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Junior Olympics 9For high school juniors, there's nothing better than pretending to be back in elementary school. All week juniors anxiously waited for the announcement that Junior Olympics would be today. The suspenseful day is kept a surprise by the administration, however, team captains, shirts, and activities are planned in advanced. The uncertainty of the day makes it that more exciting for juniors. When the announcement was made over the loudspeaker, on Thursday, May 24, juniors cheered through the hallways and frantically got decked out in their elementary school’s colors.

Junior Olympics is a high school tradition when each year juniors participate in a field day, with teams formed based on elementary schools. All year juniors look forward to this day, and see it as a chance to reunite with their elementary school friends and reminisce about their childhood.

Thursday’s beautiful weather brightened the day’s events which included activities indoors and out. Each team participated in kickball, dodgeball, capture the flag, trivia, and name that song to earn points for their teams. At the end of the games, everyone gathered in front of the school for a game of tug-of-war. The day ended with a pie-eating contest.

In preparation for the day, the grade elected four captains from each elementary school to lead each team in the different activities and help prepare by customizing the shirts for each elementary school. Also, the captains had the honor of representing their schools in the pie eating contest.

The best part of the day, according to juniors, was reconnecting with everyone from elementary school. “It was a ton of fun being back with people you haven’t seen since elementary school because all of the memories and songs come rushing back and it’s like a big reunion of everyone’s first friends.” said junior Brooke Bensche. “At such a stressful point in the year, it was nice to regroup with people you may have not seen in a while and pick up where you left off. It was just like being back in elementary school again,” she added.

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The games were extremely competitive. “It was especially fun to compete against friends from other schools,” said Brooke. Greenacres faced off against Quaker Ridge, and Edgewood against Fox Meadow in an intense game of capture the flag.

After all the activities concluded, the points were totalled, and it was announced that the Quaker Ridge team won. Even for the teams that did not win, the day gave everyone a chance to get together, shake off the stress of junior year and act like kids again … if only for a few hours.

Screen Shot 2018 05 22 at 12.57.08 PMThe Nine PanelistsCollege Admission: the Myth, the Hype, and the Reality, presented by the SHS Guidance Department on May 10th, gave parents an informative (and surprisingly entertaining) look into the college process. Nine admissions officers from a diverse list of schools were invited to participate in a panel designed for parents and their juniors at SHS. First, admissions officers from each college gave a brief introduction to their schools to pique the interest of students and parents.

Ann Fleming Brown of Union College kicked off, emphasizing Union’s appeal as a small liberal arts college with a wealth of research opportunities. Robert Pertusati of Stony Brook noted that this SUNY school is more economical and also provides students with many research opportunities. Columbia reinforced the strong core curriculum that dictates the student experience. Texas Christian Dean Heath Einstein emphasized the school’s spirit and eight diverse colleges. Lynn Holcomb of Colgate University warned not to let the title of “university” fool you; the school is almost entirely undergraduates. Christian Pritula of Washington University in St. Louis believes the university creates an environment to encourage and support an ethos of wide-ranging exploration. The representative from George Washington focused on its belief in social justice issues, and highlighted its international connections as an establishment inside of Washington DC. Adelphi representative Kristen Capezza focused on Adelphi’s ability to create a personalized education for each of its students. The University of Georgia has a focus in experiential learning and accelerated degrees.

After introductions, the session broke out into two separate Q and A’s, with half of the parents going to the cafeteria, and the other half remaining in the auditorium. Before taking questions from the audience, each admissions officer debunked a myth about the process. One myth was quotas on the amount of students taken from certain school districts/geographical areas, and the notion that going to a different high school increases the chances of getting into a certain college. They also emphasized the holistic nature of the process, and the importance of building relationships with the college admissions staff.

The panelists were thrown a curveball from the get-go by the questions asked from the audience. One distraught parent asked what to do if his child doesn’t have A’s but has a decent standardized test score. The rep from the University of Georgia said there’s a college for everyone, and the rep from Adelphi added that only a few of the top schools have single digit admissions rates, and that its most important to find the right school profile for that student’s achievement. The Adelphi rep said that having an upward trend in grades may also help, and it might not be the worst idea to get a letter of recommendation from a teacher in a subject the student struggles in, as the teacher can advocate for the effort that student puts in.

