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SHS Juniors Get Unfiltered Views of College from Returning Freshmen

collegenight1"What kind of people go to your college?" "What classes should I take as a freshman?" "Are you in a sorority?" "How is the food on campus?" These are just some of the common questions high school juniors asked college students on College Night at Scarsdale High School.

Juniors, who will apply to college in the fall, were given the opportunity to talk with SHS alumni currently in college at the PTA event on Wednesday, May 24th. Each college was given its own table in the high school cafeteria, marked with flags bearing each college's name. Before the event, the juniors chose four schools they were interested in and were given a schedule indicating when they would visit those colleges' tables. Juniors met with alumni from each of their chosen schools in twenty minute sessions, and were provided an opportunity to ask them questions about the college they attend.

The event was received positively by both the juniors and the graduates. The high schoolers appreciated being able to ask questions about schools in a stress-free, casual environment as well as the candor of the alumni. Alex Fogel, a junior at SHS, thought the event "was really helpful" because she obtained the college students' "honest, unfiltered opinion." She contrasted the "generic information" provided by most college information sessions with College Night, in which she "got a real sense of the school." Zach Bernstein, a rising sophomore at Duke University, was happy simply to get "the name [of his school] out there." "If some kid goes home, having learned one cool fact about this place, you never know. It could turn into the next four years of their lives."

International Lunch Celebrates Cultures at SMS

australiaThe annual International Lunch for Scarsdale Middle School students took place on Tuesday May 23rd. Every year it is a much anticipated event for kids, who get to enjoy a fabulous meal in a festive atmosphere and learn a lot at the same time. Each country has a booth with decorations, costumes, language, food, and people. It highlights the many different nationalities and cultures of the SMS student and parent body. Students have an opportunity to spend their lunch period traveling from country to country all within the Great Hall. They sample different cuisines, courtesy of the SMS PTA and the SMS Student Organization (SO).

The main organizers of this event were the SMS PTA Multicultural committee with Jing Lu, Asma Naeem, and Monica Farha as the committee co-chairs, SMS PTA president, Sharon Higgins, and faculty advisor to the SO, Mr. Steve Rambone.

It takes a village to pull off this fabulous feast. This year, there was a record number of 15 countries participating.


south africa

Girls Lax Team Is League Champions After 5-Game Winning Streak

lax2The Scarsdale Girl's Lacrosse team could not have picked a better time to peak. Starting the season with a string of tough losses, no one could have guessed that the Raiders would emerge League Champions, continuing a 5 game winning streak. The turning point came after something clicked after a 15-16 loss against John Jay Cross River on April 24th. Since this loss, Scarsdale has earned close victories against White Plains, Ursuline, Rye, Yorktown, a powerhouse lacrosse program, and Mamaroneck, securing the league victory. Junior Lily Steckel, a pivotal member of the offensive line, attributes the recent success to a change in energy on and off the field. "After that loss to John Jay, we knew we needed to change something. The captains got us together and we all talked about what we could do better to change the team dynamic. We weren't ready to give up on the season yet." Steckel also noted how each win has helped the team's camaraderie and motivation. "After each win, the energy keeps getting better and better. Every day, every practice, every game, we are all ready to give it our all".

The Raiders were confident facing rival lax1Mamaroneck for the second time this season. They had just dominated Ursuline 17-4 two days before. In their first meeting, Scarsdale had lost to Mamaroneck 15-9. With their newfound confidence, the Raiders went into the game looking to win the league. Since Mamaroneck had lost to Ursuline previously this season, a win over Mamaroneck would secure the title for the Raiders. Scarsdale had a slow start to the game, going into the second half down by 2 goals. The team's play in the second half of the game proved they were the better team on the field. With an impressive distribution of goals, Seniors Jilly Mehlman and Erin Nicholas netted 3 each, Junior Lily Steckel scored 2, and Sophomores Lizey Mehlman and Chessy Greenwald each had a goal. Greenwald's goal came at a pivotal moment in the second half, when the Raiders led by 1 goal with 2 minutes to go. This goal put Scarsdale up by 2. Seconds later, Mamaroneck scored a goal to bring the game back within 1. The Raiders won the game by a 1 goal margin, the final score being 9-10. Erin Nicholas led the team in ground balls, with an impressive 8. Goalie Angie Burns commented on the importance of this win. "It was huge for us, because Mamo is our biggest rival. Going into the game, we knew we could win, we just needed to perform."

lax3Another crucial win came this Monday, May 9th when the Raiders dominated Yorktown. As Yorktown is one of the most respected lacrosse programs in the Hudson Valley, Scarsdale went into the game as underdogs. This Raider victory over the Huskers was the first time in program history that Scarsdale has beat Yorktown. Burns reiterated the magnitude of this win for the girls. "We are the first Scarsdale team to ever beat Yorktown in Girl's Lacrosse. This is huge for us. We really did shock the section." This surprising victory is a testament to the Raider's potential for the rest of the season. Sophomore Chessy Greenwald, who netted another crucial goal, noted, "we wanted this win. I can't describe how great it feels to finally be clicking as a team." Sophomore Lizey Mehlman had 4 goals in the game, Greenwald netted two, and Sophomore Emma Schwartz scored a goal, showing the depth of the offensive starting lineup. Goalie Angie Burns had 15 saves.

