HS Students Impress at Science Symposium


John Jay High School students shared the progress of their work during the school’s annual Science Research Symposium on April 20.

The evening began with presentations by the program’s 15 seniors, who have been conducting their research for three years. Each student, or pair, shared PowerPoint presentations with their peers, parents and other visitors and took questions from the audience about their topics, methods, findings and scientific significance.

Among the evening’s presenters was Jack Brotmann, whose project “Hemoglobin Coated Nanoparticles: A Potential Model for Pro-Inflammatory Microparticles in Circulation,” earned him recognition earlier in the year in the Intel Science Talent Search competition as a semifinalist. Read more about Brotmann’s research here.

Attendees also heard from Zury Cutler, whose project “A Clear Path to a Brighter Future: Creation and Characterization of an Optically Transparent Hybrid Supercapacitor and Solar Concentrator,” has earned many awards – including first- and second-place awards at regional 2016 competitions and a coveted spot as a finalist in the International Sustainable World (Energy, Engineering and Environment) Project competition, held in Houston, Texas, from April 26-May 1. Cutler currently has a patent pending on his technology, which can be used where sunlight is available and complete transparency is needed, such as on cellphone screens, windows, vehicles and buildings.

The evening culminated with poster presentations by all of the program participating sophomores, juniors and seniors in the cafeteria. Attendees enjoyed refreshments while browsing the posters and engaging with the students about the scope of their work.

The science research honors course is a three-year program providing John Jay High School students with the opportunity to participate in the scientific research community and engage in authentic science research of their own design.

Fifth-Graders Assume Roles as Elected Officials

Fifth-grade students at Katonah Elementary School used their knowledge of the U.S. government to take on roles as senators, representatives and even the president of the United States during a mock trial session.

Each student representative prepared a speech to share with his or her fellow delegates in favor or in opposition to a bill that would require uniforms for all public school students. They took into consideration the demographic of the state they represented in forming their argument.

“New York has a lot of crime, so [uniforms] will be a good thing,” Gerard Garofolo said in representing his state, also citing a study that showed school uniforms correlated with a decrease in assaults and vandalism.

Leo Duarte, of Washington, disagreed, stating, “School uniforms are very costly.” He also added that students’ freedom of expression can be hindered if they are unable to wear what they choose. In addition, “Ties come with most uniforms and can be very dangerous…a huge choking hazard,” he said.

The mock debate allowed students to practice their speaking and argument skills, as well as prepare for additional opportunities for hands-on learning about government; including a visit from a Westchester County legislator and a visit to the Westchester County Legislature in White Plains.

John Jay High School Principal Recommendation


HS Chamber Ensemble Performs at Farmers’ Market

Members of John Jay High School’s Chamber Ensemble performed for shoppers at the Chappaqua Farmers Market on April 16.

They collected donations during the performance to raise money for the upcoming American Cancer Society Relay for Life, as well as the school’s newly-formed Tri-M Music Honor Society. For two hours, the group played a wide range of pieces that included “Eine kleine Nachtmusik” by Mozart, “Concerto No. 5” by Bach and “Danse Macabre” by Saint-Saëns.

Students who participated in the concert include Nicholas Aoki (violin), Matthew Gomes (violin), Acadia Thielking (violin), DeeAnn Guo (viola) and Caroline Andrews (cello).

The Chamber Ensemble was well-received by both the vendors and patrons of the farmers market. The group plans to build upon its success by performing at other venues and raising money for charities in the near future.

Paving Route 123

We have been informed by the Town of Lewisboro that paving work on route 123 will commence on May 3, 2016. All paving is scheduled to be completed during the night-time hours. We have been informed that work will begin each night at 8:00 p.m. and conclude each morning at approximately 6:00 a.m. Paving work is expected to take approximately 10 days. Although we do not anticipate that the work will interfere with our transportation schedule, we wanted to make you aware of the scheduled work just in case we do experience a delay.

Destination Imagination Team Competes at States

After earning a first-place finish at the regional level, John Jay Middle School’s Destination Imagination team earned a spot in the 2016 New York Destination Imagination Affiliate Tournament, held at SUNY Broome Community College on April 9.

