News List

  • November

    Join the Cinema Club

    Calling all cinema lovers! The Cinema Club meets on Mondays during lunch in room 326. Please contact Mr. Marzoni with any questions.
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  • Erika Lampe

    Fact Checking in the Age of Fake News

    News literacy skills are crucial, and Mr. Gordon's history students' skills were recently assessed with a fact-checking article project. Students were tasked with creating a Snopes-style piece examining recent claims made in the news. Scroll through to read two pieces by Erika Lampe in 10th grade and Jabar Holmberg in eight grade.
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  • Autobiography by Max Szlendak

    Finding Inspiration in English Class

    Mr. Marzoni's English students recently completed creative writing assignments after reading pivotal works of literature. His English 11-3 class wrote autobiographies inspired by Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass by Frederick Douglass. Students in English 10-2 wrote short stories inspired by novels. In the slideshow to the right, please scroll through to read autobiographies by Max Szlendak and Seth Nisguretsky (inspired by Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass), and a short story by Riley Unterberg (inspired by The Kite Runner Khaled Hosseini).
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  • Xiye Bastida by Katherine Carr

    Scientists of the Week

    Students in Ms. Borden's eighth-grade science class are researching new scientists. Each week, they select from an option of two different scientists who are not as widely known. They then create a slide about their accomplishments. At the end of the year, they will compile their slides to create a full slideshow about their scientists of the week!

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  • Hybrid Creatures by Eva Baker

    Stretching the Imagination With Digital Art

    Ms. Spencer's digital art students are constantly exploring innovative ways to express themselves with digital art. Recently, they created a spectrum of different pieces using photo, video, and paintings. Scroll through the slideshow to see some of their creations!
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  • Substantial Possibilities

    by Ethan Pennington

    Every morning since returning to York this September, I wait on my stoop for the sight of a red four-door Volkswagen Golf making its way up East 3rd Street in my Windsor Terrace neighborhood. It reminds me of anxious moments as a kid, eyeing the end of my street for the sight of the yellow #32 school bus arriving to take me to elementary school. Or more recently, it makes me think of when I would hustle down the block, cross the playground as a shortcut to the Fort Hamilton stop, and listen for the sound of a Manhattan-bound F train.
    Investor and businessman Roger McNamee coined the term “new normal” as a time of “substantial possibilities if you are willing to play by the new rules for the long term.” What strikes me about this definition is the term “substantial possibilities.”
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  • Olivia Kieffer and Talya Plush

    What Does Remote Learning Look Like?

    Greetings from home! While our students were learning and connecting via their screens last week, they sent shared some photos with us. Scroll through to see!
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  • A Meaningful Walk to Columbus Circle

    York Prep students are always encouraged to engage in open discussions. Through open discussions, students are encouraged to articulate their perspectives and to actively listen to other people's opinions and points of view. Recently, Mr. Gordon's eighth grade honors history class spent a unit discussing whether New York City should celebrate Columbus Day or Indigenous People's Day. As part of their examination of this topic, the class took a walk to Columbus Circle to observe and talk about what the Columbus statue represents.
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  • The Writing Process Cheat Sheet

    The Writing Process

    What are the steps that students can take to successfully write an essay? Ms. Buchwald's 12th-grade Reading and Writing class recently created a cheat sheet outlining the steps, while going through the college-application essay writing process, watching the Ruth Bader Ginsberg documentary, and sharing feedback with each other on their supplemental essays. The cheat sheet breaks down the process into four steps and can be applied to almost any writing assignments.
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  • I Feel Like Dancing

    The dance program is alive and well at York Prep! From hip hop to yoga to classical dance, Ms. Hutchison's and Mr. Martin's students are all feeling the beat. Scroll through the slideshow for the latest scenes from the dance studio, and even the rooftop!
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  • York Prep Drama Director John Viscardi Lands Role in ABC Series

    The second season of the popular legal drama For Life, which is based on the real-life story of a prisoner who becomes an attorney and tries to overturn his own life sentence, will air on ABC starting this month. And this season, you will catch a very familiar face in the series! Our very own Drama Director, John Viscardi, plays the character "Kyle Rodgers". The season premiere airs on November 18th!
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  • Headmaster's Thoughts: November 2020

