Wednesday, Sep 27th

ScarsdadleCircular LogoTo the Editor: The Procedure Committee (PC) invites Scarsdale residents to run for a position on the nonpartisan Citizens Nominating Committee (CNC). Thirty voting members on the CNC, six representing each of the five elementary school districts, will interview, evaluate, and select candidates running on the nonpartisan slate for open Village offices in the March 19, 2024 Village Election.

A candidate for membership on the CNC must be a qualified voter (18 years of age or older) and a resident of Scarsdale for at least two years. The CNC application is simple, consisting of a biographical form and a 10-signature petition signed by the applicant’s neighbors. Instructions for filing can be downloaded on the PC’s website at The deadline for submitting the CNC application is Saturday, September 30, 2023. The CNC election will be held on Tuesday, November 14, 2023 from 7 am to 9 pm or by mail-in ballot.

The CNC meets 5 or 6 times on weekday evenings at 8 PM at the Scarsdale Library. CNC meeting dates for 2023-2024 are Tuesday, November 28, 2023 (Organization Meeting); Wednesday, December 13, 2023; Wednesday, December 20, 2023; Wednesday, January 10, 2024; Wednesday, January 17, 2024; and if necessary, Wednesday, January 24, 2024. By its last meeting date the CNC will nominate a nonpartisan slate of candidates for the open positions on this year on the Scarsdale Board of Trustees.

For more information contact PC Chair Peri Zelig,, or Vice Chair Heath Sroka, The other members of the 2023-2024 Procedure Committee are: Kay Eisenman, Dana Fisher, Carly Grossberg, Mary Pat Jones, Elena Kanner, Laurie Medvinsky, Elizabeth Lashbrook, Rachel Schwartz, Emily Shteinhauz, Jared Stern, Omer Wiczyk, Richard Wingate, and Matthew Zik.

Peri Zelig, Chair
Heath Sroka, Vice Chair
Procedure Committee

national merit logo2Officials of National Merit Scholarship Corporation (NMSC®) announced the names of more than 16,000 Semifinalists in the 69th annual National Merit Scholarship Program. These academically talented high school seniors have an opportunity to continue in the competition for some 7,140 National Merit Scholarships worth nearly $28 million that will be offered next spring. To be considered for a Merit Scholarship® award, Semifinalists must fulfill several requirements to advance to the Finalist level of the competition. About 95 percent of the Semifinalists are expected to attain Finalist standing, and approximately half of the Finalists will win a National Merit Scholarship, earning the Merit Scholar® title.

Semifinalists from Scarsdale and Edgemont are:

Scarsdale High School

Nathan H. Breslow
Patrick P. Chen,
Bryan Chung
Kevin V. Daniel
Bryanna Huang
David R.Huang
Adelina Jiang
Harley J. Koch
Allegra Kong
Thomas E. Kornfeld
Thomas R. Kronenberg
Janghee Lee,
Jihao Liu,
Apollonia F. Lulgjuraj
Arianna Makrakis Toniolo
Raza Malik
Sajiv Mehta
Thomas F. Peng
Natasha R. Pereira
Tara M. Pillai
Alexander Rizk
Leon J. Rode
Yejin Sung
Cayden Yang

Edgemont High School

Henry Brinberg,
Bhavani Gopalkrishna
Isabella Jabbour
Eliza M. Kaeding
Kristen E. Lau
Iris Liang
Jiahe Liu
Alexander J. Merzon
Evan D. Merzon
Avantkia Singh
Fiona Stern
Derek Sun
Sophia S. Woo
Donghyun D.Yeo

Over 1.3 million juniors in about 21,000 high schools entered the 2024 National Merit Scholarship Program by taking the 2022 Preliminary SAT/National Merit Scholarship Qualifying Test (PSAT/NMSQT®), which served as an initial screen of program entrants. The nationwide pool of Semifinalists, representing less than one percent of U.S. high school seniors, includes the highest-scoring entrants in each state. The number of Semifinalists in a state is proportional to the state’s percentage of the national total of graduating seniors.

To become a Finalist, the Semifinalist and a high school official must submit a detailed scholarship application, in which they provide information about the Semifinalist’s academic record, participation in school and community activities, demonstrated leadership abilities, employment, and honors and awards received. A Semifinalist must have an outstanding academic record throughout high school, be endorsed and recommended by a high school official, write an essay, and earn SAT® or ACT® scores that confirm the student’s earlier performance on the qualifying test.

From over 16,000 Semifinalists, more than 15,000 are expected to advance to the Finalist level, and in February they will be notified of this designation. All National Merit Scholarship winners will be selected from this group of Finalists. Merit Scholar designees are selected on the basis of their skills, accomplishments, and potential for success in rigorous college studies, without regard to gender, race, ethnic origin, or religious preference.

National Merit Scholarships

Three types of National Merit Scholarships will be offered in the spring of 2024. Every Finalist will compete for one of 2,500 National Merit® $2500 Scholarships that will be awarded on a state-representational basis. About 840 corporate-sponsored Merit Scholarship awards will be provided by approximately 160 corporations and business organizations for Finalists who meet their specified criteria, such as children of the grantor’s employees or residents of communities where sponsor plants or offices are located. In addition, about 160 colleges and universities are expected to finance some 3,800 college-sponsored Merit Scholarship awards for Finalists who will attend the sponsor institution.

