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SVAC1Did you ever wanted to become an EMT? If you’re about to be a senior at Scarsdale High School, it might be easier than you think. This year, the Scarsdale Volunteer Ambulance Corps once again offered its EMT training course during senior options. Any senior who met the age requirements for the program was given the opportunity to spend six weeks completing their EMT certification, a course which otherwise might take anywhere from six months to two years to complete.

SVAC4On Wednesday, June 12, all of the “graduates” and their families were invited to the SVAC building on Weaver Street to celebrate their accomplishments. 19 Scarsdale students were there, along with 2 other students from outside the district. Everyone got to socialize and reflect on the progress made over the past month and a half. Posted on the patio were pictures of different moments along the journey. SVAC President David Raizen and committed volunteer and retiring SMS teacher Steve Rambone were there, grilling hot dogs and hamburgers for everyone.

SVAC8When asked about the program, the seniors had nothing but good things to say. Overwhelmingly, they said that the best part was going on calls. “Class is kind of just learning… ride-along is where you apply the skills,” explained Alexa Widlitz. While most of the seniors had finished their ride-along hours, many still participated for fun. Senior Austin Tang commented that the best part was learning the life skills that they wouldn’t otherwise learn, and being able to use those skills to give back. Austin also remembered that he’d known he wanted to do the EMT program ever since seeing the posters around the school as a junior. Adina Mistry added, “We all got to work off of each other.” It was clear that the sense of community between the students, not all of whom had been friends before the program, was a big highlight of the program. Caroline Goldstein remarked that “yes, the program was a lot of work, but worth it”. The skills she’s learned have come in use already. “Just knowing you can say, ‘Hey, I know how to save someone’s life’... It’s a crazy feeling,” said Will Solie.

SVAC5Before the festivities wrapped up, Jim Gross, who helped run the program, got up to give a little speech. He admitted that he was nervous, having so many seniors participating in such a challenging program. However, the group blew him away. “Every day,” he said, “you guys came in, you were prepared, you were on top of the game.” He recognized the seniors for their dedication and skill, especially on the practical exam the Friday before. He reminded everyone how important these skills are. While he knows some of them will use the certification and some won’t, he believes the skills will last forever. “Every time somebody has a problem, you’re going to be the voice of reason,” he told them. Afterwards, the seniors called Caroline Osborn, another woman who helped to run the program, who was in Texas at the time so she was unable to attend.

SVAC6Last to speak was David Raizen, President of SVAC. He reminded everyone that SVAC is self-supporting, and does not receive money from taxpayers. He asked everyone to spread information about SVAC around town, since that’s the only way they can survive.

The celebration was well deserved by all of the seniors completing the program and everyone who helped them achieve it. It was truly a unique experience that none of the students will forget.

Support the vital work of the Scarsdale Volunteer Ambulance Corp by clicking here to make a donation.

Seniors pictured at top of article: (top row) Michael Romano, John Ceske, Bob Zhang, Emma Cahaly, Will Solie, Michael DiSanto, Austin Tang (middle row) Derek Chi, Michael Marom, Jack Rubbins, Adina Mistry, Kelly Rutherford, Sydney Mone, Caroline Goldstein, Allison Stafford, Ariel Feldberg (bottom row) Peter Godshall, Grace Vericker, Alexa Widlitz, Emily Lattman, Danielle Lemisch






cpr2The following was submitted by Tali Orad of Fox Meadow

It became a tradition at the Fox Meadow Elementary school to teach the 5th graders the basic and very important chocking rescue technique. Every Spring, just before graduation, a group of dedicated 5th graders stay after school to learn a new skill.
The program, led by Fox Meadow's nurse Ms. Cliona Cronin and given by Scarsdale Volunteer Ambulance Corps Emergency Medical Technicians, Marc Guthartz and his team, aim to teach the kids how to avoid choking ("sit when you eat, don't run around"), as well as what to do when someone next to them is choking.

