mice

Pat Sclafani is Essential at Huntington High School

Patrick Sclafani used mice to test his project hypothesis.

August 07, 2017

It didn’t take long for Patrick Sclafani to become one of Huntington High School’s most essential students. The soon to be sophomore is always ready to answer the call to make the building a better place for everyone. He’s one of the best in the classroom and is a great golfer, too.

The teenager earned a spot on Huntington’s High Honor Roll by compiling an eye-popping academic grade average. One of the top Blue Devils on the links, Mr. Sclafani notched a hole-in-one in a meet against John H. Glenn last fall.

One of Mr. Sclafani’s daily class delights is the high school’s science research program. He developed an impressive project last year with classmate and research partner Ulixis Colato that focused on testing mice to determine how they are affected by magnetic waves transmitted to the brain.

Patrick Sclafani
Huntington sophomore Patrick Sclafani.

“The mice were tested by completing a maze,” according to project abstract. “They were timed and will be recorded for later comparison. The purpose of the project was to test if the mice were affected by magnetic waves being transmitted to their brains and whether the magnets would cause an increase of memory by showing a decrease in time to complete the maze.”

The control group for the project consisted of ten mice that had to make their way through the maze without the magnet. “The experimental group of ten mice needed to complete the maze with a magnet,” according to abstract. “Data was collected and compared to determine average maze run times with and without the magnet. The hypothesis was that the magnet will affect the memory of the mice positively and they will be able to complete the maze faster than without the magnet.”

Mr. Sclafani said the data he compiled indicated the mice were “affected significantly” by the magnetic waves he transmitted to their brains. The findings could have future implications for treatments.

“Conducting further research may help find the cure for Alzheimer’s disease,” Mr. Sclafani said. “Completing this project has interested people in helping those with Alzheimer’s. Future experiments having to do with memory may help the progression of a cure for this deadly disease.”

The teenager isn’t afraid to go out on a proverbial limb. Mr. Sclafani draws inspiration from a comment attributed to Albert Einstein: “Anyone who have never made a mistake has never tried anything new.”

Mr. Sclafani intends to play on Huntington’s varsity golf team this fall for the third consecutive season. He’s been working all summer on improving his game. “I have about 10-15 Metropolitan PGA Jr. golf tournaments on my schedule,” he said. “I play golf almost every day at the Huntington Crescent Club.”

The teenager also works as a golf caddy at the Crescent Club. Mr. Sclafani spent last week on vacation with his family in Newport Beach, California. The family met friends there, went to the beach and pool and even participated in a safari. He went ziplining and boating, too.

When classes resume next month, Mr. Sclafani will be continuing in the high school’s science research program. “It was definitely worthwhile,” he said about his freshman year experience. “I really enjoyed the program. Teachers Lori Kenny and Nicole Cooper were very helpful to me and my partner, Ulixis Colato.”

Mr. Sclafani hasn’t finalized his plans for a sophomore year research project. “I’m actually still thinking about it,” he said. “I’m not sure yet. Maybe something involving golf.”