    Our opening on September 10th was the result of many months of preparation. We are all still working hard to do everything we can to continue to keep the school open for our students in our regular five day week format. So I am going to cheat on my “Thoughts” for November. I have written them for close to 16 years. My first was in December 2004, and after more than 170 essays, many of which are very forgettable, I want to give an insight as to how I do them, and then copy a long piece from my favorite book of English humor. That is the cheating part.
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  • October

    York Prep's Got Talent 2020

    We are very excited to host our first virtual talent show, and are currently inviting all students to submit recorded performances. Simply snap a pic of the QR code in the graphic on the right to get more details and submission guidelines. The deadline for submissions is November 9th. Please email Mr. Cockrell at ccockrell@yorkprep.org with any questions.
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  • School Co-President, Emily Murphy (not pictured: Jack Haddad, Co-President)

    Congratulations to the SGO Election Winners!

    This year, we had the most students to ever run in the Student Government Organization elections. We are proud of every single candidate, and would like to congratulate the winners!

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  • Mask Up!

    We commend our students, who have been masking up and helping to keep everyone on campus safe! What's behind the masks? Judging by these photos, we would guess a lot of smiles!
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  • Our newly renovated rooftop has been a hit with the students.

    How York Prep Has Adapted

    Throughout the summer, the staff at York Prep dedicated their time towards preparing a safe and welcoming environment, alongside an adaptable plan, for students to return to school this fall. We are so thrilled to see our students back on campus, and online-and we have been receiving positive feedback from both parents and students alike. We welcome you to contact us anytime with your questions and comments!

    In the meantime, please click through the slideshow to see some of the renovations we have made to create safe settings to support the growth and development of our students. Our rooftop, which showcases blue skies and iconic NYC skylines, has been a hit with students. We have hosted classes, club meetings, and other gatherings in this vast open air space. Speaking of vast open air spaces, physical education classes have also been enjoyed throughout Central Park.

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  • Students Produce Synth Pop Hits

    Mr. Cockrell's music class dove into a unit on 80's Synth Pop, with an emphasis on collaboration.  Students paired up, researched Synth Pop songs, and compared the different musical elements within the songs. Needless to say, A-ha's Take On Me was a big hit among students.
    As the grand finale to this unit, they worked together to create their own original songs, which emulate the Synth Pop genre.

    Enjoy their amazing creations here.
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  • Discovering New Perspectives Through Abstract Photography

    Young photographers honed in on their abstract photography skills in Ms. Spencer's Digital Photography class recently, when they went on a photoshoot outdoors. They tried out different angles and perspectives by zooming in on different subjects. In the process, they discovered interesting lines, shapes, and colors-all while learning how to use a DSLR camera. Scroll through the slideshow to see them in action, along with some of their work!

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  • Calling All Student Photographers

    Students are welcome to start submitting their photos for the 2020 -2021 yearbook. This year, Ms. Spencer created a special QR code for quick and easy submission. See the code in the photo on the right, and email Ms. Spencer at sspencer@yorkprep.org with any questions.
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  • Fall Scholars Program Courses

    The mission of the Scholars Program is to foster genuine intellectual curiosity and cultivate a strong sense of inquisitive thinking. The aim of this program is to allow students to excavate new interests that may be dormant, and to dig deeper to hone their curiosities in a variety of fields and topics. Students are encouraged to take charge of their own learning.
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  • ISO: Upper School Yearbook Editors

    All upper school students who are interested in photography, layout, and/or design are invited to contact Ms. Spencer about the open yearbook editor positions. Email her at sspencer@yorkprep.org.
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  • Johnson Li, 12th grade

    What Should You Know About Me

    Mr. Marzoni's English classes began the term with a project that gave students the opportunity to introduce themselves. They each asked themselves, "What should you know about me?" before creating presentations that were all about the different facets of their lives and who they are.

    Students shared their backgrounds, their favorite things, their quarantine hobbies, and more! The slideshow, on the right, includes presentations from Johnson Li, Emma Ervin, Aliyah Phillips, and Ava Hougie.

