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2nd Annual STEAM Day Planned for November 19 at SMS

STEAMDAYWhat do science, technology, engineering, art and math have in common? Find out at the second annual Scarsdale STEAM Day!

STEAM Day 2016 is scheduled for November 19th, from 11am-3pm at the Scarsdale Middle School. This year's format has expanded to include a large Makerspace, Discovery Tables, Workshops, and exhibits of student, parent, and faculty work. Geneticists, mathematicians, physicists, engineers, teachers and artists, to name a few, will present a broad range of topics from coding and structural engineering, to mind-controlled helicopters and magnetic levitation cars. Scarsdale students, parents, faculty, staff and community members are invited to attend. Workshops for 4th through 8th graders will run throughout the day. Registration for these workshops is recommended and will begin soon; a limited number of walk-in spots will be available for some workshops on the day of the event. Visitors of all ages are welcome to check out the exhibits, explore the Discovery Tables and Makerspace at their own pace, create a miniature RFID-equipped car to race at Nerdy Derby, or attend a show featuring the physics of bubbles.

STEAM Day 2016 is made possible in part by a generous grant from the Scarsdale Schools Education Foundation and the support of District administrators, faculty and staff, parents, students and vendors. PT Council STEAM Day Committee also wishes to gratefully acknowledge the Scarsdale Schools Education Foundation for its sponsorship of Nerdy Derby at the event. PT Council STEAM Day committee co-chairs Kathleen Campbell and Seema Jaggi are organizing and overseeing the event with the assistance of a strong and committed core of parent volunteers.

Last year's inaugural STEAM Day provided workshops for 275 students in grades 4 to 6. It sold out quickly and was a huge success. Identifying the need to expand the event's offerings and broaden its reach, Campbell and Jaggi began planning last spring. They traveled to other STEAM events in the metro area to gather additional ideas, deciding to unite some of the activities they saw there with last year's workshop format. They are especially excited to offer a wide variety of STEAM activities to a larger audience by opening this event up to families.

The entire PT Council STEAM Day Committee hopes that Scarsdale students, parents, faculty, staff and the larger community will enjoy the fun, educational and inspiring activities, workshops and exhibits at Scarsdale STEAM Day 2016.

What Goes On Inside the College Admissions Office

collegeaheadWhat really happens behind the closed doors of the Admissions Office? On Wednesday, October 19, 2016 from 7:30-9:00 p.m. at the JCC of Mid-Westchester, 999 Wilmot Road, Scarsdale, the deans and directors of a number of top colleges and universities will open those doors and dispel the myths about what it takes to get into college. This is the ninth year in a row this program is being presented.

The free community-wide event – "Inside the Admissions Office" -- is sponsored by the JCC of Mid-.Westchester and Woolf College Consulting. Students and parents will hear the real story behind how decisions are made from the deans and directors of Bucknell University, Dickinson College, Oberlin College, Swarthmore College, Syracuse University, University of Chicago and University of Richmond. The evening will give the public the opportunity to learn the differences and similarities in how decisions are made by selective universities and liberal arts colleges. Advance registration is required at www.jccmw.org.

Moderated by Mamaroneck-based college admissions consultant Betsy F. Woolf of Woolf College Consulting, students and parents will learn:

  • What makes a student's application "stand out";
  • How an admissions staff makes the ultimate decision to admit, deny or defer;
  • How colleges weigh grades, test scores, family connections, athletics, campus visits, interviews, essays and other factors;
  • The institutional needs and policies behind the decision-making;
  • The difference between a well-rounded student and a well-rounded class – and why that is important in college admissions;
  • Whether declaring certain majors gives students a leg up in the admissions process;
  • How admissions committees treat the application of a student who discloses his or her learning difference or ADHD.

The JCC of MidWestchester is located at 999 Wilmot Road in Scarsdale. Register for the event here:

STEP Gala Celebrates 50 Years of Success

cfd0cb 8759801ca8694772958703bab3f54249Scarsdale STEP will celebrate its 50th anniversary on Saturday, November 12, 2016 at the Scarsdale Women's Club from 6-8 pm. The cocktail party will honor Rashid Silvera, the esteemed Psychology and Race and Ethnicity teacher, who has been an educator at Scarsdale High School since 1981. Eric Rothschild, the founder of STEP, village historian and retired SHS teacher of longstanding was honored at the 45th anniversary gala.

