SHS Graduates 401 Seniors on June 26th
- Category: Schools
- Published on 29 June 2015
- Written by Carly Glickenhaus
The Scarsdale High School Class of 2016 tossed their caps under sunny skies on Friday June 26th. The weather was expected to be dreary, but like the senior class, Mother Nature defied expectations and decided to bring out the sunshine instead. The 401 grads assembled in the gym together for one last time where they posed for a class photo and classmates Morgan Lawless and Jordan Green were given the "Henry David Thoreau award" for marching to a different drummer and assisting the class. They lined up in alphabetical order, marched through the school and streamed onto Dean Field to the sound of Pomp and Circumstance played by the Symphonic Band. These Raiders certainly deserved lots of "pomp" after four years of hard work.
Board of Education President Mary Beth Gose was the first to address the class. She reminded them that life is too short to preoccupy themselves with regrets. Students will have to adapt to new environments where there will be less structure and more choices. She also noted that teenagers possess the gift of time; youthful exuberance opens doors and leaves room for mistakes and do-overs. Teens tend to forget that one blunder, a B on a report card or a shameful loss in a football game, will not doom their careers. She advised the grads to "use this time to learn about the world, to think of others, serve, lead, take risks and retain their sense of curiosity. She thought it was fitting that the senior class advisors were health teacher Ms. Jessica Levenberg and psychologist Dr. Ernie Collabolletta. When Ms. Levenberg addressed the Class of 2016, she described her role as advisor as a blend of mother, older sister, and cheerleader. Dr. Collabolletta then told the crowd that as a school psychologist, his role is to teach people how to be happy. He explained that one way to be happy is to be involved with other happy people. For many SHS seniors, it had been easy to stay connected to happy people in a school where many students have known each other since kindergarten and best friends sit together in class. In a few months, however, they will find themselves in classrooms across the country, perhaps knowing no one else. Some will attend institutions up to twelve times as large as SHS. Nevertheless, parents can rest assured that their energetic seniors will be well prepared to seek out happiness at their new schools. Dr. Collabolletta made a distinction between happiness and pleasure, which is often derived from material "things." Pleasure is an ephemeral gratification. Friendship and love, he reminded them, continue to satisfy eternally.
Senior Class President Angela Coco began her speech by reminiscing about elementary and middle schools. Coco said, "It is difficult to wrap one's head around the fact that the kid you stole all the pink crayons from in the second grade could end up being your prom date ten years later. Ms. Coco provided a sense of unity among her fellow seniors by saying they had watched each other grow since spilling juice and calling the teacher "mom." Many find comfort in being surrounded by familiar faces in the classroom each day. Next year, however, mundane high school routines will be replaced by a less predictable lifestyle. Ms. Coco brought to the forefront a fact that is well-known but perhaps takes time to sink in: in two months, the graduates will be scattered across the U.S. and the globe. She kindly reminded her classmates that their rooms will likely be turned into exercise rooms that "empty nest" parents will rarely use. Though humorous, the observation is painfully real. It is scary to let go, both for kids and parents. Ms. Coco told her classmates they had spent 120 million seconds together over the past four years of high school. But, she asked, "What is 120 million seconds, a handshake, and a diploma worth if you fail to remember how you reached this moment?" She reminded them that it was not easy to get to where they are now, and that everyone ought to be proud of their success.
