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For the last six weeks of the school year, seniors take part in a program called Senior Options. Senior Options is supposed to serve as a culminating experience for seniors as they end their career as a student at Scarsdale High School. Each senior chooses an area of interest and decides to participate in one type of senior options: full internship, partial internship, extended independent study, and community service.

Students are required to complete 30 hours of work each week, working a minimum of 5 days per week. Each senior has an SHS faculty member who serves as a mentor to regulate the student's work and ensure that the student fulfills the 30-hour requirement. Seniors also work closely with a sponsor, if they are doing an internship, or a consultant, if they are doing an independent project. Seniors can work individually or in groups. At the end of Senior Options, seniors present their work and what they have learned during the program. The program is a graduation requirement and is graded on a Pass-Fail basis.

Senior Options presents a complete change from the strict structure of high school. Seniors can design the layout of their day however they like, as long as they complete 30 hours of work throughout the week. They are supposed to extend their skills and knowledge during Senior Options, but they are not always successful in doing so. While the program is designed to monitor students' work, some students manage to evade the requirements. Seniors are expected to keep time logs of their work, write journal entries reflecting on their experience, and have weekly meetings with their mentors. However, depending on the mentor, these "requirements" are mere suggestions.

Seniors seem to appreciate the inherent freedom during Senior Options. "It's really nice to be able to create my own schedule and practice something that I enjoy doing," said Allison Borko. Peter Kentros also enjoys the change-up from days at school. "It's fun to do something non-academic and to really feel as if I have tangibly accomplished something," he said. Meanwhile, Bryan Gertzog has found Senior Options to be educational, without the stress that high school brings. Gertzog is doing an internship relating to finance. "The conversations with my sponsor are enjoyable and interesting because I walk out of them having learned a bunch of new things and with a lot more things that I need to be familiar with by our next conversation. Our meetings get me to think about what is going on with current events and the global economy. Also, the flexibility of my Senior Options is enjoyable because, although it is a more academic Senior Options, it is not stressful at all."

On the other hand, no longer attending classes or seeing classmates every day also presents a sense of yearning. Bryan Gertzog suggests the Senior Options "keep students closer to the school, their teachers, and their friends by having some sort of grade-wide meeting once a week."

Many seniors through their Senior Options have discovered much about their possible future careers, whether they have found a new interest or realized their old interest was not as ideal for a career as they hoped.

Nathalie Waelbroeck, a senior redesigning one of the interior courtyards at Scarsdale High School, aspires to be an architect. By working in the courtyard, "I've learned that the architect/designer always has to work around obstacles, but I never understood how much that affected progress," she said. Looking for ways to overcome such obstacles has taught Waelbroeck that "architecture involves a lot of creative problem solving." With help from the PTA, the high school staff, Principal Klemme and Vice Principal Peppers, Waelbroeck has over $5,000 to work with in redesigning the courtyard.

Whether seniors hope to become chefs or are just interested in food, culinary-related Senior Options projects are very popular this year. Allison Borko worked with Katrina Ricks in learning how to cook. During their independent study, they cook independently and go through recipes they find. "Usually once a week we cook with a family friend and they teach us their specialty. We also take cooking classes and have created a website about our cooking," explained Borko. Borko and Ricks also worked at Standing Room Only a few times to learn the tricks of the trade. "I would suggest that everyone do an independent study," said Borko. "It's a great learning experience and a time to experiment in what you're most interested."

Kentros does not aspire to be a wood-worker, but he chose to build a ten-foot sailboat with his friend Nick Gordon. Still, he has learned that "building with wood is an art that requires a tremendous amount of insight and planning," he said.

Gertzog sees a future in finance. Through his Senior Options, he has learned "a ton of the basics of finance, such as the different types of investors, brokers, and money managers, and the biggest in each category... the way the bond market functions, the
implications of the existence of the euro, how both are causing issues in the global economy, the purpose of central banks, what causes inflationary/deflationary times and the effect of both, and the way the mortgage market functions," Gertzog explained.

Simon Penzer, who is making a short film from a script he wrote prior to Senior Options, has learned much about the filmmaking process. "Unlike more personal (though not necessarily easier) artistic pursuits like writing or painting, filmmaking is a collaborative process, and is a process that rests upon factors you can't always control, like when your actors are flu-stricken. On top of that, sometimes it rains on a day you plan to shoot a sunny scene, and you've just got to roll with it," Penzer explained. Penzer has enjoyed his Senior Options not only because of the freedom but also because "being out in the world filming also inevitably leads to some amusing stories," he noted. For example, "I was shooting a scene in Larchmont with two of my actors about a week ago right next to this gazebo that overlooks the water, and just as I called "cut" on a shot, we hear "Will you marry me?" It turns out a guy was proposing to his girlfriend inside the gazebo right as we were filming, and once we realized this we all went silent so we wouldn't ruin their moment. She said yes, and afterward we finished the shot."