National Merit Scholarship winners of 2024 will be announced in four nationwide news releases beginning in April and concluding in July. These scholarship recipients will join nearly 375,000 other distinguished young people who have earned the Merit Scholar title.

KidsSports(Submitted by Scarsdale Village Trustee Sameer Ahuja)

“Wait kids, whoever said you had to be good to play football? You play football because you want to. You play football because it’s fun. You play football so you can go out there and pretend you’re Joe Montana throwing a touchdown pass, or Emmett Smith going for a long run. And even if those Cowboys are better than you guys. Even if they beat you 99 times out of 100 that still leaves… one time.”
~Little Giants (1994)

Have you seen the 90’s classic, Little Giants? I’m reminded of it (and its 2000s copycat Kicking and Screaming) when it comes to youth sports.

Here’s a quick recap of the plot: Danny O’Shea (Rick Moranis) is a gas station manager living in the shadow of older brother Kevin (Ed O’Neill) a coach for the local youth football team. Trouble arises when Kevin's team turns down Danny's daughter Becky (Shawna Waldron) because she’s a girl. Danny creates a competing team though the town can realistically support just one. To prove his worth against his brother, Danny coaches his misfits in a crucial playoff.

This film emphasizes how success isn't solely determined by winning. After all, sports are supposed to be fun!

Not only are youth sports a joy to many, but they also provide untold benefits like teamwork and time management skills. Student-athletes must learn to manage school, practices, travel, homework, a job, and more. In many cases, their schedules can become more complex than those of some adults.

Despite so many positives, it seems as if sports have lost some of its spark in recent years. The very fun (Little Giants evokes) appears to have vanished to an extent.

What’s to blame for this turn of events?

Until lately, the pandemic was to blame. Stuck at home, youngsters missed entire seasons after years of hard work. In fact, according to a study by Project Play, kids spent 60% less time playing sports during COVID-19.

But while youth sports definitely took a hit in the past two years, there’s also been a steady decline for at least a decade now—long before social distancing was ever a thing.

So why are kids hanging up the cleats? First off, youth sports have become prohibitively expensive for some. This can create a rift between the haves and have-nots. Meanwhile, community sports programs shuttered in recent years, as they simply can’t compete with increasingly prestigious travel leagues. (This is partly due to how excelling in marquee level sports can earn young people coveted college scholarships.)

When I was growing up, college was more affordable. Many kids didn’t go to school on a sports scholarship or even seek this option. Now with so many higher entry barriers, some parents see sports as a golden ticket to higher education. No longer are good grades and high SAT scores enough. Now, their kids feel pressure to supplement these with sports achievements.

This development may expose another problem: pressure. In a hilarious tryout scene, one dad from Little Giants, describes his over-muscled son, “Won the eight-year-old division of the pass, punt, and run when he was five years old.”

As ridiculous as this scene is, there’s a kernel of truth to it. Children are often expected to start extracurriculars and sports at much younger ages.

Returning to the Project Play study, the author explains, “The more money parents have, the less interest their child has in sports.”

So, it’s not always about finances. Sometimes it’s due to kids’ own disinterest. Certainly, when playing becomes more about achieving other outcomes, the fun melts away. A sport becomes a job. And the magic is gone.

Other critics blame the decline on increased intensity. Thanks to the higher-stakes environment student-athletes now face, injuries are more prevalent. In an interview with Bryant Gumble, sixteen-year-old Emily Gervais explains how an ACL tear ended her soccer career before it ever took off.

Starting her sport at age 4, Emily soon joined a club team. This ran for 11 months out of the year. As Emily details, “There are girls out there that are practicing all day, every day, and if you're not one of them, they will beat you to the spot you want.”

Due to such extreme strenuousness, Emily had to retire from soccer after three— yes, three—knee surgeries. All before reaching 16.

This begs the question: Are we putting too much pressure on our kids? In this same interview, Gumbel talks to Dr. Min Kocher, an orthopedic surgeon specializing in pediatrics. After collecting data from other surgeons, Kocher was shocked to discover youth surgeries skyrocketed nearly 500% in just 10 years.

All this pressure is understandably leading kids to alternatives like video games. Mostly a sedentary activity, it behooves us to understand their appeal. Today’s games are no longer the same mindless side-scrollers of decades past. More akin to works of art, they offer entire worlds, where kids can now socialize, create, even seek the freedom to actualize themselves.

Should kids be more active? Yes, of course.

But we should also realize video games may offer the last (largely) adult-free frontier for children. It’s a space of relief for many kids who are buckling under increasing pressure to perform at school and extracurriculars. All while being forced to continually compare themselves to others on social media.

Our solution may lie here.

