Event Archives
2012-2013 Event Highlights Archive

Upcoming Events and School Highlights 2013-2014
Upcoming Events and School Highlights has been created to keep you posted of district happenings during the 2012/2013 school year. This page is updated frequently so please do check back often. To view many of the student achievements at SOCSD, go to Student and Staff Achievements.

Orangetown Substance Abuse Committee has established an anonymous underage drinking hotline and text line 845.826.4026 to report underage drinking parties, kids in crisis, etc.

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School Highlights  2013-2014

South Orangetown Featured in LoHud
South Orangetown melds old, new teaching approaches


TZHS Graduates Class of 2014

Indoors or outdoors? Will it rain or shine? Gym or field? It was soooo close. And then Mother Nature once again smiled down on the TZ graduates and provided a magnificent evening for their 111th Graduation Ceremony. The event held all the Pomp and Circumstance the TZHS Concert Band band could offer and then some. With the added assistance of the TZHS Senior Singers the music waifted through the evening breeze. Of course everyone kept one eye peeled on the dark black cloud that hung around for a while overseeing the events. However in a very short time the sky was bright blue, the clouds were soft and puffy, and the 2014 TZHS Graduating Class began the culminating celebration of their years at SOCSD. After the ceremony and the speeches, and the handshakes, and the last cap hitting the ground, students left for a brief respite before returning to celebrate Project Graduation supported and run by the TZHS PTSA. Project Graduation is a supervised, substance free, all-night party for the graduating students. Now in its 23rd year, it is SOCSD's commitment to keeping the graduates safe after their ceremonies.

View TZHS 2014 Graduation & Project Graduation Photo Gallery
Photos by BJ Greco



TZHS Italian Club Celebrates Year End

The TZHS Italian Club celebrated the end of another successful and fun-filled year of Italian culture with a Friday night field trip to New York City. Twenty-four members, along with advisers Tricia Castelli and Maria Stillo, boarded the school bus to Washington Square Park on Friday evening. After a walk through the park and Greenwich Village it was time for dinner. Students ate at one of several Italian restaurants around Bleecker Street, and then it was time for the highlight of the evening – a scrumptious Gelato at Grom's on the corner of Bleecker Street and Carmine Street. Among the favorite flavors of the evening were : Stracciatella, Nocciola, Bacio, Crema di Grom and Fragola. Members were already talking about next year's trip on the bus ride back to Tappan Zee High School.



American Village CD Features SOCSD Music Students



SOMS Music Ensembles Hit A “High Note”

Students involved in performing music ensembles at SOMS participated in a special event on Friday, May 30th. As part of the High Note Music Festival, all music ensemble students took to the stage to perform for two guest adjudicators, who provided critical commentary and scores. The comments from the festival adjudicators serve to reinforce the concepts that are being taught in school and also to provide outside perspective on what might need improvement. The scores place the performances into categories of “Fair,” “Good,” “Excellent,” and “Superior.” All SOMS earned top ratings as follows: 6th grade Symphonic Orchestra: “Excellent”; 7th/8th grade Concert Orchestra: “Superior”; 6th grade Treble Chorus: “Excellent”; 7th/8th grade Concert Choir: “Superior”; 6th grade Symphonic Band: “Superior”; 7th/8th grade Concert Band: “Superior”.

Following the performances, students who participated celebrated with a trip to Lake Compounce Amusement Park in Bristol, CT. Compounce is American’s oldest amusement park. Almost 300 students from grades 6-8 boarded buses to enjoy a day at the park. This trip was made possible through a successful Thanksgiving Pie fundraiser event held last November, by the music department with the support of the school community including teachers, students, administrators, and parents.

For more information on the SOCSD music department, click here: www.socsd.org/music





Team Captains Receive Championship Blood Donor Banner at Yankee Stadium
TZHS Blood Team Thanks the Community for 4th Consecutive Championship

The Tappan Zee HS Blood Team wishes to extend its heartfelt appreciation to the students, staff and community of the South Orangetown Central School District for generously donating 543 units of blood this year.

In addition to the overwhelming number of lives saved because of that commitment, TZHS has been named by the NY Blood Center as the 2013-2014 New York Yankees/New York Blood Center Blood Donor High School Champions for the 4th year in a row . This award means that TZ had the largest number of donations for any medium size high school in the entire Hudson Valley, NYC, Western L.I. and Northern N.J. area. Three of the TZ Blood Team members received the banner on the field at Yankee Stadium on the evening of June 4th.

But this award means far more than receiving a banner at Yankee Stadium,” commented Judy Flagg, school nurse and Blood Team advisor. “What it really means is that our school district community has provided, this school year, over 1629 people in the Rockland area with The Gift of Life. You can’t do better than that, and we couldn’t have done it without our incredibly supportive student, staff, community network. Congratulations and thank you to our extended SOCSD family. YOU truly are the champions!!!!'





TZHS Acoustic Underground Makes Audience Sway

On Friday night, May 16, the musical talent of Tappan Zee High School got the audience into full swing at Acoustic Underground, the musical event sponsored twice yearly by the Spanish Honor Society. This was the evening when the spotlight shone on over forty high school students and several faculty members who performed twenty-five pieces, including some original scores. While some students performed solo, many collaborated with fellow singers and musicians, accompanying each other to the delight of the students and parents who couldn't help but sing and sway along. As in many past performances, SOCSD School Superintendent Dr. Ken Mitchell didn't disappoint with his harmonica. Every year it seems that the line that gathers for auditions outside Mr. Peter Burgos’ room grows. Without a doubt, Acoustic Underground will be back next fall.

Students pictured performing from left to right: Joe Desilus, Jerel Francisco, Quiana Iacobellis, and Shane Fallon



Cottage Lane's 4th Graders Participate in Carnegie Hall Concert

On Tuesday, May 20th, the fourth graders of Cottage Lane participated in a concert at Carnegie Hall. In this year’s musical adventure, students explored the concept of melody with the program “The Orchestra Sings.” Students sang, played the recorder, and listened to inspiring music played by The Orchestra of St. Luke’s.

Musical selections included “Ode to Joy” from Beethoven’s Symphony No. 9, “Largo” from Dvorak’s New World Symphony, and “Simple Gifts” by Joseph Brackett. Listening pieces included “Finale” from Stravinsky’s Firebird Suite and the first movement of a Mendelsohn Violin Concerto.

Thomas Cabaniss, a composer who lives in New York City, was the host of the program. Students sang and played his compositions “Come to Play” and “To Make Words Sing,” and his arrangement of “Bought Me a Cat.” One of the students in, from Ms. Maria Vega-Cabrera’s class, spoke on a microphone with Tom during the concert to suggest that the oboe play one of the animal sounds.

The finale of the concert included a Latin American street band playing in the aisles and joining the orchestra while the students sang and got out of their seats to dance with “Oye” by Jim Papoulis.


Spring Concerts at SOMS

The SOMS Music Department hosted the annual round of spring concerts on May 7th and 8th. The first evening opened with the Jazz Ensemble featuring SOCSD Superintendent Dr. Mitchell on harmonica, which was followed by the 6th grade performing ensembles: Treble Chorus, Symphonic Orchestra, and Symphonic Band.

The second evening began with the Chamber Orchestra followed by the 7th and 8th grade ensembles: Concert Orchestra, Concert Band, and Concert Choir. Both evenings presented a variety of musical selections, including repertoire from the classical canon, movies, rock, folk songs from around the world, and Broadway. Congratulations to all groups for excellent performances!

The next performance by students involved in these ensembles at SOMS will be on May 30th, for a closed performance as part of the High Note rating festival.

For more information about the SOCSD Music Program, click here: www.socsd.org/music


TZ Students Enjoy Spring Break in Italy

Sixty two Tappan Zee High School students experienced Rome and Southern Italy during this year's Spring Recess, visiting sites they have been studying throughout their years of Italian in South Orangetown, and using their Italian in real life situations. The students and their seven chaperones spent the first two days of their journey touring Rome. Students were able to relive lessons learned not only in Italian classes, but also in social studies and art classes, as their local guides led them through the Coliseum, the Roman Forum, including the site of Julius Caesar's cremation, St. John Lateran, St. Peter's Basilica and the Sistine Chapel in the Vatican museums. While in St. Peter's Basilica, physics students used wave superposition to figure out why people's whispers can be heard clearly from opposing walls of the whispering gallery. Time was also spent in each of Rome's famous Piazzas, Piazza Navona, Piazza del Pantheon, Campo di Fiori, Piazza del Popolo, Piazza di Spagna and the famous Spanish Steps to name a few, taking in the beautiful art, and ordering a cappuccino or scrumptious gelato in Italian. No trip to Rome would be complete without a stop at the Trevi Fountain, where all students threw in a coin with the hope of returning and spending more time in the Eternal City. Dinner each night was in a different Roman restaurant, where Roman specialties such as Cannelloni and Pasta Cacio e Pepe were devoured.