“Our team represented JJMS well and won third place in their challenge category,” said team advisor Elizabeth Egan.

Team Ignite, comprised of Paul Esposito, Peter Gressler, Sophie Gou and Bian Suzuki-Wolf, competed in the middle level “Get A Clue” category, facing off against five other teams from across the state.

“These students did an outstanding job at the state tournament,” said Egan.

Cutler to Present Research at International Competition

John Jay High School senior Zury Cutler will represent the district at the 2016 International Sustainable World (Energy, Engineering and Environment) Project competition in Houston, Texas, from April 26 – May 1.

Cutler’s three-year-long science research program project, “A Clear Path to a Brighter Future: Creation and Characterization of an Optically Transparent Hybrid Supercapacitor and Solar Concentrator,” has earned many awards over the past three years:
• 2nd Place in Engineering at the 2016 Westchester Science and Engineering Fair
• ISWEEEP Finalist at 2016 WESEF
• 2nd Place in Physical Science at the 2016 Upstate Junior Science and Humanities Symposium
• 1st Place in Engineering at the 2016 Westchester-Rockland Junior Science and Humanities Symposium
• 2015 Intel Science Talent Search competition research report badge and student initiative badge
• 4th Place in Engineering at the 2015 WESEF
• 2nd Place in Engineering II at the 2014 Westlake Science Symposium

He also received a 2016 scholarship from the American Chemical Society.

Cutler currently has a patent pending on his technology, which can be used where sunlight is available and complete transparency is needed, such as on cellphone screens, windows, vehicles and buildings.

HS Launches Digital Newspaper

John Jay High School has a new online publication – the John Jay Focus.

The digital newspaper was launched by students, after school newspaper staff members and journalism class students after attending a Columbia Scholastic Press Association conference at Columbia University in the fall.

“Several students were inspired to create an online presence for the student-run newspaper,” said school librarian Lauren Carrigan.

Teagan Cronin and Alyssa Lofreddo, the publication’s co- editors-in-chief, along with head layout editor Jessica Li, spearheaded the effort.

[Cronin, Li and Lofreddo] have worked very hard the last couple of months building the new site, rallying support and recruiting more writers, bloggers and photographers,” said Carrigan.

Visit the John Jay Focus at jjhsfocus.com

Environmental Students Compete in Envirothon

Two teams represented John Jay High School at the Hudson Valley Regional Envirothon held at Sharpe Reservation in Fishkill on April 14.

The teams were each composed of five juniors and seniors in AP Environmental Science, coached by teachers Linda Rachele Burke and Matt Funnell. Team 1 included Nicholas Filannino, Matthew Gomes, Danielle Kulick, Sarahann Rozsa and Kaitlin Simonides; Team 2 included Sofia David, Ryan Dwyer, Cooper Klares, Rosie Sacco and Corneil Smith.

The teams competed in five different environmental categories: soils/land use, aquatic ecology, forestry, wildlife and a current environmental issue – this year, it was invasive species. The students also prepared a presentation to make offering a solution to an environmental problem – this year, it was the invasion of hydrilla in a New York State lake.
John Jay's Team 1 came in fourth place overall in the competition and took second place in Westchester County, only six points behind Ossining. Ryan Dwyer brought Team 2 to a first-place finish in wildlife and Nick Filannino led Team 1 to a third-place finish in forestry.
The teams would like to thank Chief of Police Frank Secret for coming to help them prepare for the wildlife event.

2016-2017 Budget Video


JJHS Spirit Soars at JayFest


John Jay High School celebrated its 19th annual JayFest spring event on April 15 and 16 with a lineup of home athletic contests that brought out school spirit all weekend long.

Friday’s events included the John Jay Spring Track Invitational and a varsity men’s tennis match. On Saturday, fans enjoyed junior varsity and varsity men’s and women’s lacrosse, junior varsity tennis, junior varsity and varsity baseball, and junior varsity and varsity softball matches throughout the day.

