Today’s news:

The Civic Scene: High school pupils in Queens excel in many fields of study

One of the positive things taking place in Queens high schools is that two students from Francis Lewis High School and one from Stuyvesant HS in November won the team category at the Region Four Finals in the 2009 Siemens Competition in Math, Science and Technology.

Cathy Zhou, Israt Ahmed and Stephanie Chen are sharing a $6,000 scholarship for their archaeological project that tracked hominid migration out of Africa and into Europe by examining fossil teeth and tools. In December the trio went on to win third place in the 2009 competition and split a $40,000 prize.

Newcomers HS in Long Island City ranked sixth as an academic institution on the U.S. News & World Report 2009 list of the 100 best public schools in the nation. The school only enrolls foreign-born students who just arrived in the country and has 1,016 students. Eleven other city schools were also honored, including three from Queens.

The Mouse Squad from Thomas A. Edison Vocational & Technical HS in Jamaica received a proclamation from City Councilman James Gennaro (D-Fresh Meadows) for its accomplishments. The student-staffed Mouse Squad is on call daily to solve technical problems while giving students hands-on training.

A team of students from the virtual enterprise class of the Business, Computer Applications & Entrepreneurship HS in the Campus Magnet Complex in Cambria Heights won the Ad Futures Competition sponsored by the Ad Council of New York City.

Forest Hills HS Principal Saul Goodnick received a certificate from state Assemblyman Andrew Hevesi (D-Forest Hills) and state Sen. Joseph Addabbo (D-Howard Beach) because he and one of his students came up with the idea that utility companies should use large print on bills so people with poor eyesight can easily read the bills. The idea is now a law that takes effect in April.

John Bowne HS in Flushing is proud of its 3.8-acre farm in the rear of the building near Queens College. The farm has a greenhouse, goats, alpacas, pheasants, peacocks, and chickens. Vegetables are grown and harvested throughout the year. The school’s Agriculture Business team won first place at the New York State FAA Convention in Grahamsville, N.Y. The team just competed at the National FAA Convention in Indianapolis and won a silver medal.

Townsend HS science teacher Katherine Cooper was one of seven recipients of the first Sloan Awards for Excellence in Teaching Science and Mathematics. The award was for public school teachers who are dedicated and creative. Six years ago she established a Science Olympiad Club that has won two city championships.

Staff and students at the Springfield Gardens Educational Campus rejoiced as their library reopened. Upgrades provided by money from Councilman James Sanders (D-Laurelton) means students will have the capabilities to learn to search, select, evaluate and interpret information to a greater extent than originally planned.

Queens Village’s Martin Van Buren boys’ soccer team is the 2009 Queens PSAL Division B-I champs. Under Coach Mark Wilson, the Vee Bees had a 13-0-1 season. The school’s Key Club is active in community affairs. One of its activities is volunteering at the American Cancer Society’s Relay For Life, which takes place every year in early June in Cunningham Park.

Assemblywoman Barbara Clark (D-Queens Village) has long supported the students in the four schools in the Campus Magnet Complex. She awarded 2009 scholarships from the state Association of Black and Puerto Rican Legislators to worthy students in each of the four schools.

Honored for demonstrating quality academic achievement while actively participating in campus athletic programs were Martin Thomas of the Humanities and the Arts HS, who is an English major at the American International College; Leston C. Simpson of the Law, Government and Community Service HS, who is attending Southern Connecticut State University; Kerome K. Bramwell of the Business, Computer Applications & Entrepreneurship HS, who is attending the Borough of Manhattan Community College; and Chandraika Niranjan of the Mathematics, Science Research and Technology HS, who is majoring in mechanical engineering and attending the New York Institute of Technology.

Jemarley McFarlane, a 2009 graduate of the Law & Government HS, received a $100,000 Pose Foundation Scholarship so he can attend Colby College in Maine. Track team member Anthony Persaud, a senior in the Math, Science Research & Technology HS and a member of Arista, is on the honor roll.

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