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  • Headmaster's Thoughts: October 2020

    Welcome to my Headmaster’s Thoughts for the new school year. They are normally lighter than this piece, and usually, I aim to make you smile. But not these, because I am writing them in our second week.  There are not many schools opening “in a regular manner” as we are. “Regular manner” means that we will have classes at the normal school times five days a week for the whole year (if possible).  We are also offering our parents the choice of keeping their children home and Zooming into each class where two cameras are available to each teacher so that those at home can see the smart board (and other members of their class) as well as the teacher. Some schools are offering less than five days a week, and others are going completely online with Zoom or an equivalent distance-learning model. We are opening fully and in compliance with all the guidelines of the CDC. Optimism is a great quality, and we have been preparing for months. With good fortune, we can pull this all off. By the time you read this piece, you will know more if this effort is successful.
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  • September

    Meet the New York Prep Faculty and Administration Members

    We are excited to welcome new members to the York Prep faculty and administration team this year! Meet Brittany Adkins-Williams, Sean Ahern, Dana Boyan, Isabel Boyce, Rolanda Brinson, Barry Cleckley, Tirza Kassai, Shayna Levin, Shannon Magni, Genna Sarnak, Joseph Strazza, and Rachel Tennant.

    Our new teachers join York Prep with a vast and diverse range of experiences and specialties, and they are eager to meet all of their students! With backgrounds from all over the country, our new members have collectively traveled to over 30 countries and speak more than four languages. Not only are they equipped to support and nurture the growth of our students this year, but they also come with a multitude of co-curricular skills—from woodworking to coding to Ultimate Frisbee prowess!

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  • Headmaster's Thoughts: September 2020

    Well, the Governor is allowing us to open. And we will be open, in as normal a fashion as possible. Some parents have chosen to keep their children at home, and they will see each class, as it happens, Zoomed to them. We will do whatever we can to accommodate all of our students.
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  • August

    Headmaster’s Thoughts: August 2020

    We all have COVIDAngst. It is not a word found in a dictionary, but you and I know what it means. Angst is one of those German words that we understand but cannot find as effective a word in English to substitute. These words all represent the darker side of life, and many of us use them. I love these words.
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  • July

    A Kool Way to Dye: Dyeing Yarn with Kool-Aid

    Students who took Mr. Cockrell’s Summer Program online course were treated to a tasty way to customize their own natural yarns! Pictured here is a colorful collection of Kool-Aid dyed yarn, as well as Mr. Cockrell’s pillows that he crafted using the dyed yarn!
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  • Headmaster's Thoughts: July 2020

    In this unprecedented time of sadness, my heart goes out to everyone affected by the pandemic or the recent tragedy in Minneapolis. Yet I am inspired by the endurance and persistence of the human spirit. 
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  • June

    The Art of Traditional Jewish Cooking

    This month, Mr. Schwartz’s The Art of Traditional Jewish Cooking class gave York Prep parents and students the opportunity to get closer through a delicious shared experience. The recipes that Mr. Schwartz’s Eastern European grandmother cooked for him throughout his childhood came to life during this Summer Program online course with dishes including dill pickles, noodle pudding, and chicken soup. Mr. Schwartz took parents and students through each recipe as they cooked along. Lemon poppy sour cream cake and latkes are featured in the photos on the right.
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  • Stories Without Words

    Students who participated in Ms. Spencer’s Intro To Diaristic Photography explored narrative photography. They practiced their skills through the lens of lighting, composition, framing, and perspective. We present to you their intriguing photographic stories. Scroll through to see the work of Ameli Okuda, Aliyah Phillips, Mark Tillinghast, Evan Young, Remi Young, Ruthie LaTona, Susanna Gruhn, Jack Gaffigan, and Rowan Maitland.
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  • Congratulations to the York Prep Class of 2020

    We are so proud of our new graduates and wish them all the best in their bright futures. Graduation Day 2020 was joyful, a little bittersweet, and the essence of our tight-knit community was present through the memorable speeches given by students, faculty, and guest speakers.
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  • The Spring 2020 Issue of The Paw

    The Spring 2020 issue of our student newspaper, The Paw, is now available here. Our talented reporters covered topics centered around the pandemic, mental health, college admissions, and sports, school events, and other student life themes. Congratulations to the student writers and artists, and faculty advisors for producing this issue during such trying times!
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  • Ms. Umansky's Poetic Step-By-Step Featured in the New York Times

