Wednesday, Jun 19th

EHSAlexaTomoCaseyChristine“Go hard or go home,” was the phrase printed on the T-shirts of the Edgemont girls’ tennis team this year, and there isn’t one person in New York State who can deny that the girls went hard. The doubles team of sophomore Alexa Goldberg and freshmen Tomo Iwasaki turned heads this year when they fought all the way to the finals of the Section I tournament, played at Sound Shore Indoor Tennis in Port Chester, guaranteeing them a spot in the state tournament. Although the young duo didn’t pull out the Section 1 title, there was no disappointment as they lost to their teammates, seniors Christine Ho and Casey Rogovin. While coach Jim San Marco was proud of his girls for dominating the section, he knew that they were capable of so much more.

“There were only six to eight teams that could’ve won it all,” said San Marco about the state championship, played just outside of Syracuse. “We had two.”

San Marco was right. Ho and Rogovin, the top seed at the state tournament, came out firing as they trounced the Hewlett team of Paula Faltynowcisz and Alanaehs2 Davidson in a commanding 6-0, 6-1 massacre. Both Ho and Rogovin were on the varsity team as 7th graders, and the girls were not strangers to playing at the state level.

“Casey and Christine made states as sophomores,” San Marco exclaimed. “As juniors, they may have felt a little entitled. When they lost as juniors, they learned that they would have to work even harder if they wanted to make an appearance in the finals.”

San Marco made a point to remind his girls that there are no guarantees in tennis. Losing, as sophomores and juniors, provided Ho and Rogovin with an edge when they returned to states as seniors.

“Our experience helped us prepare,” stated Ho. “We learned to stick together. In previous years, we let our nerves take over; but this year, we remained concentrated on staying relaxed.”

Staying relaxed appears to have been the game changer, as the girls entered a difficult quarterfinal match. Ho and Rogovin found themselves down a set to the eighth seeded team of Gabriella Leon and Veronika Paikin from Pittsford Mendon.

“We went into the tournament with the same strategy as always,” said Rogovin. “No mistakes, get the ball back, never give up, and always believe in yourself.”

ehstennis3Sure enough, being two points away from defeat, Ho and Rogovin stayed true to the words on their shirts. They were not ready to go home just yet. The girls began working in tandem, as they elevated their games to a whole new level. Not only did they come back and take the second set 7-5, but they also persisted to dominate the remainder of the match, winning the third set in a commanding 6-3 performance.

“We’ve come back so many times that we knew we had the confidence to beat anyone,” said Rogovin. “The support we got from our coaches and teammates really helped us during the change overs.”

Goldberg and Iwasaki, the fourth seed in the tournament, did not show any weakness as they triumphed into the quarterfinals, losing a mere six games in two matches. In a similar fashion to their older teammates, the underclassmen found themselves struggling to fight for their spot in the semis against the sister team of Bridget and Mickey Harding from Vestal. After taking the first set 7-5, a few strings came lose as they dropped the second set 6-2.

“Tomo was not serving well,” stated San Marco. “However, we had been working on her first serve in practice, so when the time came, she was prepared to make the adjustment. She started slowing down the pace of her serve and placing it, and she started serving beautifully.”

The adjustment paid off as Goldberg and Iwasaki punched their ticket to the semis with a 6-4 victory in the third set. The girls displayed a tremendous amount of ehstennis4maturity for their age, and part of that should be credited to the leadership of their captains.

“They taught us to never give up,” Goldberg said of Ho and Rogovin. “We just played our game, hung in there, and capitalized on our opportunities.”

While both doubles teams valiantly earned their places in the state semi-finals, only one team could possibly make it through to the finals. Since the bracket sets up for the second seed to meet the third seed in the semis and for the first seed to play against the fourth, both of San Marco’s pairings were forced to go head to head in a rematch of the Section 1 finals. One might think the girls would’ve turned against each other at this point; however, one would be wrong.

“Were always going to be friends first,” said Goldberg. “We were so happy that one team from Edgemont would be represented in the state finals; and win or lose, we knew that we would still love each other.”

Although tennis is commonly thought of as an individual sport, these girls have proven that a team is still a team, even when forced to compete against one another. The seniors won the rematch 6-3, 6-4, and for the second time in a week, there was no disappointment from anyone involved in the match. The girls proceeded to smile and hug each other, as if the match had never happened.

“Were all really close on and off the court,” Iwasaki stated with a humbling smile. “We are a big family.”

Although you may find this quote to be a bit cliché, I will testify that, as a former tennis player for Scarsdale, I’ve never seen such a strong bond between high school teammates. And, in my opinion, this is a testament to an outstanding coach.

“Coach taught us to believe in ourselves,” said Ho. “Many of coach’s lessons could apply to real life as well.”

All of the girls clearly feel passionately about the coaching staff. Rogovin made it very clear that assistant coach, Jeff Menaker, should also be given credit for helping all of the girls achieve their success.

“Coach Menaker was always there to support us when San Marco was working with some of the other girls,” said Rogovin. She then stated the following about the great coach, Jim San Marco, “Instead of trying to make us better tennis players, coach did everything he could to make us better people.”

The seniors’ final match came against a familiar foe, the seventh seeded Cruz sisters of New Rochelle High School, another Conference 2 school. Cassidy and Jessie Cruz, who had lost to Goldberg and Iwasaki at the Section 1 tournament, won the match 7-5, 6-2. Although Ho and Rogovin ultimately lost in the finals, there is still something to be said for the second best doubles team in the state; furthermore, Goldberg and Iwasaki won the third place match, giving Edgemont High School the second and third best doubles team in the state of New York.

“On any given day, any of those teams could’ve beaten each other,” said San Marco. “It shows the strength of our conference.”

San Marco said that the goal going into every season is for every player to work as hard as possible, so that by the end of the season, each player should be the best that she can be. He also stated that if this goal is achieved, winning takes care of itself. Before I left his office, coach told me something that will resonate with me for the rest of my life. He said:

“We don’t lose matches. We either win or we learn.”

Have you ever heard a more accurate coaching philosophy in your life? His players clearly carry this mentality, and you know what they accomplished. The girls made a combined statement about coach San Marco, and I’ll leave you with this:

“Coach always said to have no regrets. He told us never to underestimate or overestimate an opponent. Coach said to never fear your opponent, but to respect your opponent. Lastly, he told us that all you need to succeed is ‘Guts, enthusiasm, and a little bit of luck.”’

Best of luck next year, girls. You’ve been taught by the best.

Author Michael Kanner is a graduate of Union College with a background in English and a passion for the written word. He worked at Scarsdale Golf Club as a tennis pro before offering his services to a private clientele, and he loves hearing constructive criticism from anyone willing to speak their mind. Michael can be contacted at


AckermanHere is a response from Edgemont's Marc Ackerman to a piece posted this week about Nominating Committees: Regarding " The View from Edgemont: Do Contested Elections Make the System Stronger ?" by Caroline Tzelios, I agree that it is valuable to publicly debate the merits of the SBNC or any other system that performs a public service to our community. As the current Chair of the Edgemont SBNC, therefore, I feel compelled to respond to and correct several statements contained in the article.

First, it is not correct that the "purpose of the SBNC is to put forth the exact number of candidates for the vacant seats on the Board of Education each year." As a technical matter, the SBNC rules provide that the SBNC may recommend Board candidates for the exact number of vacancies, or less. But more importantly, the true "purpose" of the SBNC -- since its formal establishment in 1958 -- is to provide the opportunity for duly elected representatives of Edgemont's civic associations to encourage qualified candidates to run for the board, and to discuss candidates in a face-to-face setting that encourages debate in a thoughtful, respectful and deliberative manner. The SBNC process serves the community in large part by getting people to step up for Board service, and SBNC members devote numerous hours each year talking to community members in an effort to accomplish this. Even with these efforts, it is a challenge to find enough community members willing to step forward for the vacancies on the Board in a given year. The SBNC helps insure that the vacancies are filled, and that committed, qualified community members fill them.