Day four in Italy brought the group to the Bay of Naples, where the students and chaperones boarded a ferry to the breathtaking island of Capri, visiting the famous Blue Grotto and marveling at the crystal clear blue water. Time was spent strolling through the garden of Augustus, as well as through the charming town of Capri. The return ferry brought the group to Sorrento, where they spent time touring the city center, before dining at their hotel. Then it was on to Pompeii for a guided tour of the ancient Roman city buried under the ashes of the eruption of Mt. Vesuvius in 79 A.D. The sun broke through as the local guide walked the group through the Via dell’Abbondanza, and some of the students stopped to perform a rendition of the song Pompeii in the ruins of the ancient theater. After lunch, it was off to the Archeological Museum of Naples to admire the artwork of Pompeii, and to Piazza del Plebiscito, one of the largest squares in downtown Naples named after the plebiscite(referendum) that brought Naples into the United Kingdom of Italy in 1863, to stroll through this incredible piazza and take time out for a Neapolitan Sfogliatella or gelato. That evening the TZHS group embarked on its overnight mini-cruise to Sicily, arriving in Palermo early the next morning. Notwithstanding the early wakeup call, students were ready to tour the amazing mosaics in the Cathedral of Monreale, as well as the Cathedral of Palermo, the Martorana, the Teatro Massimo and the Politeama. Following lunch, it was off to Agrigento and the Valley of the Greek temples. As the bus made its way through the Sicilian countryside, students commented on the number of solar panels and windmills they saw, alternative sources of energy studied in Living Environment. The guided tour of the temples the next morning gave students the opportunity to understand and admire the life and enduring architectural accomplishments of the ancient Greeks who settled in Sicily in the 6th century B.C.

After a “pranzo” in a beach front restaurant where students had the opportunity to eat local swordfish, fried calamari and extra-large shrimp, pasta, Sicilian sausage, or local steak, it was on to Taormina and the last leg of the trip which was spent on the Eastern coast of Sicily. The three night stay in Giardini Naxos, below Taormina, gave the group the opportunity to explore the area well. Time was spent touring Taormina and its Ancient Greek theater, with its incredible history and indescribable view of both Mount Etna and the Ionian Sea, as well as Villa Comunale, the public park and gardens which were once the gardens of Lady Florence Trevelyan, an English Noblewoman and cousin of Queen Victoria, who moved to Taormina in 1884 and married the mayor of Taormina. A ride on the Funicolare from Taormina on the top of the mountain, to the beach front area 670 ft below was a special treat. The group also traveled 6500 ft. up Mount Etna to visit the extinct Silvestri Craters, taking pictures and walking around the edge and into one of the craters. As they explored the craters, memories of Earth Science class returned as students found samples of igneous rocks with gas pockets (vesicular rocks). As the tour guide spoke about the many species of flora and fauna that grow on Mount Etna due to the differing levels in soil fertilityl, students made connections to an ecology unit on biodiversity studied in biology class. Time spent shopping for last minute gifts and souvenirs, a few hours on the beach in front of the hotel to unwind, and time to pack, filled the last afternoon in Italy. After a delicious dinner, it was out for the last after dinner passeggiata (walk) and our last group gelato. Bright and early the next morning, it was off to the airport in Catania for the trip home. All arrived home, tired but excited to share all of their Italian experiences with family and friends, already asking about next year’s Northern trip to the incredibly beautiful cities of Venice, Verona, Florence, Siena, Assisi and Rome!!! Arrivederci a presto!!!!

If you have not had the chance to visit Italy, here is your chance with over 700 pictures for your viewing pleasure of Spring Trip 2014!  Click links just below.











SOMS’ Tyler L. – Newest Film Writer

On Friday April 11, 2014, Tyler L., a student in Ms. Arlene Sorensen's 8th grade Challenge Lab class presented a movie which he created for his class project entitled A Tale Dark and Grimm based on the novel by Adam Gidwitz. The world premiere screening was held in Ms. Sorensen's classroom and was presented to her 6th grade Challenge Lab students. The movie was filmed entirely in Rockland County. Tyler wrote the screenplay, made the costumes, cast, directed and edited the entire film by himself.





Sweet Melissa – Missed But Never Forgotten

On Tuesday, April 22nd, under less than cooperative skies, over 150 family members, members of the community, first responders, students, and staff, gathered on the Piermont Pier to participate in a memorial service for TZHS ’09 alum, Melissa Demataris who last October lost a valiantly fought four year battle with leukemia. It was planned that 300 sky lanterns would be lit and launched over the Hudson in a final tribute to the courage and resolve of this beautiful young woman. The weather was not being supportive. The evening began with opening words and words of thanks from TZHS Nurse Judy Flagg who is the TZHS Blood Team advisor and worked closely with Melissa as well as her family. The TZHS blood team worked tirelessly to run drives in Melissa’s name when she needed a great deal of blood for transfusions during her illness. Members of the TZHS Blood Team then read their words to Melissa entitled Always a Smile on Her Face. TZHS vocal teacher Russell Wagoner then led the Bella Acapella in singing What a Wonderful World. The NY Blood Center’s Robin Friehling who is the TZHS account manager then expressed her feelings to the assembled crowd about how she met Melissa and the relationship that was born of their work together through the Blood Center. Friehling said, “Melissa had the biggest smile that she always wore no matter how she was feeling on the inside. The raindrops falling intermittently right now are just a few tears from heaven in-between the happy memories”, she concluded. The TZHS Concert Choir then sang Smile followed by a reading by Judy Flagg entitled A Beautiful Butterfly. Members of the audience were then called upon to light sky lanterns with the assistance of the entire Blood Team, and, as if Melissa herself was orchestrating the program, the skies cleared for a few minutes to allow the launching of the lanterns because they could not have been lit in the rain. As the lanterns filled with hot air they took off, as if on cue, into the night sky. The TZHS Choir then closed the evening with Goodnight Melissa (taken from Goodnight, My Someone from The Music Man). And so we say...  Goodnight, Melissa


Thirty TZHS Students Spend Spring Break In Spain

Over the Spring break, thirty Tappan Zee High School students left for a trip to Madrid and southern Spain. They were accompanied by Ms. Suzanne Moskowitz, Ms. Dana Stranges and Mr. Randy Altman. After arriving in Spain, they went on a walking tour of Madrid and saw the incredible Royal Palace. They also had the opportunity to soak up the sun outdoors while sampling chocolate and churros. The next morning after a tour of the Prado Museum, they boarded a high speed train to Sevilla where they saw a Flamenco show, sampled the tapas, toured the famous cathedral and the Arabian palace, and climbed the Giralda tower, the tallest building in Sevilla. After a couple of days in Sevilla, they took a private bus to Córdoba where they saw the Mesquita (mosque), a mixture of Moorish and Christian architecture and trappings as well as the old Jewish quarter.

The next two days were spent in Granada, the home of the Alhambra, a famous Moorish palace occupied by the Moorish kings until the Catholic kings reconquered the city. They also traveled to Antequera, their tour guide’s home town, where they were able to see up close and learn about the extravagant holy week floats used in the processions. The next to last stop was Málaga, an elegant city on the Costa del Sol (the southern coast), where they had a couple of hours on the beach, toured the city and castle, and saw some of Picasso’s works in the city in which he was born. Later they caught the high speed train back to Madrid where they had paella in a quaint restaurant in the city center.

On their last day they had a little time for some last minute shopping, lunch, and a final “adios” to España before beginning their journey home. “Students as well as chaperones had a fantastic time, and are dreaming about their next adventure in Spain,” said Moskowitz.



Two SOMS Challenge Lab Students Host Toy Drive for Children’s Hospital

Two students from teacher Arlene Sorensen’s seventh grade Challenge Lab class came up with an independent project for their Challenge Lab. Gianna L. and Madison S. held a toy drive to benefit the children at Maria Fereri Children's Hospital in Westchester. They collected new toys from each homeroom over the course of three weeks and were able to deliver over 50 toys to the hospital on Friday April 11th, just in time to spread some Passover and Easter holiday cheer.






Pi Anyone? - It's Not Just for Dessert

On Friday, April 4th the annual observation of Mu-Fest was held at Tappan Zee HS. The day-long fair, which takes place in the TZHS library, features original math games created by the members of Mu Alpha Theta under the direction of teachers Seth Resnikoff and Jeanne Benecke. The entire TZHS student body rotates in and out of the library all day to enjoy the fun and challenges of the festivity. As a special part of the Mu Fest tradition, Cottage Lane Elementary’s 5th grade classes visit the fair at the high school's library at an appointed time to play the math games and answer the age appropriate math challenges prepared expressly for them. The celebration has been held for enough years that the HS student members of Mu Alpha Theta can now remember when they were in 5th grade visiting the HS and playing Mu games.