    Leah Umansky, poet, author, and York Prep teacher going on 14 years now, penned a feature in the New York Times Sunday “At Home” section on how to craft a found poem. “Find Poetry in the Pages of a Newspaper” maps out how anyone can find inspiration from the printed words of a newspaper or magazine to create an original poem. She offers helpful pointers on how to mentally and physically begin the creative process, how to hone in on key words, and even outlines different poetic devices to give budding poets a little boost once they’ve selected their words. Ms. Umansky, who is also the York Prep Scholars Program Chair and Faculty Advisor for our award-winning literary magazine Genesis, also shares her own found poem in the article (pictured here).
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  • York Prep Annual Awards Ceremony

    We would like to congratulate all of our York Prep awards honorees! As Mr. Stewart mentioned many times during his speech, we wish that we could embrace you today but we will wait until it is safe to gather once again--and we cannot wait until then! 
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  • From Our Headmaster: York Prep's Stance on the Recent Events & A List of Anti-Racism Resources

    Dear York Prep Community,
    We have all watched the events of the last few days with great sadness. The murder of George Floyd by members of the Minneapolis Police Department underscores the reality that racism is here in our society, and that we must be vigilant in standing up against it and condemning it. We cannot repeat enough the value of a just society where all Americans are treated equally.
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  • Diversity Awareness Initiative for Students Conference

    In the past two years, the Affinity Social Justice Club has made encouraged York Prep students involved with (DAIS) Diversity Awareness Initiative for Students. DAIS is an organization dedicated to strengthening our schools and ourselves, through increased knowledge, awareness, and respect for different cultures.  Its members are comprised of students from New York City independent, public, and parochial schools, who wish to discuss and improve human relations within the community and society at large. In the Spring of 2019, 12 York students attended the conference and had incredible experiences. Unfortunately, this year’s conference had to be moved online and therefore only two of our students attended, but the feedback was very positive. Scroll through the photos to learn more about the DAIS program.
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  • Headmaster's Thoughts: Farewell to the Class of 2020

    I want to add my congratulations to the great class of 2020…. How I wish we could be together for this ceremony, but we will get together again and I look forward to seeing you on that occasion and celebrating your success in person with you.
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  • May

    Genesis 2020

    by Leah Umansky

    The Genesis Staff are so excited to showcase all of the student writers and artists for the upcoming 2020 issue of York Prep's award-winning literary and art magazine, Genesis.  Click through to see the student contributors and our award winners for 2020.
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  • York Prep Film Fest Winners Announced

    Congratulations to all of the extremely talented York Prep student filmmakers who participated in the first ever York Prep Film Festival. Click here to watch the films. You will be blown away by the magnitude of artistic skill that went into each and every one of these films. Thank you to Mr. Viscardi for masterminding this festival, and thank you to the faculty judges! Click through to see the full list of winners.
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  • Get Started on Your Summer Reading

    It's never too early to begin your summer reading! Check out York Prep’s Summer Reading Program for the 2020 – 2021 school year and find a few books to sink your teeth into!
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  • The First Ever York Prep Film Festival

    FADE IN:
    The entire York Prep community opens their computers or phones and clicks on this link https://vimeo.com/ypfilmfest launching them into THE FIRST EVER YORK PREP FILM FESTIVAL!
    And the CROWD goes WILD!
    The films average one to teo minutes in length and cover an expanse of genres: horror, suspense, documentaries, indie mood films, satires, and comedies.
    Vote for your favorite film(s) by “liking” them! You have until Sunday, May 24th, midnight to cast your votes!
    …and the top voted filmmaker will win the illustrious AUDIENCE CHOICE AWARD! Awards announced on May 25th!                          
    …and who will win Best Screenplay, Best Director, Best Cinematographer, Best Editor, Best Actor and Best Actress awards voted on by our panel of faculty judges?
    …Stay Tuned!
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  • York Prep Film Festival

    The First Annual York Prep Short Film Festival is upon us, and we are super excited! On Thursday morning, May 21st, we will send out an e-blast with a link to where you can go to view our students' films!
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  • Headmaster's Thoughts: May 2020

    Ordinarily, I write these thoughts a month or so ahead of the date they are posted. I am scrapping the thoughts I had already written for this month because they really do not address the issues we are now facing. All of which just goes to prove what a difference a month makes.
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  • April

    Headmaster's Thoughts: April 2020

    Dear Parents and Students,
    We all realize what a stressful time this is for our students, and I cannot express how much the York community would like to get us all back together again. But, realistically, that seems very unlikely in the near future. Without getting political, I just do not think that by Easter we will all be back. I think our Distance Learning will continue for some time, and we have planned accordingly.  Trust me that as soon as we can re-open school, I will joyfully tell you immediately.
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  • March

