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!

Alumnus Scott Weiss (Class of 1999) Shares his Experiences!

Over the past several years, the SWS community has welcomed back former students who want to share their post-Wheatley experiences with our community.

On April 11, Scott Weiss (Class of 1999), a former SWS Moderator (President), came to our Community Day to share his story. Today, Scott is a design professional who, after working in IDEO’s San Francisco, has set up his own business working on social impact design projects. He described how he is currently working with the Harvard Graduate School of Education to create new ways to provide opportunities for underserved communities.

In addition to describing his projects and the basics of design planning, Scott described how he has reinvented himself repeatedly during his career. After studying film at Syracuse’s Newhouse School, Scott pursued his Hollywood dreams in Los Angeles where he worked on major motion pictures and in reality television. He then transitioned to a new city and a new path, moving to San Francisco and IDEO. IDEO is one of the premier design firms, having partnered with Steve Jobs and Apple very early and helping design the mouse for the early Macintosh computers.

Scott’s presentation also included an interactive activity where pairs of SWS members created a secret handshake that revealed something about each of them. It was raucous and enlightening.
SWS plans to continue this program of bringing back alumni to present to the community. In the past, we have welcomed back a Peace Corps volunteer who is now a quail farmer on the North Fork. Writer Eric Brach returned to discuss his published work as did Stephanie Klein. Performer and educator Elana Jaroff also visited last year, exposing the community to her dance career and her mindfulness practice.
[Thanks to Pat Clarke for the photos and the write-up!]

CARE Club Fashion Show Raises Funds for Sunrise Day Camp!

For many years now, our Cancer Awareness, Research and Education (CARE) Club has held an annual “Runway for a Cure” fashion show to support the Sunrise Day Camp, the country’s only dedicated full-time summer day camp for children. With a highlight being the head shaving of Christina Cambria, the donations were especially generous. This year’s event took place this past Friday to an enthusiastic crowd, eventually raising over $7,000 for the camp — with the total still increasing!

We are thankful to the CARE Club officers and the club’s advisors, Christina Cambria and Dawn Muscarnera. We are also thankful for the photos from our yearbook photographer, Island Photography!

Class of 2018 Victorious in #Showdown2018

The culmination of Wheatley’s Showdown week is the Friday Night Finale. This finale took place last night! Beginning at 6:45 pm and continuing through 10:21 pm, grades competed against each other in a wide variety of activities. The activities included:

  • Chess
  • Badminton
  • Sneaker relay race
  • Foul shooting
  • Myers Math Problem
  • Minute to Win It (faculty competition)
  • Volleyball
  • Soccer goal kick
  • Bridges competition
  • Over-Under Ball Pass
  • Pyramid Cup stacking
  • Target Rock

Nearly 500 students attended the night’s activities. The cost of admission to the evening was a donation item for the Mary Brennan INN (this was one of the competitions). Each class was assigned a category, so a wide variety of soups, canned goods, cereals, pasta, rice and beans). Nearly 7,000 items were collected for donation!

After an intense evening of competition, the Class of 2018 proved to be the winners of Showdown2018!

A huge thank you to our Class Advisors, our PE faculty and our custodians for all the work they did in order to help us through the week of Showdown2018! Thank you to ALL of the students for a wonderful week of spirited competition!


The Competition is Getting Tight on #Showdown2018 Day 4!

The fourth day of Showdown2018 continued to produce surprising results, with a tightening of the competition among the grades! The Charity Collections ended on this day, and our students did incredible work collecting books, sneakers and eyeglasses! The Juniors dominated WSTV Trivia and the Seniors dominated Brainstormers.

With a “Superhero/Cartoon Character” dress theme, the hallways were filled with all sorts of creative costumes! While the classes worked on a bridge to be used during tomorrow’s Friday Night Finale, each grade manned a Charity Information Table as a way of raising awareness and funds for a charity of its choice.