Come the fall, laundry will not magically journey from the bathroom floor to a neat folded pile in the bedroom. For these students, the reassuring comfort of their own beds may be a continent away. As the seniors prepare to abandon the familiar and venture into the uncertain territory of the college campus, Principal Kenneth Bonamo reminded them to make sense of the world in their own terms as their safety net becomes remote. He urged the graduates to set realistic goals that inspire, but do not debilitate. Coming from a competitive high school where the pressure is high, it will be a challenge for many rising college freshmen to learn to give themselves breathing room and create a balance between hard work and fun. Mr. Bonamo left the seniors with a reminder of the school motto, "Non Sibi," which means "not for oneself." He told them their good fortune requires them to make the world better for others. For many teenagers, Scarsdale is a bubble that provides shelter from certain harsh realities of the outside world. To make sense of these realities requires stepping out of comfort zones. The graduates are bound for colleges in starkly diverse settings across the nation, and beyond. Inevitably, they will be shocked by the diversity they encounter, but also pleasantly surprised by their abilities to forge relationships with people who appear to be their polar opposites. Ambitious and excited to meet the real world, Scarsdale graduates are each armed with a pin to pop the bubble and become active citizens in new communities.
Joan Weber Toasted at Grand Retirement Celebration
- Category: Schools
- Published on 22 June 2015
- Written by Joanne Wallenstein
Though I have been watching Scarsdale school board meetings for the last seven years, I never understood the power behind the petite, demure woman who announced the comings and goings of district personnel. Without great fanfare, Joan Weber routinely served notice that a teacher had been granted tenure or was retiring from the Scarsdale Schools, always adding an insightful personal fact about their family, talents or favorite pastimes.
Little known to me -- or to many in Scarsdale -- Weber quietly managed the teaching staff, administrators, professional development, and global and arts initiatives for the entire district for over 32 years. She recruited the faculty, nurtured their talents, made key staffing decisions and supervised hundreds, if not thousands, over the course of her career.
During her tenure she saw five superintendents come and go and as current Superintendent Thomas Hagerman said, Joan "whispered in their ears" to keep them on track.
What's most impressive is the number of friends she made along the way. Almost 400 current and retired teachers, administrators, colleagues, school board members, PTA leaders, parents and family members came to the Mamaroneck Beach and Yacht Club on Thursday June 18 for Weber's retirement dinner, where the evening opened with two musical selections from the 54-member Scarsdale High School wind ensemble. The serenade was a fitting tribute to a woman who has been a big supporter of the arts in the schools and initiated a program at Lincoln Center for the districts elementary school students.
Even more surprising than all her work on behalf of Scarsdale, was what she accomplished outside of school. It turns out that Weber has five children - several who are doctors – plus ten grandchildren and also serves on the Hawthorne Cedar Knolls Board of Education. Though many find it hard to sit still through a single Scarsdale Board of Education meeting, Weber has been doing double duty for many years – attending Scarsdale meetings in her professional capacity and Hawthorne meetings as a volunteer. To anyone who thinks, they have too much on their plate," take a look at Joan and you'll see what a determined person can accomplish.
Tributes to Joan were amusing, lengthy and a testament to her many talents. David Wixted, President of the Scarsdale Teacher's Association, with whom she negotiated called her "cool, clam and unflappable." He said she was a case of "the right person, in the right place at the right time." He continued, "you do what is right with compassion and acknowledge the worth of every individual. We are better for the time we spent with you."
Trudy Moses, the former head of the STA, advised Weber to "sit back and take it all in as we treasure you.!"
Scarsdale Middle School Principal Michael McDermott compared Weber to "a rare Stradivarius violin to be handled with care." He mentioned her signature hand written thank you notes and felt lucky to be a "FOJ," that is a "friend of Joan."
Technology Director Jerry Crisci and SHS Dean Michael Gibbs produced a wonderful video tracing Weber's beginnings in Brooklyn to her education at NYU and ultimately to Columbia Teacher's College where she wrote a 300-page dissertation. She was an only child, a gifted student and a dancer. She studied English and Political Science at NYU, and earned a masters degree in English at NYU. When her husband, who is a physician, was training in Virginia, she taught school in a rural Southern town and later taught in Hawthorne. After she earned her doctorate from Columbia Teacher's College, Scarsdale Superintendent Thomas Sobol selected her out of 300 candidates to be the district's director of personnel, a position she held for 32 years. During her tenure she brought educators, academics and proponents of human rights to visit Scarsdale, founded the Interdependence Institute and
championed professional development and the arts.
