Wheatley Students Recognized at LISEF 2017!

The Long Island Science and Engineering Fair is the local regional organization that sponsors the Intel Division Fair and the JV Fair.  The top winners from the Intel Division fair earn a spot at the International Science and Engineering Fair sponsored by The Society for Science and Intel.

This year, Wheatley students submitted 8 projects to the Intel Division fair.  In total there were over 450 projects submitted from across Nassau and Suffolk Counties.

The JV Fair provides an opportunity for young scientists to get a glimpse of what science competitions are like; gearing the students up for opportunities in following years to compete at the Intel Division.  Wheatley had 6 projects enter the JV Fair.

  • Ananya Bansal and Megan Kirschner got honorable mention in the category of Cellular and Molecular Biology and an award from The Society for In Vitro Biology for an Outstanding and Creative Project. The title of their project is Coconut Oil Decreases the Gene Expression of Apl-1 in C. Elegans and APP in Neuroblastoma Cells
  • Anne Yan received Honorable Mention for her project titled: The Effect of Nitrulline on the Expression of Dys-1 and Dyc-1 Genes in C. elegans

Other students who participated:

  • Arvin Jadonath
  • Nirav Kumar
  • Rebecca Sparacio
  • Kavina Amin
  • Hema Kumar
  • Rebecca Zeltsman
  • Kaya Amin
  • Ilana Nimkoff
  • Jacob Mohebban
  • Derek Gilbert

NYSSEF is on Monday April 3.  Long Island Science Congress is on Wednesday April 5.

Thanks to Mary Alexis Blondrage for her support of the students and the write-up of the competition!

Wheatley and National Rankings

Over the past several years, there has been a proliferation of organizations promoting lists of the top high schools in the country. Readers of this blog may recall some of my posts outlining some of the serious errors in these ranking lists (see http://wp.me/p3RKEP-4io and http://wp.me/p3RKEP-9iI, for example).

At last night’s Board of Education meeting, I presented an overview of the state and national ranking of high schools. As part of the presentation, I described the steps Wheatley could take if it wanted to focus on its national rankings.

You can view the presentation through the link below:



Wheatley and National Rankings Feb17

Wheatley’s Midterm Experiences Bring the World to Students (Part 1)

Wheatley’s Midterm Experience is designed to give our 9th and 10th grade students hands-on workshops to provide insight into how English can be used in future endeavors. On Wednesday, over the course of two hours, students worked with acclaimed authors, poets, comedians and creative artists in activities designed to engage students in a way that can be challenging during the regular school day.

The Midterm Experience occurs thanks to the dedication of our Secondary English Chair, Mr. Steve Collier, our extraordinary librarian, Mrs. JoBeth Roberts, and our dedicated English teachers.

Some of the workshops given include:

Thinking Like a Writer
by Todd Strasser (Wheatley Class of 1968)

Wheatley graduate and renowned author Todd Strasser (The Beast of Cretacea, Fallout, Wish You Were Dead series) shared with participants what makes stories work. Many films, plays, and novels share common story elements, such as exposition, conflict, rising action, crisis, climax, and resolution. In the first part of the workshop, students identified these elements in popular films and novels. In the second, highly interactive, part of the workshop Mr. Strasser guided students in discovering why these elements are essential, helping them create a story of their own. In the process students discussed character and plot development, theme, back story, foreshadowing, subplot, and many other aspects of creative writing. By the end students not only had a greater understanding of story structure, but experienced “thinking like a writer” as well.

We All Have a Story to Tell
by April Armstrong, award winning performer and storyteller

Professional storyteller April Armstrong, winner of the 2015 Bronx BRIO award, helped to bring storytelling to life. This workshop examined the art of storytelling as a vibrant and necessary form of communication. Using voice, character, dialogue, gesture and song, students explored stories and their personal relationship to them. Emphasis was on story writing and telling prompts, using drama exercises as well as other sensory and visual exercises to help make story telling memorable.

Stealing Poetry (or Every Poet is a Thief stolen from U2’s Mysterious Ways)
by Leah Umansky, poet, collagist, teacher, pop-culture fanatic

This workshop was designed for students who love television, movies or theatre, often finding themselves thinking about a certain character, or something a character said in a TV show or movie, days after they saw it! This workshop was designed to help students find what inspires them as a writer. Leah Umansky read from her Game of Thrones and Mad Men inspired poems and discussed the genesis of her inspiration.  Participants learned how to be inspired by their surroundings – including pop culture!  This workshop was designed to break the stigma often applied to poetry, opening students up to new ways of approaching and entering poems. Emphasis was on writing prompts and reading contemporary poetry.  Participants were asked to share their work!

Curriculum and Activities Fair Showcases Student Opportunities and Offerings!

As parents of our incoming 8th Graders (the Class of 2022) were learning more about their child’s first year at Wheatley, parents of current Wheatley students were learning more about the many offerings, programs and opportunities in grades 9-12 through our Curriculum and Activities Fair.