    A Heartfelt Message from Ronald Stewart

    Dear Parents and Students,
    We all realize what a stressful time this is for our students, and I cannot express how much the York community would like to get us all back together again. But, realistically, that seems very unlikely in the near future. Without getting political, I just do not think that by Easter we will all be back. I think our Distance Learning will continue for some time, and we have planned accordingly.  Trust me that as soon as we can re-open school, I will joyfully tell you immediately.
    If you have any questions about our Distance Learning Plan, Ms. Marshall and her team have sent out clear directions and, if you have mislaid them, they can be sent to you again via e-mail. Reach out to her at HMarshall@yorkprep.org. The Plan is also in the Files folder of YP Home on Canvas. If there is a problem with video conferencing feel free to reach out to your teachers via email or Canvas, or to our technical expert, Mr. Richard Abba, at rabba@yorkprep.org. I have tried Zoom several times and although the platform is excellent, I have made mistakes and have had to learn to be patient (not my strongest point). Your deans, of course, are standing by to troubleshoot and answer your every concern. Remember that our Spring Break ends on April 3rd, and therefore classes start on our regular timetable, via Distance Learning, on April 6th.
    Frankly, I am more concerned for the sadness in our students than anything. I think that being a 6th through 12th grader should be a time of joy. A time of friendship and group interaction. Tragically, some of that is lost. We will work hard to get clubs and activities online as well as educational classes. But an online dialogue is just not the same as being together, and although we all feel this sense of isolation, I fear that our students feel it more deeply. This is a time for families to share pleasures: a board game, a film that can be watched together, or a walk (of course at safe distancing) in a park.  And even take up things that we never had time for: yoga, keeping a journal (I am afraid that "Journal of a Plague Year", as a title, has already been taken by Daniel Defoe many centuries ago), reconnecting by e-mail with distant relatives and friends (and the word "distant" is relative since, in these times, they could just as well be nearby), learning some new skill (cooking springs to mind) that you always wondered about. But it will not be easy.
    As is laid out in our Distance Learning Plan, our teachers will Zoom with their students and work will be assigned. I know that some will find it more difficult than others to focus. Let me ask our students to work as diligently as they can, knowing that we will be understanding about grades and recognize that allowances will have to be made.
    Finally, I want the students to know how much you are cherished by all around you. Your family and your school. We are one community and every member is valuable and precious. There will be a day when we return. We may do elbow bumps (I cannot get used to them) and wash our hands more (that I already have become used to), but be assured that we will be back together. Until then, let us make the most of a bad situation, let us grieve for those who are sick and those of our young who are being robbed of what should be a wonderful time in their lives. I promise that we will do everything to continue to make school a place of happiness and safety, and I wish everyone in the community a healthy future.
    Ronald P. Stewart

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  • Eighth–grader Nicholas Belladonna Papajohn Receives Honorable Mention from Scholastic Awards For His Poetry

    Nicholas Belladonna Papajohn submitted his poem Wondering, to the 2020 NYC Scholastic Awards, presented by the Alliance for Young Artists & Writers, in partnership with The New School, after writing it for his middle school scholars program poetry class. In addition to an Honorable Mention award, he received a letter citing his work as “as the most outstanding work submitted among peers”. The Scholastic Awards were established in 1923, and have recognized some of the nation’s most famous artists and writers while they were teenagers, including Stephen King, Joyce Carol Oates, and Andy Warhol.
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  • Athlete of the Month: Megan Scott, Seventh-Grade Starting Point Guard on the Varsity Girls Basketball Team

    As a first-year varsity player yet only in the 7th grade, Megan Scott has proven to us that age is nothing but a number. Having started every single game, she has taken on the role of being the starting point guard. Her terrific work ethic, love of the game, coachable attitude, and solid fundamental skills have propelled her to become a leader on the court. Keep up the good work Megan!

