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A Wonderful World Celebration

The Scarsdale School District celebrated its 225th birthday with a glorious international fair at the high school on Sunday April 25th. A rich display of the diversity of Scarsdale, the fair included representatives from 32 countries who came together to display the costumes, cuisines and customs of their native lands. The fair was the culmination of five years of work by the Interdependence Institute and the Multi-Cultural Committees of the PTA’s.

Unhampered by rainy weather, the fair opened with a parade of nations. A weaving Chinese dragon, bagpipers, and drummers lead a long line of residents adorned in colorful, traditional dress.

Assistant School Superintendant Dr. Joan Weber, who leads the Interdependence Institute greeted a full auditorium and kicked off the cultural celebration. The day was designed to allow the community to experience international cultures and to teach children what it means to live in an interdependent world. She thanked International Fair Co-Chairs Kathy Laurie and Misao Johnson as well as Assistant Principal Sue Peppers and all the volunteers for their work. Dr. McGill gave a warm welcome to the collective celebration, saying we are “all greater than anyone alone.” Quoting Louis Armstrong, McGill said “It’s a Wonderful World” and invited everyone to enjoy the performances, activities, exhibits and food at the international booths.

The SHS Wind Ensemble played the theme from Raiders of the Lost Ark and Co-Chairs of the 225th Celebration Committee, Florie Wachtenheim and Rita Golden took the stage to lead the singing of Happy Birthday to the Scarsdale Schools, which were founded in 1784. The Monticelli Cello Trio played followed by a series of performances including a Broom Dance from Papua New Guinea. A Tae Kwon Do demonstration from Korea, dances from France and India and much more.

The hallway and the cafeteria were lined with booths from many nations where participants could taste delicious treats, engage in activities and learn more about international cultures. At the India booth, women were adorned in bridal dress and girls could have a bindi placed on their forehead as well as have their hands painted with henna. At the China exhibit, an artist painted with a bamboo brush and students could play the Chinese Harp. Japanese neighbors installed an entire Japanese tea booth with shoji screens and tatami mats and women dressed in kimonos performed the ritual tea ceremony. At the Israel table, children made name cards with their Hebrew names. Collage artist Michael Albert was on hand and attendees could make collages of their own, using images from boxes, magazines and packaging.

At almost every booth there were delicious taste treats including Turkish delight, French crepes, TimTam cookies from Australia and Indian snacks.

Representatives from Brazil shared their recipe for Brigadeiro:

1 can (14 oz) of sweetened condensed milk
3 tablespoons of chocolate milk powder (Nestle Quick works well)
1 tablespoon of unsalted butter
Chocolate sprinkles

-Combine the first three ingredients in a pot and stir constantly over medium heat until mixture thickens (about 6 minutes).
-Transfer it to a plate and let it cool completely.
-Butter your hands slightly and take small amounts of the mixture with a teaspoon into the palm of your hand.
-Make little balls and roll them in chocolate sprinkles.
-Put them in small paper cups.
Makes about 40
Tip: Keep them in room temperature.

There was widespread participation from the community, both as exhibitors and as attendees. The day highlighted the diversity of Scarsdale and provided an opportunity for international families to share their heritage with neighborhood friends. It was an impressive undertaking filled with many delights. If you were not able to attend, catch some of the fair on Channel 77.

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Elementary Schools Locked Down

Heathcote, Quaker Ridge and Edgewood elementary school were briefly placed under a lockdown on Thursday morning 4-22 at the request of the Scarsdale and Westchester County Police departments. An individual dressed in camouflage clothing and a heavy vest was sighted in New Rochelle heading north on Wilmot Road towards Scarsdale and the District was notified at 11:05 to place those three schools under a precautionary lockdown. Children were brought inside and doors locked. A Scarsdale Police officer was immediately dispatched to each building.

At 11:35, the police notified the district that the lockdown request was lifted, although a police presence is being maintained at the three schools until the end of the school day.

All is well and the principals at each building have been talking to staff and students as appropriate. If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to call your building principal.

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Retirements Announced at Scarsdale High School

Seven retiring members of the faculty of Scarsdale High School were honored at the Scarsdale Board of Education meeting on Monday night April 19th. Together the seven have given 218 years of service to SHS and all have made significant contributions to the school and the students. Among those retiring were a Dean, the Math and Science Department Chairs, as well as members of the English, Science, and Technology departments.

Lead technology teacher Barbara Bierbauer has been with the district since 1981. She has led the district through the installation of new technologies and according to Assistant Principal Kelly Hamm, “She dragged the faculty into the 21st century.” She was credited for being readily available, willing, and never saying no. She took on an array of difficult tasks such as creating the Senior Options sign-up process, helping the Maroon staff to design the school paper and assisting the College and Career Center. Joan Weber called her talented, knowledgeable and an exemplary member of the faculty.

