Give an assist to the student body – well, 101 of them – for helping deliver the school an Intel Science Talent Search semifinalist.
Senior Eric Caliendo, of Manorville, turned his classmates into test subjects and the result was a study that caught the attention of the Intel committee. Calideno was one of 300 students nationwide chosen Wednesday from among 1,839 entrants.
His paper, titled: "See me, Hear me, The Effects of Auditory and Visual Stimulation on Recall and Recognition," looked for a correlation between the ability to recognize and recall information using both auditory and visual stimuli.
“I was always interested to see how different people retained information,” Caliendo said. “Some people didn’t take one note in class and still got 100 on the test. But then there’s kids who hit the books the night before and got the same grade.”
Caliendo, a goalie who has committed to play lacrosse at Haverford College, asked a series of questions to test subjects, in this case fellow St. Anthony’s students. About 100 honors physics students took part in the study.
“He was trying to pinpoint: Is it boys versus girls?” Physics teacher Paul Paino said. “Is it auditory versus visual? Is it recall questions versus recognition questions? He did statistical analysis.”
The work earned Caliendo a $1,000 award from Intel. The school also receives $1,000.
Caliendo, who carries a 103 weighted average and is ranked second in his class, also helped the South Huntington parochial school earn its first Intel semifinalist since Ahmit Mehta in 2005.
“He’s so demure you’d never know he’s No. 2 in his class and is one of the truly brilliant that walks around St. Anthony’s High School,” St. Anthony’s Principal Bro. Gary Cregan said.
While it took a bright student to deliver, a new staffer helped make it possible.
Paino, who spent the previous 30 years at Wheatley School, was hired at the end of the last school year and started a research club over the summer. He met with 10 students, including Caliendo. The club produced a three-person team to compete in Siemens and three research papers for Intel.
“As a club we’ve done some pretty interesting things at the national level,” Paino said.
It’s only just beginning. The school plans to make it part of the curriculum next year.
Intel will announce 40 finalists on Jan. 25. But for Caliendo and St. Anthony's, the latest honor was a breakthrough worth celebrating.
Correction: School officials incorrectly stated that Caliendo was the first Intel semifinalist in school history. St. Anthony's Alumni Director Denise Creighton said Ahmit Mehta was also a semifinalist in 2005. Patch regrets the error.