Former Scarsdale Superintendent Dick Hibschmann toasted Weber saying that impacted so many. He credited her with managing the district's health plan, maintaining a good relationship with the teacher's union and school board members, using her "inside voice."
Channeling Weber, School Board Member Suzanne Seiden said, "We accept with regret the retirement of Joan Weber," and then gave a humorous list of the "Top 10 Things Joan Would Like to Say."
1) Little known fact about Joan ... she has the tiniest handwriting
2) She is a big doodler during meetings (so that's how she sits through so many meetings!)
3) She wanted to be a ballet dancer
4) She loves pastries, bakes rugelach and does not let her husband Karl have any.
5) Joan is a school board member at Hawthorne Cedar Knolls
6) Her family of doctors has examined and operated on everyone in Scarsdale
7) She was chosen out of 300 candidates for her job
8) She has paid tuition for her children to at least ten institutions
9) She has ten dogs
10) She does not who the Kardashians are.
Former Superintendent Michael McGill called Weber "a mother lion who has cared for Scarsdale with elegance, wisdom and diplomacy." He said she "resolves thorny problems, and does what's right for the children first, the adults next and always what's right for the institution." He told her, " you nurtured the substance and the spirit of the Scarsdale schools and are at the heart of the schools. You are irreplaceable."
Cathy Inello and Denise Mulqueen, who worked with Weber day-in and day-out in the personnel office read a beautiful poem written by a former teacher and called her their "hero, role model, friend and advisor," adding, "and sometimes we let you be our boss."
Harriet Sobol, wife of former superintendent Tom Sobol called her a "tiny woman with a tiny voice and perfect handwriting" who Sobol's husband Tom hired to be the district's "Finder/Keeper." She said the Weber did "her work quietly, not drawing attention to her efforts."
Sobol said that Weber learned the following:
-Cherish the culture of caring. Learn empathy. Look at things from others point of view.
-Find teachers and principals who want to learn
-Bring music, theatre and art to all for the Arts are the lifeblood of humanity. Lincoln Center -Education will guide you
-Don't be afraid to dream. Help others to dream What if there is no book, bell or schedule? What do we want future schools to be?
-Have joint committees with teachers and principals for decision making and to resolve conflicts .
-Be prompt to administrative council meetings.
Reading proclamations from the community, Superintendent Hagerman expressed gratitude and respect and thanked Weber on behalf of Assemblywoman Amy Paulin, Mayor Jon Mark, and the Board of Trustees, declaring June 18th Joan H. Weber Day in Scarsdale. Hagerman joked, "It's been a pleasure to work FOR you .... I mean WITH you. Your spirit will continue."
Diane Celentano, Trudy Moses and Susan Taylor suggested that Weber be the next woman on the $10 bill and presented her with a gift box from Tiffany's. They welcomed her "to the soul sisterhood of retirees."
The night ended with the last word, or should I say words from Weber herself, who thanked everyone for the extraordinary evening. She said I have been "mythologized and eulogized .... It's a surprise party and a funeral at the same time."
She remembered arriving at district with 3,800 students that has now has grown by 1,000 students. She marveled at the paradigm shift in American education that has "the U.S. trying to implement what China is trying to get rid of," with testing and assessments dominating the conversation. Mocking acronyms such as APPR (Annual Professional Performance Review and AYP (Adequate Yearly Progress) she said what we now have is CRAP. In a lengthy last will and testament she used cartoons to make a comical speech about the challenges faced by the schools including helicopter parents, the advent of technology and rising health care costs.
Here are just a few of her legacies: She granted Dr. Hagerman a cloak to preserve his magical powers and calendars to meet every schedule. Mocking the state education department she showed a cartoon that read, "there is a light at the end of the tunnel .... It's in New Jersey!"