cpr1As the last bell rings and the class begin, SVAC volunteers demonstrating proper choking techniques on a mannequin. This is not any mannequin, "Choking Charlie" is its name, and it shows tricks. Then they continue with discussing why we are breathing and that it means to have an abstraction of air. Marc, leading the session starts with how one can distinguish between a partial airway abstraction and a full one, hint - in partial, one can speak or caught - this sparks a lively discussion among the kids. The 5th graders are also being thought the universal choking sign. The fun part for the children is when they get a chance to practice the Heimlich maneuver skill on the mannequin. Choking Charlie and his friends are being passed around and each child gets a turn to practice. The class is almost over as the team share some important tips with the kids on how to stay safe and when to call 911.
By the time the class is done, the kids have a basic idea on how to prevent choking and what to do if one does. They even receive a certificate that they successfully completed the class.

cpr4The program started in 2014 by Tali Orad with the support of former principle Duncan Wilson. Tali formed an organization to promote CPR education after saving a life of a 1 years old child using CPR. This year is marked as the 5th year that Fox Meadow offer this class. Marc and Nurse Cronin, with the support of the new principal work very hard to have this session offered as part of the after school curriculum.
Tali and the entire team are grateful that this program found support at the FM school. Tali adds that she is "proud of all 5th graders participating in this class, knowing how important the skill is. A 9 years old can save a life, and a 9 years old did.This story is from Boston where a third grader saved her best friend, as she was choking at school just one day after learning the Heimlich Maneuver. I hope we will not hear of any child choking in FM but if they do, I know they will know what to do."

cpr3A very special thank you to Nurse Cronin, Marc Guthartz and his team, Fox Meadow interim Principal Karen Eldon, Assistant Principal Melissa Feinberg, SVAC, Tali Orad, and of course the 5th grade parents and the kids for supporting and participating in this free program.
Hopefully this story will inspire the other four elementary schools in town.

USCThe widely reported college admissions scandal has become a hot topic among parents of college-bound students. The dishonesty that prevailed among members of the highest echelons of society – business executives, actors, law firm partners, doctors – is staggering. It feeds the narrative that wealthy people in the United States have an unfair advantage in gaining their children’s admission to top colleges and universities. This, in turn, adds to the political polarization that prevails today and the class warfare narrative that sadly informs some modern day politicians and commentators.

Most people with whom I’ve discussed the matter view the scandal with disgust. They are taken aback by the dishonesty, lack of ethics, and the influence of money and power in a system that is supposed to be merit-based. A common refrain is a lament of many students’ and parents’ focus on college rankings and a small subset of elite schools, which can have an unhealthy impact on the experience of high school students throughout the already stressful college admissions process. I believe the scandal illuminates the reality that in a competitive community such as Scarsdale, admission to college causes families to lose perspective. Most people would not cheat or buy their way to their kids’ acceptance to a top school. Still, the lengths to which some will go are concerning. Many families spend thousands and thousands of dollars on test prep for the ACT or SAT; kids are encouraged to engage in year-round athletics; they assume burdensome academic schedules; they suffer sleep deprivation; and they otherwise engage in excessive behaviors over multi-year periods in response to the pressure to get into their dream school. While I’d like to think my wife and I have completely avoided these behaviors with our own kids, that would be an overstatement.

There are other factors at play insofar as parents are concerned. People are influenced by what they hear at community events, on the sidelines at school athletic contests and at cocktail parties. Before one knows it, which college your child is attending becomes a barometer of how good a parent you’ve been. Similarly, students succumb to the buzz in class, in the hallways and at practices and their sense of self-worth is tied up in the name of a college.

In short, in affluent communities it can seem like everyone is gunning for admission to a top school. We might recognize deep down that college is not really about a prize or status, but then emotions, competitiveness and insecurity create a reflexive desire for admission to the most selective school. There’s no question that most of us want the best for ourselves and our children. So, the logic goes, college selectivity must be tied to quality.

But that’s where the logic, to some extent, ends. As I wrote in an earlier column for, studies repeatedly show that the greatest early determinant of career success for most students from upper middle class and wealthy families – measured by lifetime income – are the academic credentials of the student applying to college, and not the identity of the college. In other words, all things being equal, take two highly motivated students with identical grades and identical standardized test scores, send one to an elite college and one to a middle-of-the road state school, and the data consistently shows that their lifetime earnings will be roughly equivalent. (Minority students and students from less wealthy families do tend to earn more than their peers if they attend an elite college, with the most common explanation given that the institutions have broader professional networks that help facilitate early career advancement.)