This year’s games included, Math Skee Ball, Mathketball, Wheel of MU, MUsic Tree, Who wants to be a MUllionaire, MU-ctionary, MU with friends, and MU 2 1. All day long, the winners from each challenge receive tickets which can be redeemed for healthy snack treats.




TZ Students Attend Spanish Repertory Theater Production

Seventy students from Ms. Arietta and Mr. Burgos’ Spanish AP and Spanish V classes spent the day at the Repertorio Espanol, the Spanish Repertory Theater in Manhattan, and viewed Garcia Lorca’s La Casa de Bernarda Alba. The production was entirely in Spanish. Seeing the play live, in Spanish, was a special treat after having read it in with their respective classes. Many students will also be participating in the writing contest for Act IV. Submissions will be sent directly to the Repertorio Espanol by May 15th.


South Orangetown Goes Global for The Day

A 23 country world tour took place in the South Orangetown Middle School on March 22nd as part of the 12th Annual We The People celebration sponsored by the South Orangetown Community Elementary Schools (SOCES). Over 500 people came through the SOMS "passport" office, and into the gym that hosted and honored the 2014 celebration of the huge multi-cultural patchwork that makes up the community of South Orangetown.

Twenty three tables surrounding the gymnasium were set up under the flag of the country they represented. Native food and costumes of the participating countries were abundant throughout the day and many countries scheduled presentations of authentic songs and dance.

The celebration was attended by a record number of people and countries. The cafeteria was the venue for the arts and crafts section of the event. Beaded jewelry, costume masks, and face painting were among the offerings to participants of all ages.

The entire day was filled with entertainment, food and crafts, and an overwhelming feeling of the ever-present camaraderie among family, friends, and the community that makes up the global collage of South Orangetown.  View photo slide show of day!


SOCSD Goes Full STEAM Ahead
view slideshow of event

SOCSD’s First Annual STEAM Expo was a hotbed of activity when over 145 students shared the extraordinary projects they have been working on over the past months in the disciplines of Science, Technology, Engineering, Art and Math. More than 100 parents, teachers and community members visited the South Orangetown Middle School cafeteria on Wednesday, March 19th to see the creative, imaginative, and inventive designs, experiments and art of students from grades 1 through 12.

The Expo gave students the opportunity to showcase their hard work done this school year. Some of the dozens of projects on display: two projects which placed 5th and 8th at the NYS Science Olympiad the previous weekend; Marble Sorters devised by students in the HS Project Lead the Way engineering course; a medicine bottle with a magnifying glass in the cap to help people read the small print on the label; and an experiment in the viscosity of different liquids. Students in the lower grades got to see the kinds of projects they’ll work on in the future, while older students were amazed at some of the advanced concepts and technologies their younger counterparts are using. The district’s 3-D printer was a big hit as visitors got to see how a bracelet was printed using 3D technology. Additionally, over 40 pieces of art from students at the Middle and High schools were displayed ranging from pencil sketches to landscapes to re-compositions of everyday objects, offering visitors and participants a unique peek into the creative process.

Visitors to the Expo shared their amazement at the depth and breadth of the students’ work. Vicki Caramante, President of the South Orangetown Council PTA and organizer of the Expo said, "I am absolutely thrilled that the wider community was able to see the hard work being done by students under the guidance of our extraordinarily dedicated, creative teachers.”

The Great Wall of SOMS

The sixth grade of South Orangetown Middle School has achieved the impossible! Through team work and collaboration, they were able to create and build “The Great Wall of SOMS.” In social studies class, students decorated a cereal box (which would become their “block” on the wall) with a collage and written paragraph about the importance of their extended family. They were encouraged to think about what they value, and admire in their friends and family. On the other side of their “block” students were given an opportunity to research a specific event, invention, or achievement from ancient Chinese history, and learn how it impacted the Chinese people, culture, or land. Several popular choices that students researched were the Chinese New Year, The Great Wall of China, The Terra-Cotta soldiers and the Forbidden City.

When the research was complete, and the family heritages were shared, it was time to construct “The Great Wall of SOMS.” Students were divided into two groups and given their orders. The entire grade took over the gym, and created the sections of the wall in teams of five. Slowly, the wall began to grow, and through hard work, and perseverance, the Great Wall of SOMS was created.




TZHS Leo’s Zumba for Charity Night Raises Over $1200 for PENGUIN PLUNGE!
Click on the image to view a slideshow from the evening!

Leo Club members, joined by many TZHS students and members of the South Orangetown staff and community came out for an hour of ZUMBA on March 6th, to raise money for the Penguin Plunge to help out the families of two Rockland County children with serious illnesses. The Leo Club raised just under $1300 from ticket sales, and donations from TZHS staff, students and members of the South Orangetown community. Sangeetha John, a TZHS senior and one of this year’s Penguin Plunge recipients, was present at the event. Zumba instructor Judith Richards led the close to 100 participants in an hour of dance and exercise. “Everyone had a wonderful time and came away with a tremendous sense of satisfaction in having exercised for an hour and also contributed to a wonderful cause, commented Leo Club advisor Tricia Castelli.

This is the second year that we are holding this event for the Penguin Plunge, and the Leo Club officers are thrilled to have almost doubled the number of participants, as well as more than doubled the amount of money we are able to donate to the Penguin Plunge”, she added. Participants left asking when the next Zumba Night would be. Hmmmmm...perhaps in May???


TZHS Wins “COOL SCHOOL” Trophy and “Plungie” the Penguin for Participation in Penguin Plunge

The 7th annual Penguin Plunge on March 2nd in Nyack, New York took place during one of the coldest winters on record. However the polar temperatures did not deter participants from jumping into the Hudson River. Attendees kept warm dressing in costume, participating in shore side entertainment, and most importantly raising money to help defray the medical costs of two local children. Past events have raised more than $125,000 over the past six years. The crowd remained entertained by the music, food and the local talent on hand including the world's fastest talking woman, Fran Capo. TZHS won a “Cool School” trophy for the largest number of participants, and a largest individual group trophy was given to the Boys and Girls Lacrosse team who were there in force. The “Cool School” trophy was given to a school that has more than 20 participants in any combination of staff/students/parents. TZHS, which was the school with the most participants received a 6 foot balloon penguin created and donated by a local balloon artist. “Plungie” now greets visitors to the HS in the Main lobby.

Executive Director Barbara Noyes said, "We look forward to creating lasting memories, raising money for the local community, and helping many brave participants check off an item on their bucket list.” For more information about the Penguin Plunge and other events, please like us on Facebook www.facebook.com/penguinplungeNY or see our website www.penguinplungeny.com.

The Penguin Plunge is a local 501c3 charity that works to help support local families that have children with serious medical needs. Fundraising efforts include a Zumba night, a restorative yoga class, Penguin trivia, and of course-the annual Penguin Plunge. The Plunge is free, but a $20 donation is suggested and includes a commemorative t-shirt! For more information, please contact Barbara Noyes at 917-846-6763 or email b.noyes@gmail.com


SOCSD Participates in Intermediate All-County Festival

March signifies Music in Our Schools Month, and each year, SOCSD students participate in various events highlighting the role of music in education. On March 8 and 9, SOCSD sent 44 students to the Intermediate All-County Music Festival. Sponsored by the Rockland County Music Educators Association (RCMEA) this annual festival highlights the musical accomplishments and interests of students from across the county. Selection for the festival is based on teacher recommendation and, in most cases, a score earned from the previous spring at the New York State School Music Association (NYSSMA) Solo Festival. SOCSD students participating were in grades 5 and 6, representing Cottage Lane Elementary School and South Orangetown Middle School.









Blauvelt Lions and TZ Boys Basketball Alumni Sponsor New Scoreboard

Blauvelt Lion and Past District Governor Ray Icobelli recently presented SOCSD Athletic Director Liam Frawley with a check in the amount of $11,000 to be used toward the purchase of a new basketball scoreboard for the TZHS gym. The Blauvelt Lions are continuing in their tradition of supporting TZ athletics, having previously co-sponsored the Scoreboards on the present Football field, as well as on the Softball field. The Lions are sponsoring the new scoreboard together with the TZ Boys Basketball Alumni.





SOMS Students Collects Jeans for Teens

Mrs. Morgan Harris’s 1st period English Language Arts class has been busy collecting “Jeans for Teens”. A class discussion about making a difference prompted the idea that kids really can make a difference in their community. School Library Media Specialist, Patricia Eyer introduced the website, DoSomething.org, to the students which then inspired students to participate in the “Teens for Jeans” project. The website says “1 in 3 people experiencing homelessness is under the age of eighteen. One of the items homeless youth request is a pair of jeans,” a statistic that alarmed the sixth grade class.