She wished the new Superintendent of Business a "carefully crafted budget" and advised her replacement, the interim director of Human Resources, "to get to know everyone and to be candid with the superintendent."
For the board, she showed a cartoon of board members lying underneath a conference table and granted them "a new way of holding meetings." She wished them a successful round of negotiations.
She ended with a cartoon that read, "If we take a late retirement and an early death we'll just squeak by." She followed with a beautiful video photomontage of some of her memories of Scarsdale including visits from international guests, international families, trips abroad, outings to Carnegie Hall and Lincoln Center and photos from the international fair.
She concluded with the following advice:
Since You Asked
- Category: Neighborhood News
- Published on 23 June 2015
- Written by Joanne Wallenstein
What time at night do neighbors need to turn off loud music and are retailers permitted to post sandwich board signs on sidewalks outside their stores? What to do about noisy neighbors? We received three inquiries from readers last week – two about Scarsdale's noise ordinance and another concerning free-standing advertising signs posted on Village sidewalks. In order to get answers, we exchanged emails with our new Village Manager Steve Pappalardo and here is what we learned:
From a reader:
Question: Fenway has huge outdoor parties where they let the DJs and bands blast the music so that it reverberates through our whole neighborhood. Latest was Friday night. No one here could sleep. Police said they could carry on until 11pm -- but Fenway seemingly refused to stop until a second police visit after 11:30pm. What is the law, and what's fair?"
Answer from Village Manage Steve Pappalardo: The Police Chief reports that the two calls you refer to are the only ones received to date from Fenway. Last year there were no noise complaints from the club. When PD receives a noise call complaint of this fashion, an officer responds to the source and requests that the music or live band playing volume be reduced. The officer will also drive to the address of the complainant to discuss and listen for themselves from this location to better gauge the volume and level of disturbance. In addition, the patrolman will often return at 11PM to the source to assure that the music stopped or is winding down. This protocol was followed at Fenway on 6/19.
Question: Our neighbors have erected a trampoline in their backyard that is pushed up squarely against the property line. Their children are out there all the time not just playing, but screaming, and our newborn baby cannot nap in either her room our ours, as both face that side of the house. By evening, she and I are both crying with exhaustion! As asking them to please consider the noise level has not worked, is there any village code with regard to setbacks or noise ordinances for screaming during the day?
Thanks so much,
Very tired new parents
Answer: There are no regulations regarding the placement of trampolines on private property but what is described in your email could be considered a violation of Village Code Chapter 205 – Noise. The resident would have to call the Police Department when the problem occurs and they will respond. Of course, in these cases talking to your neighbor is always the best recourse before calling an enforcement agency.
Question: I would love comments and feedback from residents and the village on all the A Frame plastic signs popping up (can't imagine they have permits but maybe they do) at the Five Corners. First, we have a building that does not fit in and now $59 massages signs. The Pet Store now has an open sign, the real estate agency at the old train station has a sign in front etc. ... all huge plastic A frame signs right on the street. No other town around here would allow this."
Answer from Steve Pappalardo: In accordance with the Village Code, advertising signs in commercial districts must be attached to the building . As such these sandwich board signs placed on the sidewalk do not conform and are not permitted. I have asked the Village Engineer to visit the sites tomorrow to speak to the owners and have the signs removed.
Do you have a question? Email us at firstname.lastname@example.org and we'll do our best to get an answer!
Ticks, Ticks, Ticks
- Category: Shout it Out
- Published on 23 June 2015
- Written by Stacie M. Waldman
It's officially "tick season." Soon after I started asking people in the Scarsdale area if they've ever found a tick attached to them, I realized that virtually everyone has experienced this gnarly phenomenon. Ticks are very common in the Hudson Valley and many species of ticks that live (and thrive) here are known for carrying tick-borne diseases that can be transmitted to humans. In fact, the CDC cites Lyme disease as "...the most rapidly emerging infections disease and the leading cause of insect-borne illnesses."