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  • Headmaster's Thoughts: March 2020

    For those with stamina, there are two essays this month.
    As I approach my 200th essay in this series of “Headmaster’s Thoughts”, I realize, yet again, why I write them. Clearly, I feel compelled to write in a therapeutic (and some may say narcissistic) spasm of urgency. But I am also conscious of the fact that while so many writers feel this need, there is no corresponding group of readers.  In reality, we have an army of writers and a platoon of readers.
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  • February

    Congratulations to Ethan Kushnerik For His Victory in the USA Fencing Junior Olympic Championships Cadet Men’s Division

    Last week junior Ethan Kushnerik competed in the USA Fencing Junior Olympics in Columbus, Ohio and won first place in the Cadet Men’s Epee Division!
    Ethan is not only the best in the country when it comes to fencing, but he is also a dedicated student who works hard to stay on the honor roll. Read more about Ethan’s story on our Student Stories page.
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  • Phoebe Unger performs an original piece

    Music Students Attend a Songwriting Workshop Conducted By Larry Kirwan

    This week the York Prep Music Room had the privilege of hosting songwriter/author/playwright/composer Larry Kirwan, who conducted a workshop in songwriting.  Eleven students attended this workshop, which was organized by music teacher Coty Cockrell, and some of them even shared their original pieces with Mr. Kirwan.
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  • York Prep Students Visit Black in Time: A Black Renaissance at FIT

    On February 11th the Affinity Social Justice Club, along with other York Prep students, visited the Art and Design Gallery at Fashion Institute of Technology to tour the Black in Time: A Black Renaissance exhibit. Accompanied by School Counselor Elizabeth Aiello, the students were guided through the exhibit by two student curators from the FIT Black Student Union.
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  • Varsity Boys Basketball Team Advances to the ISAL Championship Game!

    The Varsity Boys Basketball team (11 -3) has advanced to the ISAL championship game by defeating Mary McDowell 69 – 63 in last night’s semifinal!!!
    The Panthers will now take on undefeated Brooklyn Friends (14-0) in the final game. In order to get this critical win, WE NEED YOUR SUPPORT! Please come out to cheer them on Thursday at 5:45 PM at Leman Prep. The gym is located at 1 Morris Street, a short walk from the Rector Street stop on the 1 train.
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  • This March, York Prep Students Will Embark on an Incredible Journey To the Galapagos Islands

    The Galapagos Islands, known to some as the “Enchanted Isles”, and home to some of the highest levels of endemic species (about 80% of the land birds and 97% of the reptiles and land mammals can only be found on the Galapagos Islands) will serve as the extraordinary backdrop for 13 lucky York Prep students and three faculty members this spring break as they embark on this once-in-a-lifetime voyage. The Galapagos Islands, and particularly the preservation of their fauna and flora, represent one of Mr. Stewart’s major interests. As a member of the board of the Charles Darwin Foundation, he has been involved with the archipelago since the 1980s and has been there 13 times. He has arranged for our students and faculty members to visit for an eight-day trip, where the group will spend seven nights on the Islands accompanied by a naturalist guide.
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  • Athlete of the Month: Dedicated Swim Team Member Ming Robinson

    Ming Robinson, an 11th-grader, joined the York Prep swim team this year and has shown great sportsmanship from the start. “She is always willing to swim any event she is placed in,” says swim team coach Madeleine Palmer. “Her questions in terms of stroke technique show her dedication to doing well not only for herself but for the betterment of the team.”
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  • A Historic Moment: Super Bowl XVI

    by Eric Tull

    Yes, you read the title of this article correctly. In February of each year, the York Prep Pantherdome hosts the Annual York Prep Social Studies Super Bowl. 2020 marks the 16th celebration of that tradition, hence, “Super Bowl XVI.” The four Upper School classes knock heads together, answering questions about history, geography, government, and current events. The doughty contestants are chosen by their Student Government Organization representatives, and the questions are written and posed by history teacher Mr. Michael Roper. Winners are presented with bestselling books on a variety of history-related topics, and they also earn bragging rights for an entire calendar year. Mr. Roper is ably assisted by History Department Chair Ms. Christina Cox and the entire history team, while the officiating is covered by our
    ever-reliable physical education coaches.

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  • Headmasters Thoughts: February 2020

    This being February’s “Thoughts,” I suspect that you and I will soon get (if we have not already recently had one) the common cold. I am told that we get them two or three times a year, and that seems about right in my experience.

