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Kennedy Student Government Earns National Recognition

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For its exemplary record of leadership, service, and activities that serve to improve the school and community, the Kennedy High School Student Government has been recognized as a 2021 National Gold Council of Excellence by National Student Council.

“Receiving a National Gold Council of Excellence Award reflects the highest dedication on the part of the school to providing a strong, well-rounded student council program,” said Nara Lee, director of student leadership, National Association of Secondary School Principals. “NatStuCo applauds the work of the National Gold Councils of Excellence and challenges them to continue their leadership and service to their schools and communities.”

“For our Student Government to have received an award from the National Student Council, it not only reflects all of the accomplishments and motives we were awarded for, but it also reflects the collaboration, communication and determination each one of our members have when putting their minds to great work,” said Dylan Lipman, Student Government president.

To meet the requirements for the National Council of Excellence Award, a student council must meet a variety of criteria. In addition to basic requirements such as a written constitution, regular meetings, a democratic election process, the councils have demonstrated successful sponsorship and participation in activities such as leadership development and service to the school and community. Councils awarded the gold level of the award have successfully demonstrated the highest levels of leadership.

“Receiving this award especially after the way the last year has gone is extremely special for the KSG,” added Eric Giannaris, Student Government vice president. “The fact that we were able to persevere through the pandemic and still meet the criteria of a high-achieving Student Council demonstrates the determination throughout Student Government. This should serve as precedent for years to come.”
The club operates under Brad Seidman, a social studies teacher and faculty adviser.

Kennedy’s Tyler Bissoondial Headed to International Science Fair

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Tyler Bissoondial, a sophomore at Kennedy High School in the Bellmore-Merrick Central High School District, won first place in the category of Plant Science at the Long Island Science and Engineering Fair.

As a finalist, he will be heading to the 2021 Regeneron International Science and Engineering Fair.

Finalists from around the world will have the opportunity to compete with each other at ISEF and judging will take place from May 3-6, 2021 via video conferencing.
This is the second consecutive year Bissoondial has been named an ISEF finalist. Last year, he was selected after winning first place in the category of Environmental Science at the New York Science and Engineering Fair.

At the 2020 virtual ISEF, Bissoondial project received honorable mention in category of Life Science by Sigma Xi, the Scientific Research Honor Society.

At the 2021 NYSSEF, Bissoondial received second place in Plant Science and the 2021 NASA Earth System Science Project Award (Special Prize Award). Earlier in February 2021, Bissoondial earned second place at the regional level of the 2021 Junior Science and Humanities Symposium. Bissoondial was also recently named a national finalist to the 2021 GENIUS Olympiad, an international competition, which will be held virtually in May 2021.

For his research project, Bissoondial studied the response of plants to pathogens (e.g. bacteria). Plants are able to sense different components (called MAMPs) of pathogens and produced a defensive response. Little is known about how plant senses the lipopolysaccharide (LPS) component of some bacteria. Bissoondial demonstrated that the fern Ceratopteris richardii can sense LPS and produce a unique response. This response can be used as a potential screen to identity the elusive LPS receptors in plants.

His project is titled, “Lipopolysaccharide and Galactose Induce Cell Death in Prothallial Cells of Gametophytes of Ceratopteris richardii.” This research was conducted at home and in a high school lab. Bissoondial worked with another student, Blake Lippman from George W. Hewlett High School.

VIDEO: Kennedy Wrestling Named Conference Champs

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The wrestling team at Kennedy High School pinned down the conference II championship Feb. 27 after defeating W. T. Clarke High School, 51-19.
The Cougars finished the season, 8-0, going undefeated for the first time in 48 years.

“The spirit and support each wrestler gave the team was incredible,” said coach Brian DeGaetano, who is also a physical education teacher at Kennedy. “I am so proud of our seniors who created a fun environment during an incredibly stressful situation. My hope is our seniors take away the skill set that they learned this year and get bigger wins later in life.”

DeGaetano said a combination of “luck, grit and determination of the wrestler who doesn’t let anything get in their way to victory.”

Several wrestlers went undefeated in all of their matches; including Jefferson Cruz, Dan DeFilippo and AJ and JJ Pizzirusso. DeGaetano was assisted by coaches Peter Barros, Joe Vanmanen and Jack Magnani.

Kennedy CyberPatriot Team Named State Champs

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The upperclassman CyberPatriot team at Kennedy High School has been awarded the New York State Championship in the Air Force Association CPXIII competition, placing 60th in the nation out of 2,633 teams.

This year, both Kennedy High School CyberPatriot teams earned spots to compete in the Platinum Tier.

“Our students studied windows and Linux operating systems and completed online coursework in the CISCO Net Academy while learning how to use industry networking software such as packet tracer,” explained Robert Soel, district science chairperson and STEM chairperson.

The CyberPatriot teams of students from Kennedy excelled in the qualifying rounds, demonstrating teamwork, critical thinking skills, and technical knowledge key to a successful career in cybersecurity.

“Our sophomore team had an impressive run as well and placed in the top 11 percent of the teams in the nation,” he added.

CyberPatriot’s core program – the National Youth Cyber Defense Competition – challenges teams of students across the United States, Canada, and other schools abroad, to find and resolve cybersecurity vulnerabilities in simulated environments. In all, over 4,800 teams registered to compete in CyberPatriot XIII.

Kennedy Students Hold Food Drive for Veterans

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After studying about the presidential cabinet as part of the Bureaucracy Unit in AP Government at Kennedy High School in the Bellmore-Merrick Central School District, Kara McManus' students became curious and had many questions about the Veterans Affairs Department.

“Specifically, the students were struck by the rising poverty and suicide rates among America's veterans,” explained McManus. “From this discussion, the students were inspired to create valentines and to hold a food drive for veterans on Long Island”
Donations were delivered to The Veterans Place in Yaphank, an organization that houses homeless veterans. It’s food pantry also provides food for veterans and their families who live on Long Island.

“This was a wonderful way to spread the compassion of the Bellmore-Merrick Community beyond our immediate borders,” added Principal Gerard Owenburg.

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