Over the course of the evening, parents were able to attend sessions on the following specific topics:

  • SWS/English/Social Studies options (for parents of 9th graders)
  • STEM Overview, including PLTW, Computer Science, Mathematics and Science offerings
  • World Language Exchange programs
  • AP course options, Dual Enrollment courses, AP Capstone, alternative diploma pathways

Parents also had an opportunity to learn about our co-curricular offerings, including our many clubs and activities. It was an evening of information and activity! A huge “Thank You” to the department supervisors, club advisors, and classroom teachers who helped make this night both informative and exciting!

You can download some of the information distributed through the following links:

The Robot was in the house!

Study of LI Maritime Culture Continues at Wheatley!

For the past several years, Wheatley has partnered with the Long Island Traditions to help explore traditional maritime culture in the age of Sandy and the decline of commercial and recreational fishing on Long Island. The partnership includes the College Regional Studies Program (12th grade) at Wheatley taught by Dr. John Staudt.

For the past five years Dr Staudt’s College Regional Studies students have been using the fishing industry as a model to examine the occupational and recreational traditions of fishermen and baymen on Long Island, focusing on Nassau County’s north and south shores.  They have learned about the tools and traps, boats and nets, rods and bait that are used by recreational and commercial fishermen from various communities on Long Island, identified by folklorist Nancy Solomon, executive director of Long Island Traditions.

To introduce the students to these topics Mrs. Solomon presents a Powerpoint presentation that includes videos and ethnographic documentation created by LI Traditions, along with interactive discussions on how to approach and interview maritime tradition bearers, the challenges they face, and the future of this occupational culture.

The 2nd component of the program is a hands-on workshop with four tradition bearers, all of whom make their living directly or indirectly on the water:  Baywoman Flo Sharkey, commercial fisherman Joey Scavone, decoy carver George Rigby and boat builder Chris Hale.  The students engage in learning the maritime traditions, learning how to carve a decoy, build a traditional boat using a model, learning to use a clam rake and learning to fix a gil net using traditional tools.  In addition the students conduct short interviews with all the participants.

The 3rd component is a field trip to Oyster Bay, where the students meet Oyster Bay baymen Fred Menges and Bill Fetzer on the docks at their fishing boats, learning how the harbor has changed over time and the maritime heritage of the bay.  They are introduced to the different marine life living in the bay.  Following this the students participate in a hands-on oyster dredge sample with the Waterfront Center, on board the Sloop Christeen, a historic restored oyster dredge boat built in 1853.  Students learn about the sustainability of shellfishing in Oyster Bay by learning firsthand how to hoist sails, work a simple dredge and examine what shellfish live in the harbor.  They also learn how the design of the schooner suited the harbor.

The final component is a field trip to Freeport on the south shore, where students learn to fish on board the Dolphin, a charter fishing boat, guided by the crew and master recreational fisherman Reed Riemer.  The students also learn about the bay’s ecology and the various kinds of fish that travel in the western bays.  They also learn what kinds of bait fish respond to in this migratory estuary.

Long Island Traditions director Nancy Solomon comments “Our goal in this program to help Wheatley students understand our region’s connection to the maritime heritage of Long Island, past and present.  At the same time we also hope that students will appreciate the knowledge that fishermen have to sustain their way of life.”

Funding for this program was made possible by the New York State Council on the Arts (NYSCA), NOAA and the National Park Service.  It is the only maritime program supported by NYSCA in the state, and one of the longest running programs on Long Island.

[Thank you to Dr. Staudt for the program description and the photos from the trip to Oyster Bay on 20 May!]



Students Find Success at New York History Day in Cooperstown!

At the beginning of March, nearly 80 Wheatley students competed in the Long Island Regional round of the National History Day competition.  Of those students, nine Wheatley students earned the right to move on the the New York State Finals of the competition.

Last weekend, accompanied by Jo Beth Roberts and Michael Haig, the following students headed to Cooperstown to compete in the State Finals:

  • Jane Kim and Gretchen Keller: Senior Group Exhibit: The Daguerrotype
  • Allison Keller: Junior Paper: Exchanging Health for A Cure: Stateville Prisoners used as Medical Subjects 
  • Rahul Ajmera: Junior Independent Exhibit: The Panama Canal Treaties: Shifting the United Sates’ International Role Through Diplomatic Encounters
  • Ashley Vincenzo : Junior Individual Website: The Cuban Missile Crisis: Avoiding Encounter with Exchange
  • Maggie Caroddo, Ilana Nimkoff, Kavina Amin, Kaya Amin: Junior Group Website: A Failed Attempt to Explore Options for An Effective Exchange

When the State judging was completed, three Wheatley students earned recognition in their category! Congratulations to:

  • Ashley Vincenzo (2nd Place)
  • Allison Keller (3rd Place)
  • Rahul Ajmera (3rd Place)

Over 11,000 students in the state of New York entered local History Day contests, and approximately 450 participated in the State Finals at Cooperstown. Only those projects placing in the top two move on to Nationals.

