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Students Sell Bracelets to Raise Funds for Central American Artists

Students Sell Bracelets to Raise Funds for Central American Artists photo
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Rye Neck High School members of the Spanish Club have raised $865 for the Pulsera Project, a nonprofit organization that educates, employs and empowers Central American artists through the sale of colorful handwoven bracelets, or “pulseras” in Spanish. 

Twenty-five students took the initiative to sell bracelets and purses, which were handcrafted by artists from Nicaragua and Guatemala. Led by students Adesuwa Carlton, Kimberly Carlton, Nicole Pereira, Joshua Rubin and Elona Sebbane, who shared the art and stories of the Pulsera Project with their peers, club members sold 143 bracelets and 15 purses. 

"When I first found out about the Pulsera Project, I thought it was an amazing idea,” said Rubin, a sophomore and club president who contacted the organization to receive the materials and instructions. “I immediately knew that I needed to bring this incredible fundraiser to our school. I thought this would be a perfect initiative for the Spanish Club. At the end of this project, everyone who worked on it, including myself, realized the importance of helping others.” 

Each colorful bracelet and purse – which was a one-of-a-kind, wearable work of art – contained a tag with a picture and signature of the artisan who made it. Angie Garcia, a Spanish teacher and club adviser, said the money the students raised will help fund construction of schools, housing and welfare programs in Nicaragua and Guatemala. 

“The unique and colorful patterns, and the connection to the people who made them, motivated the Spanish Club members to want to raise funds,” Garcia said. “The students’ involvement in this project connected to their Spanish studies by providing information about the population, typical dishes, scenery, work and education customs in Nicaragua and Guatemala. The students better understood the economic challenges that young people their age face in these two countries.”

Given the success of this year’s fundraiser, students said they plan on hosting another fundraiser and provide school community members with the opportunity to further enjoy the handcrafted art while also supporting the artists and their families. 

“We are grateful for having the opportunity to help people in Nicaragua and Guatemala,” said Sebbane, a sophomore and events coordinator for the Spanish Club. “The Pulsera Project gave Rye Neck students a chance to become familiar with beautiful works made by hand by many talented children and adults from other communities.” 



On Thursday, February 7th at 6:30 p.m. in the MS/HS Dining Hall, High School Graduation Requirements Explained covers transition to high school and talent development opportunities.  The presenters are: Dr. Valerie Feit, Co-Director of School Counseling, Ms. Samantha Chu, 7 & 8 Grade Counselor and High School Counselors Mr. Frank Gizzo, Ms Susan Hannon and Ms. Amanda Mahncke. 

The event is highly recommended for 8th grade parents and students.  All 7th grade parents and students are encouraged to attend.  


Please click HERE to view the NYSSMA 2019 Sign-Up Information

Middle School Students Donate Food to People in Need

Middle School Students Donate Food to People in Need photo
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Thanks to the generosity of Rye Neck Middle School students, families and community members, the Student Senate has donated more than 20 boxes of food for people in need. The donations, which were collected over the course of two weeks, were donated to the Larchmont-Mamaroneck Hunger Task Force on Jan. 9. 

Spearheaded by the middle school Student Senate and advisers Matthew Magnani and Christopher Tinnirello, the students collected nonperishable food items, such as cereal, pasta, rice, canned fruits and vegetables, canned gravies, sauces and soups, peanut butter and more. 

“Our students were very enthusiastic about the drive,” Tinnirello said. “We even created video public service announcements to play during the homeroom periods to remind students to donate. We raised awareness about those who are in need, and we also helped in a small way.”

Members of the Student Senate include sixth-grader Angie Aguilar, eighth-grader Mirabelle Brown, sixth-grader Sasha Jaramillo, seventh-grader Charlie Meyer, eighth-grader So Sato and seventh-grader Daniel Zyngier.

Fifth-Graders Design Original Bridges

Fifth-Graders Design Original Bridges 1

Fifth-grade students at F.E. Bellows Elementary School – who have been meticulously researching and studying bridge construction – collaborated with their peers to build their own original bridges out of newspapers and masking tape.

“Working together, working hard and learning are all part of a lifelong process that started when they were toddlers building with blocks,” said William McKeon, the library media specialist at the school, who spearheaded the project. “The main objective of the Bridge Building Project was to allow students to collaborate with each other within an academic framework.” 

The students were challenged to use no more than eight pounds of newspaper and between one and two rolls of masking tape to build their bridges, which were required to span an open area of 30 or more inches between two chairs and hold at least 100 pounds of weight. In addition, the students used their math skills to budget for materials and understand how geometry and structure-building are connected. 

“Planning for job choices, budgeting for materials and collaborating with partners makes bridge building a real-world exercise,” McKeon said.