Biology Teacher Art Bloom has taught two generations of Scarsdalians, and has now instructed the children of at least ten of his students. A constant learner and educator with a true passion for science, Bloom has inspired many to go on to careers in science and medicine. About Bloom, one student said, “ He is the perfect biology teacher—when he was excited, so were we.” Another credited Bloom with “making the hardest subject the most interesting and fun.”

Chairman of the Mathematics Department Carol Desoe joined the Scarsdale schools in 1973 and has served as department chair for the last eight years. Praised for her remarkable clarity and quick, calculating mind Principal John Klemme said she furthered the careers of the teachers in the department and maintained high standards of excellence. PTA President Julie Hoofnagle said that Desoe connects easily with students and applied math to real world situations.

Bella Jacobson has led the Science Department for 23 years and championed the Science Research Program, which allows Scarsdale High School students to do original scientific research and work in area laboratories. Called a “superb teacher who embodies all things we seek in a teacher,” she was lauded for her care and precision. Principal John Klemme called Jacobson a consummate people person and confidante who was a sounding board and offered good advice. Saying that we have “all been blessed” by working with Ms. Jacobson, he told her that she has left her mark on SHS. Quoting a student, Julie Hoofnagle said that Ms. Jacobson “created an atmosphere of spark and vigor.”

Dean Linda Mandlawitz will also be missed. She has counseled hundreds of students, and in the words of Fred Goldberg, she shared herself, her compassion and her high ethical standards. He called Mandlawitz a wonderful friend and colleague, a distinguished counselor and a good friend. Parents and students said that Mandlawitz cares deeply, is compassionate, approachable and gives spot-on advice. In the words of one parent, “I will always be grateful to Dean Mandlawitz for her consummate professionalism and encouragement.”

Science Teacher Steven Sepe has been at SHS for over 20 years, teaching Chemistry, Physics and Earth Science. He served as a mentor for new teachers and designed a rigorous curriculum for Earth Science classes. He connects easily with students, has a straight-forward teaching style and encourages students to develop as individuals. Funny, brilliant, sweet and friendly, Sepe battled medical issues and continued to teach this past year.

English teacher Diane Wrobleski came to SHS on a part-time assignment in 1980 and has been here for 30 years. An outstanding educator, she has taught all grade levels and abilities. As a reading specialist she championed students with special needs but also taught AP and AT courses where she has honed the writing skills of her students. Mr. Klemme praised her mentoring, organizational skills and work ethic and said she has won the respect of all who know her. She teaches her students to fully experience the classics, and one grateful student said, that after her course no one ever “reads a book the same way.”

In the words of Assistant Superintendent Dr. Joan Weber, these faculty members have provided an exemplary education for our students and made Scarsdale great.

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Harrison to Challenge SBNC Candidate in School Board Run

Self-appointed citizen’s advocate Bob Harrison has filed to run for the Scarsdale School Board. Armed with a petition signed by 67 residents, Harrison appeared at the Board of Education today, April 20, to announce his candidacy. Harrison will challenge Suzanne Seiden, one of the candidates proposed by the School Board Nominating Committee.

According to Board of Election rules, Harrison was required to run for a specific seat, rather than appear as a fifth candidate on the ballot. In this year’s election, there are four seats to be filled on the School Board. Jeff Blatt, who has served two terms will be leaving the Board. Suzanne Seiden was nominated by the School Board Nominating Committee to fill Blatt’s seat and she will now run against Bob Harrison. The two drew for their ballot placement, and Seiden’s name will appear on top.

Current Board member Joel Gurin served one two-year term but is unable to continue for a second term due to professional responsibilities. Lewis J. Leone Jr. has been nominated by the SBNC to fill that seat. Jill Spieler and Elizabeth Guggenheimer have each served one term and they have both been nominated to serve a second term.

It is highly unusual for candidates to go outside the process and nominate themselves for a position on the Scarsdale School Board. The current district clerk has been with the district since 1984 and knows of no candidates who have run in the election without a nomination from the School Board Nominating Committee. Member of the SBNC are elected by residents to select candidates for the School Board.

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Young Writers Meet at Seely Place

Almost 85 aspiring writers attended the annual Young Writer's Workshop at Seely Place Elementary School on the evening of Friday, April 16. The students in grade four, five and six go to Seely and Greenville Schools and signed up for courses in writing books or songs, character development, drawing comics and illustrations, creating ads, drafting legal arguements, running a websites and much, much more. 

Among the speakers were Angelo DeCesare, of Archie Comics and musician and recording artist Peter Spink.  Students chose two courses from the list of offerings and got a view of what it might be like to apply their creativity at work.

According to Albert Kwon, "it was an interesting night."

The event was hosted by the Edgemont PTA, lead by Audrey Arnold, Betsy Cadel and Haryn Intner and was free to attend.

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