For most of us in Scarsdale, the reality is that whatever motivates the college application rat race to get into the best school possible, it’s more about prestige, ego and bragging rights, and not about the student’s future career prospects. As we ponder the lessons of the college admissions scandal, we’d be well served to re-evaluate our priorities and recognize that when it comes to helping our children get into an elite school, it’s as much about our own status as it is our children’s future success.

Do you have comments on the college admission scandal? Share them below!

SVACTeamScarsdale’s Volunteer Ambulance Corps took home four awards, including the coveted Chairman’s Award at the Westchester Regional EMS Council Annual Awards dinner on Thursday night May 23 at SUNY Purchase. Founded in 1970, SVAC became the first ambulance service in the county to offer advanced life support in 1996. They now have three ambulances and handle over 1,800 cases each year. The corps provides service to Scarsdale as well as the north end of New Rochelle and has an on-scene arrival time averaging less than five minutes.

For the past eight years, SVAC has offered EMT classes and they became an official New York State Training Center in 2016. Since then they have graduated 16 classes of EMT’s and offered a six-week EMT class for high school seniors.

For recognition of the agency as a whole and their educational excellence, SVAC was granted the Chairman’s Award, which had not be given in five years.

ChairmansAwardSVAC President and champion David Raizen was given the Westchester County Leadership Award. Raizen is a lifelong resident of Scarsdale and took CPR while a student a Scarsdale High School. When he turned 18, he started riding the SVAC ambulance and continued his education, receiving his EMT certificate in 1979 and certification as a Paramedic in 2017.

Under his 15 years of leadership, the corps has grown from 25 to 130 volunteers. He has upgraded the level of service and provides advanced life support. In 2014 David became the youngest person to be awarded the Scarsdale Bowl, the Village’s highest award for volunteering.

SVAC also won two additional awards related to lifesaving work at specific events:

Four members of the Ambulance Corps and four Scarsdale Police officers received an award for saving the life of a man found at the bottom of his pool. According to his son, the man had complained of chest pain a few hours earlier. His son found his father at the bottom of the pool and called 911. Emergency workers arrived within 3 minutes and were able to rescue the man from the bottom of the pool and successfully resuscitate him.


Here are the names of those who received the award:


David Raizen Paramedic
Robert Rizzo Paramedic
James Gross EMT
Elissa Schilmeister EMT

Scarsdale Police

Anthony Santana
Michael Coyne
Michael Siciliano
Victoria Wanterman

A second award was given for saving the life of a 25 year-old man who had overdosed on heroin. His father found him and summoned SVAC who found the father doing CPR on his unresponsive son. David Raizen and Paramedic Wolfgang Lawton administered large doses of NARCAN while performing CPR and resuscitated the victim. Also credited for their efforts were:

Alyssa Murray Paramedic
Heliodoro Mendes Paramedic
Deborah Fuchs EMT

In both instances, the victims left the hospital in the same condition they were in before the events.WREMSCOAwards

Congratulations to SVAC on the awards and thanks to all they do for residents of Scarsdale. They rely on community support to fund their work. Please give a gift to keep this vital service available to all residents. Learn more and donate here:

Photos by Jon Thaler. See more here:

AlumniDayOn Stage: Heather Harrison, Andrew Ross Sorkin and Jeffrey Hoffman: On Screens: Lindsay Gotlieb and Andy JassyThe Scarsdale Alumni Association celebrated the 100 Year Anniversary of Scarsdale High School on Saturday, May 11th. Scarsdale alumni, administrators, and students gathered in the Scarsdale High School Auditorium followed by a networking reception at the Learning Commons. "Scarsdale is one of the preeminent communities in the world," said Zach Harrison, President of the Scarsdale Alumni Association. "It's great to see so many alumni at this event to celebrate our 100 year anniversary." Harrison encouraged alumni to promote their great experiences growing up in Scarsdale wherever they go "to ensure we continue to have great people choosing Scarsdale as their community for the next 100 years and beyond."

The day started with a panel of distinguished Scarsdale alumni featuring Andrew Ross Sorkin, Andy Jassy, Lindsay Gottlieb and Jeffrey Hoffman who shared their inspiring life stories which started in Scarsdale. The panel was moderated by Heather Harrison. Proceeds from the event will go to fund scholarships for deserving Scarsdale students in need.

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