Students at the South Orangetown Middle School collected almost 200 pairs of jeans which will be picked up by Aeropostle, the partnering company for the “Jeans or Teens” event. DoSomething.org is not just about jeans but has other events that can help people in need and support the idea that South Orangetown Middle School adolescents can make a difference in their community.



TZHS Art Students Visit Museum of Art & Design

On Friday, February 7th students in Ms. Donna Grasso’s Sculpture & AP Studio in Art Classes went on a field trip to The Museum of Art & Design in New York City.

The exhibition, “Digital Fabrication in Contemporary Art, Architecture, and Design,” explored the ways digital processes have reshaped our relationships to art, and design. It also demonstrated recent innovative methods for gathering, producing, and arranging information in an attempt to show shifts in our ways of sensing and thinking.

Students observed that 3-D printers could be used for more than just prototyping by being used to make art projects and sculptures. Also available to the students were the programmers who discussed new ways to make websites more user friendly. A few of the artists made a motor bike powered by a Bosch drill.

The students then broke up into groups to make projects based on an algorithm that their tour guide gave to them.





Cottage Lane’s Teacher Book Club Makes Donation of Reading

Over the past four years Cottage Lane has been home to a teacher book club called the "Happy Bookers" Book Club. Comprised of both active and retired teachers, the club meets monthly.

Along with the assistance and organizational skills of the Cottage Lane Student Advisory Council a book drive was recently held for a book donation to the Children’s Hospital at Montefiore (CHAM). Four members of the "Happy Bookers" Book Club visited The Children’s Hospital at Montefiore to hand-deliver over 300 books collected through their book drive at Cottage Lane Elementary School which took place over a two month period.

The Children’s Hospital expressed their gratitude to the students of Cottage Lane Elementary School and the community for their donations to the drive.


TZHS Students Enter the Third Dimension

Students in Mr. Nick Desantis' Introduction to Engineering Design class were busy designing original artwork for key chains to be brought to life on their Maker Bot Replicator 3D. The students create their own original designs which are then imported to the Replicator and transformed into 3 dimensional works using the Replicator and filament which follows and cuts out the computer generated designs to create them. The class is an introductory course from Project Lead the Way and is part of the STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Art, & Math) focus in the South Orangetown Central School District.


South Orangetown Holds “A Common Core Conversation”

On January 22nd, over 100 parents, teachers and Administrators braved the frigid night temperatures and came to the South Orangetown Middle School Library to listen to “A Conversation on the Common Core in the South Orangetown Central School District” jointly sponsored by the South Orangetown Council PTA, SOCES PTA, SOMS PTA, and the TZHS PTSA in cooperation with the SOCSD.

Speaking at the event were Ken Mitchell, Superintendent of Schools, and Brian Culot, Assistant Superintendent for Curriculum and Instruction. Discussions included rationale for the implementation of the Common Core; promises, concerns and questions in its regard; how SOCSD is managing its implementation, and how staff is learning to adapt curriculum and instruction aligned with the Common Core Learning Standards. District Instructional Technology Coach, Marc Eckert spoke about how instructional technology is being integrated with STEM concepts into the curriculum to help support the needs of students, teachers, and parents. ELA and Math Instructional Coach Shannon Sorrentino spoke about shifts in State test questions and showed examples.

Questions were then fielded and parent’s concerns regarding the complicated test questions were discussed. The event lasted for approximately 2 hours and will be followed up with other presentations to help parents understand how the Common Core Standards are being implemented in South Orangetown. 

Below is a full presentation made during the evening.  Click the play button to begin!

Cottage Lane Musicians Team Up With Orangetown Community Band

For the 14th year, the Orangetown Community Band presented their annual Youth Concert at Cottage Lane Elementary. The program was presented as a "side-by-side" with the Cottage Lane 5th grade band creating a combined group of over 100 musicians spanning multiple generations. Included in the group was a father and his 5th grade son who sat side by side playing the French horn for the concert. Also on tap was a student string quartet who performed for the audience.

The Orangetown Community Band includes community musicians, SOCSD staff and selected advanced district students as well as professionals from the area who have been or are currently associated with major orchestras in the NY area.

A second concert was held at Tappan Zee Elementary School on January 31st.

TZHS Italian Students Test Their Literacy Skills

TZHS Italian class students spent some of their time before mid-terms honing their literacy skills, reading articles written in Italian regarding different sports and entertainment personalities, as well as current jobs opportunities. Students selected an article of interest to them from several provided, such as pieces on Italian soccer player Francesco Totti, Italian basketball players in the NBA such as Danilo Gallinari and Andrea Bargnani, singers such as Katy Perry and Shaquira, and fashion bloggers of today. After reading and discussing the article with other students who made the same selection, the group presented their article to the class. “The entire activity was both motivational and educational as well as enjoyable to the entire class” commented Italian teacher Tricia Castelli. “They said they look forward to the next opportunity to try out their skills with their classmates.”




Forget the Video - TZHS Students Opt for the LIVE Opera

Students in the Italian program at Tappan Zee High School attended a performance of Puccini’s La Bohème at the Metropolitan Opera House at Lincoln Center last Tuesday evening, January 14th. Accompanied by parents and friends, and following a pre-opera reception in the high school lobby, the group boarded the Coach bus for a ride into Manhattan to enjoy the outstanding production. Students studied the opera in class over the past two weeks, and although they viewed a video Met performance of La Bohème in class, they all agreed that there is nothing like being able to experience a live performance at the Met. Many of the participants have already put in their names for next year. Which opera? It will be up to Italian teachers Tricia Castelli, Christina Crowe and Maria Stillo to decide which opera they will teach next year, that will coincide with a Met performance.



United Water Demonstrates to TZE 3rd Graders the Importance of Water

As part of their science unit on the water cycle, 3rd grade students in Mrs. Claire Eckert’s class at Tappan Zee Elementary had the opportunity to join in on an interactive hands-on session with Amy Sabin, Community Outreach for United Water. The students were seated around as Ms. Sabin read a book on the water cycle which explained where water and rain comes from and goes to. Students were then separated into groups of two or three and given pipe cleaners. They were instructed to start at one of the stations that had been set up around the room . Each station had a container filled with a specific color bead and a picture that represented different parts of the water cycle: plant, animal, earth, glacier, ocean, clouds, lake, and a cube which when rolled directed them to the next station in “their” cycle. At each stop they put a bead on their pipe cleaner. At the end of the exercise, they realized they had each created their individual water cycle. After a discussion of what they had each individually created, and the importance of conserving water whenever possible, they twisted their pipe cleaner into a bracelet to wear and remember the importance of water.



Former SOCSD Grad Returns to SOMS To Share Experiences

On January 8th, students in Ms. Arlene Sorensen’s Gifted and Talented class had the opportunity to hear former SOCSD grad Rickey Arietta share with them his beginnings in his love of computer graphics and animation and how teachers like Ms. Sorensen helped shaped the life he has now chosen to follow. Arietta graduated from TZHS in June 2009 and went on to spend the next four years at Princeton graduating in the Spring of ’13. He is presently in a Master’s program at University of Pennsylvania majoring in computer graphics and technologies. Arietta began his quest 10 years ago as a student in Ms. Sorensen’s class where he was introduced to the National History Day competition. “The National History Day documentaries were the beginning of everything for me”, said Arietta who now works on computer animation and special effects. He also works with video games. For two years he has been with Blue Sky Studios (Ice Age IV, Epic, Horton Hears a Who, Rio). This past summer Arietta worked at Disney in their animation department. His love of the industry continued through his HS years winning him numerous awards for his work.

Students then told Arietta the projects they are presently working on and had their questions answered. Arietta gave some important pointers to students considering entering their projects in competition. “Make sure you have a strong thesis,” he told them. “The thesis or approach must have a strong meaning. Why is it important to you or anyone watching or reading it” he added. He also reminded them “These projects take many hours to complete, but you must enjoy and have fun in what you are doing. You must maintain a focus.”

Arietta remained after the class to give some individual help some of the students who stayed to get additional tips. In the delight of Arietta’s visit, Ms. Sorensen added, “He is one of the most outstanding students I had ever had in my class.”


TZHS Italian Honor Society Inducts 62 New Members

The Dante Alighieri Chapter of the Società Onoraria Italica at Tappan Zee High School inducted 62 new members into the local chapter of the National Italian Honor Society. Sponsored by the American Association of Teachers of Italian, over 400 people attended the annual candle-lighting ceremony. Re-inducted at the ceremony were 39 second year members and 44 third year members. To be invited into the Honor Society, students must maintain a 90 average in the study of Italian, as well as an 80 overall average in other academic areas. To maintain membership and be re-inducted, students must maintain the same average, as well as perform 12 hours of community service per year. Tricia Castelli and Maria Stillo, Italian teachers at TZHS and co-advisors of the Dante Alighieri chapter, congratulated the students “for demonstrating not only excellence in the study of Italian, but for the endless enthusiasm shown for both the language and the culture”.