Tarshis Inspires Young Writers at IMES

Lauren Tarshis, author of the “I Survived” book series, inspired Increase Miller Elementary School third-, fourth- and fifth-grade students with her engaging personality and interesting tips during a special visit to the school on April 7.

“We invited a special guest here today,” said Principal Kerry Ford, who acknowledged the school’s PTA for funding the special event. “Lauren Tarshis is going to tell us all about the books she has published.”

Tarshis told students her 13 “I Survived” books, which narrate famous events such as the sinking of the Titanic, the Battle of Gettysburg and the Sept. 11, 2001 attacks, are classified as historical fiction.

“All of the facts are true and all the characters are made up,” she said. “I do tons and tons of research for my books.”

Tarshis described taking an ice bath and visiting the beach during the wintertime to research an accurate description of how people who jumped into the icy Atlantic Ocean waters as the Titanic sunk may have felt.

“It was horrible,” she said of the experiment. “It didn’t feel cold, it felt boiling hot and like I was being stabbed by thousands of needles” – a description that made it into her book.

Despite her success as an author now, Tarshis said she wasn’t able to finish reading a book until she was 14  and her first attempts at writing books didn’t turn out well. After landing a job with Scholastic after college, her love of books grew. It was an encounter with now world-famous “Harry Potter” series author J.K. Rowling that inspired her to keep trying to write.

“[Rowling said to me,] ‘Don’t you know? In order to write a good book, you have to write two terrible books first,’” Tarshis recalled.

She told students that she hasn’t forgotten that simple idea and reminded students that it is OK to not know right now what they are good at or what they want to do as adults.

Allergy Awareness

An IMPORTANT Notice from SnackSafely.com

On March 30, the Kellogg Company made a targeted announcement on the FARE website stating they would begin adding peanut flour to existing Keebler and Austin cracker brands – some of which were listed in this Guide – beginning in April.

The company did NOT make this announcement via press release, on their site, or on their social media properties, so the general public is unaware of this change.

On March 31 we removed all Keebler brand crackers from the Safe Snack Guide as THESE NOW PRESENT A DANGER FOR INDIVIDUALS WITH PEANUT ALLERGY.

We urge all parents, teachers, school nurses, aides, PTA leaders, coaches, camp counselors, scout leaders, and anyone else responsible for allergic children to PLEASE inform your family, friends, and colleagues of this change, as the introduction of a peanut ingredient in products previously assumed to be free of peanuts could have CATASTROPHIC consequences for individuals with peanut allergy.

Please note the following resources:
SnackSafely.com Press Release: http://snacksafely.com/kelloggspress-release
Advisory regarding the change: http://snacksafely.com/kelloggs-advisory
Petition to CEO of Kellogg’s:http://snacksafely.com/kelloggs-petition
Safe Snack Guide update notification: http://snacksafely.com/kelloggs-guid

Getting Excited About Science


John Jay Middle School students shared facts about microscopes, ecosystems, hurricanes, hoverboards and more during the school’s 33rd annual science fair on March 30.

Students displayed their poster boards and project equipment in the school library, where they presented to judges, parents, teachers and peers passing through.

Seventh-grade student Kaitlyn Machado shared that her project, “Activities and Asthma,” was inspired by her own experience with the condition.

“I measured the heartbeats of 30 friends before and after exercise,” said Machado, who used a pool of fellow students both with and without asthma. “I found that people with asthma had a higher heart rate before and after exercise.”

Eighth-grader Ashley Stagnari, who received an award for her project, “Salmon’s Big Hit,” is an enthusiastic advocate for animal rights. Her project explored the factors that cause wild salmon populations to decrease, including aquatic pollution and global warming.

Tejas Chimata studied “Ferrofluid” for his project, which he said is known for its use in fueling rockets. However, its magnetic quality, he shared, is being tested for possible use as a cancer treatment.

“It’s still in testing, but there is a possible application,” he said.