The second question of the night regarded course rigor, and if a grade of B or C in a higher level class looks better than an A in a regular class. The Colgate rep encouraged students to take risks and said, “You might get a C once in a while”. The Texas Christian rep recommended that students take “appropriately challenging” classes.

The next question regarded the myths and realities surrounding standardized testing. The Adelphi rep recommended taking the test twice, as many colleges superscore, meaning they consider the highest subscores for each section. Adelphi and University Georgia place an approximately 1/3 weight on standardized testing, and 2/3 weight on GPA and course rigor. The Texas Christian rep perhaps said it best: “test scores are not as important as you think but more important than we’ll tell you.” He indicated that one or two points off on the average ACT score for a given school won’t necessarily make or break an applicant, but any more more will decrease the student’s chances of admission.

A parent also asked about the true meaning behind “recommended” SAT subject tests, and if recommended really meant required or optional. The Adelphi rep interpreted “recommended” as giving a student an edge if they do submit the score, but indicated that not submitting would not necessarily hurt the student. The Columbia rep advised students to send in their good scores, as additional information will help the admissions office gauge who a student is, but warned against sending in scores that would reflect poorly on a student.

On demonstrated interest in a specific school, reps from University of George and Columbia admitted it is not a factor in their admissions decisions. Adelphi does consider it a factor for admissions and when comparing two nearly identical students, the one who has engaged with the school either through visiting or clicking on emails will more likely win out.

After a brief intermission, the questioned resumed when the second panel of college admissions officers entered the auditorium. Before answering questions from the audience, each admissions officer gave general suggestions about the process. They recommended students and parents stay off websites like College Confidential, as they often have misinformation, they explained that decisions should not be taken personally, and reinforced that students need to be their own self-advocate. The rep from Union stressed the principle of self-advocacy and decided to use the rep from Wash U in a demonstration. The role-played scene was at a college information center. The Wash U admissions woman was instructed to be the Union admissions woman’s daughter, and the Union rep proceeded to gently push Wash U onto the stage and jumped backwards. Being the parent in the scenario, Union emphasized the importance of having the child take the lead in asking the questions at the college while the parent stepped back.

On essays, the George Washington rep emphasized authenticity, and that the safe essays aren’t the best ones. The rep Union stressed the importance of details, and finding a specific quality to focus on. She said, “Think of the admissions people as your grandmother, so no vulgarities. Strong Brook looks for statements that use logical examples and concrete thoughts.

Regarding extracurriculars, the Union rep stressed the importance of being in touch with a college coach if a son or daughter is considering playing sports in college, and to write efficiently on the activities section of the Common App as very few words are allocated.

The final question of the night was about the roles of the choice of majors in decision-making. The Union rep said that a major selection on the application is just a starting point and not permanent, and also noted that certain majors may be more specifically desired due to their low attendance nature (i.e German). The Stony Brook rep cautioned that being undecided is fine, but it should not be used as a strategy to sneak into a difficult-to-get-into major in the future.

The night attempted to put parents’ fears at ease by debunking the most notorious of myths surrounding college admissions, but conflicting responses reinforce that there truly is no singular right answer on how to approach the college admissions process.

NaturePlayAreaThe Gan: A Nature Play Area For families with children

ages one through five.The Westchester Reform Temple Early Childhood Center emphasizes STEAM through hands-on science, technology, engineering, art, and math investigations. “We want our children to have fun while embracing the excitement that is STEAM within our school!” says Sue Tolchin, WRT/ECC Director. “Our teachers provide fabulous STEAM opportunities each day for our children to explore.” Investigations such as mirror board physics, crocodile math, and tie-dye chemistry allow young learners to participate in inquiry-based challenges within their classrooms. In addition, the WRT/ECC has a dedicated outdoor space, The Gan, where children utilize an in-ground xylophone to explore sound and physics, ramps and leveling equipment to explore gravity, and a sand zone with bamboo blocks to explore engineering.