TZHS Leos Pay It Forward Regardless of Weather

Over 50 members of the Blauvelt Lions Leo Club at TZHS, accompanied by members of the Blauvelt Lions club, collectively volunteered close to 200 hours over their Winter Break helping others. Leos joined the Immaculate Conception Church of Stony Point on a Midnight Run to New York City on December 21st. The group made four stops, feeding over 50 homeless New Yorkers. They also distributed toiletries, clothing, Christmas presents and some cheer and comfort to those less fortunate. On Monday, December 30th, more than 20 Leos volunteered at Soup Angels in Nyack, preparing dinner, plating desserts, washing dishes and serving over 60 members of the community. Before the guests arrived, Leos made holiday cards for all the attendees, which did much in brightening everyone’s evening.



SOMS Visits Liberty Science Center

SOMS’ entire 7th grade class traveled to the Liberty Science Center in Jersey City, NJ for a day of science exploration and hands-on fun. Students had opportunities to walk an 18-foot high steel girder, face hurricane-force winds, navigate an 80-foot-long pitch-black maze, explore the world of microbes and germs, race pedal bikes to power a blender, visit fascinating creatures, and much more. The entire experience was both fun and rich in learning opportunities for the students as well as the adults who accompanied them.






What Makes It The Shortest Day of the Year?

Slightly ahead of themselves, SOMS teachers celebrated the winter solstice along with their students. The actual solstice occurred on Saturday, December 21, 2013 at 12:11 PM EST. However, in preparation students learned lessons about its meaning and origin.

In science and math students explored the astronomy behind the solstice and the angles of the earth and sun that cause this event every year. In Social Studies, students examined Stonehenge and its ties to the solstice along with how different cultures celebrate this special day. In ELA students read poems about the winter solstice then wrote their own original poems on the topic using the terms discussed in class.

The day culminated in a “solstice party” with everyone celebrating the solstice as students and teachers brought in food and drink. The only condition: all food and drink had to have the word sun in it (Sunkist, Sunchips, Sun-Made, Sunny D., etc.) OR have a winter theme like hot chocolate or snow-flake shaped cookies etc. The event continued throughout the day and ended on a sunny and sweet note.


TZ Athletics Spirit of the Season is Soaring

The Tappan Zee High School Winter Track team put their best foot forward by donating over one hundred pairs of shoes to People to People of Rockland. Last year, People to People provided assistance to nearly 14,000 Rockland households. More than 95% of all donations go directly to providing programs and services.

In the same spirit of giving, the Tappan Zee Volleyball and Baseball teams combined efforts to purchase holiday gifts to be delivered to the Rockland Children's Psychiatric Center. The teams met at Greenbush Presbyterian Church on December 18th to sort, wrap and label the gifts.



SOCSD Honors its Student Firefighters for their Efforts on Clausland Mountain

On December 19th, at a meeting of the SOCSD Board of Education, eleven TZHS students received certificates of appreciation for their efforts and hard work in helping to put out the fire on Clausland Mountain last month. The students, all volunteer firefighters, represented three firehouses in the community. Matt Byrne, Kenny Gordon, Brian Kearney, Conor Lynady, Chris Oettinger and Anthony Ricci serve with the Orangeburg Firehouse and received their certificates under the proud eye of their Chief Neil Lynady. Bailey Domenick, and Celene Stewart received certificates with the support of their Chief Christopher Conklin. Brandon Basso, Andrew Heuler, and Roberto Lopez represent the Sparkill Firehouse and received certificates with their Chief Michael Yannazzone, Jr. proudly watching over the ceremony.

Members of the Board of Education, Ken Mitchell, Superintendent of Schools, the students, and the Chiefs of the three Firehouses all gathered for a group photo of thanks and appreciation for the work the firefighters do for the community.


TZHS Leos Bring Holiday Cheer To Young Children and US Troops

What can give more satisfaction than bringing cheer during the Holiday Season to those less privileged than ourselves or to those serving our country and away from their families? Members of the Blauvelt Lions Leo Club at TZHS spent an afternoon after school making Holiday Cards and packaging gifts bought by the Blauvelt Lions for the Holiday party they throw each year for the young ladies at Rockland Children’s Psychiatric Center, as well as for our troops abroad. The cards and gifts were sent out with boxes of items donated for our troops, and shipped by the Blauvelt Lions in their Adopt-a-Platoon project. The cards included personal messages for the holidays, as well as messages of thanks to those serving our country.



SOCSD Participates in National Call for An Hour of Code

In response to a national initiative to integrate computer coding into the curriculum as a part of Computer Science Education Week, schools nationwide participated in An Hour of Code. In keeping with SOCSD’s commitment to their focus on STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Math) applications in learning, students had an opportunity to share some of their activities during this week’s Hour of Code.

At Tappan Zee Elementary School, Technology Teacher Amanda Akdemir was busy at work with a group of 2nd grade students coding the Angry Birds maze Game. Students in both 2nd and 3rd grades are learning to code using this tool. Students have to analyze different situations and possible solutions in getting the bird through the maze without bumping into obstacles. " I have never seen them this engaged", said Akdemir. "Working in groups of two and three motivates them to find the solutions", she continued.

For CL’s Science & Technology teacher Jacob Tanenbaum's 4th grade computer class, this was nothing new. The students have been writing code to program robots for many years in his classes. "I’m so glad that children around the United States are learning computer programming this week. We have been doing coding of one sort or another for many years, here in Cottage Lane and the amount of learning through the experience is impressive" Tanenbaum said. "Children learn logical reasoning, basic mathematics and persistence in a format that is engaging and exciting. One that keeps them coming back again and again to work through a complex problem", he added. "The next generation science standards require us to teach the engineering process. There is no better way to teach this important skill than through programming a robot to navigate a complex course", Tanenbaum added.

One of SOMS' 6th grade classes honored the designated Hour of Code this week under the guidance of library media specialist, Patricia Eyer. The students were challenged to use html code to design their own holiday card using the interactive site, Codeacademy. Students used the district's new Chromebooks to code and personalize their projects. "Exposing students to code engaged them beyond my expectation", said Eyer. “Many of the students left exclaiming, I'm going to finish this at home! Others, experiencing the opportunity for the first time said, I didn't know people had to do this to make computers do things!"   "I see coding as a part of my obligation as a teacher", said Eyer. "Coding builds a skill set that is a key to future opportunities”.

Cottage Lane’s Next Generation of Inventors – Move Over Einstein

Once again, the Library at Cottage Lane was filled to capacity with the next generation of inventers. Students in the 5th grade had to put their thinking caps on in designing the “next great invention”. Teacher Ms. Anne O’Brien shared when introducing the student’s experiments to the waiting crowd of parents, that many things that appeared silly and impossible a couple of years ago are now a way of life. She encouraged the students to never give up on their ideas. They had to follow a procedure of design, construct, test, evaluate, and redesign as needed. At the Invention Convention, the inventors displayed their conceptual, and physical models along with an engineering log, observation evaluation, the next steps, and the written backup that began their original ideas. Among this year’s inventions were: The Buzzing To Life Disco Bobber, that lit up and buzzed when a fish took the bait, a combination toothbrush and dental floss, The Thought Box which connects to brain waves and will remember the last thought when the button is pushed, The Critter Catcher which will keep critters out of your garbage, The Counter Washer which at counter heights, eliminates the need to bend down to load the dishwasher, The Bus Watch which will light up on your own watch when the School Bus passes over a sensor in the street, giving parents enough time to get outside to meet it rather than have to wait in the cold, The Books “R” Us book order machine. Just type in the name of the book, swipe your card and the book comes through the slot, and The Swipe and Stick which fitted with magnets along the bottom will pick up a messy roomful of Legos in a couple of quick swipes. It was quite evident that a tremendous amount of thinking, analysis, science, engineering, math, and technology (STEM) went into this year’s Convention in keeping with the district’s focus on the importance of 21st century skills.

SOMS American Idol Club  Delivers Cheer at Nyack Manor Nursing Home

On Wednesday, December 11th, the South Orangetown Middle School American Idol Club under the direction of teacher Ms. Arlene Sorensen, performed a Holiday show for the residents of the Nyack Manor Nursing Home. The group sang traditional songs for the residents. Their appearance this year was extra special since the students took up a collection to bring some holiday gifts to the residents, and share their smiles and cheer for all.






TZHS Clubs To The Rescue in the Philippines

The Tappan Zee High School COVE program joined forces with the Blauvelt Lions Leo Club at TZHS to run a collection for the victims of the Typhoon that hit the Philippines in November. The joint group collected clothing, canned goods, stuffed animals and toiletries for the victims, and, with the help of the Blauvelt Fire Department, delivered 37 large boxes of items to a New Jersey shipping company which offered to ship items for free to the devastated area.