Joanne Wallenstein, the founder of www.scarsdale10583.com has had two attached ticks and she is pretty sure she got them both out in the Hamptons. "My aunt has a small, furry dog that probably sent them my way," she said. "In both instances, a few days after I cam home, I found a black dot that I couldn't peel off." My family and I just came back from a camping trip and we found several ticks on us of varying sizes. They can be as small as a speck of pepper and as large as a pencil eraser when they are engorged with your blood.
Here are the most common questions that came up about these nasty little arachnids along with their researched answers.
Why are ticks such a threat in our area?
Several species of ticks commonly found in our area can cause a host of diseases including Lyme disease, Powassan, anaplasmosis, babesiosis, Colorado tick fever, Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever, tularemia, relapsing fever, and/or erlichiosis. The severity of these diseases ranges from mild to life threatening and even fatal. Some tick-borne diseases have the potential to lead to long-term neurological, cardiac, muscular, and eye issues that may not be treatable or curable. The Scarsdale/Southern Westchester area is wooded, has low lying grasslands, and is filled with front yards and back yards, all of which represent ticks' favorite spots to hang out and breed.
What should you do if you find a tick on yourself?
I spoke with Dr. Judy Stone, an experienced infectious disease doctor who has removed many ticks from herself and her husband. "There's a video on www.tickencounters.org that shows you how to properly remove a tick yourself with a pair of tweezers," she said. "It's no longer recommended that you burn it off or suffocate it with petroleum jelly," she added. Joanne Wallenstein preferred going to a dermatologist to have her ticks removed, but that requires getting an appointment with one, something that can take a while in this area unless you have a previous relationship. (They're busy with botox these days!) Joanne's doctor sent the ticks off to be tested for Lyme immediately. You can also send a tick off for testing on your own, according to Dr. Stone. The Tick Encounter Resource Center (TERC) will test your tick for various diseases for about $50 per tick. You can also send them a photo of the tick you found on you to start and they will tell you what kind of tick it is and how long it has been attached. This can help you gauge if you should have the tick tested or not. "If the tick was attached for less than 24 hours and you're asymptomatic, you do not need to go to the doctor," said Dr. Stone. "No treatment is necessary. However, 200 mg of doxycycline is effective for prophylaxis for Lyme (preventing you from getting the full blown disease) if taken within 2-3 days of the bite. It is not enough if you are symptomatic." Joanne took doxycycline both times for two weeks even though one of her ticks came back negative for carrying Lyme disease and she has remained asymptomatic. Remember, a Lyme positive tick newly attached (less than 24 hours) cannot transmit the disease so no treatment is necessary. Always kill the tick in alcohol and save it. Be sure to wash the area out well with soap and water.
What are signs and symptoms of a tick-borne disease in a person and how is it diagnosed?
These are variable since there are so many different diseases ticks in this area can transmit. The most common one, Lyme, is often identified by a bulls-eye rash but not always. If a person has been outside in woodsy or grassy areas and has any of the following symptoms, it's a good idea to see a doctor: rash lasting up to a few weeks (it can look like a bulls-eye or even just like hives, eczema, flea bites, or poison ivy and may or may not itch), flu like symptoms, a fever, weakness, headaches, or neurological symptoms like weakening of the facial muscles. Months or years later, a person can experience arthritis, numbness, concentration and memory issues, and difficulties with speech. Diagnosis of a tick-borne disease like Lyme is very difficult without a history of a tick bite. Serological tests can be run but are unreliable.
What can I do to protect myself and my kids from ticks?
