Reading, writing, grammar, vocabulary, and ......... boatbuilding?
You heard right. Recently, sixth graders in both classes built model reed boats like the ones the main character constructs in the book they've been reading: A Long Walk to Water by Linda Sue Park. In the book, the character, Salva Dut, and the group of Sudanese refugees he was traveling with, needed to build boats to cross the Nile River and make it to a refugee camp in Ethiopia.
On May 12th, English 8H went to the Morgan Library & Museum to see two exhibits related to the class's study of the play "A Raisin in the Sun" by Lorraine Hansberry.
One of those exhibits featured the life and work of the American poet Gwendolyn Brooks, a contemporary of Hansberry who, like her, was raised in the Black community on the southside of Chicago. The students learned about Brooks's style of presenting the lives of her community's residents in a true-to-life, nonjudgmental way in her poems, and her participation in the struggles for racial justice.
by Shoshana Spencer Students in my 9th- and 10th-grade digital art classes used Photoshop to create logo spoofs and advertisement parodies that communicated critical messages about different companies and products. Included are spoofs promoting the NFL and it’s high rate of concussions, Spotify advertisements, and the dark history of the Fanta beverage, among others. Scroll through the slideshow to view these witty and eye-opening creations!
Congratulations to the ninth-, 10th-, and 11th-grade Spanish students in Ms. Pevzner's, Mr. Ahern's and Ms. Magni's classes who won medals and certificates after taking the National Spanish Exam! After taking the time to prepare for the exam, the students were very excited to take tackle the exam, which they took during class over the course of two days. Every student who took the exam won a gold, silver, or bronze medals, as well as honorable mentions.
After reading essays from Aimee Nezhukumatahil’s collection, World of Wonders, students from Dr. Davis’s 11th grade English class and Ms. Umansky’s 10th grade English classes traveled to Coney Island to visit the New York Aquarium. World of Wonders encourages readers to connect their own experiences to the beauty in the natural world. Students examined the animals on display and wrote responses as part of a personal essay writing unit. Before returning to school, students and chaperones enjoyed lunch at Nathan’s Famous Hot Dogs!
Ms. Spencer’s photo “Park!” was recently accepted to the international juried photography exhibition titled “Words, Words, Words” at the Praxis Photo Arts Center in Minneapolis, MN. Her photograph will be on display from May 21st – June 4th, 2022.
Mr. Gordon’s 12th grade history class and Ms. Spencer’s 10th grade digital art class partnered up to attend the exhibit “The Utopian Avant Garde: Soviet Film Posters of the 1920’s” at the Poster House Museum in Chelsea. Mr. Gordon’s class recently finished reading Orlando Figes’ book The Whisperers about private life in Stalin’s Russia, while Ms. Spencer’s class has been learning about the artist Shepard Fairey, who was influenced by revolutionary poster art from that era. The students enjoyed viewing the thought-provoking art throughout Poster House.
On April 26th, the Community Service Club revisted El Nido de Esperanza in Washington Heights to volunteer. Nido de Esperanza is a non-profit organization that seeks to break the cycle of poverty by changing the first 1,000 days of a child’s life, as one in four children in New York City are born into poverty. They work with families from pregnancy through the child’s third birthday. They also work with new immigrant moms in the community, and believe in tackling poverty neighborhood by neighborhood and empowering moms. Six key areas they work on with these families to help make parenting a little easier are: nutrition, education and literacy, material goods and finances, child safety and health, community and support, and mama well-being.
On Wednesday night, York Prep students and families had the chance to see a dynamic mix of art created by our very creative young makers. The 2022 Evening of the Arts exhibit included mixed media, pencil drawings, sculptures, paintings, solar-powered mini vehicles, and more! Attendees were also treated to musical performances by Jayden Littlejohn, 11th grade, Daron Sklar, 11th grade, and Isabella Brown, 11th grade. After taking a year off, due to the pandemic restrictions last year, this year's evening was enjoyable and inspiring!
Our high school Varsity, Junior Varsity, and senior athletes were honored this morning with a special breakfast and awards ceremony. We are so proud of all of our athletes and recognize all of their hard work and skills. We also thank them for all of the fun memories from this year! Click through to see a full list of this year's awards recipients.
The day before I started writing this piece, I watched our first League Boys Varsity Volleyball game of the Spring Season. They won! And they beat a school that is three times our size. What is happening? Are we becoming a sports powerhouse without knowing it? Since we won the State Basketball Championships this year, we have had a few applications from basketball players eager to join our program. I should also proudly state that both our Girls Varsity Basketball and Boys Junior Varsity Basketball teams won their League Championships. Hooray, I say. But, without disappointing the applicants, I should also add that we are not the University of Kansas. The last time we won the State Tournament was 30 years ago. 1992! Not exactly a dynasty.