The afternoon concluded with an awards ceremony. All participating sixth-grade students received medals for their efforts and will have the option of taking part in the science fair in the next two years. Seventh- and eighth-grade students’ projects were judged by a panel – Eva Cisneros, Tammy Eliades, Lisa Frese, Hilda Gressler, Lauren Grizzoffi, Dawn Kamerman, Clark Landis, Ken Roban, Jeff Tepper and Lynn Tobin. Gift cards were provided for the winners by the PTO, as well as participation awards for students who have researched projects for all three years of middle school.

Science teachers Gregg Kastanis and Zach Miller said they hope the science fair will encourage students to continue exploring their interest in the sciences in high school and beyond.

JSA Attends Winter Congress

Members of John Jay High School’s Junior State of America chapter enjoyed another successful trip to the Washington metropolitan area, where they participated in the annual JSA Winter Congress at the DoubleTree Crystal City in Arlington, Virginia, from Feb. 26-28.

Simulating Congress by writing, amending and resolving several pieces of legislation, delegates Akshay Amin, Meg Howes and Jackson Mingle brought home the “gavels” by winning Best Speaker Awards for their debates.

The opening ceremony’s keynote speaker, Sen. Ben Sasse of Nebraska, addressed the delegates. Afterward, the more than 750 students from schools throughout the Northeast dispersed into their committee sessions, where they had the opportunity to participate as “senators” and “representatives” in the lawmaking process. They advocated for causes they were passionate about and immersed themselves in the congressional experience. After a weekend of caucuses and full committee sessions, the delegates experienced the satisfaction of having one of their bills passed by both houses of Congress.

After the sessions, the students headed to Washington, D.C., where they toured the U.S. Capitol and Supreme Court Building and participated in an evening monument excursion.

The Junior State of America is a unique organization in that, from its inception in 1934, it has been a student-run enterprise. Chapters elect their own presidents and students elect regional leaders and the national board of governors. Students cultivate democratic leadership skills, challenge one another to think critically, advocate their own opinions, develop respect for opposing views and learn to rise above self-interest to promote the public good. The JSA has a long list of alumni who have followed the path of civic life, including elected officials, cabinet members, and prominent members of media, business and academia. Over the years, the JSA has helped more than half a million students acquire the knowledge and skills necessary to be active, informed and responsible citizens, voters and leaders.

Seventh-Graders Create Sustainable Art

John Jay Middle School seventh-grade students used items from art teacher Holly Kellogg’s classroom that would have otherwise been trashed to create an origami flower garden that is now on display.

The project included used table-cover paper and leftover paint from previous undertakings and taught students that they can reduce, reuse and recycle even the most unlikely of objects to create something beautiful.

Embracing Colonial Life


Meadow Pond Elementary School’s fourth-grade students enjoyed a day of candle making, Dame School, stenciling, period music and dancing and more during the annual Colonial American Fair.

Students arrived in school wearing period-style clothing including tri-corn hats and aprons, and with the help of teachers and parent volunteers, rotated through a number of workshops that transported them back to the colonial era throughout the day.

In Dame School, students found that boys were given more difficult words to spell during a spelling bee and punishments for being wrong were much different than they are in today’s classroom; they ranged from wearing a dunce cap in the corner to holding up signs that read “Idle Boy” and “Bite-Finger Baby.”

Students got hands-on during a candle making workshop and learned about the types of toys they may have played with had they lived during the colonial era. The day concluded with music and dancing in the cafeteria for all to enjoy.

MS to Present ‘You’re a Good Man, Charlie Brown’


John Jay Middle School will present “You’re a Good Man, Charlie Brown,” a musical comedy based on the characters created by Charles M. Schulz in his comic strip “Peanuts,” from March 31-April 2. Local theater director and science teacher David Fritsch is directing the production, and sixth-grade teachers Marcia Daley-Savo and Gloria Miller are co-producing it.

“The show takes lessons from the cartoons we’ve seen and explores relationships, learning that mistakes are OK and that little successes in life mean a lot,” Miller said. “My favorite part is standing at the top of the stairs and watching the magic of it all come together so effortlessly.”

Daley-Savo described the show as colorful, whimsical and cartoonish. Props include an airplane, a school bus and Snoopy’s doghouse, which moves from side to side. Steve Martino, director of “The Peanuts Movie” and a local resident, volunteered to help with the production and painted several of the stage sets.