After-school, students can choose from a wide array of Afternoon Enrichment STEAM classes, including Construction Zone, where each week they are challenged with a new engineering feat, and Count Me In, where they utilize games and kinesthetic learning to understand the world of mathematics. Culminating the year will be the STEAM Extravaganza, a night of fun to explore new STEAM challenges together. From the Float Your Boat Design Lab to the Magnetic Forest Makerspace, it is sure to be an exciting night for the WRT/ECC’s little scientists and their families.

For more information contact ECC Director Sue Tolchin at Sue.tolchin@wrtemple.org or call 914 723-5493.

Juul 3It turns out that not all students welcome the smell of vapor that they often find in the high school bathrooms. Though vaping, or “Juuling” has captured some teens, others see it as an addictive and unhealthy habit that they think their peers should avoid.

In a survey given to Scarsdale High School students last February, 97% of students responded that they did not use any tobacco products in the past 30 days and 91% of students reported they did not smoke an e-cigarette in the past 30 days. In a follow up survey given last week to Scarsdale 9th, 10th, and 11th graders, 17% of the 750 that responded said affirmatively that they are Juuling or vaping. Of those, nearly 97% said they Juul or vape with others, and 24 of those users said they Juul or vape in school bathrooms. 31% of the students said that they are negatively impacted by Juuling and vaping that occurs in the bathrooms. Of those who do Juul or vape, 80% said they do not want help in quitting, 12% answered with maybe, meaning only 8% want help with their addiction. It is clear that this issue has hit Scarsdale High School hard. 

On May 3, two SHS students, Senior Jack Waxman and Sophomore Sam Friedman appeared on Good Morning America to air their eye-opening video about the dangers of using e-cigarettes, specifically Juuls. A Juul is an e-cigarette that was designed as a safer alternative to smoking cigarettes. Juuls contain the same nicotine levels as cigarettes, however, they are less harmful. Recently, there has been an epidemic within the youth community in relation to Juuling. The main issue, according to Waxman, is the different flavors of Juul “pods”, the colorful E-Liquid cartridges that deliver the nicotine. Waxman refers to this method as a “flavor trap,” drawing teens in with the appeal of different flavors such as “cool mint” or mango. “These flavors trick 13 year olds into thinking Juuling is okay,” says Waxman.

Juul 2Waxman Preparing for Good Morning AmericaWaxman recently started his campaign “JUULERS AGAINST JUUL” which revolves around teens who are addicted to Juuling and want to make a change. The video, created by Waxman and directed and produced by Friedman, features avid Juul users who admit to being addicted and can not stop. Waxman focuses on how the flavors do the most damage, “flavors bring the kids in and the nicotine causes them to stay,” says Waxman. Juuls are four times more potent with nicotine than cigarettes; one Juul pod contains 5% nicotine by volume while a pack of cigarettes contains 1.23% nicotine by weight. One Juul pod is the equivalent of one pack of cigarettes. The addiction is so severe that some kids wind up smoking up to one or more pods a day.

Not only are teens risking addiction, but according to a study done by the Harvard School of Medicine, out of 51 brands of e-cigarettes tested, 92% carried at least one chemical known to cause cancer.

Juul 1From left to right: Lazar, Solomon, Waxman, Michael Strahan, Friedman, and FerreiraEven though these teens participating in this video are exposing their bad habits, they are standing up to be a voice for change. When approached by Waxman to be featured in the video, one teen recalls, “he gave me a couple of days to think about it… and I looked around and I see that… all my best friends are addicted to nicotine.” Scarsdale students Fletcher Faden (16), Jack Solomon (15), Sylvia Lazar (14), Margarita Ferreira (14) talk openly about their addiction and their struggle with the Juul. “I think kids leaving school desperately needing pods happens a lot,” says Solomon. “It’s a part of my life now, I know it’s bad but I can’t stop,” explains Ferreira.

