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yearbooks1On June 5th, the SHS senior class had the chance to look both backward and forward. They returned to the high school after weeks of Senior Options for Senior Transition Day. As the name suggests, the day sought to help seniors through this transition phase of their life. The day had three stages. First was a Q&A with Scarsdale Alumni who had recently finished their freshman year in college. Second, the seniors met with their respective deans. Lastly, the entire grade congregated in the gym to have lunch and receive and sign yearbooks.

For the Q&A, nine SHS graduates returned to give students information to help them through their college process. The alumni were each from different schools, allowing them to shed different perspectives. There was representation of schools big and small, specialized and liberal arts. Some of the questions these students answered included, "How prepared were you compared to your fellow classmates?" (To which the general response was that Scarsdale had prepared them exceedingly well)deanmeeting1, "How do you avoid the freshman fifteen?" (Make the most of fun gym options and avoid buying large quantities of chips), and "How can you create an ideal roommate situation?"(Communication, communication, communication). After just one hour, the seniors walked away with some great advice to help them make the most of their freshman year.

In the dean meeting I attended, Dean Iosepovici's, students were asked to answer one of three questions; either "What was your favorite SHS memory?", "If you could do one thing differently in SHS what would it have been?", and "Is there any one person who impacted your SHS journey most strongly?". Students recalled funny moments, gave sage advice, and thanked teachers and administrators who had helped them along their way. The seniors then wrote thank you letters to these teachers and were given a heartfelt send-off.

yearbooks2The main event was the third portion of the day. The SHS PTA presented students with an array of sandwiches, snacks, and baked goods, as well as their yearbooks. Along the walls were old photographs of the class from elementary and middle school, which students enjoyed with nostalgia. The seniors spent hours signing each other's books and looking at the photos within. The entire class filled the gym and filled blank pages with kind words and fond memories.

Though these seniors will be graduating Scarsdale High School on June 23rd as the school's 100th graduating class, it is clear that they have made lasting bonds. The event gave students a chance to fondly recall their experiences while developing plans for the future; a true transition.

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ableWhat appears to be a loving relationship can sometimes evolve into isolation, alienation and sadly violence. That's the subject of a disturbing film called "Escalation" that was viewed at the Scarsdale Library on Wednesday May 31. The movie and discussion that followed was hosted by the Teen Center who invited Sharon Robinson, founder of the OneLove Organization to lead the group in an exercise of identifying unhealthy relationships and helping victims safely extricate themselves from dangerous situations.

What's most confusing about these relationships is that abusers are often very charming and attractive and mask their need to dominate and control. They ensnare their victims in exclusive relationships, cutting them off from friends and then making impossible demands. Many of the victims are teens or in their early 20's and are too naïve to recognize the signs of abuse.

The film, "Escalation" depicts a relationship between two attractive college students. Initial infatuation evolves into a demanding, dangerous situation with tragic consequences after the girl breaks up with her boyfriend.

State Assemblywoman Amy Paulin has worked on many NYS laws to prevent domestic violence and she explained that the genesis for the legislation was the murder of heiress Anne Scripps Douglas who was killed by her husband in Bronxville in 1994 when she was only 44. The authorities refused to evict the man from their home after Scripps-Douglas went to them for help. Since that time Paulin has sponsored many bills to empower police and judges to protect victims of abuse.

In the weeks following a break-up, victims are especially vulnerable and should have protection and a getaway plan to safeguard themselves from abuse and violence.

Learn more about the signs of abusive relationships and what you can do to prevent them here

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bucketsGet your golden ticket! It's a tradition at Scarsdale High School for the senior class to put on a musical and this year, the production is Willy Wonka, based on the famous book Charlie and the Chocolate Factory by Roald Dahl. Directed by Catherine Chan and Morgan Cochrane, with musical direction from Sofus Rose and Nivi Ravi, and choreography by Jessica Cohen and Zoya Binyaminov the show has performances on May 19th, 20th, and 21st.

The play will star Zach Brenner as Charlie Bucket, Jake Stiel as the chocolatier Wonka himself, and me as Mrs. Beauregarde who is definitely a star on the same level as Charlie and Wonka, 100%.