Earlier this week, the Student Government Organization held a bake sale to raise funds to support Ukraine. The bake sale was a great success. Students joyfully enjoyed their delicious purchases and the SGO raised over $500!
The York Prep Annual International Night took place this past Wednesday, after pausing for a year. YP students, faculty, and families enjoyed scrumptious culinary delights from around the world that were prepared by the families in our community. The event concluded with exciting musical and dance performances from some of our very talented students.
The flyers around campus read, “Out of the ashes of the pandemic comes The York Prep Drama Club Production of Places!” And this week, the Drama Club put on four performances of the one-act comedy, written by Drama director John Viscardi, to packed audiences who smiled and laughed throughout each show. The cast and crew felt great to be back on stage, and the YP community felt energized (and greatly entertained) by our talented students!
The Class of 2022 has worked closely with Ms. Rooney and Mr. Leventhal, and we congratulate them on their college acceptances. We are very proud of them and wish them all the best towards their bright futures. Please click through to see the full list of acceptances.
Did you know that April is National Poetry Month? To celebrate and ignite a passion for poetry, Ms. Umansky shared the New York Times learning site's link to a list of ways read, write, teach, and learn poetry. The list includes her articles about found poetry. Click here to whet your poetic appetite!
Last month, in our Senior Scholars Project Spotlight Talya Plush talked about her topic "College Admissions: The Legacy Upper hand". This month, David Piermatteo explains how he chose to research and present his findings on the impact of electric cars on the future.
On Wednesday, May 4th, the Evening of Arts will take place in the York Prep Chapel and library. It starts at 4:00 pm, with a musical performance from 4:00 - 5:00 pm in the library. Stay until 6:00 pm to enjoy the incredible art and design projects produced by York Prep’s artists and makers! Scroll through the slideshow for a little preview.
This month, students in Dr. Davis’s 11th-grade English class presented creative projects inspired by Toni Morrison’s novel, The Bluest Eye. While some students wrote thoughtful poems from the perspective of different characters, others showed off their artistic talents through visual art. The artwork is on display in Room 218 for the rest of the quarter.
Ms. Magni’s 11th-grade Spanish recently visited our dance studio! "The idea of the studio visit was to give students a connection to the music and culture of Latin America, which we learn about continuously throughout the year," said Ms. Magni. "It was a way to get them moving and connect the Spanish language to cultural activities and passions they may already have." The class talked about the origins of salsa, learned some steps from Mr. Martin, and practiced their fancy footwork!
I recently did a small but fun lab with my Honors Chemistry class. To learn about Limiting Reagents, students performed calculations on Oreo cookies divided into wafers and filling. This helped students visualize excess and limiting reactants, and why these must be determined when predicting products. The simple and fun experiment had a delicious conclusion when the students got to bite into their cookies – but with fresh, new Oreos, of course!
Earlier this week, Mr. Hartman's Scholars How to Look at a Painting class visited The Met. They perused the Contemporary and Modern Wing, and each student was asked to focus and analyze one single painting. The young scholars enjoyed their day at the museum, and were happy to apply the skills they learned in class to the works created by master painters.
We are proud to announce that York Prep basketball has been recognized for two NYSAIS honors. York Prep senior Nikko Barnes has been named the 2022 NYSAIS Player of the Year and Varsity Boys Basketball Coach Brian Shure has been named 2022 NYSAIS Coach of the Year. After leading the Varsity Boys Basketball team to victory and winning the New York State Championship, Nikko and Coach Shure can now celebrate another well-earned victory! Congratulations to Nikko Barnes and Coach Shure!
Mr. Viscardi's eight-grade drama class performed monologues penned by the students themselves. They each stepped up to the podium and recited their personal pieces in front of an audience of faculty members. They injected emotion and character into their work, and we are very proud of them!
Holocaust survivor Sami Steigmann speaks to schools about his life during the Second World War. He also happens to attend the same synagogue as 9th grader James Crovitz, a student in one of my two ninth-grade classes. Sami was gracious enough to give a presentation to 9th and 10th grade history classes on Zoom to tell his story and share his hopeful message. Sami lived with his parents from 1941-1944 in Ukraine at the Mogilev-Podolsky labor camp, in an area called Transnistria. Sami’s presentation enabled 9th graders to ask urgent questions about his transformative experience and process his message of positive thinking, resilience, and determination.