The CDC recommends walking in the center of trails, bathing as soon as you come indoors and checking all people and pets for ticks, dressing in light clothing for hikes, wearing close-toed shoes and socks, wearing long-sleeved shirts and pants tucked into socks if hiking. It is especially important to check behind their knees, on their scalp and neck, armpits and groin area, and anywhere that clothing puts pressure on their skin. Insect repellant that contains DEET (less than 30% is recommended for use on kids) is effective at repelling ticks but not at killing them and it is only effective on bare skin. Permethrin, on the other hand, kills ticks and can be used on clothes. Dr. Stone believes Permethrin treated clothes and shoes are the safest and most effective way to prevent ticks along with tick checks several times a day. "Treating clothes with Permethrin or buying pre-treated clothes is a good idea if you're going to be in tick-infested areas," she suggested. If you're worried about chemical exposure, TERC has a permethrin exposure calculator that will quell your fears immediately in terms of how little absorption occurs with Permethrin-treated clothes. (For example, a 125 lb. adult wearing a treated shirt, pair of pants, and socks would have to wear 1,817 of those items all at once to reach the EPA's daily dermal No Observable Effect level!) You can spray your yard but few sprays and techniques have been found to be effective at tick reduction.
Savona Closed in Scarsdale
- Category: Bulletin Board
- Published on 25 June 2015
- Written by Joanne Wallenstein
Savona, a popular restaurant in downtown Scarsdale has closed its doors after almost three years in business. Chic and urban, the restaurant was a favorite with locals who drank at the bar, enjoyed the food and the vibe inside and also dined outside in warmer weather.
It was often difficult to get a table, so many are puzzled as to why the restaurant could not make a go of it in Scarsdale.
According to owner Evan Lambert, Thursday, Friday and Saturday nights were bustling but weeknights and lunchtimes were challenging. Without a full week of business, it was difficult to make the business profitable.
Lambert said, "It was a good restaurant with a good atmosphere, but we were simply not busy enough. We had quality chefs and staff and a good relationship with our guests but the weekend business was not enough to sustain us." He believes that in suburban communities like Scarsdale, many stay home on weeknights, making it difficult for local restaurants to do enough volume throughout the week.
Lambert said neither the rent nor the parking was a problem and he is thankful and grateful to his customers for their support. A Scarsdale resident himself, Lambert said "I love the people and the community."
Lambert owns another restaurant in Philadelphia that has been operating for 18 years. He's not sure of his own next steps but said another restaurant will open in Savona's place.
When one 10-year-old boy heard the news, he cried. He loved the spaghetti and ricotta meatballs.
Scarsdale Alternative School Graduation 2015
- Category: Village Voices
- Published on 25 June 2015
- Written by Carly Glickenhaus
On Friday June 19, the Scarsdale Alternative School celebrated the Class of 2015, its 42nd graduating class. The A-School is one of few academic institutions, high school or college,that personally recognizes each senior in its graduation ceremony. Howard Rodstein, the A-School Teacher-In-Charge, described the A-school community by observing, "Being human means that you can be smart and articulate but at the same time vulnerable and a tad insecure." Because the A-School is a tightly knit, democratic community, students are encouraged to step out of their comfort zones, a leap of faith that requires courage. Mr. Rodstein reminded his students that "vulnerability is complement to rather than opposite to strength." He addressed the seniors' anxieties about the uncertainty of the fall, when they will be thrust into the new environment of a college campus. With unequivocal reassurance, he promised the graduates they are prepared to face the challenges that lie ahead.
In the Alternative School, the real world is the textbook. Each January, students proactively seek out an internship, learning responsibility and independence. Thus, they are exposed to challenges in the workplace before most other high school students. The internship is one way teachers advance their students' confidence. While independence is valued in the A-School, there is also an emphasis on collaborative problem-solving and teamwork. Students, rather than teachers, often work in committees to organize A- School events like "Outing," which serves as orientation and bonding for the incoming class. Interested students are chosen at the end of freshman year, selected randomly by a lottery. Many freshmen are attracted to the prospect of being included in a small, close community. Students address teachers by their first names, a physical manifestation of the close friendship they often develop.
