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Not Just Another Arabian Night

alladinfinaleThe Greenacres Elementary School community took a ride on the magic carpet to Agrabhah where its students performed Aladdin Jr. on February 7th and 8th. The PTA-sponsored activity showcased the impressive theatrical and musical talents of first through fifth graders. Despite the loss of three (out of 10) rehearsals due to several snow days, the students persevered and put on four terrific shows. While the show's production is left in the professionals of KJK Productions, it takes several dedicated parents to insure that it all comes together in two short weeks. Gwynn Hurshman, whose role was play head, has been working on Greenacres plays for eight years. "Every year I marvel at how these young kids with virtually no experience on stage manage to put on a top notch performance after two short weeks of rehearsals. It is a joy to watch the process from auditions, rehearsals, dress rehearsals and finally the performances in front of a packed gym. It is also a testament to our community that our Greenacres alum return to volunteer for the show they so fondly remember from their days on the Greenacres stage."

This year's performance was also meaningful to Greenacres because one of the key members of the KJK team was Delilah Chamlin, who herself is an alumna of Greenacres. Text by Midori, Photo credits: David Karp and Soo Kye.

Alladin Brandon-Hadley-SKalladincaughtAladdin-Matthew Ingles Abu-Jordan Schwarz

Surprise meeting Genie

A-Schoolers Step Out into the Real World

LenaandHannahThis year, A-School students continued to prove there's lots of learning to do outside the classroom. Created in 1973, the internship program allows students to expand their knowledge of the outside world, take on responsibility, and get a perspective on the adult working world. The students may work in any type of environment they choose, from hospitals to big corporations to chocolate factories to elementary schools. Though the goal of the program is not to steer students in the direction of a future career, many do take the opportunity to follow their passions. Others use the experience as a way to learn more about fields in which they are interested

Throughout the month of January, all A-School classes are suspended to give kids time to attend their internships during the day. For every hour that students would normally be in class, an hour is added to the internship requirement. Kids who are lucky enough to have three to four A-School classes have those hours to fill, which allows some to venture into the city for work. Students with a lower number of classes, or a very complicated schedule, usually find jobs in Westchester. Still, with 11 hours or 25, internship turns out to be a very fulfilling learning experience for everyone involved.

At the beginning of the process, each student is assigned one of the five A-School teachers to be their mentor. The job of the mentors is essentially to keep the students on track, assign call-in days to discuss the experience, and carry out site visits to see what work the students have done. The mentors are also available for help and questions. "Venturing out into the real world is not an easy task, and it helps to know there is always someone you can go to for advice and guidance if things get confusing" explained Sara Calderon '16.

Although internship can be a fun and enjoyable experience, there are nerve-wracking and difficult parts of it as well. Sometimes students must learn to cooperate with scary bosses or are given assignments they fear they can't complete. Often times, working through these bumps in the road teaches professionalism and dedication, and makes for a richer experience.

"In the short month, it is incredible to think about all of the skills that I have developed," says one student. "Not only have I learned how to do my job, but I have also learned how to work and collaborate with people. Before January, it was hard for me to introduce myself, but now, after internship, I can comfortably start a conversation with pretty much anyone." The Internship program allows for students to step outside of their normal settings and comfort zones, which is why so many A-Schoolers learn valuable lessons about frohmanthe "real world" that can't be taught in a classroom.

Here are two students talking about their various experiences with their internships this year:

Katie Frohman: For my last internship I worked with the corporate events team at NBC Universal. I helped out with making Super Bowl hospitality playlists which was really fun. I also helped to make, transport, and organize gift bags for an event with the CEO of Comcast and the CEO of NBCUniversal held in the Rainbow Room. At this event, I met a handful of famous people which made the night really memorable and fun for me. Additionally, I did some grunt work such as inventory, filing, and cross-checking guest lists. Although the commute was long and cold, it was all very much worth it because it learned a lot and had a great time with a great group of people.

auchinclossEliza Auchincloss: This year I worked at Afya, an organization that sorts medical supplies and donates them to countries in need. I definitely learned time management skills as I would have to jump from school to internship to home to getting my homework done. I also learned how sometimes sitting at a desk all day can be a little tedious, and social interaction is very nice. I loved the fact that it was more independent because I was able to pick and choose the things I was working on and it made me feel more like an adult.

A School Director and English teacher Howard Rodstein says that, "Devoting a month of school to hands-on, real life experience says a lot about the core of an A-School education. Because students have to develop a contract in the fall, live by that contract in January, and then reflect on what they have learned both in their journal and their internship self-evaluation, the rodsteinexperience is more than a one month interruption of school; rather, it teaches that schooling is not bound by four walls and a strictly academic education. Internship promotes the best kind of thinking, and learning to use one's mind well is the simple (and very complex) goal of an A-School education. Learning to function independently and interdependently is the key to success beyond high school."