The 2021-2022 Boys Varsity Basketball season will go down as the most successful in York Prep history. Ending the season with a state championship will be what most recall, but the entire four month journey will hold a special place in the hearts of each player and coach.
Last week, my 10th-grade Honors Chemistry class completed our Yummy Moles Baking Project, and it was incredible! The students had a fantastic time baking, and they also told me the calculations portion was fun! The project objective was to learn about calculating dimensional analysis by converting all the ingredients of a recipe into moles.
This year York Prep’s annual History Day made its return on March 2nd after a two-year hiatus. Students from Mr. Gordon and Mr. Buckley’s classes spent the past six months locating primary and secondary sources, compiling important information on their topics, and designing their final projects, which came in the form of essays, websites, documentaries, and museum exhibits. Students exhibited their projects on the 4th floor chapel, while history classes from all grades visited throughout the day.
Last month, in our Senior Scholars project Spotlight Alex Chilkowitz talked about his topic “The Downfall of the NFL: How CTE and American Culture Changed the Rules of the Game”, and the inspiration behind it. This month, Talya Sky Plush sheds some light on why she decided to focus on the history of legacies and college admissions, as well as the new procedures that are being implemented by schools to open up a wider range of opportunities for applicants.
After Dr. Davis’ AP English class recently finished reading The Invisible Man by Ralph Ellison, they visited the Invisible Man statue in Ralph Ellison Memorial Park. They also stopped by other historical places where writers from the Harlem Renaissance frequented including Hotel Theresa, the Apollo Theater, and Striver’s Row! A scrumptious lunch including cheesy grits and yams was enjoyed by all at world-famous Soul food restaurant Amy Ruth's.
In addition to York Prep’s Art night coming up on May 4th, busy Mr. Schwartz has his own one man show opening that week on Friday May 6th, from 5:00 pm to 7:00 pm. The Corkran Gallery of The Rehoboth Art League in Rehoboth Beach, Delaware will be featuring 16 paintings by Gary Schwartz. The exhibit, entitled Anachronism, is a photo-realist journey from the Dutch and Flemish Golden Age of Painting, up to 1960’s Coney Island. The painting seen here is entitled Electric Perk. It is 20”x20” acrylic on canvas. The paintings are either 20”x20” or 30”x30”. It promises to be a thrilling week for our own Mr. Schwartz. You can also get a sneak preview of the show in the latest issue of Delaware Scene.
Congratulations to our Varsity Boys Basketball team for winning the 2022 New York State Championship! They beat Trevor Day in a very exciting game, where they were down by 14 early on–then took the lead with less than two minutes left! It was a heroic comeback, and this marks York Prep’s first State title since 1992.
I want to tell you a story about my life. Sorry to be self-absorbed, but maybe you can learn a general lesson from my particular circumstance. Back in 1969, I was a very young and, surprisingly, successful barrister. I was in the right Chambers (what you might call a sort of partnership) at the right time, and I had been chosen as the Junior (what you might call “second chair” ) to defend Charles Kray in the Kray case, which turned out to be the longest criminal murder trial in English history. In the middle of that trial, on October 6th 1968 to be precise, I married Jayme.
In February of each year, the York Prep Pantherdome hosts the Annual York Prep Social Studies Superbowl. This year, the eighteenth celebration of that tradition took place during Spirit Week, the run-up to Mid-Winter Break. The four high school classes went head to head (so to speak), answering questions about history, geography, government, and current events. The questions, in three different categories of difficulty with point values to match, were written by retired York History teacher Mr. Michael Roper. Categories of questions included “Historic Words”, “Firsts”, and “Planes, Trains, and Ships”.
The Junior Varsity Boys Basketball, Varsity Girls Basketball, and Varsity Boys Basketball teams all won the League Championships this week! On Wednesday, the JV Boys beat Leman to cinch the title. Then, on Thursday the Varsity Girls team beat LREI, and the Varsity Boys team beat Brooklyn Friends School–earning York Prep the trifecta of League Championships! Congratulations to all of the talented and hard-working team members, and to Coach Ahern, Coach Fazio, Coach Michael, and Coach Shure!
A cross-curricular approach to teaching animal farm brought some of York’s best and brightest 8th grade teachers together. Mr. Schwartz (art), Ms. Umansky (English), Ms. Hersh (English), Ms. Maylath (English), Ms. Borden (Science), and Mr. Ward all collaborated to bring the complexity of Animal Farm to life. The results were exciting and enlightening.
This month, the students in Mrs. Haberman’s 12th-grade Honors Environmental Science class were assigned to design a public service announcement about an obstacle facing forests in a state of their choosing. As a part of their Forests and Forest Management unit, the students created raps, posters, and more to raise awareness.
This month, some of the members of the ONYX Black Students Association created posters highlighting four groundbreaking Black women. Tsion Brown, Dylan Taylor, Jada McIntosh, Eden Mckinney, and Cameron Chinquee wrote about the achievements of Daisy Bates, Claudette Colvin, Madam C.J. Walker, and Michelle Obama. The write-ups are framed by beautiful collages composed of photos and paintings of the powerful historical figures. Scroll through the slideshow to see the inspirational posters, which are currently adorning the hallways of the third floor.
Ms. Borden’s 8th-grade science class recently employed classic toys in their lab, which demonstrated velocity and acceleration! Her students built ramps constructed of mini whiteboards and textbooks. They then raced hot-wheels cars on their ramps, and recorded the time it took their cars to travel a certain distance. The students were able to calculate the velocity of their cars using their measurements. Finally, they changed the height of the ramps in order to investigate how ramp height affected velocity.
If you turn to page 165 in Ten Lessons in Introductory Sociology, you will see a familiar face. Middle School Dean and history teacher Barry Cleckley is featured in a career spotlight profile, where he talks about how he has applied his sociology education towards his career. Scroll through the slideshow to read his interview!
Earlier this month, I took my 12th-grade elective Modern Arab World to the Center for Architecture’s temporary exhibit called “Cairo Modern” where it shows the buildings and architectural layout of Cairo, Egypt through the centuries — tied to the historical and political moments we’ve discussed in class. After our visit to the exhibit, we had a group discussion in nearby Washington Square Park about what we saw.
The temperatures have dropped once again, and many of our fellow New Yorkers are in need of warm coats. Earlier in the month, members of the YP Community Service Club organized a coat drive that took place in the York Prep lobby. They collected over 50 coats and delivered them to The Bowery Mission.
Every year, seniors in the Scholars Program have the chance to complete the year with a capstone project of original research. Senior scholars meet periodically with their Senior Research Director for one-on-one sessions to develop their projects. This year’s topics include “Sleep Deprivation in Adolescents with ADHD”, “Houston Astros and the Legacy of Sign Stealing in Baseball”, “Electric Cars: How to Reach the Future Faster”, and “College Admissions: The Legacy Upper Hand”. This month, Alex Chilkowitz talks about his topic “The Downfall of the NFL: How CTE and American Culture Changed the Rules of the Game”, and the inspiration behind it.
After recently reading Hamlet, Mr. Marzoni brought his English 12-2 students to Central Park to stage Act V. The cast consisted of Josh Izhaky as Horatio, Nate Doldron as Hamlet, Sebastian Ramirez as the Gravedigger, Dylan Freidman as King Claudius, Ryder Morse as Laertes, Frederica Krieger as Queen Gertrude, Sam Carrigan as the Priest, Shurube Alimansky as Ophelia, and Zach Grodman as Osric.
The Science Club recently did a very cool experiment - literally! Under the guidance of faculty adviser Ms. Borden the students made "instant ice". The first step was to put the water in the freezer, which lowers the temperature to the point just before it would turn to ice. While the refrigerated water was still a liquid, once it was poured onto a cup of ice, and mixed with the ice molecules, it instantly turned to ice! Sooooo cool! Watch a video of the experiment here.
This quarter, my 10th-grade STEAM class started a new unit: Coding and Electronics. Students started out by learning how to code a simple computer game. Then students learned how gaming companies take a game from concept, to beta, and to final product. Then, using our newfound coding skills, students practiced using coding skills to program small computers called microcontrollers. These microcontrollers are small yet powerful tools used in robotics to execute a myriad of functions. STEAM students are currently learning how to turn on LED lights, connect speakers, and run servo motors with them. During this unit, we explored how programming, circuit design, and an engineer’s creativity can come together to make useful and exciting products.
The boys varsity basketball team is enjoying perhaps the most success they have had in quite some time this season. Hoping to have a strong squad this year, the team went out and scheduled the toughest competition they could find, in order to prepare themselves for a late season run. So far that challenging schedule has paid off immensely.
Sasha Abelson-Shaer is a senior basketball student manager for the Varsity Boys Basketball team at York Prep. Sasha handles the video content in-game, as well as managing other daily duties for the program. He is also a star baseball player in the spring, having started on varsity since his freshman year. Sasha dives into what this basketball season has been like.
Coach Turi: Sasha, you are the manager for the basketball team, tell us what you do for the program?