McKeon said that many of the successful bridges incorporated tubular columns that supported the load. Fifth-graders Alejandro Cadarso, Ella Sperling and Ruby Williams, whose design successfully supported the required 100-pound weight, said they enjoyed working together. 

“It’s difficult to get the bridge to sustain a lot of weight on it, so you have to put all the pillars underneath in the right position,” said Sperling, who got to stand on top of the bridge for a few seconds. “We tried to design it so it’s even and nothing slides out. We made all of the columns the same size.”  



Please click HERE for information on the Sports Specialization Symposium being held on February 6, 2019

Students Create Original Spanish Fables

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Juniors – who have been studying Spanish fables by Félix María de Samaniego and deciphering the morals of each fable – recently used their knowledge and mastery of the foreign language to write their own original fables. 

“The fables that the students created were incredible,” teacher Nadia Whiting said. “They were all very excited to create their fables, and I was astonished to see how creative they were.”

The students collaborated in groups and had the option of displaying their final fables in one of three ways – by writing and illustrating a book, creating a slideshow storyboard or producing a video. Some of the fables’ morals were about self-worth and friendship, as well as helping one another while still taking care of yourself.   

“I was proud to see how mature my students were,” Whiting said. “It was a fun project for me to read as well. I learned a lot about how the students think, and that helps me understand them better as a teacher.” 

Whiting said the fables were created at an entry level, as they will be shared with middle school students as a way of encouraging them to study Spanish in the higher levels. 

Freshmen Become Orthopedic Surgeons for a Day

Freshmen Become Orthopedic Surgeons for a Day photo
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Rye Neck High School freshmen – who had been studying the musculoskeletal system in their biology classes – welcomed orthopedic surgeon Dr. Nicholas DeBellis as a special guest at their school on Jan. 3. 

During his visit, Dr. DeBellis discussed his experiences and shared insight into the steps leading to a health or medical career, and provided the students with hands-on training on the basic duties of an orthopedist. In addition, he provided an outline of what part of the body orthopedic surgeons treat and the different types of operations they perform. He also taught the students how to properly name and diagnose a fracture from an X-ray. 

“Our students enjoyed a day with no shortage of shock value,” said science teacher Matt DeBellis, who organized his brother’s visit. “Many students were surprised by the bluntness and simplicity of modern operations in orthopedics.” 

Following Dr. DeBellis’ presentation, the students collaborated in groups at different stations around the room to study 10 real-life case scenarios. The stations were equipped with X-ray photographs from multiple angles, a hyper-realistic plaster model bone with the same fracture and a lifesize clear plastic bone with the appropriate metal plates, screws and rods fixed to the bone that would be used to correct the fracture for each case study. 

“Our students were challenged to diagnose the patient’s bone break by naming the fracture by location, name of bone, fracture pattern and degree of displacement using all of the available case information,” DeBellis said. “A few classes were able to learn how to properly make plaster wrist splints on their peers.” 

The experience allowed students to make a connection between the content they’re learning and the potential careers they could pursue. 

Eighth-Graders Celebrate Italian Culture With Traditional Meals

Eighth-Graders Celebrate Italian Culture

Rye Neck Middle School eighth-graders – who have been exploring the Italian language and culture in Rosina Martinelli’s languages classes – celebrated their accomplishments by hosting an Italian food tasting. They enjoyed authentic food and desserts, which were prepared by parents and students.

“The students have already acquired their vocabulary and verbs associated with Italian food and popular dishes in their food chapter,” Martinelli said. “They learned not only how to make Italian food, but they walked away knowing that the Italian culture is rich with food and family.” 

Some of the dishes the students brought in included pizza, Nutella pizza, zeppole, Italian cream puffs, ravioli, meatballs, lasagna, penne alla vodka, tiramisu, Napoleon pastries and pasta primavera. 

In addition, as a culminating activity to their chapter on Italian food, the students worked in groups to create a script for an Italian cooking show. Each group was challenged to provide clear guidelines in Italian about how to cook an authentic dish.  


Daniel Warren, Bellows Students Grow Through Acts of Kindness

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Kindergarten- through fifth-grade students at Daniel Warren and F.E. Bellows are spreading kindness and peace throughout their schools. They’ve been building a “tree of peace” and “tree of kindness” to encourage their peers and teachers to continue to be kind to each other. 

“Each day the tree becomes larger and increasingly colorful with individual messages of kindness, kind words and inspirational quotes to remind all who enter the building that kindness matters,” said art teacher Dara Goodman, who spearheaded the project. 

The “tree of peace” at Daniel Warren is located in the entranceway of the building, while the “tree of kindness” at F.E. Bellows is located near the main office. 

Fourth-Graders Recreate Native American Fish Prints


F.E. Bellows Elementary School fourth-graders, who have been studying about Native Americans and their culture, created mixed media artworks in Dara Goodman’s art classes to further deepen their understanding and knowledge of the topic.