Tricia Castelli, Leo Club advisor said, "We ran the collection for just a week, due to shipping time constraints, and were amazed at the quick response from the students and community, who brought items to Tappan Zee High School as soon as the request went out. It is always wonderful to see how our students and their families are always there to help out in these situations."

The entire effort and delivery was coordinated by Tricia Castelli, Denise Dubois, Elise Glickman and Rizza Pielago.


TZ Girls Basketball Plays for the Cure

On December 6th, the TZ Girls Basketball team held its annual 'Pink' game in the fight for the cure for Breast Cancer. This year the game raised over $2,000 for the cause. Special shout outs went to the organizers, Mrs. Mary Paul and Coach Tom Cromer.





Annual SOMS Music Pie Sale.....Another Sweet Dessert

For the 25th year, the SOMS Music Department hosted its annual pie sale fundraiser. The Thanksgiving Pie Sale helped to raise money for yearly department activities, including the annual spring field trip, scholarships, and other special activities for our students. This year, students in grades 6-8 from band, chorus, and orchestra, sold over 1,000 pies for Thanksgiving. Last year, the money raised from the trip helped to send students to the Westchester Broadway Theater to see the show Guys and Dolls. The SOMS Music Department is in the process of planning another great trip for our students.

Thank you to the SOCSD community of parents, students, teachers, and community members who supported the Music Department students in this pie sale, and for your continued support of music in our school!



TZHS Blood Drive Once Again Brings Home the Gift of Life

What will 176 units of donated blood do? It will save at least 528 lives and possibly more. That's what the TZHS Blood Team can be proud of as a result of their hard work at their November Blood Drive. At one point during the day additional technicians were brought in by the NY Blood Center to assist in alleviating the waiting time for donors that were gathering in the gymnasium.

The November drive was the first of three being held at TZHS which already boasts a three time championship for blood donations for 2010-11, 2011-12, and 2012-13.

In connection with their work at Tappan Zee, the members of the Blood Team, along with Team advisor and TZHS nurse Judy Flagg, traveled to the IBM Center in Somers, NY for the NY Blood Center kick-off of the 2014 Blood Drive initiatives as well as their celebration of 50 years of service. IBM partners with and supports the NY Blood Center in their ongoing efforts to provide those in need through emergencies or illness with the necessary blood to save lives. During the presentation at the IBM Center, Blood Center Account Manager Robin Friehling introduced TZHS nurse and Blood Team advisor Judy Flagg who did a PowerPoint presentation entitled The Power of One. The presentation highlighted the three TZHS blood drives of the 2012-13 school year which were literally held against all odds with snow, floods, and oppressive heat as major contenders. In spite of it all, and as a team, TZHS won their third championship with 468 units donated. The PowerPoint was the story of the steps and procedures necessary in preparing for and running a successful Blood Drive with everyone involved giving 150%. It was a poignant and moving conclusion to the day.

Cottage Lane Class Becomes Harvard Research Model for Globalizing American Education

Dr. Veronica Boix-Manzilla, a researcher from Harvard, has asked Ms. Christie-Blick's 5th graders to be a model class in her work along with co-researcher, Flossie Chua, to create a prototype for American teachers to teach global competence. Their standpoint is, with so many Americans travelling the world for business and pleasure, and children of many cultures continuing to come into the American classroom, American education must respond to the growing need for the globalization of the American classroom. This goes beyond learning a few words and some favorite foods of another country. It's learning how people of another country think. It's children and their teachers working together on a societal problem that both countries have in common.

This is what has brought Dr. Boix-Manzilla and Ms. Chua to Cottage Lane to interview and videotape Ms. Christie-Blick and her class. The class has linked up with a 5th grade class at Sun Valley School, in Cape Town, South Africa. Using a blog, the students have talked to each other about their culture, and their hopes for their future. They've discussed their concerns about global warming, and what must be done to maintain their quality of life in the future. During a "Live Lesson" via Skype, the children in both classes discussed their action plans for helping reduce air pollution, and discussed the need to work together on this global issue. When interviewed by Ms. Chua, the students were very enthusiastic about the international collaboration. They told her it felt good to have friends in another country, and to know that they were all working together to help slow down global warming.





Fall 2013: Major Community Service Effort for the TZHS Blauvelt Lions Leo Club

Community service continues to flourish at Tappan Zee High School. October and November saw over 250 members of the TZHS Leo Club involved in various community service projects and events. After more than 100 Leos helped out at the Blauvelt Lions Applefest in Piermont on September 30, it was time to turn energies to other projects. Leos and Lions joined forces on October 12th, volunteering at Vacation Camp for the Blind in Spring Valley, cleaning up and painting the cabin sponsored by the Blauvelt Lions, and raking leaves. On October 19th, the Leos sponsored a Zumba Night for Charity for Homes for Heroes in Tappan, New York. Community members and Leos came together for an hour of intense exercise, and raised $472.00 for charity. Over 20 Leos, along with members of the Blauvelt Lions Club, joined forces again on October 19th, and cleaned up Van Wyck Road, Erie Street and 5th Avenue in Blauvelt. The following weekend, Leos participated in a Midnight Run into Manhattan along with the Immaculate Conception Church in Stony Point to bring food, clothing and toiletries to the homeless of New York City. The group fed over 50 homeless individuals on the Run which lasted from 9:30 p.m. to 2:00 a.m. Other Leos helped out with various community projects, such as the Farm to You Fest, sponsored by the Rockland Farm Alliance and the Light the Night Walk for Charity in Pomona. On Monday, November 4th, Leos volunteered at Soup Angels in Nyack, a community Soup Kitchen, serving dinner to over 50 members of the community. The Leos were also extremely busy organizing the Make a Difference Rockland Community Service Fair, a community event whose purpose is to inform the public of the many community service opportunities as well as of the many services which are available in Rockland County. Over 90 Volunteer Groups and Charities exhibited in the Tappan Zee High School Gym, explaining their purpose and recruiting volunteers amongst the over 1000 individuals that attended the event. The Leos' helping hands extend beyond our county and the city, and the last two weeks, Leos have been busy helping to collect clothing, toiletries and canned goods for the victims of the Typhoon in the Philippines.

“It’s wonderful to see that the desire to help others is so contagious”, says Leo advisor Tricia Castelli. “Students come in every day to find out if they can join the club because they want to help in the community. Some activities can have a limited number of participants, and there is always a waiting list of students wanting to participate. It’s a wonderful feeling to see our young people so enthusiastic and excited about giving back to their community.”


Congratulations to the TZ Hall of Fame Class of 2013!

The 5th Annual Athletic Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony was held on Sunday, November 17th at the Colonial Inn in Norwood, NJ. Honorees at this year’s ceremony were: the 1981 TZHS Golf Team, TZ Girl’s Swim Coach Sarah DeZago, TZ Athletic Alumnae Veterans of the United States Armed Forces, Frank Cosentino (Football) ‘62, Joe Campoli (Basketball) ‘60, David Cozart (Track) ‘62, Bill Dailey (Cross Country) ’62, and David Holmes (Swimming) ’82. For a slideshow down memory lane and to relive some of the highlights of this wonderful evening, CLICK HERE.




TZHS’s Acoustic Underground - A Dynamic Success

The music lovers of South Orangetown were clapping, cheering, and singing along at Tappan Zee High School’s Acoustic Underground. Forty TZHS student musicians and singers performed twenty-five well known pieces from original scores. This semi-annual event, sponsored by the Spanish Honor Society, has become extremely popular with students, parents, and teachers who enjoy the musical talent of Tappan Zee High School's students. The audience was also entertained by witty emcees, Chris Lovrin and Dylan Kelly, both members of the SHS. The Spanish Honor Society and the Spanish Club decorated the library with a Day of the Dead theme as the event was held on the Hispanic holiday Dia de los Muertos. The Acoustic Underground will be back in May.




SOMS Italian Club and Italian Classes Celebrate Italian Heritage

The Italian club and Italian classes at SOMS have been very busy this fall. They started off the year dancing the Tarantella at the Italian Feast. During the month of October they celebrated Italian Heritage Month through many activities. The students marched in the Columbus Day Parade, they went on two walking field trips to Torino's Deli in Blauvelt where the owners graciously hosted the students and shared with them their routines in making mozzarella, pasta and sausages and then treated them all to delicious pasta and meatballs.  The students continued their celebration of heritage month making pizzelle, a traditional Italian cookie and playing a soccer game against the Spanish club!



