Girls Softball Raises Funds for Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center!

On Saturday afternoon, the Wheatley Girls Softball team participated in the Strike Out Cancer Fundraiser at Wantagh High School. With the support of the East Williston softball community and the varsity softball team, over $700 was raised for Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center in the name of Nassau County longtime softball player/coach Kathy DelGais Butler.

Thanks to Coach Cambria and Coach Curcio for supporting the team on this worthwhile endeavor!

[Thanks to Coach Cambria for the photos and write-up!]

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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!

Wheatley’s Joseph Contrastano Earns All-American Status at 2018 Nationals!

The Wheatley Athletic Program is honored to recognize the accomplishments of Joseph Contrastano. Joe, a sophomore, is a three-year starter for the Carle Place/Wheatley wrestling team. He is a returning All-State wrestler (6th NYS Division 2), three-time All-County and two-time Nassau County Champion. Last month, Joe earned All-American Status through his efforts at the NHSCA High School Nationals meet in Virginia.

Joe helps to organize practices and takes care of pre-game practice and match responsibilities. As our most accomplished wrestler, Joe performs at the highest level on the mat and continually adds spirit and confidence, keeping the team motivated and enthused. He has been a major contributor and the source for keeping the Carle Place/Wheatley wrestling program viable. As the recipient of every wrestling recognition that The Wheatley School awards, Joe has excited the Nassau County and New York State wrestling enthusiasts for the past three years.

Joe’s outstanding accomplishments speaks of his unlimited talent and desire to be the best. Next season Joe will be entering his junior season as one of the top-ranked wrestlers in Nassau County and New York State. His focus and dedication to the sport of wrestling has allowed his talent to be sought after by many Division I wrestling programs. Joe has been a member of Vougar’s Honors Wrestling Club, one of the top clubs in the country. Joe is a true student of the sport and returns the help and instruction he has received from his coaches by mentoring the younger members of the club as a volunteer coach and supporter.

At this prestigious wrestling Club, Joe has competed nationally and has achieved All-American recognition.  At the 2018 Nationals Joe finished with 8 wins and earned All-American status with a 7th place finish. This is a major accomplishment and a result of the hard work, commitment and perseverance Joe has endured over his wrestling career.

Congratulations, Joe!

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

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!

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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!]

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