The Scarsdale Student Transfer Education Plan (STEP) is an independent community program that identifies promising students of color and enables them to attend Scarsdale High School for their junior and senior years. The program offers qualified students access to Scarsdale High School's strong college preparatory program and extensive extracurricular activities, as well as the cultural and recreational resources of the New York metropolitan area. While in Scarsdale, each visiting student lives with a host family and is encouraged to become an integral part of the Scarsdale community. By offering students exposure to a different and challenging environment, STEP prepares them to take positions of leadership and responsibility in a multi-cultural society.

Scarsdale's STEP program was founded in 1966. Its original goal was to share the educational opportunities at Scarsdale High School with students from segregated Southern schools of limited resources. Since that time, STEP has expanded its recruitment base to include students of color from areas throughout the United States. Many former STEP students have continued their education at the graduate level, pursuing law, medical, and business and Ph.D. degrees.

The community is invited to meet the current STEP student, honor Rashid and join this celebration. Tickets may be acquired or donations made by visiting scarsdalestep.org/step50.

New STEP Student Zaria Cash and Host Family Each Embrace New Experiences

zariaJunior year is a daunting one for any Scarsdale student. Just when academic rigor and extracurricular commitments are peaking, the college application process -- campus visits, standardized testing -- begins in earnest.

So just imagine junior year for a student both new to the high school and over 1,000 miles removed from family and friends? What sort of 16-year old student would even think to challenge herself on so many levels at once?

Meet Zaria Cash, an exceptionally intrepid and determined student from Memphis, Tennessee, who joins Scarsdale High School's Class of 2018 as the latest in a long line of remarkable Scarsdale STEP students.

The Scarsdale Student Transfer Education Plan (STEP) is an independent community program that identifies promising students of color and enables them to attend Scarsdale High School for their junior and senior years. The program offers qualified students access to Scarsdale High School's strong college preparatory program and extensive extracurricular activities, as well as the cultural and recreational resources of the New York metropolitan area. By offering students exposure to a different and challenging environment, STEP prepares them to take positions of leadership and responsibility in a multi-cultural society

Zaria Cash comes to Scarsdale with a track record of embracing new experiences and seeking challenges. She was an honors student at KIPP Memphis Collegiate High and a member of the school's cheerleading squad. In her freshman year she competed in the greater Memphis Science Olympiad and won 4th place as the only 9th grader on teams of juniors and seniors. The summer after her sophomore year, the Eleanor Roosevelt Foundation selected her to participate in their Girls' Leadership Worldwide program in New York City, which Zaria considers a life-changing experience. She spent part of this past summer in Minnesota attending Carleton College's Liberal Arts Experience program.

When asked how she came to apply to the Scarsdale STEP program, Zaria replied, "Well, my college advisor, Mrs. Weber, recommended STEP to me. At first I didn't like the thought of being away from home; but, as I kept asking about the program, I realized that this was an amazing opportunity to better my education and succeed in life."

Scarsdale STEP could not provide such an opportunity to Zaria, or to the other STEP students before her, without also being able to offer a strong system of social and emotional support. Most crucial is finding a Scarsdale family willing to provide the student with a nurturing and supportive environment -- that is, a home away from home. Host parents not only supervise and take responsibility for students but also offer moral support, reassurance and advice in solving problems. STEP students typically become integral members of the host family and often maintain close ties with them well beyond their high school graduation.

STEP's 2016 graduate, DonTavius Holmes, also of Memphis, lived with Bettina and Michael Klein and their children. DonTavius now attends Oxford College at Emory University under full scholarship.

In stepping up to play this pivotal role in Zaria Cash's life, the Greenwald family has shown that they, too, welcome new experiences with a warm embrace. Diane and Marc Greenwald and their two sons, Jay and Eli, are hosting Scarsdale's newest STEP scholar for the next two years.

As Diane Greenwald explained, "Neither Marc nor I had ever been involved with STEP, but last spring, I saw the notice in the Inquirer that STEP had selected Zaria and was seeking a host family. Something about her just caught my attention. We talked to the STEP board members and learned how much support the board and community would provide. Then we talked to our sons, and really it was their unhesitating enthusiasm to share our home that clinched our commitment."

samwickThe success of each STEP student further depends on a consistently strong network of personal support and access to resources from the fifty-plus member STEP organization, as well as the broader Scarsdale community. Scarsdale High School also offers a structure of support in the form of a new student group run by Dean Nancy Thompson and Youth Outreach Worker, Lauren Pomerantz. In addition, the student-run STEP Club organizes fundraisers and social events.

Just a few weeks after her arrival in Scarsdale, on September 14th, STEP hosted a potluck dinner to welcome Zaria, along with its first board meeting of the 2016-17 year.