Sasha: As the team manager I try to do anything and everything they ask of me to do to the best of my abilities. If the coaches or players need something, I am at the ready to be able to assist.
Let me categorically say that we all need fun in our lives. COVID, unfortunately, has robbed us of our opportunities for silliness. I remember having a family Thanksgiving dinner party with friends and extended family, and providing them all with clown’s noses. The wearing of those red squeaky sponges added to the event. Now, we do not have those parties. I remember blowing up balloons on a plane and making animals (some of which popped), which I gave to other passengers, to the extreme embarrassment of my son. Now we do not take planes anymore. I remember…no, I will not bore you further. I think most of you know what I mean. Our whole way of life has been affected by the pandemic. And I know that I have been lucky. No one in my family has been hospitalized yet. Some have had COVID, but only mildly. I am still untouched but waiting.
11th Grader Liam Benten recently developed his own creative study guide for an exam in Ms. Pierce’s Microbiology class. The exam was on DNA structure, and he created a “subway map” to illustrate the different components. Thank you to his Jump Start teacher, Ms. Arnao, for sharing his creation.
On Friday, January 14th, students in Dr. Davis's Senior Scholars Research Methods class participated in a special Zoom session with librarians from the Research Division of the New York Public Library. These six seniors have been working on individual research projects all year, which will culminate in an April presentation and defense.
After students in my English 7-1 finished reading The Outsiders by S.E. Hinton, they brought one scene from the book to life with the help of the dance and drama departments. Dance instructor Lance Martin and drama teacher John Viscardi directed the students in a dance re-enactment of the rumble scene in which the two gangs—the Greasers and the Socials—settle scores. Martin and Viscardi guided the students through various movements in sync with music from the fight scene in West Side Story.
Mrs. Haberman’s Honors and 12-3 Environmental Science classes recently had a very exciting virtual visit from two Smokejumpers! In conjunction with their Forestry and Forest Management unit, two smokejumpers from Montana Zoomed in to speak with the class about their jobs as firefighters who parachute into forests to fight wildfires.
Earlier this month, Mr. Cockrell and I accompanied a group of 11th graders to Wolf Eyes Library Style, a residency and exhibit by Michigan noise music ensemble Wolf Eyes at the Library for the Performing Arts in Lincoln Center. Students appreciated the band’s efforts at pushing the boundaries of what is normally considered music through homemade instruments (including a “transforming mutant horn”), abstract painted “scores,” and some truly mind-bending sounds, which they were able to take home on free vinyl LPs of music Wolf Eyes recorded just for the library (one of nearly 300 albums released over the course of their career). Apologies to those parents and family members with record players at home! Learn more about Wolf Eyes Library Style here!
Class of 2017 alum Lia Schaffner strives to help others to find their voice. She recently published her first book Rainbow Plague, which illustrates how quickly society can change and evolve into a very negative environment for certain parts of the population. “I got the idea from looking at the Trump administration and so many horrible things happened to so many people,” says Lia. “We are not doing enough to promote awareness, be a part of the change, and to be involved with politics.”
York Prep’s student literary magazine, Genesis, has won another accolade! The 2021 Scholastic Yearbook and Magazine Awards results have just been released, and we are honored to announce that Genesis has won first place in the Junior and Senior High School Scholastic Magazine category! Congratulations to the student editorial staff, the student writers and artists, and thebfaculty advisors Ms. Umansky, Ms. Cox, and Ms. Tabourin! Please scroll through the slideshow to see the talented student editorial staff!
York Prep class of 2016 alum Rebecca Meckler was in seventh grade when her Jump Start teacher, Ms. Feibusch, encouraged her to join a new club. She chose the Drama Club, and the rest was history. She continued taking on different roles in the Drama Club throughout the rest of middle school and high school, graduated from Carnegie Melon with a BFA in Stage and Production Management, and is currently the on-call Assistant Stage Manager for "Mystere" - a Cirque du Soleil show in Las Vegas.
This month we talk withRome Kadi, an 11th grader who has taken his passion for sports broadcasting to the winter hardwood this season. He is the play-by-play announcer for the York Prep varsity basketball team, and he is doing a great job! Below he shares his thoughts with Coach Turi on how it’s gone so far.
Is it the eternal optimistic nature of our species that we expect next year to be better? Because I think most of us do. We really look forward to getting over the pandemic, seeing each other’s faces without covering, socializing together. And if we adults have had a hard time of it over the past two years, how much worse has it been for our children? The time spent in school is the most critical time to develop the skills of understanding how to get on with peers, how to share, how to be a member of a community. For too many children, that avenue of progress had a major break. They were homebound. Should they have been in school? I think so.