During the ceremony, Principal Ken Bonamo reminded the graduates that they come from a community that values education, civic engagement, and volunteerism. He urged them to share their gifts with the world, a challenging but worthwhile undertaking. Each student was personally addressed by their advisor, one of the four A-School teachers. Amanda Clark, a graduating senior and the Master of Ceremonies, introduced each advisor with an anecdote. She explained that only for her beloved math teacher, Sheilah Chason, would she find herself standing knee-deep in the brook, a murky bacterial soup, at 7:30 on a Monday morning to learn about derivatives through river flow. Ms. Chason then presented Sara Calderon, Marcus Halloway, Joey Katz, Zoe McDonald, and Michael Robins with their diplomas. She wittily described one of her students, Joey Katz, as an "increasing exponential function" because she witnessed a transformation in him from a reserved student to a leader unafraid to pose questions to the entire class. She is proud to have seen the questions posed by her sophomore students transform into profound conversations by the time they reached senior year.
Advisors noted the community service projects and extra-curriculars in which each student was involved and offered bits about their private lives that even fellow students may not have known. In recognizing the strengths of each student, advisors were able to make light of any weaknesses, effectively and eloquently turning them into strengths. They each stressed the students' commitments to their different circles in the community and the myriad interests of A-School students that sparked insightful conversations in Core Group and Community Meetings.
Jeanne Cooper celebrated this diversity. In a group setting, there naturally exist introverts and extroverts, detail-orientated learners and big-picture planners, bold speakers and students who process information quietly. Together, they create an eclectic, well-rounded group of learners. Everyone seems to have a place in the A-School; even those who do not speak regularly at meetings have other special roles, like heading committees and organizing socials. Ms. Cooper recognized Thomas Brady, Steven Brightman, Jordan Frankenthaler, Lauren Hartman, Mari Kawamura, and Carla Lionti. She commended Lauren Hartman for taking honors classes outside of the A-School, which is especially demanding. She added that Lauren chose challenging works for research papers and broached sensitive subjects. This ambition is contagious in the small learning environment, where students are well aware of their peers' endeavors.
Michael Robins and Jordan Frankenthaler were presented with the Tony Award, the highest A-School honor, for upholding the school's values of integrity and inclusiveness. Ms. Chason described Michael as a self-aware, honest, true friend who takes social risks in order to set an example. Jordan was honored for his outstanding character and ability to embrace opportunities. Ms. Cooper urged Jordan, an optimistic, insightful student, to keep dreaming of utopia.
Nelson DaSilva saw his first class of students graduate, as he is new to the A- School this year. Mr. DaSilva says his students are "as cool as ammonium chloride in water," which is a sincere compliment from a chemistry teacher. He recognized Jake Abrahams, Natalie Keith, Pedro Miranda, Nicole Root, Jason Miller and Delilah Chamlin. Mr. DaSilva shared that Delilah Chamlin had taken the initiative to get involved and accompany Jim Williams on a trip to Long Island to visit other Alternative Schools and explore the future of the institution. Mr. Dasilva found a special connection with Pedro Miranda because of their common Brazilian heritage and a love for the same soccer team. Their relationship is a testament to the A-School's success in fostering a close collaboration between students and teachers.
Jen Maxwell addressed Scott Ballan, Ali Farfel, Katie Frohman, Emerson Riback, India Stachyra, and Hannah Wolloch. She says Scott Ballan is not afraid to say what he thinks. His confidence and humor are contagious, sparking meaningful conversations among classmates. The A-School derives its youthful exuberance from such students. Ms. Maxwell noted Ali Farfel's penchant for following directions, an act that may be perceived as boring and un-rebellious, but is actually an art form, her own unique way of creating order from chaos.
This untraditional ceremony, where caps and gowns were nowhere to be seen, was an affirmation of the values of community and friendship. Judging by the graduates' smiles, these students really did win the lottery.
Text by Carly Glickenhaus, Photos by Rebecca Schwartz