Zaria reported on her academic courses, and was especially enthusiastic about the prospect of conducting experiments in Psychology and developing public speaking skills in Acting class. Zaria has already joined the Junior Varsity cheerleading squad and is also interested in trying out for one of the school's a cappella groups.

Asked to reflect on her adjustment so far to life in Scarsdale, Zaria remained both focused on the positive, as well as candid. "I believe that everything is going well. Everyone is so nice and welcoming that I am kind of distracted from not being close to my family and friends. Although I do miss the little things sometimes...."

It will no doubt take time for this new STEP student to build new relationships and to feel she is part of the Scarsdale community, but already her open and straightforward demeanor and positive attitude have helped to ease her transition. As host parent Diane Greenwald puts it, "Zaria has made it easy for us to welcome her, as she approaches everything she does with a ready smile. She is a brave and positive young woman. In this very short time, Zaria has impressed us all with her enthusiasm, determination and maturity. It has only been a few weeks, but I anticipate we will learn much from her, and I hope she from us."

2016 marks STEP's 50th year and a community-wide celebration will take place to commemorate this milestone on Saturday, November 12th at the Scarsdale Woman's Club. It was former Scarsdale Social Studies teacher Eric Rothschild who first established the Student Transfer Education Program in Scarsdale in 1966 and the guest of honor for the anniversary celebration will be Rashid Silvera, another venerated Scarsdale High School Social Studies teacher who has also been a true friend of STEP. Those interested in learning more about STEP, attending the 50th celebration, donating funds or services, or becoming a host family, should contact STEP at info@scarsdalestep.org, or visit its website, www.scarsdalestep.org.

Author Mary Beth Evans is a member of the STEP Board.

National Merit Names Local Semifinalists

nationalmerit-logo122Eleven students in Edgemont and 26 in Scarsdale were among the 16,000 semifinalists named by the National Merit Scholarship Corporation (NMSC) in the 62nd annual 2017 National Merit Scholarship Program. These high school seniors have an opportunity to continue in the competition for some 7,500 National Merit Scholarships worth about $33 million that will be offered next spring. To be considered for a Merit Scholarship® award, semifinalists must fulfill several requirements to advance to the Finalist level of the competition. About 90 percent of the semifinalists are expected to attain Finalist standing, and about half of the Finalists will win a National Merit Scholarship, earning the Merit Scholar® title.

About 1.6 million juniors in more than 22,000 high schools entered the 2017 National Merit Scholarship Program by taking the 2015 Preliminary SAT/National Merit Scholarship Qualifying Test (PSAT/NMSQT®), which served as an initial screen of program entrants. The nationwide pool of semifinalists, representing less than one percent of U.S. high school seniors, includes the highest- scoring entrants in each state. The number of semifinalists in a state is proportional to the state's percentage of the national total of graduating seniors.

To become a finalist, the semifinalist and his or her high school must submit a detailed scholarship application, in which they provide information about the semifinalist's academic record, participation in school and community activities, demonstrated leadership abilities, employment, and honors and awards received. A semifinalist must have an outstanding academic record through- out high school, be endorsed and recommended by a high school official, write an essay, and earn SAT® scores that confirm the student's earlier performance on the qualifying test.

From the approximately 16,000 semifinalists, about 15,000 are expected to advance
to the finalist level, and in February they will be notified of this designation. All National Merit Scholarship winners will be selected from this group of finalists. Merit Scholar designees are selected on the basis of their skills, accomplishments, and potential for success in rigorous college studies, without regard to gender, race, ethnic origin, or religious preference.

Here are the names of the semifinalists from Edgemont and Scarsdale High Schools:

Edgemont High School:

Barnwal, Anshul
Brandfonbrener, James A.
Gupta, Nikita
Kim, Michelle
Lu, Alexander T.
Parsi, Pranav
Reyes Gomez, Federico J.
Saha, Mitul
Salsberg, Avery
Stern, Kasey
Wexler, Jocelyn H.

Scarsdale High School:

Arora, Srishti
Blatt, Louisa E.
Boxer, Miles
Brody, Tyler L.
Chang, Vincent
Clapp, Laura L.
Ewing, Zoe L.
Gao, Cindy D.
Gillespie, Claire M.
Kapner, Zachary
Kaspers, Thatcher A.
Kaufman, Caroline
Kelson, Caroline M.
Kourakos, Michael H.
Landau, Michael S.
Levin, Andrew M.
Li, Dexin
Ng, Julia E.
Rastogi, Keshav M.
Rothberg, Samantha
Singer, Lauren H.
Suzman, Chloe H.
Weinbaum, Seth P.
Yaseen, Grant D.
Zhang, Yunmo
Zipursky, Gillian

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