Looking forward to the rest of the season, the Raiders are hoping to capitalize on their momentum. Scarsdale will play at Somers for their final game of the regular season on Saturday, May 13th at 11:00 am.

Photos by Jon Thaler.

District Building Priorities: Put Greenacres on Top of the List

priorities.jpgIf you've been following the discussion about the future of Greenacres School, the long wait for a recommendation from the administration and the architects is in sight. At the next Board of Education meeting on May 22, the architects will give a two and half hour presentation on the state of the district's facilities and their plan for future capitol projects.

A year ago on May 16, 2017, at one of her final meetings as a school board member, during a discussion about the future of Greenacres School, retiring board member Suzanne Seiden said, "I think we need to discuss the principles behind our decision. For me, Greenacres is the priority. The decision should be tax neutral. There is a fairness issue. Other schools have gotten a lot. We must check historical context within which to view this." At another meeting toward the end of the year, Seiden reiterated. "I would hate to see this moment pass. Greenacres has waited to get its turn."

I had Seiden's words in mind on May 8, 2017 when I listened to Assistant Superintendent Stuart Mattey and Superintendent Thomas Hagerman discuss their work with architects BBS on the next round of district capital improvements, to be voted on by Scarsdale taxpayers in December, 2017.

Both Mattey and Hagerman continuously emphasized overall district needs and the consideration of Greenacres within the context of a long list of Scarsdale schools facilities needs over the next decades. They said the architects had analyzed and compared the space in the five elementary schools, doing a space utilization analysis. They talked about assembling a district wide building committee to consider a list of district priorities. For instance, Dr. Hagerman said, "Ventilation? We heard that was a need at Greenacres .. well it's needed in several district buildings."

Perhaps since both Mattey and Hagerman are relatively new on the job, they may not be aware that facilities needs at Greenacres have been put aside for decades. Mattey's predecessor, Linda Purvis, repeatedly promised that the administration was waiting for the expiration of $60 million in district debt in 2016 to post a large bond to fund a major overhaul of the school. While Greenacres waited, $14 million was raised in a 2005 bond offering to replace a portion of Quaker Ridge school and renovations and additions were made to all the other schools. While Greenacres leaked and kids were crammed into classrooms that were too small and overheated, plans were made for maker spaces, flexible learning environments, libraries and playgrounds at virtually all the other schools. Greeenacres residents were asked to wait.

Finally in 2016 after building committees and community groups met, architects KG&D presented several rounds of plans to renovate or build a new school. Either way, this would be a major undertaking, utilizing much of the funds available for the next bond offering – assuming it had to be tax neutral.GreenacresAerialVies

Unfortunately there was discord about what should be built, and Superintendent Hagerman declared a stop to all discussion, fired the architects and ultimately retained a new team in February.

We're told that this new team has again undertaken a district wide master plan of priorities – which sounds very similar to what architect's KG&D were retained to do upon their arrival in Scarsdale in 2013. At that time, after full consideration of their district wide feasibility study, improvements were planned at the high school, middle school, Heathcote, Edgewood and Quaker Ridge which were all deemed to be priorities at the time. Major renovations funded by an $18 million bond passed in 2014 are now underway.

About Greenacres, a June 2014 report from the District Facilities Steering Committee says, "After touring Greenacres and meeting with that building-level committee, the architects advised the committee that the issues presented by the facility were significant and complex. Addressing them appropriately would require funds far in excess of the amount contemplated for this bond referendum. Further, the building could not be expanded on its current site because its footprint already exceeded the state's guidelines."

In 2014 Greenacres, residents were asked to support that bond and again asked to wait for anything to be done at their school. They were promised they would be the top priority for the next bond offering in 2016.

So here we are, days away from a May 22 meeting where we'll again be presented with a list of district priorities. I am hopeful that all this talk of a district-wide spatial analysis and a space utilization study are not the prelude for another defense of why classrooms in Greenacres are not smaller than the smallest rooms at other schools, or why the air quality at Greenacres – which we are told "is as good as you can expect for a building of that age," is acceptable.

Why should Greenacres facilities be compared to the least adequate facilities at others schools? I can't bear to hear any more excuses about leaks in the foundation and the roof, tight classrooms and inadequate spaces for lunch, recreation, performances and technology.

Please. We have waited long enough. Give Greenacres the school it deserves. We've all paid in to the system for many years and now it's time to return some of those tax dollars to a very patient and neglected neighborhood school. Rest assured that whatever is built now will need to last us another 100 years. So don't make Greenacres just as good as the most antiquated spaces in the district. Think ahead and build a state of the art school that will set the standard for all other district facilities for the next century. The time has come.

This is the opinion of site founder Joanne Wallenstein.

Baseball Team Rebounds After Rough Start

b-ballKojiThe Scarsdale Boys Raiders Baseball Team had a rough start to their season, losing their first 5 games. But now they appear to be rebounding, and are 4-1 in the last 5 games including an Ardsley Tournament championship win this past weekend. (April 28-29). Their record is now 4-6.b-ballMandel

Here are photos from the season shot by Jon Thaler with text by Tim Callahan. See more photos here: