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Seventh Grader Wins ‘Journey of Peace’ Poster Contest

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Rye Neck Middle School seventh grader Charlotte Geary has won the Larchmont-Mamaroneck Lions Club’s Peace Poster Contest for expressing her vision for this year’s theme, “Journey of Peace.” 

“To create my project I used watercolor pencils, glitter paint and sharpies,” said Geary, whose project depicts a roller coaster. “The roller coaster is made up of flags that represent that people go through the journey of peace together. For the people who are riding the roller coaster, they are going on the journey of peace together. The top left corner is ultimate peace. Peace is a journey like a roller coaster; it is never a straight path, with bumps on the road and backwards moves at times.” 

Approximately 70 seventh graders from the middle school submitted their artwork for the schoolwide competition. High school art teacher Karen Fontecchio narrowed down the entries to eight finalists – Geary, Sasha Jarmillo, Lilah Martelli, Lucia Monreal, Tara O’Reilly, Shelby Preisser, Sasha Reshetnyak and Maya Wintermantel – to represent Rye Neck Middle School at the local branch contest. A panel of judges at the Larchmont-Mamaroneck Lions Club selected Geary as the winner based on originality, artistic merit and portrayal of the theme, while Monreal and Wintermantel were named runners-up. Geary’s poster will now be submitted to the district-level competition for further judging. 

For her poster, Monreal used markers, watercolor paints and acrylic paint to complete her painting. 

“I’m showing a journey of peace by a dove traveling to Earth surrounded by flags,” she said. “I used a dove, peace sign, flags, the Earth, and used white paint to make stars.” 

Wintermantel’s poster features a complex piece with different components, including a dove flying behind a heart-shared Earth. 

“There is a tree growing out of the dove, symbolizing family, roots, growth and life,” she said. “To symbolize a journey, I used a path or ribbon of flags dancing across the page. Underneath everything are two hands of people holding hands. To me, all these things together created a sense of the journey of peace.” 

The students were honored for their participation and received recognition certificates during a ceremony on Nov. 7 at the Larchmont Village Center. The winning posters are displayed at the library and Bott Shoppe in Mamaroneck until the end of the month.

The Larchmont-Mamaroneck and New Rochelle Lions co-sponsored the local contest, in cooperation with five middle schools and the Community Resource Center. The Lions Club International Peace Poster Contest provides children with the opportunity to express their creativity and visions of peace through art. As part of the contest, students’ posters advance through several rounds of competition before an international winner is declared in the spring. 

Chemistry Students Etch Images on Copper Metal

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Rye Neck High School students – who have been learning about oxidation reduction reactions in Kelly Cappa’s Chemistry of Art class – recently worked in groups to etch images on copper metal to bring their studies to life. 

As part of the science experiment, the students used a black and white picture that was printed on a press-n-peel paper and transferred the image onto a square sheet of copper. Then, they hooked up the copper to electrodes, placed it into a sodium chloride solution and turned on the electricity to begin the etching process. 

“Etching is an example of an oxidation reduction reaction,” Cappa said. “The copper being etched is oxidized by a saltwater solution. Oxidation is often seen through rusting, but it is found in so many more places. This project gave my students a hands-on experience with one of the processes used.”

Eighth Graders Cross the ‘Invisible Line’ Into Responsible Decision-Making

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As part of the Counseling Department’s Invisible Line program, Rye Neck Middle School eighth grade students collaborated in groups and participated in interactive activities on Nov. 6 to reflect on values within their belief system.

Throughout the learning experience, the students defined 10 values – creativity, happiness, love, wealth, respect, friendship, popularity, integrity, acceptance and power – before participating in a mock values auction where they bid on items, or values, based on their bidding strategy, or belief system. 

“The purpose of the Values Auction was to have students participate in an interactive group activity to bid on values that the groups identified as important,” high school counselor Frank Gizzo said. “Over time, we are molded by our values. The influences that impact our value system can come from anywhere: family, friends, school, work, sports, religion or media. Furthermore, our values can change over time depending on the experiences we have in our lives.” 

Gizzo said the activities were designed to help students recognize how the prioritization of values may vary from person to person, and how to collaborate in a group when each person has a different perspective.

“As facilitators of the activity, we focus on how people within the group work together, communicate and ultimately arrive at a bidding strategy,” said Gizzo, who facilitated the activities along with high school counselors Susan Hannon and Amanda Mahncke and middle school counselors Samantha Chu and Meegan Lawlor. “We look to see how students use conflict resolution techniques when disagreements arise, especially as their personal processes or values may conflict with that of the rest of the group.”

For the second part of the program on Nov. 15, the students will discuss how values connect to goals, expectations, pressures, relationships and responsibilities. The boys’ groups will be presented with various social media scenarios and challenged to physically represent decision-making processes that could have someone cross the line and not even know it. The girls’ groups will engage in a conversation about pressures and expectations and tie it back to redeemable values and behaviors. 

“The Values Auction ties together what is important to a person and how that impacts their decision-making processes,” Gizzo said. “The boys will line up across the room and listen to a scenario. They will advance one step every time they think a line has been crossed in the situation presented to them. The important parts of this exercise will be the reflection and application in everyday life.”

Chu said the girls will reflect on the previous session's values auction activity as it relates to real life values.

“The goal of the discussion is to connect values with actions and the higher expectations in high school and beyond in the real world,” she said. 

Principal Dr. Eric Lutinski said the sessions were part of the school’s ongoing efforts to develop students’ social and emotional learning through group work and reflection as they learn to become responsible young adults in their community. 


Magnets Help Attract First Graders to Science

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First graders at Daniel Warren Elementary School – who have been studying about the different properties of magnets – brought their studies to life through a number of science demonstrations and hands-on activities. 

Thanks to a generous grant from the PTSA, the students welcomed a scientist from HighTouch HighTech to their classrooms Nov. 7-8 for a science enrichment program on magnets. The students discovered how the north and south poles of a magnet attract and repel each other. 

“It’s a great program that really involves students in learning,” first grade teacher Dawn Drace said. “All of those hands-on experiments make them feel like they are part of the learning and discovery process. When the students can dive in hands-on and do the activity, it’s wonderful for them and it deepens their understanding.” 

Throughout the lessons, the students were challenged to make their own magnets and discover the different properties of magnets. In other experiments, they were tasked with removing a paper clip from a cup of water without placing a magnet in the water, as well as manipulating a compass’ arrow with a magnet.  


Rye Neck Students Receive Awards for Excellence in Italian Language

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Two students from Rye Neck Middle School and three students from Rye Neck High School were recently honored for their accomplishments in and dedication to the Italian language and culture. 

Seventh grader Abigail Weidemann, eighth grader Tyler Sergio, sophomore Emelin Echeverria, junior Matteo Renda and senior Giulianna Miceli were recognized during an awards ceremony on Oct. 21. Accompanied by their Italian teachers, Davide Bianco and Rosina Martinelli, they were among students from throughout the county to receive the recognition. 

“The world language department at Rye Neck is extremely proud of all of the hard work and dedication that these students put into the Italian language and culture,” Martinelli said. “We are very fortunate that we are able to celebrate these students and their accomplishments.” 

In addition, Miceli was among 20 students who received a scholarship during the awards ceremony. She was chosen to receive the scholarship for her outstanding achievement and excellence in the Italian language and culture. 

The awards were given by the Westchester Coalition of Italian American Organizations to outstanding students who study the Italian language in Westchester County.