Second, the SBNC does not operate in the dark. Community members are urged to (and do) participate in the process by serving on the SBNC, nominating candidates, discussing candidates with SBNC members and attending certain SBNC meetings. SBNC conducts several public, noticed meetings throughout the year at which members of the public are invited and encouraged to provide their views on what would make a strong Board candidate. Once candidates are nominated to the SBNC by members of the public, the Committee formally seeks letters of comment from the entire community. Many such letters are received every year and all are considered by the full Committee. In addition, community members are encouraged to express opinions to SBNC members as to particular individuals and/or qualities that would benefit the Board. Importantly, once the SBNC makes its recommendations, the SBNC conducts an open forum prior to the election at which all candidates, whether recommended by the SBNC are not, are invited to present themselves to the community and answer questions from the public. Perhaps the unnamed individual who "had no idea where either one of the [candidates] stood on any issue" would benefit from attending the SBNC's open forum.

Third, the risk of Board elections being coopted by "private agendas" is much greater with contested elections than with the SBNC process. The SBNC process is explicitly fair and non-partisan, guided by a neutral set of posted rules and procedures, and with elected members representing every neighborhood in Edgemont and a wide diversity of backgrounds and opinions. The SBNC even has a high school student that is a formal designee and voting member. The public campaign, on the other hand, leaves the door open to those who would co-opt the election in order to further political agendas that are unrelated to the board candidacies, and even unrelated to Edgemont. This scenario played out starkly when the author conducted a public campaign two years ago, when a small number of Edgemont community members attempted to portray the school board election as a referendum on Edgemont incorporation. This was not only a false portrayal, but a calculated attempt to use the public debate to further an anti-incorporation agenda, with no regard for the detrimental impact that such an attempt could have had on our treasured school system.

Fourth, it is not true that "a Nominating Committee runs contrary to what a democracy is all about." The SBNC process indeed closely resembles democratic processes used commonly in our country. We do not, for instance, select our federal judges through direct election. Rather, we directly elect our Senators, who are charged with vetting and confirming or rejecting the President's nominees for the federal bench. Our SBNC process, in which SBNC designees are directly elected by community members through their civic associations and are charged with vetting and recommending school board nominees, is notably similar.

Fifth, the SBNC process does not discourage diverse candidates from stepping forward to run for the Board; indeed, the opposite is true. A harsh public campaign deters qualified school board candidates from running. It already takes a considerable amount of self-sacrifice to commit the time and effort necessary to serve on the school board. Add to that the potential that candidates would be subject to public attack of a personal nature by one's neighbors, and it is understandable that qualified candidates would hesitate to step forward. True, Edgemont did not "fall apart" when the author ran outside of the SBNC system, but we may never know how many qualified candidates decided that it would be better not to seek nomination to the School Board as a result. Through the SBNC process, candidates can present their qualifications in a civil, deliberative, thoughtful vetting process. Candidates that are not recommended by the Committee are almost always well-qualified and certainly have demonstrated commitment to the community by stepping forward for Board service. Such candidates are encouraged to, and often do, step forward in future years.

The best way to incent the best candidates to agree to serve on the school board is to preserve and continue the civil, inclusive and deliberative SBNC process, and to encourage all in the Edgemont community to participate in it. The historic success of the SBNC process is evident in the highly qualified school board members who have been nominated by the SBNC, and in the thriving of our schools under Boards with members elected via the SBNC process over the past 50 plus years.

Marc Ackerman, SBNC Chair


elmThe storm damaged many local trees and was a bonanza for tree removal services. If you are thinking about taking down trees on your own property, you may need a permit from the Village to do so. If you don’t follow Village Code and remove trees unlawfully, you could be fined.