“I always look for interdisciplinary lessons and found that connecting what they are learning in their classroom into what they are doing in the art room fosters a full-rounded and deep understanding of the culture and subject matter being discussed,” Goodman said. 

Throughout the lessons, the students learned more about the Native American way of life, stylistic choices and use of symbolism in their artwork before creating their own versions of Native American fish prints. Using templates for various fish shapes, each fourth-grader created two fish designs that incorporated stylistic lines, patterns and symbols found within Native American artwork. Then, they used scissors to cut out each design and strategically place it on a piece of paper to create the illusion of four fish swimming in and out of the paper. In addition, the students used paint and painting techniques to create a rippled watery background and a sense of movement in their artworks.  

“At the end of the lessons, each student has a mixed media artwork showcasing Native American fish swimming,” Goodman said. “By tying in a visual art project to this co-curricular learning, the memory and understanding of the people and their culture becomes that much more important and interesting to our young learners.” 


Students Draw Inspiration From Each Other on Paint Night

Students Draw Inspiration From Each Other on Paint Night photo

Students and teachers from Rye Neck Middle School and Rye Neck High School worked together to create winter scene masterpieces during the middle school’s Paint Night event on Nov. 30, which served as a fundraiser for the junior class.

Using a white canvas, acrylic paint and brushes, sixth- through eighth-grade students followed step-by-step instructions from art teacher Dara Goodman to paint the winter scene, which included a moon and white conifer trees.

“The students successfully created a glowing, radiating moon in their sky using beautiful cool colors,” Goodman said. “They worked in layers, creating blended colors, winter trees and snow to complete their seasonal paintings. Each student created their own unique piece of artwork that they were proud of. It was so exciting to see how each person’s own interpretation and style was portrayed throughout the different details, colors and styles within each individual painting.”

Meanwhile, Rye Neck High School junior class officers and their adviser, Linette Milo, helped the students with their supplies and the overall organization of the event. Volunteers included freshmen Khaleema Bogan and Jake Diamond, and juniors Sonia Finkenberg, Grace Kujawski, Robert Miller, Lucas Pasquina, Juliana Silva, Maxwell Thurer and Lucas Vienne. 

“The students had a lot of fun while working and were very attentive to details and the techniques being presented to them,” said art teacher Trisha Appel, who, along with fellow teachers Jennifer Dallow and Karen Fontecchio, answered students’ questions about different art techniques. “You could see how proud they were of their paintings while they were working and at the end when they finished.” 

At the end of the night, event organizers raffled off prizes, which included a small canvas and paints for students to continue to paint at home. 

“The students were smiling, laughing and helping each other,” Appel said. “It was nice to see such a large group of students having fun, being creative and finding inspiration from each other’s work.” 

The art department’s Paint Night raised money for the high school junior class. The fundraiser is held twice a year to benefit students as they raise money for their respective classes.

Author to Creative Writing Students: ‘Make It Happen’

Author to Creative Writing Students: ‘Make It Happen’ photo

Sixth- and seventh-graders – who have been writing their own fictional stories in Jenny Theall’s Creative Writing classes – welcomed published author E.J. Flynn to their school to gain new skills and knowledge about the writing process.

During her visits on Nov 14, 27 and 30, Flynn – who is also a marketing and business professor at SUNY Purchase, founder of ILF Publishing and the parent of a middle school student – helped the students discover the power of their imagination. She also encouraged them to turn their own ideas into stories and empowered them with the confidence that they, too, can “make it happen” and get their stories published. 

“I love creative writing because it’s a safe place to express who you are through your writing,” said sixth-grader Willow Edwards, who has written descriptive poems, short snippets and fictional stories in her class. 

As part of the interactive workshops, Flynn challenged the students to keep organized, write down their ideas, start an outline, set goals and deadlines, do extensive research and partner with a friend or mentor who will keep them accountable. She demonstrated how a real-life experience or observation can be turned into a story and taught the students how to keep their readers invested by creating a believable world and robust characters, building suspense and writing a distinct beginning, middle and end to their stories. 

Sixth-grader Natalie Silva said she learned the importance of drawing inspiration from real-life experiences to develop a compelling story. 

“It’s such a creative and fun way to express yourself because you’re creating your own world, what happens in it and your own characters,” Silva said about the art of creative writing. “Obviously, life isn’t perfect, but this story is to you. And it becomes a reality to you and the readers who read it.”  

Theall said she invited Flynn to speak to her students because it was an opportunity for them to participate in a discussion with a published author, ask questions and envision the endless possibilities of creative writing. 

“Creative writing is student-generated and stems from their imagination,” Theall said. “Bringing in an author makes writing real. Hopefully, it also inspires them to continue writing, take it to the next step and have their work connect to art, current events and news. That’s the beauty of creative writing; it can connect all other topics.”