[Thanks to Jo Beth Roberts for some of the photos and the write-up!]

[Unfortunately, Rahul is missing from the photos, as he is competing in the National Round of the History Bee and Bowl Competition!]

4th Annual Science Research Symposium Showcases Student Work!

Last night, Thursday, 21 May, Wheatley’s 4th Annual Science Research Symposium was held in our lobby (for the poster sessions) and a Room 450 (for the senior research presentations). The breadth and scope of the topics covered was so impressive! It was a pleasure to interact with and hear from our students regarding their research.

A highlight of the evening was the presentation of the research of members of the Class of 2015!

We are thankful to have such wonderfully motivated students along with the faculty to support their efforts. Particular thanks to our Science Research teacher, Ms. Alexis Blondrage, for her work with these students!

Senior Research Presentations

  • Shalini Bansal: Liver Cancer Molecular Subclass as a Potential Predictive Biomarker of Drug Response
  • Alex Boubour: The Use of a Successful Cranial Hemostatic Agent on Sus scrofa domesticus Sterna
  • Zachary Chorost & Samuel Mohebban: Can a Cognitive Assessment Score Identify Causes of Delirium in Elderly Patients Postoperatively?
  • David Fisher: Using Rho Kinas Inhibitors to Treat Glaucoma
  • Hebah Hassan: The Effect of Art Therapy on the Emotional Status of Cancer Patients
  • Arjun Kapoor: The Construction of Low Entropy Quasi-Optimal Interconnection Network Topologies
  • Hannah Mittman: Improved Testing Performance of Attention Deficit Disorder Individuals through Intrusion Stimulus
  • Courtney Schwartz: Inhibition of Pseudomonas aeruginosa NAD+ -Dependent DNA Ligase
  • Seungmin Yi: Using our natural defenses to fight cancer
  • Kuan Yu: Purification, Assessment, and Structural Analysis of Anti-Oxidative Compounds from the Mushroom Hericium erinaceus that Mitigate the Neurodegenerative Effects of the Pesticide Rotenone

Independent Research

  • Vakas Akhtar, Steven John: APL-1 Regeneration in Relation to Alzheimer’s disease
  • Krista Chen: An Evaluation of 4-Methylimidazole’s role in Inflammatory/Autoimmune Diseases: Estrogen Receptor-Based Inflammation Elicited by a Commonly Ingested Compound
  • Aileen Chowdhury, Sara Zulfiquar: Anthocyanins and pH
  • Abdullah Hassan: Designing a Household Aquaponic System
  • Sahaj Gulati: Bullying: Beating Down a National Epidemic
  • Ashley Lessen: Improving the Efficacy of Solar Panels Through Tilt, Angle, Color, and Connectivity
  • Michelle Lin: The Effect of Coffee and Other Related Products on the Inhibition of Bacterial Growth
  • Gil Lotsky: Using Drosophila melanogaster Courtship Song to Attract and Trap Female D. melanogaster
  • Arihant Jain, Daniel Alfia, Josh Golbari: A Novel Approach for Creating Isobutanol Using E. coli and T. reesei
  • Jane Kim: Tracking the Neural Impulses of Lubricina Using a Spikerbox
  • Nirav Kumar: The Inhibition of Biofilm Growth Using Various Organic Substances
  • Arvin Jadanoth: The Expression of the Ist-1 Gene in C. elegans when Exposed to Artificial Sweeteners
  • Samrah Mitha: The Effects of Biotin and Vitamin C on Regeneration Rates of Lubriculus variegatus
  • Sajni Patel: To What Extent Should Celiacs be Concerned with the Amount of Arsenic Found in Rice-Based Products?
  • Haseeb Jangda, Joy Bestorous, Jessica Chu: The Effects of Grape Seed Extract on the Expression of the XPA-Gene

Introduction to Research

  • Jonathan Advocate-Ross: Cephlapod-Based Propulsion Cars
  • Sufia Ainechi: Microbial Fuel Cell to Quantify Efficiencies of Marsh, Topsoil, and Benetic Mud
  • Adeel Anwar: Asteroid Mining
  • Ananya Bansal, Megan Kirschner: Increased Mortality in Zebra Fish Exposed to Low Concentrations of Commonly Used Pesticides; Implications for Humans and their Environment
  • Abhishek Kumar: The Effects of Heat and Ninhydrin on Fingerprint Collection
  • Mitchell Lin, John Li: Effects of Various Common Substances on Sclerotenia homeocarpa
  • Jessica Poomkudy, Vani Kumar: The Environmental and Medical Effects of Meat Consumption
  • Ally Wang, Emily Wang, Saman Suleman: Constituents that Influence the Scholastic Achievements of Students after High School
  • Anne Yan, Ally Kim, Roxanne Ghadami: Raw Produce Consumption: Alternative Bacteria Removal Methods
  • Alice Ye, Rachel Fuzaylov: The Physical, Economical, and Social Effects of GMO’s