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Quarantine Creations: The Silver Linings of COVID-19

Julia and RienaJulia Kushnick and Riena Parente After Completing Their MarathonFor students, the COVID-19 pandemic has surely redefined the meaning of “free time.” Most of us have never experienced a lack of structure for this long, and it is sometimes difficult to fill our days with enough meaningful activity. Some students saw an opportunity to fill this time by taking on a challenge or embarking on a new venture.  In addition to the passion projects completed by SHS seniors, several other students have used the abundance of free time to pursue new hobbies, help others, or raise awareness for important causes.

Here are some innovative projects completed by SHS students during these unprecedented times:

Jay Greenwald, Matt Hoffman, Matt Sussman, Jack Silvers
JayGreenwald
When the senior options program was altered due to the restrictions of COVID-19 many students were left without a project. A group of SHS seniors have used this time to create a sports talk show.

Jay Greenwald, a founder of the project, shares his thoughts: “So many of us wanted to participate in the show that the idea grew from one general sports show into two more specialized shows, one about baseball and one about basketball. We named the show the Corona Sports Network, consisting of CSN Base and CSN Hoop. For the past three weeks we have been planning talk shows and recording ourselves on Zoom amidst heated debates. CSN Base has featured two special guests, Yankees reliever Adam Ottavino and MLB Network writer Sarah Langs. Although it is unfortunate that we did not get to have in-person internships this year, creating these videos has been an incredible experience that brightened up my quarantine. Check out our videos on YouTube.”

Riena Parente and Julia Kushnick
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“​Hi! Our names are Julia Kushnick and Riena Parente and we both are juniors from Scarsdale High School. Over the past weeks, we have been alarmed by the protests against systemic racism throughout the United States and wanted to take a stance and educate ourselves more on the issue.” On June 7th, 2020, Julia and Riena took action. They walked a marathon, “dedicating each mile to an African-American who has lost a life due to police brutality or other racist citizens, while still recognizing the deaths of the many others.” Throughout the walk, they distributed flyers containing statistics and ways to contribute to their cause at people’s doorsteps in order to raise awareness of the issue at hand. The community was encouraged to help out by printing out the flyers and displaying them throughout their own neighborhoods, or Venmoing by money to them, where 100% of the proceeds went to the Black Lives Matter foundation. Even though Julia and Riena have already successfully completed their marathon, it is not too late to donate to their amazing cause. See below for how you can still get involved!

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Adam Katcher
AdamKatcher
“I’m Adam Katcher, a sophomore at Scarsdale High School. For the majority of my life, I did not think I had a proclivity to writing. One night, the week before Christmas Break, I was restless. I had a handful of tests the next day, so sleep was being interrupted by the pull of the temporary stress. I was thinking of ways to try and turn my conscience away from the imminent exams. As the night wore on, my thoughts started to wander. As my thoughts continued to whirl around, I realized that I was thinking about a story. I was meeting characters whom I had never met. As if there was a prophecy for me to write the story, I shot out of my bed and started typing. After nearly an hour of frantically slamming the keys, the first chapter to my novel was in the works. I felt an obligation to the characters that I had conjured in my imagination, an obligation to make them come to life. And so, every day for the past few months, I made the story come to written fruition. As quarantine gave me extra time, and the ability to work with my English teacher, I finished my novel and have published it on Amazon.

“The book is titled 2035. Here’s the story: The world has always been unpredictable. While the fires of war have flared periodically, by the year 2035, a truly global conflict has not occurred for nearly a century. This story explores friendships in apocalyptic times, as well as the change in emotions and opinions experienced by an 18 year-old high school student. After years of growing animosity between, and within, nations, tensions finally reach a climax. As war breaks out, how does an inexperienced draftee survive during a time where nuclear weapons threaten the existence of humanity? Can there be hope and light in times of despondency?”

Anya Kornfeld on Connection Companions
AnyaKornfeld"During these difficult and unprecedented times it is easy to become overwhelmed. I have personally struggled to keep up with schoolwork, create a structured schedule, and maintain my typical level of motivation. I, as well as many of my friends, yearn for the interactions and connections we had in school and other in-person activities such as sports and clubs. While platforms such as Zoom and FaceTime provide great ways for people to stay in touch, as the months have passed in quarantine, it has become increasingly difficult to have meaningful interactions with people.

"I have been volunteering with kids with special needs during high school through organizations such as the JCC and Backyard Sports. I quickly realized the importance of the time I spent with these kids. Whether I was playing a board game, a sport, or simply talking, these moments provided important connections which helped build crucial social skills. In addition, (and most importantly) the kids, and volunteers, were having fun.

"While it may be difficult for my friends and I to stay in touch during the pandemic, I realized that it is even more difficult for kids with special needs. This is why I thought to start Connection Companions. I, as well as all the volunteers, aim to establish this same connection and help kids with special needs thrive while staying at home.

“I am e​ager to work with kids and serve our community in such a positive way. As of right now we have 7 children with special needs working with our volunteers. The feedback has been incredible and we are looking to expand our initiative throughout the summer, possibly looking into socially distant playdates.

"If you have a child with special needs and you are looking for someone to play online games, help with homework, play a virtual sport, or just talk, please contact us! There is a form on our website where you can sign up or you may email me directly (​anyakornfeld1@gmail.com​). We cannot wait to get in touch.

"Finally, we are always looking for volunteers. If you are a high school student and are looking for a meaningful way to spend your time, fill out the volunteer form on our website!

Connection Companions Website 

Sarah Jane Traumer
Sarah Jane TraumerScarsdale High School Junior Sarah Jane Traumer spent her 17th birthday baking 100 cupcakes for the Scarsdale Heroes. Sarah Jane recognized the bravery of the Scarsdale Heroes, especially the Scarsdale Volunteer Ambulance Corps (SVAC). The SVAC has done extraordinary work on the front line in response to the coronavirus outbreak. Sarah Jane spent the day baking, icing, decorating, and boxing all 100 cupcakes. She delivered the boxes of cupcakes to the SVAC, the three Scarsdale Fire Houses, and the Scarsdale Police Department. Sarah Jane selflessly devoted her birthday to helping the Scarsdale Heroes. She enjoyed spending her birthday giving back to her community.

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