A-School history teacher Jen Maxwell says, "I think the internship experience is invaluable. It gives students an opportunity to explore their passions by choosing their own internship sites. Dealing with adult work in the "real world" helps students to build maturity and confidence. I love hearing kids talk about how during internship, they learned to become more comfortable making phone calls, or navigating the city, or speaking with adults, or advocating for themselves. I also like to visit the students on-site. A kid who may be quiet or lack confidence in my history class, may be outgoing, dynamic and highly successful in an internship setting, even in a place that I find intimidating, like a high-end fashion design studio. This experience helps me to get to know students better, and often helps the kids to be more comfortable and successful when they return to the classroom in February."

Spelling Bee Fills the Hive

TrustBeesOn Friday January 23 nearly sixty of Scarsdale's most competitive spellers took to the stage at the Fifth Annual Friends of Scarsdale Library Adult and Teen Spelling Bee. The high school auditorium was a'buzz with excitement as a crowd of 350 gathered to cheer on families, friends and neighbors.

Ed Coleman, the voice of the New York Mets and emcee of the event, announced edColemaneach spelling word along with its meaning. Then he used the word in a sentence. The three members of each team were allowed to confer among themselves and were then required to write their team's answer on a board for the judges to evaluate. The adults, teens and children in the audience were given pen and paper with which to test their own spelling prowess along with the twenty competing teams.

Spelling words in the first rounds included "knack", "ragout", "stationery" and "macerate". As the contest continued, the words became increasingly challenging. By the end of the first round, The Library Trustbees advanced by correctly spelling "axil" (think botany). The Presbeeterians moved up with "ferrule"(a fastener). "Fuchsia" (the color and plant) took the New Bees to the next level and the Let it Bee team made it to the Championship Round with "fennec" (a small, desert fox.)

beeGirlsDuring breaks between rounds Spelling Bee hosts wandered the aisles with microphones, proffering trivia questions and choosing among waving hands of all ages.

"Whose faces are on Mount Rushmore?"

"What does each character seek from the Wizard of Oz?"

"Who can name the next number in the following Fibonacci series: 0,1,1,2,3,5,8,13,21,34,__?" (*see below for the answer)

Correct answers were rewarded with "Book Bucks," redeemable at the September, 2015 library book sale.

By the championship round twenty teams were winnowed down to four. As the difficulty level of the words rose, so did the complexity of the rules. For this round each team was required to send only one of its members to the microphone, and that member was required to orally spell the word within 30 seconds.

A hush fell over the audience as the as the emcee clearly articulated the first word... "melee." The speller left the team's table, walked alone to the microphone at the front of the stage and spelled, "M" "E" "L" "E" "E."
"That is correct!" the judges ruled, to cheering and clapping.

judgesJudging the spelling bee were NY State Assemblywoman Amy Paulin, Library Director Beth Bermel, and Margaret Smith, a member of the Spelling Bee Committee.

The next two teams made it through with correct spellings of "knout" and "crèche." But "roux" knocked out the Let it Bee (Maura Dooley and Ben Moseley), leaving three teams in the running.

The next series of queries included "karaoke," "croissant," "masseuse," "renaissance," "repertoire," and finally "bouillon," which eliminated the Presbeeterians (Heather Gilchriest Meili, Stephan Meili and Katharine Miao.)

With only two teams remaining, the crowd was sitting on the edge of their seats. The New Bees team included Simon Landless, Judy McEvoy and Kevin McEvoy. The Library Trustbees boasted a heavy hitting lineup, with Scarsdale Library Board President Michelle Lichtenberg and two two-time Bee winners, Barbara Josselsohn and Terri Simon who is the Vice President of the Scarsdale Library Board.

They all were prepared to spell and spell they did.

"Cenotaph...ennui...guillotine...hemorrhage...inveigle...métier." Each spelled the words flawlessly.

Ed Coleman's professional voice resonated with the next word for the New Bees. Simon Landless confidently walked to the mike and spelled it. "M" "Y" "R" "R" "H." "Incorrect," came the ruling from judges' table. The crowd gasped. All eyes in the audience looked upward. The correct spelling of each word was projected on a screen over the stage such that the audience could see the word, but the contestants could not. On the screen was printed, "Myrrhh." The judges read that spelling out loud. Simon graciously said that he was sure that the word was spelled otherwise, as he had stated, "M" "Y" "R" "R" "H." The judges agreed to double check and went into a flurry of typing onto a laptop. Everyone looked around, waiting for the answer, but nothing was forthcoming. "There is no wifi in here" one man reminded everyone. "Someone should take their phone outside", suggested another viewer. After several suspenseful minutes a boy came running down the aisle to the judges with a cellphone presumably showing the correct spelling of the word. The judges looked at the screen, acknowledged their error, and reinstated the New Bees to clapping from the crowd.