“The students were in awe when they found out he was working here,” Miller said.

The musical production features 52 talented actors and 14 dedicated crew members. Daley-Savo and Miller said they hope the students can relate to the same experiences that Charlie Brown is going through, such as making friends, dealing with siblings, going to school and learning from their mistakes.  

“My favorite part of the production is working with everyone, because we’re all like family,” said eighth-grader Lily Oyen, who plays Snoopy. “Snoopy is really fun to play because I get to do a lot of things that other characters don’t get to do, like bark and howl. Also, I’m the only one who gets to break the fourth wall and look at the audience.”

Stage manager Johanna Schechter, an eighth-grader, said the show features funny skits and great dance performances. “The show has many layers that little kids might find funny, but if adults choose to dig deeper, they’ll find something meaningful,” she said.  

Also instrumental in the success of the show are musical director Kurk Ehrenreich, costume designer Suzanne Fritsch, choreographer Christine Lovett and about a half dozen carpenters.

Performances of “You’re a Good Man, Charlie Brown” at John Jay Middle School are Thursday, March 31, at 7 p.m., Friday, April 1, at 7 p.m., and Saturday, April 2, at 1 p.m. and 7 p.m. Tickets are $10 and may be purchased at the door.

Sharing a Love of Literature


John Jay High School’s Advanced Acting class paid visits to each of the elementary schools to help celebrate Parents as Reading Partners during the month of March.

The students put on a play for their younger peers, acknowledging some of their favorite childhood books.

“The play was really five short plays put together,” said teacher William Friedman. “The students chose the books, created scripts, designed and made the costumes, props and set pieces, and cast and directed the plays.”

The books celebrated in this year’s production included “The Bear Snores On” by Karma Wilson and “Lily and the Purple Plastic Purse” by Kevin Henkes.

The month of March also included a number of PARP-themed reading events at each of the elementary schools, many centered on the theme of “Leap into Reading,” acknowledging 2016 as a leap year. Students had opportunities to read new books, meet authors, and participate in special reading activities in school and at home with their parents throughout the month.

HS Students Compete at State Science Olympiad

Fifteen John Jay High School students made a strong showing during the New York State Science Olympiad, held at Le Moyne College in Syracuse from March 11-12.

John Jay students finished 30th out of the top 54 schools that competed in the state event.

Congratulations to the following students who medaled in their events:

•    DeeAnn Guo and Katie Ricca — Bridge Building, 2nd Place  
•    Nick Aoki and Justin McGowen — It’s About Time, 2nd Place
•    Sam Chen and James Lucassen — Game On, 2nd Place  
•    Nick Aoki and DeeAnn Guo — Astronomy, 6th Place  
•    Angela Huang and Justin McGowen — Fossils, 9th Place  

Team members Nick Aoki, DeeAnn Guo, Justin McGowen and Katie Ricca each won a $2,500 scholarship to Le Moyne College for their extraordinary performances.
Other participating team members included Lane Carbaugh, Alexandra Hall, Amanda Huang, Danielle Kulick, Evelyn Mullaney, Athena Ohnemus, Callista Ohnemus and Thomas Pickup. Building assistance was provided by David Sorkin and Matthew Sorkin.

The team is coached by faculty members Linda Burke, Emilia Camporese, Matt Funnell, Micki Green, Ann Marie Lipinsky, Jennifer McLean, Amy Shimberg, Caroline Weldon and Steven Zoeller, as well as parent Victor Aoki.

Third-Graders Explore Chinese Culture

Increase Miller Elementary School’s third-grade students recently visited the Caramoor Center for Music and the Arts in Katonah for a day of immersion in Chinese culture.

Third-grade teacher Jillian Abisch accompanied the students. “They began the day with a tour of the Rosen House, followed by a presentation on Chinese instruments,” she said. “After lunch, they participated in a Chinese brush painting workshop, where they created Chinese calligraphy using ink and brushes.”

Students concluded the trip by learning about the Chinese lion dance and ribbon dancing. They had an opportunity to use materials to act out the dances.

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