the national government from populist political influence, why the Philadelphia convention was so unrepresentative of national opinion, and why ordinary Americans approved a scheme that drastically reduced their political influence?

Mr. Plana attended SUNY Stonybrook and there received both his undergraduate degree in Mechanical Engineering and his graduate degree in Education. Mr. Plana, who teaches all levels of Physics, has taught for 22 years, all of them at The Wheatley School.   He attributes his long tenure to “mutual respect” between students, teachers and administrators at the school.

The respect earned by Mr. Plana has come from effort, initiative, and vision.  In addition to teaching Physics, he has introduced new classes, such as Forensics and the Physics of Sports and Stunts — and coached the Physics Olympics team, advised classes and clubs, coached middle school soccer, and led set-building for school theatricals.

Mr. Plana brings this same level of participation and energy to his personal life, coaching the soccer teams of one or more of his 3 sons for the past 10 years.  In recent summers, Mr. Plana, his wife and boys have driven across the country, discovering the wonders of the road while visting many national parks along the way.  In his “free time,” Mr. Plana has been the lead guitarist and singer for several rock bands, including the faculty rock‑and‑roll band that plays at student functions.

Andrew Zuckerman, a former Wheatley student who is expected to graduate from Harvard College with the class of 2021, nominated Mr. Plana.  Mr. Zuckerman was class president, when Mr. Plana was his class advisor, and a student in Mr. Plana’s Physics class.  “What I loved about Mr. Plana was the seriousness with which he took physics,” recalls Mr. Zuckerman.  “He wanted us to understand each topic fundamentally. Live demos were frequent. Diagrams were abundant. Questions after class were welcome.”

Mr. Zuckerman credits Mr. Plana with his motivation for success at Harvard.  “Mr. Plana stressed the importance of learning for the sake of learning.  He reminded me to push myself for reasons that lie outside of external validation.”

Dr. Sean Feeney, Principal of The Wheatley School, says “One of our veteran educators, Mr. Plana is loved by students and parents alike. A collaborative educator, Mr. Plana is a leader in our school. He mentors younger teachers and freely shares his strategies and techniques with colleagues. In the classroom, his hands-on approach to teaching helps students connect the content to the practical. He motivates and inspires some of our best students.”

Dr. Feeney continues, “Outside of the classroom, Mr. Plana connects with students in a variety of ways, most notably the weekly early morning soccer scrimmages. Mr. Plana epitomizes the Wheatley Spirit of collaboration, close connections with students, and classroom creativity. We are fortunate to have him as part of our faculty.”

At the ceremony on April 15, the Harvard Club of Long Island will announce the Distinguished Teacher of 2018 who will also receive a scholarship for a “Harvard experience” at the Harvard University campus in Cambridge, Mass. Past winners of the scholarships have enhanced their teaching by sampling the resources available to Harvard students: meeting with faculty; visiting research laboratories, rare book archives, and specialty museums; and enjoying visual and performance art. The scholarships are funded by contributions from Harvard alumni living on Long Island.

This year’s 12 Distinguished Teacher Award winners were nominated by current Harvard undergraduates and then selected by Harvard Club of Long Island board members. This year’s award winners teach economics, English, history, math, physics, chemistry, science research, and Spanish. The winners teach in the Bellmore-Merrick, Bohemia, Brentwood, East Meadow, East Williston, Herricks, Hewlett, Lynbrook, Manhasset, Mt. Sinai, and Roslyn school districts.

The East Williston School District has had one previous winner;  Kevin Meyers, teacher of mathematics, was recognized in 2006.

Thanks to Dr. Judith Esterquest, we have some photos from Sunday’s event!

JBE Plana RS

Dr. Judith Esterquest, HCLI; Adam Plana, Honoree; Robert Sherlock, HCLI

*2018 Distinguished Teacher honorees and Klarman

2018 Honorees and Harvard Law School Professor. Front row: Renée Barcia, Herricks HS; Adam Plana, Wheatley School; Dr. David Rifkind, Hewlett HS; Dr. Rebecca Grella, Brentwood HS; John Halloran, Connetquot HS; Back Row: Prof. Michael Klarman, Harvard Law School; Laura Lastorino, Brentwood West MS; Jason Boland, Calhoun HS; Glynis

Wheatley’s Will Feil Commits to the ​University of Albany!

The Wheatley Athletic Program is honored to recognize the accomplishments of Will Feil (Class of 2018). Will has signed a letter of commitment to continue his impressive academic and baseball career at the University at Albany.

Will Feil is a rare three-sport athlete. As a member of our Varsity Soccer, Basketball and Baseball teams, Will has established himself as a student-athlete of high recognition. Will played on our Nassau County Class B Championship Soccer team. As Captain of our Varsity Basketball team, Will earned All-Conference recognition for his outstanding play during the 2017-18 season. Will is a returning Captain for the Wildcats Baseball team, and a returning “All-County 2017” and “All-Conference 2016” member of our varsity baseball team. Will’s accomplishments on the baseball field have earned him recognition as one of Newsday’s Top 100 Players.  Will was a key contributor to the baseball team’s 2016 Nassau County Class B and Long Island Class B Championship as well as the 2017 Nassau County Class B Championship. As our most complete player, he performs at the highest level on the field and continually inspires and supports his teammates. Will’s leadership and ability are being counted upon to lead us back to the Nassau County Class B Baseball Championship and beyond.

Will’s outstanding transcript speaks for itself. Will has a weighted GPA of 4.0, his rigorous course of studying includes 8 Advanced Placement course. Through his efforts Will has earned the “AP Scholar with Honors” distinction. He has extensive community service and volunteer experience as a member of our National Honor Society and Foreign Language Honor Society. Will is also a member of the St. Aidan’s Peanut Butter Gang. Will is a well-rounded student-athlete.

In February, Will signed his Letter of Intent to attend the University at Albany to compete in baseball.  His academic scholarship and athletic prowess will allow Will Feil to continue his pursuit of excellence. We are all very proud of the accomplishments he has earned and look forward to his future achievements!

[Thanks to Tom Fitzpatrick for the write-up and the photo!]