    The question is: what can you do to get rid of the cold quickly? One almost does not know where to start answering this question, so we could do worse than to go back to the great polymath, the man who started the concept of the modern encyclopedia, Pliny the Elder. His was of a somewhat skeptic disposition, which, considering the natural remedies he lists in his “Natural History,” one can understand. Nonetheless, in a work that was the first of its kind and served as the model for all Encyclopedias that followed, he dutifully listed historical solutions to ailments, even if the practical side of him would, I am sure, not have followed them himself. His “folk medicine” cure for the cough that came with a cold, was wolf’s liver in warmed wine. Another solution, if that did not work, was drinking horse saliva for three days. I think Pliny was having fun since he described another cure requiring one to drink warmed horse urine, but not any horse, only a mare. In the end, Pliny does say that honey helped his cough (I warned you that the man was a genius), and it does indeed.
    I come from England, where the most famous of the old folk cures involved eating a roasted mouse. On any level, that seems like bad advice. Mice carry diseases (not as much as rats to be sure, but I never thought of them as hygienic little creatures). Maybe the idea of roasting them would eliminate the “bad” stuff (germs and viruses) and only allow the consumer to ingest the “good” stuff, whatever that may be. I discussed this with a Chinese friend who has seen “bamboo mice” (which she said looked like any other mice) on the menu in Guangzhou Province. Unfortunately, at least as far as I am concerned, she never ate one and cannot tell me what they taste like (but then is not everything supposed to taste like chicken?)
    There are many antique English prints of old men with their feet in hot tubs of various liquids, often hot water and lemon or vinegar. One remedy, popular in London, was sitting with the feet in hot water with dirty socks. A sort of twofer; the socks get cleaner, and you get healthier. From the same era, are the prints for “patented” miracle cures containing elixirs of anything that the salesman could convince the gullible would help. Donizetti’s wonderful opera, L’Elisir d’Amore, is about a traveling fraud who sells love potions to hopeful young people. The aim is that the potion is slipped into the drink of the desired, and that she or he would fall in love with the first person thereafter that she or he sets her or his eyes upon. I put miracle cold cures in the same “bogus” category.
    So let us get seriously down to some of our present-day cures. Chicken soup is the most popular remedy, and there are scientific studies that report that it helps. I wonder if those same scientists ever checked out the roasted mice. Echinacea has its adherents. A friend of mine who is a very qualified doctor, swears by grapefruit juice. I quote him: “it flushes out the virus.” The fact is that we do lose water when we have a cold, either through sweating or sneezing, and any hot fluids must help loosen mucus and replace fluids. In Hong Kong, they sell Lizard Soup with the same promises as Chicken Soup, and I am assured that it works just as well.
    When I went to school, we had a poster in London that showed a man sneezing into his handkerchief with the caption “trap the germs – in your handkerchief.” That still makes medical sense since the cotton sheet probably limits the spread of the cold virus. Now that most of us use Kleenex tissues, we have to hope they accomplish the same goal. But the admonition to “trap the germs,” while sensible, did not indicate that the cold itself would be any less severe or its time abbreviated by this method. Currently, it is virtuous to sneeze into your elbow. But no one tells you how long thereafter you have to hold up your arm.
    Dr. Linus Pauling won two Nobel Prizes, and he firmly believed that massive regular doses of vitamin C would prevent the catching of the common cold. This is considered a common remedy once you actually have a cold, and sometimes the vitamin is combined with zinc, for reasons that I cannot understand. Too much vitamin C may cause kidney stones, among other unpleasant digestive problems. I have a general suspicion of too much of anything.
    I would like to know of the most obscure of remedies, and I would, even more, love to know of one that worked. No placebo effect but a real way to shorten the period of misery. Jayme takes Mucinex, which works for her but not for me. Nyquil puts me to sleep pleasantly (it does not have the same effect on Jayme), and that seems an acceptable way to last through the worst days of the cold. I believe it is straight alcohol in disguise.
    I know that we should eat vegetables, exercise, and get enough sleep. But I doubt that any of that is the secret to never getting sick. We are going to get colds. It is often said that a common cold from start to finish takes two weeks, but if you take all of the medications, it only takes 14 days. Still, I like the concept of placebos, the charm of the folk tales, and the optimism of the Chicken Soup devotees.
    When in doubt, I turn to the website of the Mayo Clinic. They are not sure about vitamin C or Echinacea, and they are concerned about the negative side effects of zinc. They recommend getting rest, staying hydrated, soothing sore throats with over the counter pastilles, gargling with salt water, aspirin if you are over three years of age, humidifying the air of your bedroom, and drinking hot liquids (such as Chicken Soup) to open your nasal passages. The best advice they give is to wash your hands frequently to prevent catching the cold in the first place. I can testify that does not work, and yet I continue to try and wash my hands as much as I can.
    Finally, maybe garlic. In The Two Thousand Year Old Man, Carl Reiner asks Mel Brooks what his secret is to living so long. Brooks, playing the man who has lived over two thousand years, replies it is garlic. “When the Angel of Death comes to my bedside to get me, I turn over and breathily say to him, ‘Yes?’ And I have eaten so much garlic that the angel can’t stand it and runs away”. Maybe worth a shot.
    Ronald P. Stewart
    York Prep
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  • January