Aside from speaking out in the video, these “Juulers against Juul" are also fighting for a change. On April 30, Waxman, along with Faden, Solomon, and Ferreira, attended The American Cancer Society day at the Capitol in Albany. At the event, the teens were able to talk to different New York State legislators about the issue of e-cigarette flavoring and the growing Juul epidemic in youths. They expressed how enticing these flavors are to kids who get hooked on vaping and due to the nicotine, they cannot stop.

Waxman is also a member of the Drug and Alcohol Task Force (DATF), a group that works on ways to prevent drug and alcohol use in the youth community. DATF has made numerous efforts this year to raise awareness about and prevent teen drug and alcohol use in the community. This year, DATF held numerous events, most recently so Teen Healthy Brain Day, where booths demonstrating the effects of alcohol and different drugs have on the body and mind. The task force has also developed their own website to get the word out about creating a substance free community among youth as well as promote their events. They have also worked towards their goal of eliminating underage substance use by sending students to the Community Anti Drug Coalition of America conference and the youth-to-youth conferences in order for students to get more involved and raise awareness among their peers.

DATF LogoThe task force is advocating for support for the Tobacco 21 bill in Westchester County, a bill that if passed would raise the required age to buy tobacco products from 18 to 21. This, in turn, would potentially decrease the amount of youths who start their nicotine addiction at such a young age, considering these products would be much harder to obtain. On May 21, there will be a public hearing in the county to discuss the bill.

Already in Scarsdale High School, students have taken steps to drug and alcohol prevention by beginning to implement a Students Against Destructive Decisions (SADD) club. This initiative will help teens connect with others interested in reducing underage substance use across the region and even the nation. The task force is also thinking of new ways to raise awareness at the middle school level considering the tremendous increase of students who use substances in high school from middle school. In addition, DAFT has been utilizing their social media accounts such as their Instagram account and Facebook to raise awareness.

In fact, back in February, the Scarsdale School District hosted "Vaping, E-Cigs and the Health of Our Youth," a presentation by Dr. Richard Stumacher, chief of pulmonary and critical care at Northern Westchester Hospital, and a smoking cessation expert. This presentation informed parents and administration of what e-cigarettes are and what effects they have on health. Dr. Stumacher continued his presentation by adivising parents on how to face this issue if their children are Juul or E-cigarette users. Read more about Dr. Stumacher’s presentation and his advice to parents here.

To watch JUULERS AGAINST JUUL, click here. To watch the students appear on Good Morning America, click here. 

teamComing off a surprising run to the Section I semifinals last season, expectations were high for the Raiders heading into the season despite losing key players Tyler Mandel, Andrew Halperin, and Christian Waterhouse. With more pitching depth and five returning starters, the Raiders hope to make another deep playoff run this year.

To kick off his second season as head coach, Jeff Weigel brought the team down to Florida over spring break. In Florida, the team went a commanding 4-0 in scrimmages and was able to practice outside for the first time.

In the season opener, the Scarsdale Raiders faced the Port Chester Rams. With Captain Jack Callahan (‘18) on the mound and a high-powered offense highlighted by Cole Kattan’s (‘19) homerun, the Raiders won the game 7-6. In the next game, the Raiders battled Horace Greeley. The offense put up seven runs to support starting pitcher Cole Kattan as the Raiders won 7-2. Both games were closed out by Senior Daniel Karp (‘18) who secured his first two saves of the season.

Friday’s matchup against Arlington was a highly anticipated one as it was a rematch of the 2017 Section I semifinals and Raiders’ home opener. Heading into the game, the Raiders were ranked #3 in the Section and the Admirals #1. On the mound, Jack Callahan threw 6.2 innings with only 2 earned runs but the offense struggled to produce without Captain catcher Michael Green (‘18) and the Raiders fell 5-0. Next week the Raiders will play five games including a two game series against Mount Vernon.
callahanCaptain Pitcher Jack Callahan (‘18)

 

greenCaptain Catcher Michael Green ('18)

samwickThird Baseman George Samwick (‘18)
maroneyCaptain Shortstop Evan Maroney (‘18)

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