SOMS Students Take A Vet to School

Students in SOMS teacher Arlene Sorensen's Gifted and Talented Project based 6th, 7th, and 8th grade classes, took part in the Take a Veteran to School program. Take a Veteran to School is a national program designed to help connect veterans with students, schools, and communities by allowing them to share their stories and experiences, and to receive thanks and praise for their services. Some of the Veterans who attended the event were also part of the pen pal program linking each of them to students in the classes. The veterans each spoke of their experiences as members of the armed services whether during war or times of peace. Their stories help provide a link to the generations while giving students the tools to learn about the past. On the panel were: Ken Schwegler, US Navy '65-'67 (Vietnam); Simon Jeruchim, US Navy, 5th Regimental Combat Team (Korean War); Chester Lubeck, US Army '42-'45 Battle of the Bulge POW (WWII); Jack Schwarz, National Guard '61-'68; Pete Denehy, Air Force '41-'45 (WWII); Chip Hayes, US Navy, USS Saratoga, '64-'70 (Vietnam).

The students listened intently to the stories shared with them by the Veterans, and asked questions which the panel eagerly answered. “I am so happy to have been able to bring this program to my classes”, expressed teacher Arlene Sorensen. “Having done this last year also, I am hoping to make it an annual event, she added.


Make A Difference Rockland

On Wednesday, November 6th, over 90 community and service based organizations from Rockland and the surrounding counties set up tables decorated with handout brochures and flyers describing opportunities for volunteering for their organizations. The event was held in the Tappan Zee HS gym in celebration of Make A Difference Rockland. The annual event was hosted for the first time by the Blauvelt Lions Leo Club at Tappan Zee HS as part of their effort to heighten the awareness of community members to the many and varied services available to them through these organizations.

Students visited the event from 1pm until 3pm at which time it was opened to the public until 6pm. Leo Club advisor, Tricia Castelli could not have given more praise to her Leo club members for the hours of service they gave in advance of the event, and the amount of hard work they did on the day of the event. “It was a huge collaborative effort by so many members of the District”, commented Castelli. “I am so proud of these kids and everyone who helped make the event as successful as it was”, she said.   Click to view! 

TZHS Italian Honor Society Students Visit Sunrise Senior Living Center

It was an afternoon of Italian Bingo at Sunrise Senior Living Center in Old Tappan, NJ on October 30th, as over twenty Tappan Zee High School Italian Honor Society members spent a very pleasant hour playing “Tombola”, an Italian version of bingo, with many of the residents. This was a return visit to the assisted living facility by popular demand of the residents, since members of the Italian Honor Society had visited the residents last spring. After explaining the game, some students called the numbers, while others worked side by side with their Sunrise partners on filling their cards. Everyone had a great afternoon and the students were invited to come back once again for another visit.  Click to view!

SOCASA/SADD Walk Run A Continued Success!

Thank you to all who made the Annual SOCASA/SADD Walk Run a SUCCESS! It would not be possible to gather over 300 runners for this event without continued community support. We would like to give special thanks to everyone for taking time out of their Saturday to support the SOCASA/SADD WALK RUN. Money raised will go to “Kids for a Cure” the high school chapter to celebrate Melissa’s life, a former TZHS student, as well as funding for 2013-2014 prom speaker.  Click to view!

Can You Taste the Difference?

On Thursday, SOMS entire 6th grade along with teachers Eric Goldstein, Robert Calone and Barry Wasser conducted a science experiment using M&Ms as the focus of the experiment.

The question:
“Can you taste the difference between different colors of M&Ms?”

In a blind study, students working in pairs, tasted and recorded their results as they tried to accurately identify each of the 6 colors of M&Ms simply by tasting them without looking.

The answer: With more than 250 students tasting a total of over 1300 M&Ms, the study showed that the students predicted the color correctly only about 29% of the time. These results indicate that, it is NOT possible to taste the difference between different colored M&Ms.

Now you know!



A Spectacular Circle Around Manhattan

In a gutsy test of Mother Nature, on October 22nd 235 fifth graders and 66 adults from Cottage Lane boarded buses for the trip downtown to the Circle Line Pier 83 and then hopped aboard the Circle Line “Brooklyn” on a magnificent Fall day for a tour around Manhattan Island. Students, who are studying bridges and especially the new Tappan Zee Bridge construction, took notes, sketched, and took pictures as we circled the island, down the Hudson, up the East River, along the Harlem River, back out to the Hudson and travelled under 20 bridges observing their different properties and methods of construction and operation. The narration of the history of the rivers, bridges, and surrounding areas gave insight to the very rich beginnings of the needs, lives and events that guided our early years.







SOMS Students Dig Up The Dirt

SOMS "Team A" students of Eric Goldstein, Kathleen Lacker, Pamela Tarasco, Maureen O’Sullivan and Colleen O’Connor were given the opportunity to participate in a hands-on social studies activity that took place in the SOMS parking field. Students were challenged to create various land forms out of dirt, rocks, and sand using their knowledge of each geographical term to create it accurately. Students were engaged in learning, and participating in a project that allowed for them to think creatively and work together as a team to accomplish a specific task.







Cottage Lane’s Climate Stewards Check for Changes

On Thursday, October 17th, students from Cottage Lane Elementary once again had the opportunity to canoe through the marsh at Norrie Point with educators from the Norrie Point Environmental Center. The students are studying the impact of climate change on the Hudson River through a grant from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's Climate Stewards Program. They were learning about the importance of wetlands to the Hudson River Estuary. Climate change may affect these wetlands in the years to come. At the same time wetlands, like marshes, also help protect nearby communities from some of the impacts of climate change such as sea level rise and floods. Cottage Lane thanks Chris Bowser and Jim Herrington for a great day on the water.





Cottage Lane Students Published On NOAA’s Website

After learning about and experimenting with climate change, some of Cottage Lane’s 5th graders were anxious to disseminate their important findings to everyone both in and out of their immediate circle. They knew they needed the help of adults. However, many adults don't know how to talk to kids about this very important topic. "It's too scary," some say. "How do I even begin?" others lament. So with the help of their teacher, Ms. Kottie Christie-Blick, they wrote an article about how to talk to children about climate change. These 11-year-olds knew what they needed to impart to help others in and around their age group to more fully understand the global issue.

Last fall they researched the Earth's changing climate, evaluated and synthesized information to write essays, participated in teleconferences with students in South Africa who were also studying climate change, and took steps toward mitigating global warming by recycling and reducing their energy use.

Ms. Christie-Blick and her students hope you'll read their article, Talking to Children About Climate Change, and help spread the word. http://oceanservice.noaa.gov/education/climate-stewards/talking-about.html




Volley for the Cure

Tappan Zee and Pear River Volleyball teamed up for their 4th annual Volley for the Cure last Friday. Together the two teams combined to raise over $2000 for breast cancer!





TZ Athletes In Service To Their Community

Last weekend the TZ Boys Soccer team participated in the first annual Westchester vs. Rockland Challenge for Breast Cancer. The challenge was set up with a five game schedule over the course of the day with some of the top teams in the section. Each game featured one team from Rockland against one team from Westchester to determine final County bragging rights for the season. It wound up as a Westchester win for this year, but there is always next year to look forward to.

The Challenge raised over $3,000. to aid in the fight against Breast Cancer.

On the same weekend, the TZ Middle School Volleyball team put their best foot forward by assisting at the Mickey Sullivan Duathalon to help raise awareness in the fight against Huntington’s Disease.



National Fire Prevention Week Comes to WOS

On October 15th three very large and very shiny fire trucks from the Orangeburg, Blauvelt, and Tappan Fire Departments parked in the driveway of the William O. Schaefer school in preparation for their annual presentation to the WOS students in observation of National Fire Prevention Week. The students filed out in groups and sat down in front of each of the three stations that were set up to learn about fires and fire safety. Equipment was demonstrated and after each group there was a question and answer session. Students shared with the firemen what they knew about fire safety in school and at home. Each of the students received a packet of stickers, a book and a pencil to read when they got back to class.




TZHS Takes Part in “A Day In The Life Of The Hudson River”

On October 10th, a cold, gray, rainy Thursday, over 3,500 students from 80 schools in 65 locations between NY Harbor and the Troy dam participated in the collection and analysis of real field data during a hands-on exploration of the Hudson River Estuary. The project, now in its 11th year is sponsored by the NYS Department of Environmental Conservation’s Hudson River Estuary Program in partnership with the national Estuarine Research Reserve, the Lamont Doherty Earth Observatory of Columbia University, and Cornell’s NYS Water Resources Institute.

Participating TZHS students were assigned a position at the end of the Piermont pier to assist trained river educators in the collection of data by putting on waders and catching fish and invertebrates in nets, collecting data from the pier in order to be able to track the river’s tides and currents, and examine the river’s water chemistry, and turbidity. All collected information will form a snapshot of the Hudson at dozens of locations along its entire length as pieces of the larger ecosystem, and will be compared to data collected from previous years.