    York Prep’s Literary Magazine Genesis Earns Top Honors from The National Council of Teachers of English

    Congratulations to the faculty and students who worked on the 2019 edition of Genesis for receiving the top rank of REALM First Class in the 2019 National Council of Teachers of English Recognizing Excellence in Art and Literary Magazines (REALM) Program. Over 300 schools applied nationwide, and Genesis is the only publication from a school in New York City that was recognized as REALM First Class!
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  • York Prep High School Students Are Invited to Register for a Cultural and Biological Expedition to Costa Rica

    This June, high school students will have the chance to experience an expedition of a lifetime in Costa Rica. Highlights of the trip include cultural exchange at a local school, visiting an active volcano, zip-lining through a rainforest, soaking in natural hot springs, discovering sustainable agriculture, and more! Students who are interested can contact Ms. Pevzner for more information. The deadline to register is February 1st!
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  • A Daring Response In A Tumultous Time: On York Prep Drama Club’s production of Almost, Maine by John Cariani

    John Viscardi (Full disclosure – Again, I directed the play, so…yeah)

    My favorite quote from John Cariani, the playwright of Almost, Maine, is a bit of advice he gives to all producing the play at the beginning of the hard copy. He talks about the tight rope the director and actors have to walk in making the play work. “Don’t telegraph”, he writes. “Keep the surprises alive, and…If you don’t succeed in this – then Almost, Maine will languish in corny sentimentality. And it will be bad. Because this play (and this is the part I love) is almost bad”. I don’t know about you, but that’s pretty funny, as well as courageous to admit about your own play. But the point is: “corny” is tough in this day and age to pull off. And this play is about tender love in all its wonder, magic and heartache. And, that’s just not an easy sell in today’s culture.
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  • An Exciting New Feature that Highlights York Prep Musical Talent is Now Live and Available For Your Listening Pleasure!

    Earlier this year we presented you with our new state-of-the-art music lab.
    Music students have been learning how to compose, arrange, and remix music digitally throughout the year.  In an effort to better showcase these compositions, we have started a SoundCloud account for the school. 
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  • 11th-Grader, Teddy Fitzsimons, Earns a Spot on the Youth Olympics Bobsledding Team

    Congratulations to Teddy Fitzsimons for earning a spot on the Youth Olympics Bobsledding team!

    Last month, we highlighted Teddy's hard work and achievements when he won medals during the Youth Olympics qualifying races.
    We wish him the best of luck in Lausanne, Switzerland, where the Youth Olympic games will take place in January 2020.
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  • January Athlete of the Month: Top Boys Varsity Basketball Player Unique Barnes

    Unique Barnes, a sophomore boys varsity basketball guard, has been instrumental in the hoops team’s 5-2 record before the holiday break. In his latest performance, he notched 52 points in a thrilling triple-overtime contest at Little Red Schoolhouse and Elizabeth Irwin High School. He is unquestionably one of the top players in the Independent Schools Athletic League New York, and looks towards leading York Prep towards a high seed in the ISAL playoffs.
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  • Headmaster's Thoughts: January 2020

    Since it is now 2020 (Happy New Year!) and Jayme and I started York Prep in 1969, I was pondering on what has changed in education over these last 50 plus years. The answer is that so much has altered the way education is delivered today to high school students, along with changing attitudes about the value of such education, that any attempt to go into detail requires a book (which I do not have the qualifications or attention span to write). The other factor inhibiting a full study is that we are in the middle rather than the end of the effects of the changes that have occurred. Trying to make a statement about a process that is in the act of evolving, is not the most sensible. So, historically, some changes that have happened will have a permanent effect, while other changes that have happened may disappear and, in hindsight, be recognized as a temporary fad.
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