Bellmore-Merrick Central District boasts three Intel semifinalists

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The deadline for submission to the 2013 contest was Nov. 14, only two weeks after Hurricane Sandy battered the South Shore. Among the homes destroyed in the storm was Pollock’s. Four feet of water inundated the main floor, destroying the kitchen and forcing his family to rip up the hardwood floors they had installed a short time earlier. Not only that, but the oil tank leaked, spewing fuel into the home. And a backyard tree fell onto the house.

Pollock had no electricity and heat in the days leading up to the submission deadline, which was extended by only four days because of the storm.

On top of it all, his university mentor, Hofstra University psychology professor Dr. Keith Shafritz, who lives in south Bellmore, was forced to evacuate out of state. Pollock was supposed to meet with Shafritz the week Sandy struck to review final data and begin making sense of it. But Pollock, who spent two weeks after the storm helping his parents, Marcia and Alan, clean out their storm-ravaged home, could not meet with Shafritz until Nov. 14, so he had no access to his data until four days before the final submission deadline.

With his data finally in hand, Pollock scrambled to decipher it and write his research paper. He met with Barbi Frank, one of his Kennedy mentors, at the Merrick Library to put the paper together and send it off. Frank’s south Bellmore home was also severely damaged in the storm, so getting together was hard for both of them.

“I didn’t really think I’d win,” Pollock said. “With all the setbacks, I didn’t know how [my paper] would stand out compared to anyone else’s.”

He met the Nov. 18 midnight online submission deadline by 13 minutes –– and, obviously, his paper stood out.

“It’s crazy to think that a student who had to go through that pulled together his stuff so well in the end,” said Barbara Franklin, another of Pollock’s advisers at Kennedy.
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