The beauty of Senior Options is that students choose their own course of action they wish to participate in for the six-weeks. When the seniors first learn of the requirements for Senior Options, they are repeatedly told to think carefully about what they want to do because the more effort the students put in to their choices, the more likely they are to have a fulfilling experience. In January, when planning for Senior Options begins, the program seems far off in the future, and seniors do not put in too much effort planning their project. "I believe that a lot of seniors look for “easy” projects that require minimal time and effort, and sometimes it works out ok.

However, I think that picking the right Senior Options project/internship is a step that needs to be taken more seriously because it is a huge opportunity. With the right senior options project/internship not only can you learn a lot, but you can.
reenergize and prepare yourself for life after high school," said Waelbroeck. Although Waelbroeck's project turned out to be more work than she expected, "all that hard work and effort is worthwhile and meaningful," she said. Similarly, Penzer believes Senior Options to be "a great program...and a great way to end senior year."

This article was written by Scarsdale High seniors Emily Michaels and Julie Shabto

Jason Lee , age 24 of 150 Old Army Rd. Scarsdale, was arrested for Attempted Dissemination of Indecent Material to Minors in the First Degree (a felony) on Wednesday June 2.

This arrest followed a joint investigation between the Greenburgh Police Department and the Westchester County District Attorney’s Office High Tech Crime Unit whereby the suspect attempted to meet a 15 year-old girl for the purpose of engaging in a sexual act with the girl. Lee met the alleged underage girl and arranged for the sexual act on Facebook. However, the 15 year-old girl was an undercover police officer.

Jason Lee is a freelance tennis instructor who states he currently does work for Mount Vernon Tennis Center and has done work for Scarsdale High School, as well as providing private instruction to Edgemont High School students and others. In the past, he ran classified ads for tennis instruction and racquet stringing on Scarsdale10583.com

Lee was arraigned before the Honorable Judge Doris Friedman and remanded to the Westchester County Jail without bail. Lee is scheduled to return to Greenburgh Town Court on Friday June 4, 2010 at 9:30 am.

Greenburgh Detectives and Investigators from the Westchester County District Attorney’s Office executed a search warrant at the suspect’s home and gathered further evidence. Greenburgh Detectives are continuing the investigation and ask that anyone with information to please contact them at (914) 682-5331. All calls will be kept confidential.
 

The Raiders Girls’ Varsity Lacrosse team just completed a season in which they went undefeated in their league, achieved a league title, and made their way to the New York Section 1 Semifinals. The Raiders ended the season with an overall record of 14-3-1, and were 11-0-1 in their league. The Raiders continued their momentum from a successful season last year, which included a league title and a journey to the Section 1 Finals. With 15 returning players and 23 players total, including four who are playing collegiate athletics next year, the Raiders were a force to be reckoned with again this year.

From the beginning of the season, coaches Cece Berger and Dennis Hurlie had goals to win the league, return to sectionals, and make it to section finals. At the start of the season, the team traveled to Disney World in Orlando, FL to practice and compete at the Wide World of Sports athletic complex. The team achieved a bond on and off the field that co-captains Kimmy Leone and Jennie Pechman fostered throughout the season by planning team events like dinners and barbeques. “Spending time together off the field definitely translated into real improvements for our team on the field,” said junior offensive player Carly Levine. “Once we became more comfortable with our teammates, it was much easier to trust each other on the field and we were able to play more cohesively as a team.”

This season, the leagues were realigned and the power leagues of the past, in which teams played the most competitive opponents for their respective levels, were replaced by new league groupings. The new league clusters, in which Scarsdale was grouped with Bronxville, Edgemont, Hastings, Mamaroneck, and White Plains, were based solely on geography. Coach Cece Berger believes that the shuffling of leagues left her team with a schedule of league games that was not challenging enough to sufficiently prepare the Raiders for sectionals.

Last year, the Raiders’ league matched them up against powerful teams such as Rye, Greeley, Mamaroneck, and Bronxville. This year, on the other hand, the Raiders played games of widely varying levels of competitiveness. Opponents Mamaroneck and Bronxville were the only teams that remained in the same league as Scarsdale through the league shuffle for this season. Some of the Raiders’ other league games were blowouts, where the Raiders outscored opponents by scores such as 17-6, for example, in their April 20th game against Hastings. During other, more competitive league games, the Raiders faced fiercer competition. These games were beneficial for the Raiders, as the contests provided the team with the opportunity to play against more advanced teams, thereby learning to advance their own level of play. The Raiders’ games against league opponents Mamaroneck and Bronxville resulted in more even scores, such as 20-18 in the Raider’s league finale versus Mamaroneck on May 13.