The senior class government nominated two shows to be this year's musical, and the senior class voted Willy Wonka as the winner. Speaking from my own background in theater, I was a little daunted by the selection. The show is very male and character actor heavy. Most of the leads in the show are played by men and dramatic productions in SHS tend to draw a much larger number of women. Also, many of the roles require accents and a fantastic sense of comedy. I was worried that we wouldn't have enough strong actors to cover the roles. Turns out, I underestimated my classmates. As soon as I heard Mollie Kerr do her german accent as Mrs. Gloop I knew that things were going to turn out alright.

augustusThe best and worst thing about Willy Wonka is how well-known it is. Even if you don't know the musical, you probably know the story. Five kids and their guardians, many of whom take the word bratty to new heights, enter a chocolate factory and chaos ensues. During rehearsals, many of the scenes became much easier to learn because of this familiarity. Almost everyone knows the tune to the Oompa-Loompa songs and our Veruca, Caroline Kaufman, instantly knew how to scream that she wants it now. The problem arises in the pressure that comes with the audience knowing the characters already. "It's a little nerve-wracking to be playing such a well known character, especially with the accent," says Kaufman. It's scary to be aware that the audience has expectations, but from what I've seen the seniors are more than up to the challenge.

Another challenge the class has had to overcome is the deep dark pit known as scheduling. With a cast of more than a hundred and different levels of prioritization, you are literally never going to get a rehearsal everyone can attend. Even getting all of the speaking roles to come is a tall order. This means that for most rehearsals, somebody at some point is talking to an invisible person. Not only that, but there is also an added degree of difficulty in that access to the auditorium and the set itself has been difficult to obtain. We've got a week till our performances and we have only just recently been able to start using the auditorium stage. But at my old camp we started all rehearsals two weeks till the performance and if a bunch of screaming eleven-year-old girls can do it, then I have no doubt that a group of high school seniors can do it. Everyone has really pulled through so far, and so much of that is thanks to the student directors. "The hard work of our directors inspires us to 'make sure we memorize our lines and dance numbers" Says Thomas Jacobsen. We're all working not just to impress the audience, but also to build up our fellow castmates.

directorsWhatever the difficulties, the show must go on. The cast has absolutely made the most of their less-than-perfect situation and no matter what happens it promises to be entertaining. The best part of putting on a play is never the performances. It's the rehearsals. Through my time working on Wonka I've gotten to know some people I had never really interacted with before, and I think that my experience here is universal. "It's really going to be a memory I will look back at for the rest of my life and I would definitely encourage underclassmen to do the play when they become seniors!" Says Nakul Srinivas (Mike Teavee).I know that the phrase "if you had fun, you won!" is a cheesy motto generally found on participation trophies, but it seems pretty applicable here. No, you can't "win" a musical, but you can win new friends, some chocolate, and a golden ticket if you're lucky.

Come check out the play on May 19th and 20th at 7:30 PM and May 21st at 2:00 PM in the Scarsdale High School Auditorium! Tickets are available for purchase online here

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oompaloompasThe SHS Senior Class production of the musical Willa Wonka was a hit on stage on May 19th, 20th, and 21st.  It was a phenomenal production, and even the occasional misshaps added to the hilarity. The students did a wonderful job, and the audience was lively and full every day. Below are some photos of the cast in costume taken by Jon Thaler. You can see more photos of the play by clicking here

bucketfamilysquirrels
gloopgonecandymankellyandjake

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national merit logo2Eight students from Scarsdale are among the 2,500 students awarded $2,500 Merit Scholarships by the National Merit Scholarship Corporation (NMSC) this year. The 2,500 Merit Scholar designees were chosen from a pool of more than 15,000 Finalists in the 2017 National Merit Scholarship Program.

National Merit $2500 Scholarship winners are the finalists in each state judged to have the strongest combination of accomplishments, skills, and potential for success in rigorous college studies. The number of winners named in each state is proportional to the state's percentage of the nation's graduating high school seniors.

These scholars were selected by a committee of college admissions officers and high school counselors, who appraised a substantial amount of information submitted by both the Finalists and their high schools: the academic record, including difficulty level of subjects studied and grades earned; scores from two standardized tests; contributions and leadership in school and community activities; an essay written by the Finalist; and a recommendation written by a high school official.

Here are the names of the winners:

Edgemont High School:
Anshul Barnwal
Federico J. Reyes Gomez
Michelle Kim

Horace Mann School:
Christie Du

Scarsdale High School:
Zoe L. Ewing
Michael S. Landau
Keshave M. Rastogi
Lauren H. Singer

NMSC finances most of these single-payment National Merit $2500 Scholarships. Corporations and company foundations that sponsor awards through NMSC also help underwrite these scholarships with grants they provide in lieu of paying administrative fees. Scholars may use their awards at any regionally accredited U.S. college or university.

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