The words kept coming and the spellers kept spelling. "wildebeest...zeitgeist... pirouette...omniscience." West Wing fans may have had a leg up in the spelling "shibboleth."

In Round Ten the New Bees were asked to spell "apotropaic," (designed to ward off evil) and after a heroic run, finally foundered. The suspense continued, however, because in order to win, the Library Trustbees still had to spell their word correctly. Ed announced the word, "baccalaureate." A hush came over the crowd as Terri Simon walked up to the mike... and spelled the word perfectly. Cheers and applause erupted! The Library Trustbees had won the Bee.

tabeesAll teams are to be congratulated on stepping up to the plate for a multigenerational community event that celebrates reading. The three hometown education experts comprising the Newbees for Ee team took the biggest risk and likely brought in the most fans. Dr. Thomas Hagerman, Scarsdale's new Superintendent, Mr. David Wixted, Scarsdale Teachers Association President, and Mr. Chris Morin, Board of Education Trustee filled this roster. (For those who are curious, the Newbees for Ee were eliminated when they misspelled the word "colloquy.") Proceeds of this very successful Bee will be used to fund a high-level speaker series at the Scarsdale Library.

Kudos to the Co-Chairs Renu Lalwani and Carolyn Mehta and the entire Spelling Bee Committee who provided a fun, festive and educational evening for all. Carolyn Mehta shared her idea for a new motto for Scarsdale, "Come for the schools, stay for the library!" She also divulged that, "no words were underinflated for the Bee", referring to the recent football scandal.beesharps

(*The answer to the Fibonacci question is 55)

Announcing the Winners of the Snowman Contest

SnowSchwartz1Over 30 contestants vied for prizes in the snowman contest run by the Scarsdale Recreation Department in the wake of Winter Storm Juno. Entrants built their snow sculptures and then posed for photos with their creations. The work was judged by the Recreation Department with prizes supplied by Imagine Candy in Scarsdale.

The Grand Prize went to the Schwartz Family for the "Best Overall" snow creation. Here are the winners:








Edgemont Runaway: What Can We Learn?

teentalkLocal parents and teens were alarmed to learn that an Edgemont girl had run away just after New Year's. It was a terribly frightening incident for kids and parents and the community breathed a collective sigh of relief when the girl was found safe and sound in Manhattan after 9 days at large.

Though the particulars of her circumstances are confidential, what can families learn from this? What's the right balance between giving your children freedom to roam and imposing rules and boundaries to ensure their safety and your peace of mind? These questions have perplexed parents of teens for years – and though there are no concrete answers, here's some information to consider.

We spoke to Jay Genova at Scarsdale and Edgemont Family Counseling Service. In addition to acting as a referral center for families who need help, SFCS runs 65 parent support groups and Genova assured me that issues surrounding independence and boundaries are pretty much the crux of many parenting discussions. Though situations vary, it all comes down to the struggle to maintain discipline while allowing teens the freedom they need to grow into responsible adults.

So how to maintain a bond with your child? Genova stressed the importance of staying as connected as possible with your teenage child. He contends that teenagers face lots of risks and the best way to protect them from getting into trouble is to help them to build strong bonds with parents, the school and the community.

According to Genova, the conundrum for teenagers is that they have simultaneous needs for independence and autonomy along with the need for limits and boundaries to protect them. It's up to parents to try to negotiate between these conflicting forces.

If you feel your child growing distant from you, Genova suggests that you JayGenovaexperiment with new and innovative ways to relate and connect. Plan to do something together that you both enjoy -- cooking, seeing a movie or trying a new restaurant. If conversations spiral into fights, try to re-establish rapport by avoiding hot topics and starting with safer or benign comments. Try to engage by talking about issues that don't stir up a fight.

And if you do disagree, Genova counsels parents to listen to their children and seek to understand their point of view. Maybe they have information you have not considered. Engage, hear what they say and validate their point of view, even if you don't agree. Genova says that kids are often frustrated because they feel their voices are not heard.

He also urged parents not to give up. If the conversation is going nowhere, table it until another day. Some issues may take several tries to sort out, so he recommends that if things get heated you back off and revisit the issue at another time. Stay connected by continuing the dialogue.

If you have reached an impasse and are fearful your child is at risk, there are many resources at your disposal. Call the school psychologist or peer counselor at your child's school, a mental health professional, speak to your clergy or consult Scarsdale and Edgemont Family Counseling Service at (914) 723-3281.