As mentioned in my recent TikTok article: today’s kids crave autonomy. Many seek out spaces where they can be themselves, uninhibited by the adult gaze, whether it be parents or teachers. Kids are also highly proficient with digital tech, including tools that haven’t yet been integrated into sports. Imagine a world where kids use digital tech to help each other improve how they play even more. Might there be a healthy way to marry analog and digital even more for youth sports? (I, for one, think it could be a real game-changer.)

Remember, sports come with health benefits baked in.

These can’t be easily replicated by indoor activity. In that spirit, let’s bring back the joy of sports. After all, before we know it, our kids will be grown, out of the house, and most likely… not Lebron James. And that’s okay! Here’s to appreciating the chance to explore such interests without any burden attached to the results. Playing this way just might bring back the fun.

TennisGilda’s Club Westchester is excited to announce their First Annual Tennis and Pickleball Classic event! The event will be held on Thursday, September 7th from 5-8pm at Sunningdale Country Club in Scarsdale.

Guests of the inaugural Tennis and Pickleball Classic will dine on a variety of Tapas treats, toast with a glass of sangria and enjoy a variety of games in between Pickleball and Tennis matches. This is a co-ed event, so grab your spouse, friends or family and join us for friendly competition on the court.

Gilda’s Club Westchester’s FREE programs are sustained through fundraising, grants, private donations, and corporate contributions so they rely on events and major donors to keep their red doors open. This event would not be possible without the commitment of their generous sponsors including: Eve and Brant Brooks, Eye Gallery Scarsdale, Pam and Paul Rubin, Gerri and Andrew Sommers and In Kind sponsors: CandyRox, Vintolgy and Three Birds Printing.

Gilda’s Club Westchester provides individual counseling, support groups, workshops, education and social activities all FREE of charge. Their innovative programs are an essential complement to medical care available to those living with a cancer diagnosis, their family and friends, and those who have lost a loved one to cancer.

For more information or to attend the event please contact Kristen Harris at (914) 644-8844 x 122; or visit our website to purchase tickets:

mixology With forms to sign, books to order, and a million events to mark on your calendar, getting ready for the start of school can be a hassle…but going “back to school” shopping doesn’t have to be! With local malls, boutique stores, online shopping and so much more, it can be hard to know where to start. So with the help of some of our Scarsdale neighbors we compiled a list of go-to stores to make back to school shopping a whole lot easier, and maybe even a little bit fun!

Just around the corner in White Plains, the obvious place to start is the Westchester. After grabbing a “Pink Drink” or some pretzels, older kids and teens are happy to walk around with their friends and check out stores like American Eagle Outfitters, Urban Outfitters, Aerie, and Aritzia among others. But while the mall is host to a Janie and Jack’s, and Nordstrom does have a decent children’s section…families with young children might want to check out venues like Ridge Hill just across the way in Yonkers.

Not only does Ridge Hill (an outdoor shopping mall) offer stores like Gap, Old Navy, and H&M (for kids who are still growing like weeds), it also has a playground, a host of kid-friendly restaurants, Rockin Jump, Monster Minigolf, Legoland, and a movie theater. So you can get all of your shopping done and have a fun-filled outing with the whole family!

While some, like Scarsdale mom and real estate agent Stacey Mayer, prefer the ease of shopping online, those who opt to shop in person (or need to make an in-person return) can also find stores like H&M, Gap, Forever 21, Aeropostale, and Zara at the Cross County Center. Another Scarsdale mom, Nancy Kaplan, loves stores like Zara for the basics but her favorite online stores for young kids are Rockets of Awesome and Lola & the Boys.

When shopping for trendier looks, Mayer is a fan of Denny's on Central Park Avenue in Scarsdale and Lester’s at the Rye Ridge Shopping Center in Rye Ridge. If you are over at Rye Ridge with your teen girl, you might want to pop into Mixology (if you haven’t already visited the one in our village), or Vanilla Sky. A couple doors down, you can find all your sport gear needs at Sport Tech and then pop into Cava, Chipotle, or Dig Inn for lunch.

To-Dao Casey, also a Scarsdale real estate agent and Fox Meadow mom, suggests going a little further afield and believes, “Woodbury Commons is perfect for back to school shopping. While it is kind of a hike, you can make it a full day activity- everyone can bring a friend and there is a store for every style!”

Several Scarsdale teens swear that the only place to shop is down in SoHo and other trendy NYC neighborhoods. But for something a little closer to home, they are also happy to spend a day on Greenwich Avenue in Greenwich where they can find stores like Brandy Melville, Love Shack Fancy, and Roller Rabbit.

Lastly, this list wouldn’t be complete without a suggestion from Scarsdale’s own fashion maven Sandy Krupkin. Krupkin is a fashion consultant and curator of pop up shops in Westchester. She suggests that if you happen to be out east in the Hamptons as summer is winding down, you might want to check out Tenet for your teens as they have a great sale and well-priced shorts and coordinating tees for boys. Krupkin is also a fan of Off Fifth for teens because “they have great elevated basics at a good price. For more fashion inspiration you can follow Krupkin at @sandykrup or @popupwestchester.

If our readers have other favorite go-to stores for all of your back to school needs, please leave your suggestions in the comments!

Wendy MacMillan is a former teacher and a proud mom of two children.

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