The Hudson River Estuary Program is a project of the NYS Environmental Protection Fund.

A Sun Drenched Ap – Peeling Fest

It was a two step process for more than 40 members of the TZHS Blauvelt Lions Leo Club as they got together at the Blauvelt Fire House along with the Lions Ladies Auxiliary in preparation for this year’s annual Applefest with a mission to make the apple pies that were to be sold at the Fest. The entire group peeled over 800 apples and prepared close to 100 pies. The pies, prepared under the direction of Lion Diane Conklin using Diane’s secret recipe, were an unquestionable hit at the Applefest, selling out in just a few hours.

As the second step of the process, Tappan Zee High School Blauvelt Lions Leos came out in full force to help out with the Applefest itself, organized by the Blauvelt Lions, which took place in Piermont on September 29th. Leos contributed to the very successful day, running activity booths such as face painting, jewelry making, spin-art, tattooing, and making pop-corn, as well as helping with the inflatable rides, the food concession and the baked goods booth. A long and arduous day of fun and hard work for the Leos and Lions was bolstered up with the knowledge and satisfaction that proceeds from the event goes to the Blauvelt Lions Charities.

SOCSD Dances Their Way Through Southern Italy at Rockland Lodge Italian Fest

Over 70 members of the South Orangetown Middle School and Tappan Zee High School Italian Clubs, as well as members of the TZHS Italian Honor Society, joined forces on Sunday, September 15th at the Rockland Lodge Italian Feast held at the Masonic grounds in Tappan, New York, to perform the Tarantella, a traditional dance from Southern Italy. This is the fourth year that the group has performed on Sunday, kicking off the entertainment for the last day of what has become an extremely popular event. At the end of the demonstration, the students along with Italian teachers Roberta Avantifiori, Tricia Castelli, Christina Crowe and Maria Stillo, invited the audience to join in, and over 100 participants of all ages enthusiastically joined the group for a second round.


Grant From Sen. Carlucci Will Provide Google Chromebooks for SOCSD

In collaboration with Senator David Carlucci, the South Orangetown Central School District will now be able to provide Google Chromebooks, low cost mobile devices, to SOMS entire eighth grade. The grant will help allow the district to purchase the devices and the carts necessary for storage. At the core of the District’s Mobile Learning initiative is the belief that access to mobile technologies can help enhance and eventually transform the educational learning process. Continuous access to instructional resources has been shown to support teaching and learning. Students and teachers will have immediate access to online instructional resources that support project based learning. Through the use of these mobile devices students will be able to collaborate with their peers and teachers as part of regular classroom learning.

While the primary benefit of Mobile learning is the enrichment of the teaching and learning experience, other benefits include: self-motivated and active learning, increased collaboration and social learning, immediate access to resources not normally available to the students, efficient ways for students to manage evidence for their learning portfolios (ePortfolio), and Ability for students to personalize their learning.

This Mobile Learning initiative also supports the District’s goal of “Learner-active, Technology Infused Classrooms” ™ (IDE Corp). This is a shift from traditional classroom instruction towards one that is built upon the seamless use of technology as a tool to support real world problem solving and project based learning.

The District will use this opportunity to collect data on how Mobile Learning will be able to enhance teaching and learning but also determine how leveraging this technology may help reduce costs. Mobile Learning might some day replace notebooks, textbooks, and library books. It might reduce costs associated with printing and copying. In its’ simplest form it might just lighten our students backpacks. Mobile learning is inevitable in the connected world our students live in.


Blauvelt Lions’ TZHS Leos Get an Early Start Helping Others

Members of the TZHS Leos could no longer wait for school to start to begin their community service. Leos gathered at TZHS at 7am on Sunday morning, Sept 8th, to join members of the Immaculate Conception Church in Stony Point on a Breakfast Run into Manhattan to bring food, clothing, toiletries and snacks to the homeless . The Leos helped to feed over 60 individuals who lined up on 11th Ave., and then assisted them in finding the correct clothing sizes and needed toiletries. The Leos, along with their drivers, Lion Laurie Wohl, parent Mrs. Patti Neier, and Leo Club advisor Tricia Castelli, were back at Tappan Zee High School by 10:15 am. “The group comes away from these runs feeling a great sense of accomplishment and pride at having helped so many people in need,” commented TZHS Leo Club Advisor Tricia Castelli. “They are all looking forward to the next run, a Midnight Run, on October 26th”.


“……..for which it stands”

On an Indian Summer morning, much warmer than it was 12 years ago on that day, William O. Schaefer's entire student body gathered on the front lawn of their school to pay tribute and remember the men and women whose bravery marked the day and, at the same time, the men and women who so tragically gave up their lives on that day.

On the 12th anniversary of the fall of the Twin Towers, with the children gathered around her, the ceremony opened with comments by Assistant Principal Jeannine Carr who explained the true meanings of heroism and bravery and how we must always remember the men and women of that day. The Pledge of Allegiance was then led by two classmates followed by the awe-inspiring strains of Lee Greenwood’s Proud to Be an American. The song was written specifically in the aftermath of the events of that day. Students then returned to their classrooms where teachers read September 12th: We Knew Everything Would Be Alright, a book written entirely by first graders in Kennet, Missouri on September 12, 2001 as a reassurance to themselves and the world that even after bad things happen, ordinary routines return and the world will continue.

In preparation for the day, all students traced their right hands on red or white paper, cut out the tracing, and put their names on it. A 5 x 8 ft. paper flag had been prepared over the summer with paper stars in the corner on which the names of every staff member in the building were printed. The students were called down by class over the course of the day and one by one glued their “hand” onto the red or white stripe of the flag until every student and every staff member was represented on “their” flag. The flag will be displayed in the school lunchroom as a remembrance.

NYS Education Department Designates SOMS a Reward School

The South Orangetown Middle School has been designated a Reward School for 2013-14 by the NYS Education Department. SOMS, one of twelve schools in the County to receive the designation.

According to NYSED, "Reward Schools are either schools that have made the most progress or schools that have the highest achievement in the state and do not have significant gaps in student achievement." This is the second consecutive year SOMS has received the award.



TZ Athletes Pitch in for Veterans

On Saturday, September 7th, the Tappan Zee Boys Cross Country, and members of the Football teams assisted the Veterans group 'Homes for Heroes' with their annual tag sale to raise funds to provide affordable housing for returning Veterans in Orangeburg. By day’s end, the Homes for Heroes tag sale grossed $5,000 in sales, donations and gifts for the Veterans.



TZ Athletics Named National Recipient of 2013 Interscholastic Sports Program of Excellence Award

Tappan Zee High School has been named the public school recipient of the 2013 National Interscholastic Sports Program of Excellence Award, honoring the nation’s best athletic programs for their overall commitment to promoting a positive experience for student athletes. As part of that honor, Tappan Zee Athletics will also be featured in the November/December issue of Coach and Athletic Director, a magazine which is “the authoritative voice within the team sports industry for more than 80 years,” and which serves more than 28,000 top coaching and athletic director decision-makers.

In just our second year with the Program of Excellence, we’re overwhelmed by the quality of our nominees and the effort they put into building a distinguished athletic program,” said Coach and Athletic Director Managing Editor Kevin Hoffman. “Our judges had a very difficult job, but this year’s honorees are certainly worthy given their achievements and dedication to educational athletics.

The award recognizes the Tappan Zee Athletic program for setting the standard for integrity, sportsmanship, and a positive overall experience for student-athletes. An independent panel of judges reviewed nominations from schools in 44 states, and Tappan Zee was selected based on success in eight categories: participation rate, coaches certification, community service, athletic director national certification, scholar-athlete status, level of participation, sportsmanship, and parent participation.

We are proud and humbled to receive such a prestigious honor,” said Tappan Zee Athletic Director Liam Frawley. “I truly believe that athletics is not an extra-curricular, but a co-curricular activity. We are an extension of the classroom with our coaches as teachers who not only teach the “X’s and O’s”, but take pride in building men and women for others through character education, volunteerism and life lessons. I am extremely proud of our coaching staff and the relationships they have built with their student-athletes. I applaud each one of our coaches, student-athletes, teachers, administrators, and parents for contributing to this honor.”

Read the announcement by Coach and Athletic Director magazine: http://www.coachad.com/pages/Breaking-News---Coach-and-Athletic-Director-Announces-Program-of-Excellence-Honorees.php

TZ Athletes Help Make a BIG Difference With Little Scoops

On Wednesday, August 29th, Varsity Volleyball and Girls JV Soccer were just two of a half dozen TZ teams to take part in the fundraiser at Little Scoops in Orangeburg to benefit The United Hospice of Rockland. Members of Youth for Hospice, who hosted the event, provided face painting, tattoos, and served the sweet treats.