Berger asserts that this season’s league groupings did not prepare the Raiders for sectionals well because they didn’t have as many opportunities to play challenging teams as they did last year, in the power league. “This year, it was almost like a physical roller coaster for us,” she explained. “We had an easy week before Bronxville, then we had to beat them to win the league title” in one of the Raiders’ most challenging games of the season. The week before the Raiders’ second game against Bronxville, they played three less challenging league opponents, whom they outscored by a total of 47-19. It is difficult for a team to bounce between easy and challenging games because there is a heightened pressure and different team dynamic on the field during a fiercely competitive game. This atmosphere can hardly be prepared for except by playing other advanced opponents. “Consistency suffers when there’s not a constant level of competition each week,” said Berger.

In non-league play, the Raiders were 2-2 against crossover opponents Nanuet, Greenwich Academy, Rye, and Hackley. With the leagues realigned this year, Berger planned for Scarsdale’s non-league games to challenge the Raiders and prepare them for the goal: section finals.

At the end of the regular season this year, the Raiders had a record of 13-2-1, and were the #3 seed for the New York Section 1 tournament. Scarsdale breezed through Sectional Quarterfinals, defeating the #6 seed Ursuline by a score of 19-6 on May 22. On May 25, the Raiders faced the #2 seed Fox Lane in the Sectional Semifinals and fell by a score of 16-12. At halftime, the score was 10-6. Right out of the halftime huddle, the Raiders scored almost immediately to make it 10-7. Then, Fox Lane capitalized on Scarsdale’s numerous turnovers and went on a scoring streak to bring the score to 15-8.

The Raiders showed their heart and determination when, halfway through the second half, they turned up their level of play and scored 4 goals in just one minute and sixteen seconds. With about five minutes left to play, the score was 15-12. Fox Lane added another goal to make it 16-12, the final score. “I think that we could beat Fox Lane,” said Berger. “They’re beatable, and that wasn’t our best game. Not to take anything away from them, because they were a good team and capitalized on our mistakes.”

Berger added, “Scarsdale lacrosse wouldn’t have the program it has if it weren’t for its players who are willing to take time in the off-season to dedicate themselves to the sport. Our girls who pick up their lacrosse sticks between seasons and participate in winter league, summer tournaments, fall ball, and even simply wall ball, allow our team to leap off of strong fundamentals every season and spend time on more intricate, team aspects of lacrosse.”

Engel and Völkers, had its official Ribbon Cutting Ceremony at its new realty office at the Heathcote Five Corners on May 27. Despite some light rain, an estimated 80 people showed up for the bash. Mayor Carolyn Stevens and owner Jonathan Lerner had the honor of cutting the ribbon. “This building is beautiful. Jonathan did a fantastic job in renovating this historic structure. It’s even better than we could have hoped for,” said Mayor Stevens.

Guests were given a tour of the new interior at 300 Heathcote Road, once home to the Scarsdale Ambulance Corps and the J.P. Morgan-built Train Station. The building was originally constructed in 1912 to be the Heathcote Station of the New York, Westchester and Boston Railroads. It later became the headquarters of the Scarsdale Ambulance Corps, before SVAC moved to their newly constructed site on Weaver Street.

Here are photos of the building now and then. Above is the photo from an invitation sent out by Engel and Volkers that shows the building as it appears today. Also see a 2002 photo of the building during its tenure as headquarters of the Scarsdale Volunteer Ambulance Corps as well as a 1912 photo of the building as it originally appeared when it was the Heathcote Train Station.

 

 

Engel and Völkers Scarsdale is a locally owned property shop. Jonathan Lerner, a long-time Scarsdale resident, invested two-and-a-half years to complete this location.

My own family appeared in the Scarsdale Police Blotter this week and here is our story. Our neighbor has very large pine trees on her property, bordering our driveway and looming over our house. They are 5 -6 stories tall, and top heavy, as many of the lower branches have snapped off. In the big storm in March, one of these trees broke in half, hitting the back of our house and totaling our car. After the incident, rather than express any remorse, our neighbor complained about the necessity of cutting up the fallen tree limbs.

We needed new gutters, roofing, fascia boards, railings, masonry and patio furniture as well as a new car. The bill was hefty. We are still in the process of getting everything repaired. We called an arborist who confirmed that the remaining tree shard and additional trees are dangerous and need to come down.

Per the instructions from the Village we sent a registered letter to our neighbor with the report. She feels that the trees are “natural” and does not wish to take them down. Last Saturday night, the winds kicked up again and another branch fell through our dining room window, shattering the glass. We pulled the branch out of the dining room and placed it in the street in front of her home. Her insurance company will not pay for the damage and she has done nothing in response to our letter, except to call the police to complain about the branch in front of her home.

We’re hoping the wind and the rain never kick up again … but given the frequency of the “100 year storms” in Scarsdale that’s not likely. Any advice?

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