Courtesy photo: Mark Burns, who won first place in 2015 at the Brookhaven National Lab's Science Fair, will be there again this year. His experiment entitled "Storm Troopers" won first place in the third-grader division of the Riley Avenue Science Fair.

Riley Avenue Elementary School hosted a two-week Parents as Reading Partners program March 7-18. Activities during the program included a night of robotics, a science fair, an evening with LI authors, a bridge building contest, a mad scientist and more.

This year’s theme was “Reading Lights the Way to Learning.” Parents were asked to read with their child for at least 15 minutes each evening and to fill out a “light bulb” worksheet. On each light bulb, the students wrote the title of the book and the main idea of the book they had chosen to read. The light bulbs were posted in the hallway to “light the way to learning.”

2016_0322_Riley Ave_robotics
Courtesy photo: The high school Robotics Club brought their robot to an evening event during the first week of PARP.

During the first evening event, the Riverhead Robotics Club, along with high school technology teacher and Robotics Club advisor Luke Ferland, visited Riley Avenue as part of Riley’s science emphasis during PARP. The Robotics Club introduced third-grade students to their custom made robot and demonstrated how the mechanical, electrical, and computer components work together. Most notably, the Robotics Club gave students a taste of computer science by allowing Riley students to change the computer coding which programs the robot to launch a ball into one of three hula-hoops at varying distances.

PARP’s second week included an Author and Illustrator Family Reading Night. Several LI authors came to share their books with the students and their families. One of the authors, Rose Nigro, donated autographed copies of her book, entitled A Duck’s Tail, to each of the classroom libraries. A Duck’s Tail tells the story of The Big Duck.

Mark Burns, who won first place in 2015 at the Brookhaven National Lab Science Fair, will be there again this year. His experiment entitled "Storm Troopers" won first place in the third grader section of the Riley Avenue Science Fair.
Courtesy photo:Jason Edwards, who wrote Chronicles of the Monster Detective Agency, was one of the LI authors who came to share their books with Riley Avenue students and families during PARP’s Author and Illustrator Night.

Because this year’s reading emphasis was science, events like rocket building in the library and bridge building in the classroom were scattered throughout the week.

The winners of this year’s bridge building contest were:

Ms. Vengilio’s class-
Carly Pavuk, Ashley Kenter and Abigail Sullivan

Ms. Brennan’s class-
Payton Choma, Kim Cerifico and Carlos Valesquez

Ms. Gaare’s class-
Alexi Re, David Funfgeld, and Ethan Caskie

Ms. Messina’s class-
Teddy Gosker, Paige Rider and Michael Romeo

Ms. Seal’s class-
Santiago Cardenas, Rudy Goodale, Philip Boulier*

*Santiago, Philip and Rudy now hold the school record of 1,838 grams held.

The class with the highest average weight held was Mrs. Seal’s class with an amazing average of 991 grams.

A special feature of this year's PARP experience was a competition in bridge building in the fourth grade classrooms.
Courtesy Photo: A special feature of this year’s PARP experience was a competition in bridge building in the fourth-grade classrooms.

Fourth-grade teacher Terry Messina coordinated Riley Avenue’s annual science fair. Student experiments were on display during the Family Reading Night.

The winners of this year’s science fair are:

Kindergarten
First Place Nicholas Sabatini
Second Place Maddie Burns
Third Place tie Eliot Ramsey and Cora D’Alsace

First Grade
First Place Logan Levasque
Second Place Grace Belmonte
Third Place tie Ella Giles and Baelin Leyble

Second Grade
First Place Farisa Zeman
Second Place Angelina Pace
Third Place Antonia Cerderna

Third Grade
First Place Mark Burns
Second Place Josh Pokorny
Third Place John Ellis

Fourth Grade
First Place Caden Lesiewicz
Second Place Brenden Lamonica
Third Place tie Jack McCormick and Skyler Jager

The week concluded with School Spirit Day and a Mad Scientist Assembly. The mad scientist engaged students in experiments and shared information about solids, liquids and gases, topics which are part of the elementary science curriculum.

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April Pokorny
April is a writer, reporter and copy editor for the LOCAL news websites. She is a retired educator and proud grandma. April lives in Calverton. Email April