Here are instances where you DO need a permit from Village Hall to remove a tree:

  • If you wish to remove three or more trees with trunks exceeding 6 inches in diameter during a 12 month period.
  • For removal of trees of the following species: American Elm, American Beech Tree or Heritage Trees (a tree designated by the Board of Architectural Review to be unique and of importance of the community)
  • Any tree in a wetland or wetland buffer area
  • Trees that have been protected by the Land Use Board or were planted as a result of a Land Use Board determination.
  • Trees determined to be preserved by a Land Use Board for at least two growing seasons after the issuance of a Certificate of Occupancy or Land Use Board approval.

In the following instances you CAN remove a tree without a permit:

  • Trees with a trunk diameter of less than six inches.
  • Up to two trees with trunks exceeding six inches in a twelve month period. However, if you taken down a tree with a trunk diameter greater than 36 inches, you are required to plant a tree to replace it.
  • A tree may be removed under an actual or ongoing emergency for the protection of life or property. If a tree is determined by a Tree Expert to be dead, dying, hazardous or diseased, a report from the Tree Expert must be submitted to the Village Engineer. A tree may also be removed if considered an invasive species (a non-native species that adversely affects the habitats they invade economically, environmentally or ecologically and are listed in the Invasive Plant Atlas of New England.

And what happens if you violate these provisions? Here is the Village code on that score, “Any person violating any of the provisions of this article shall be guilty of a violation and shall be fined not less than $250 or more than $1,000 for the first two trees. Thereafter, not less than $500 or more than $2,500 for each additional tree.”



coconutcake_copyI wanted to share this story about a local vendor: I was hosting a dinner for 40 people and had ordered a 10 inch square coconut cake from Lulu's. I picked up the cake at 1pm which Victor had kindly carried to my car, (He must have a sense I couldn't be trusted). I left the cake in the car and around 5.30pm went out to get the cake - the guests were coming at 7pm. As I was entering my home, my keys caught on the door handle and I missed my step and horror of horrors, the gorgeous 10 inch square cake flipped and landed upside down on my kitchen floor!

I was mortified and sat down on the floor next to the cake to gather my thoughts - not the cake. I decided the only thing to do was call Lulu's and explain my disaster. They couldn't have been nicer. They told me not to worry Though they didn't have a 10 inch cake as those are special orders, they did have an 8 inch round cake. They would write the message on the cake and I should go right over. I gratefully drove over...picked up the 8 inch round, beautiful coconut cake and.....they never charged me. How fortunate we are to still have such service from a great bakery.

Thank you Lulu's for saving the day!

Diane Levy
Fox Meadow



questionmarkWe received this letter from a distressed mom this week -- and rather than offer up our own advice, we thought we'd ask our readers to answer. Now it's your turn to give a little free advice. Please post your response in the comments section below. Here's the issue:

Dear Scarsdale10583: I'm hoping someone can help. I sent my daughter to camp this summer and in her group there was a girl who can best be described as a miniature bully. Some days, she made my daughter and some of the other girls in her group miserable. I spoke to the counselors and even the assistant director of the camp to make sure my daughter wasn't instigating anything. They assured me it was this one girl and the other girls were not to blame. I can't say my daughter's summer was ruined, but it was less than ideal. I understand these things happen and we're moving on.

I didn't realize until nearly the end of the summer that the mean girl is the daughter of someone I'm friendly with in town. I ran into her once after realizing her daughter was causing mine trouble. I asked her how she thought the summer was going and she said she thought the kids in the group were terrible and my daughter was the only girl her daughter wanted to play with. She added that she'd love to set up a play date since our girls will be in school together this year. I was able to put it off a bit since we're heading on vacation.

She's already emailed me to set something up when we come back. The little girl may not be so bad one-on-one but when I brought up the idea to my daughter she was very upset and refused a play date. I can't say I blame her and I don't want to force her to play with someone who makes her upset. I can't avoid the mom all year and I don't want to confront her since I don't really feel like it's my place. Help!
Scarsdale Mom

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