Seven teams of Locust Valley science students earned honorable mention in the prestigious Toshiba/NSTA ExploraVision competition among more than 5,000 participating teams from the U.S. and Canada. This was the highest number of awards given to any school district in New York in the grades 3-8 category. Locust Valley was the only school in New York to have a winner in third grade and had the most winners in fifth grade, with a winning team at both Locust Valley Intermediate School and Bayville Intermediate School.

According to Toshiba, the ExploraVision competition is an opportunity for students to expand their imaginations and have fun while developing an interest in science, technology, engineering and math. Participating students develop and research solutions to various problems in the world and discuss their ideas in detailed research papers. 

One team from Locust Valley Intermediate School designed a large robotic swarm of ion-fueled thrusters called NEAPS (Near Earth Asteroid Protection System) that would hover at the surface of an asteroid to steer it away from the earth’s orbit. The team was comprised of fourth-graders Susan Dixon and Leonard Gu and fifth-grader Mackenzie Gelbard, and was mentored by Anne Joyce.

The other winning LVI team, consisting of third-graders Daniella Beno and Isabella Croke and mentored by Rebecca Glavan, invented Wearable Obstacle Detection Garments, a device for the visually impaired or those in limited view environments that uses LGMD technology. This product would help the visually impaired navigate their environment by mimicking the way a locust sees. This way of “seeing” would be manifested through garments worn by the user. 

A Bayville Intermediate School team, made up of fourth-graders Ryan Geertgens, Emma Mandato, Louis Singe and Sophia Tavormina, earned honorable mention for their project, “Bio-Safe Keys,” a product with the tagline, “If you sneeze, don’t spread the disease…get this coating for your keys.” The invention was inspired by the antibacterial nature of dragonfly wings. The group created a coating for the keys on keyboards and keypads that can destroy bacterial cell walls on contact. 

Another Bayville Intermediate School team was awarded for a project they called “TIP – Thermal Identity Protection.” This group found a material that would greatly reduce the amount of heat absorbed by keys on the keypads found in banks and retail stores, thus preventing thermal identity theft. The team consisted of fifth-graders Maria Bubulinis, Ally Garros, Katherine Matozzo and Meghan Murray. Both BI teams were mentored by Donna Dejesu and coached by BI librarian Paige Coppola. 

Middle school students took three honorable mentions in the competition. Sixth-graders Anthony Bonadonna, Roarke Creedon, Shawn Kapoor and Matthew Klein, assisted by faculty advisor Christopher Hoppner, created a SMART scanner to The Smart scanner is designed to scan people coming into airports for highly contagious diseases, such as Ebola, limiting the spread of the diseases across borders.

Also advised by Hoppner was the eighth-grade team of Joe McNamara and Jonathan Kasday, who received honorable mention for their invention of the CTBG, a battery system for cars that eliminates the need to charge or stop for gas; this would be accomplished by having one battery charged by turbine energy as one is being used in the car. 

A second eighth-grade team, comprised of Diana Bianco, Emily Gresalfi and Olivia Sinkoff and assisted by faculty advisor Courtney McKay, created the Pressurized Wetsuit, which prevents the bends during deep-water dives. They believe this invention would save lives.  

The Board of Education recognized each of the teams at public meetings, offering congratulations and praise for their accomplishments.