Fall 2023 vol. 3
Dear Harrison Families,
As we approach year's end, I am proud and humbled to share another wonderful reflection of the many inspiring accomplishments of our students and educators in our latest newsletter Highlights.
Senior Ulysses Bravo, wrote an original play chosen for performance at the 2023 New York State Theater Education Association Student Playwriting Competition. Original work from eight HHS students was selected as part of a statewide art exhibition. The Model Congress team earned top awards at the Princeton competition. Students studying Italian at HHS and LMK were recognized for outstanding achievement. Two of our esteemed educators received awards for their dedication to teaching and their commitment to students.
The new year promises to be another filled with opportunity for our students. The Board of Education and I are so very grateful to you - our community for supporting the children of Harrison. With your approval of the bond referendum, we already have begun security uprgrades, and plans for infrastructure improvements and building expansions. We will update as the process continues to unfold.
Our community has given much to our students, tangible evidence of your support is evident everyday, but especially at this time of year. Please join me at one of the holiday concerts (check our District calendar) and marvel at the talents of our students, all made possible by you. Hope to see you there.
Superintendent of Schools
HHS Senior's Original Play Recognized Among Best in NY State
Harrison High School senior, Ulysses Bravo was recognized by the 2023 New York State Theater Education Association Student Playwriting Competition and will attend the annual conference where his play will be produced and performed. Ulysses submitted his original work after being inspired when attending the Student Playwrights Showcase at last year's conference. His play is a comedy/fantasy titled, The Knight Who Only Knows One Move. Ulysses enjoys writing, especially comedy to reveal what he “finds funny and see if others see the humor too.” He is excited to attend the conference to work with a playwriting mentor to get his play ready to perform. Ulysses has been a member of chorus, the Footlight Players, the HHS Playhouse, all four years of high school, and has taken several theater classes. Congratulations Ulysses on this amazing accomplishment!
HHS Model Congress Team Earns Top Awards at Princeton Model Congress
The Harrison High School Model Congress team traveled to Washington, D.C., to compete in the Princeton Model Congress conference with 500 students from more than 30 schools across the country. The HHS team created and defended bills related to current issues, and served on committees including Senate HELP (Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions), Senate Committee on Foreign Relations, House Committee on Government Reform, where they met two to three times a day. Four students earned awards. Samantha Rabin and Liam Azar earned Honorable Mention and Evie Rabin and Alec Udell won Best Delegate gavels.
Dartmouth Acapella Singers Come to HHS
HHS chorus students participated in a workshop facilitated by Dartmouth University's premier acapella group Dartmouth Sings, including former HHS chorus member and alumnus Paul Horvath. Dartmouth students worked with small groups of chorus members to hone their musical skills and discuss how to music continues to be a part of their lives in college. The acapella group included students who major in a variety of disciplines, but continue to love music and performing. The workshop gave HHS students a chance to speak directly with college musicians and was a great opportunity to think about their futures, even if they don't plan on majoring in music. At the conclusion of the workshop HHS and LMK chorus students were treated to a concert by the Dartmouth Sings group.
HHS Student Artwork Selected for Statewide Exhibit
New York State Art Teachers Association selected original work by eight Harrison High School students to be displayed at the NYS School Boards Association Virtual Art Exhibit, an annual art exhibit that brings attention to work by students across the state. Congratulations to the featured student artists: Michael Brandt, Alexander Zihenni, Bora Kose, Matt Carrea, Olivia Leonard, Sophia Alfano, Isabella Brandano, Rosella Paniccia, and special thanks to their teachers Sarah Rowe, Sarah Palefsky, and Christine Vitarello for submitting and supporting their students' work.
LMK and HHS Students Recognized for Achievement in Italian
HCSD students and teachers joined peers and colleagues from across Westchester for the annual celebration of Italian language and culture sponsored by the Westchester Coalition of Italian American Organizations. HHS students, Megan Torre and Alexandra Paternoster and LMK students, Seraphina Blackman and Anthony Daniel Filardi, were recognized for their accomplishment in Italian language and interest in Italian culture; their teachers were acknowledged as exemplars in continuing to teach appreciation for Italian culture. The theme for this year's celebration was "Che gioia imparare l'italiano!" or "How joyful it is to learn Italian!"
LMK Middle School students, Ulrich Novak, Chelsea Bustamante and Olivia Eapen also competed in the annual Italian Poetry Contest sponsored by the American Association of Teachers of Italian held at New York University. Students selected and practiced reciting a poem in Italian and were judged based on memorization, pronunciation, interpretation and projection. Ulrich and Chelsea earned first place in their grade level categories; Olivia took second place.
LMK Students Perform Broadway Classic The Music Man, Jr.
The LMK Middle School Drama Club brought down the house with their performance of the classic musical, "The Music Man, Jr." in the school’s Performing Arts Center on November 17th November 18th, November 19th. After rehearsing together for many weeks, more than seventy-five students in 6th, 7th and 8th grades took to the stage under the direction of LMK chorus teacher Scott Test, Sophia Koukoulas as Music Director, Danielle McWalters as Choreographer, with assistance from Harrison High School chorus teacher Meg Test and a crew of high school students. “The Music Man, Jr.” is an adaptation of the Tony Award willing musical about a traveling salesman who falls in love with a small town librarian.
7th Grade Technology Design Students Inquire, Discover & Learn by Doing
Seventh grade students began the new quarter in Technology Design by working to solve a problem. Teams of students were given very few resources (paper, small cups and scissors) with the objective of collaborating to build the tallest tower with no more than 3 cups at the bottom. The results were creative and reflected innovative thinking by the student teams. This activity is an ideal way to introduce students to the course, because it exemplifies the steps of the Design Process: inquiring and analyzing, developing ideas, creating the solution and evaluating.
HCSD Educators Recognized for Dedication and Excellence
The 2023 New York State Teachers of English to Speakers of Other Languages (TESOL) Educator Awards selected Parsons Memorial Elementary School’s Jennifer Beck as recipient of the Elementary School ESOL Teacher of the Year award. Jennifer Beck is an exceptional teacher known for her unwavering commitment to inspiring and engaging students in meaningful learning. Jennifer's dedication, motivation, and her talent for creating productive and challenging learning environments make her a shining example in the field of English for Speakers of Other Languages (ESOL). This award honors her outstanding contributions to education and her impact on the lives of students, colleagues, and the Harrison community.
The Science Teachers Association of New York State (STANY) selected Dr. Joan O’Keeffe, Director of Science and Technology in Harrison, as the recipient of the 2023 STANYS Champion of Teacher Development Award. This recognition is a significant honor from the oldest science education organization in the United States. Dr. O’Keeffe is an innovative, dedicated educator who delights helping teachers and students flourish. She is the Director of Science and Technology and serves as the Principal of the district summer school. She was presented the award at the STANYS 128th Conference.