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F.E. Bellows’ Fifth Grade Class of Heroes Moves Up to Middle School

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F.E. Bellows Elementary School celebrated its 112 fifth graders during an in-person moving-up ceremony on June 16. Described by their principal as resilient, determined and adaptable heroes, the students bid farewell to their elementary school days before an audience of teachers, administrators, parents and friends.

In his remarks, Principal Michael Scarantino reflected on the students’ strength to persevere and endure in spite of overwhelming obstacles, including navigating online learning, quarantining and wearing masks for 175 days.

“It takes mental toughness to accomplish that for so long,” Scarantino said. “What made it most impressive was they didn’t complain about it at all. They went about the tasks at hand: learning, leading and achieving because they knew these were the most important obstacles that they needed to overcome to be successful.”

He praised the students for their determination to complete their assignments, try their best in every subject and participate in remote Math Olympiad, book clubs and stock market game classes. He also encouraged them to take their resilience, determination, adaptability, independence and mindfulness on their next educational adventure as middle schoolers in the fall.

“They were determined to have the best fifth grade year possible and took advantage of every opportunity afforded to them,” he said. “They were fully aware of the obstacles they faced this year and calmly acknowledged and accepted the challenge. The most powerful heroes in the world are those who can master the art of mindfulness and they did it with ease.”

Superintendent of Schools Dr. Barbara Ferraro said the students are ready for new, exciting challenges and opportunities that await them at middle school, including being the first middle school class to enjoy a new gymnasium.

“When I think of your fifth grade year, I think about how different it was for you, but I am also reminded of the good things and how strong and resilient you were,” Dr. Ferraro said. “You adjusted quickly to new ways of teaching and learning and to staying connected with friends. Throughout it all, you were able to be positive and supportive of each other.”

Before the students were called one by one to receive their certificates, Rye Neck High School senior and valedictorian Gabriel Miller shared a few words of wisdom.

The ceremony concluded with a performance of “Better Day,” a moving-up song that was written by the students and music teacher Tom Galgano.

Update from the Superintendent - June 18, 2021

Please click HERE to view an update from the Superintendent.

Rye Neck Appoints Dr. Dulce Barker as Middle School Principal

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The Rye Neck Union Free School District Board of Education and Superintendent of Schools Dr. Barbara Ferraro are pleased to announce the appointment of Dr. Dulce Barker as the new Rye Neck Middle School principal.

“I am pleased to welcome Dr. Dulce Barker to the Rye Neck School District,” Dr. Ferraro said. “The community will benefit from her extensive experience as a teacher and administrator. Dr. Barker brings a passion for learning and teaching to the position of Rye Neck middle school principal.”

Dr. Barker most recently served as assistant principal of Anne M. Dorner Middle School in the Ossining Union Free School District. During her tenure, she has been responsible for supervising staff and providing professional development for teachers and teaching assistants. She also served on the district’s equity, social-emotional learning and special education committees. Prior to that, she worked as a science teacher and science department coordinator at Rye Middle School.

Dr. Barker began her educational career as a science teacher, having served at the Adrien Block Intermediate School 25, Windward School and the Murry Bergtraum High School for Business Careers. In addition, she worked as an adjunct professor at Manhattanville College. She holds a bachelor’s degree and a master’s degree in anthropology from Florida Atlantic University, as well as a certificate of advanced study and a doctorate in educational leadership from Manhattanville College.

Community members are invited to meet with Dr. Barker on June 21 at 6 p.m. in the middle/high school dining hall.

Appointed on a three-year probationary term during the Board of Education meeting on June 16, Dr. Barker will step into her role on July 1.


Please click HERE to view the announcement regarding the appointment of Dr. Dulce Barker as Rye Neck Middle School Principal.

Junior Earns Award for Science Research on Alzheimer’s Disease

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Rye Neck High School junior Maelle Aubry, who is a member of the Science Research Program, participated in the virtual Somers/Westlake Science Fair on June 5. She earned second place for her project, “How Can Vitamin E Mitigate the Effects of Alzheimer’s Disease,” in the Life Science category.

Throughout the year, Aubry, who is interested in neuroscience, has been connecting the aging Alzheimer’s brain to a plant model in hopes to mimic and demonstrate how vitamin E can lessen the effects of Alzheimer’s disease. Next year, she hopes to carry out her experiment with plants to test her theory.

“Maelle is a determined student working through COVID restrictions to develop an intricate project,” teacher Kristi Rachiele said. “Her research will allow her the ability to connect the effects of vitamin E on plants with her main focus on patients with Alzheimer’s disease. Her innovative ideas are exciting, and I look forward to the progress she will make next year.”

Approximately 494 students from 33 high school schools participated in the virtual science competition.