Event Archives

2013-2014 Event Highlights Archive
2012-2013 Event Highlights Archive

Upcoming Events and School Highlights 2014-2015
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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SOCSD Upcoming Events

TZHS Football Fundraiser

Please come out to support our TZ Football players for a Chicken & Fish Fry dinner by the pier in Piermont, Friday, June 12th 6 - 8pm. Bring the family and join us! P.S. The boys aren't cooking, it is being catered. See flyer.

School Highlights  2014-2015


Never Too Cold for A “Cool School”

Thinking things couldn't get any colder than last year's 7th annual Penguin Plunge, this year’s 8th annual Penguin Plunge immediately wiped all previous descriptions of a cold day from everyone's memory. However in true fashion, the polar temperatures and icy mud did not deter participants from jumping into the Hudson River. Attendees kept warm in any way possible. Uppermost in everyone’s mind was raising money to help defray the medical costs of three local children. Past events have raised more than $135,000 in the last seven years. The crowd remained entertained by the music, food and an appearance by Elsa who very appropriately sang Frozen accompanied by a thrilled 2015 Penguin Plunge recipient, 2 year old Khloe (Khloworm) Berry.

As a result of their presence and support on the day of the Plunge, on June 4th (a bit of a warmer day) TZHS received a “Cool School” trophy for the second year in a row which represented the largest number of participants at the Plunge, 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.

Presenter and 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 individual 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
or contact Barbara Noyes at 917-846-6763 or email: b.noyes@gmail.com

The Penguin Plunge is a local 501c3 charity that works to help support local families that have children with serious medical needs.


WOS & CL Students Help Name Tappan Zee Falcon Chicks

When news of the search for names of the new Tappan Zee Bridge Falcon Chicks came out, students at WOS and TZE got busy. Over 3,000 ballots were sent to the NY Bridge Project to vie for naming rights of the fledgling falcons. When results were determined, CL and TZE were in the top three. Click on link below to see the full article.




Budding Gardeners at TZHS

Students in the ESL program at TZHS are used to overcoming obstacles and successfully meeting challenges. That’s why they did not back away when their teacher, Ms. Elizabeth Fearen, suggested rehabilitating the school greenhouse. Shihan Zheng, a senior from China, recalls, “The greenhouse started out all messy with nothing but bugs living there.” The group cheerfully donned dust masks and gloves and within a few days the greenhouse was tidy and organized. The next step for the students was to evaluate possible maintenance issues. Ana Mancia, a senior from El Salvador, reports, “We had to know that the water was working, and the fan, too.”

With the cooperation of principal, Dr. Jennifer Amos, and head custodian, Steve Donnelly and his staff, the greenhouse was soon ready for use and the students began planting the first week of March.

The class researched hardiness zones, choosing plants based on suitability to the climate and length of time needed for germination, as well as their personal preferences. Soon a variety of flowers, vegetables and herbs, including tomatoes, lettuce, and marigolds were sprouting in the greenhouse. But, there was trouble ahead! According to Melissa Mancia, a freshman from El Salvador, “At first all the planting went well, but when we transplanted some vegetables, aphids attacked them.” Aphids, as the class learned, reproduce asexually and multiply very quickly often wiping out the entire stock of a greenhouse. An antidote was found with more research, and the class was able to vanquish this tiny enemy. Not only that, but when Alex Mendez, a freshman, realized there were aphids on the plantains he and his grandmother had planted last year in the Dominican Republic, he was able to share the solution with her via Skype. As Memorial Day approached, the gardeners harvested lettuce and repotted flowers to enjoy with family and friends. Merin Mani, a sophomore from India, sums up the whole experience, “Our greenhouse was a grand success, but if someone asks us now the only words we could say are ‘hard work!’ It is not just by one day; it is the success of many days.” A life lesson cultivated in the greenhouse.


Cottage Lane 5th Graders Adopt a “Downy” New Classmate

Alex S. and his 5th grade classmates have a furry new reason to rush to school these days. They have a new chick named Lily who lives in their classroom. The journey began last winter when Alex told their teacher, Ms. Kottie Christie-Blick that for the past year his mom Jennifer, and the entire family have been raising a backyard flock of chickens as a hobby. They thought it would be fun to try to hatch some chicks as a classroom project. After some discussion and planning and getting mom Jennifer’s approval and help, on Wednesday, April 22, 2015 at three o’clock in the afternoon, twelve eggs were placed in an incubator that was brought in to the classroom. The temperature had to be closely monitored to maintain a proper atmosphere for the chicks to incubate. On Monday, May 11th, Alex’s mom and dad brought in a brooding box for the chicks that Alex and his dad made. The chicks will live there for a little while after they hatch. May 17th – Happy Birth Day Lily. Lily was hatched over the weekend in the families household. She was the only egg to hatch of the 12 that were placed in the incubator. While the students awaited the arrival they came up with names on index cards which they placed in a box. When it was time, Lily was the name that was picked. Other contenders included: KFC, Chick Filet, Freckle, Fluff, and others.

Once it became obvious that Lily was an “only chick” it was agreed to bring five additional chicks to keep Lily company. The five chicks were brought in to the utter delight of the students who were given the opportunity to pet and hold them before they were put into their new home with Lily. Of the entire project Ms. Christie-Blick commented, “Jennifer and family has really gone above and beyond to provide a memorable, enriching, educational experience for my students. I'm very grateful to them. The kids will remember this forever!” STAY TUNED!

View slideshow of Lily!



How Much Happiness Can a Tiny Can Top Bring?

Students at William O. Schaefer Elementary can give you the answer to that question. After 3 years of hard work accumulating and depositing their can tops in the school lobby, WOS students were ready to present approximately 750,000 aluminum can tops to the Ronald McDonald House during an assembly which was attended by none other than Ronald McDonald himself. The entire project was initiated three years ago by Kindergarten teacher Margaret Graham who motivated her class to begin the collection. Once that class moved to first grade and word got around, the entire school began participating in the following year. The result was an astounding 750,000 can tops. Can tops are delivered to the Ronald McDonald House who send them to get weighed and sold for scrap metal to help fund the services of the Ronald McDonald Houses. In addition to other services paid for through the pull top program, families of children receiving treatment can stay close in these times in special facilities made possible through the program.


Ready……Set……..Commit to be FIT

As part of an ongoing focus to promote healthy living, TZHS COVE teacher, Bonnie McCort once again led the Annual COVE Fitness challenge. Held May 8th on the TZHS field under what has become an annual day of guaranteed bright sun and glorious skies, the festivities began with a dance warm-up session for the students and staff.

The Challenge was officially opened with the singing of the Star Spangled Banner. Runners and walkers then lined up behind the starting line, and the Fitness Challenge was off to a great start. The commitment was to run or walk for 30 minutes as a cheering section gathered in the stands to root for and shout words of encouragement and support to the entire group. Students ran, walked and happily fulfilled their commitments to the Challenge as well as to themselves. They then gathered on the field for some well-deserved congratulations and some high fives as they cooled down.

The final event in the Challenge was an award ceremony complete with trophies, certificates, and many self-satisfied smiles. Once again, they made their commitment and they kept it.








April Goes Out Like a LION for TZHS Leo Fundraising

Over 70 people joined in the most recent Zumba for Charity Night for the Penguin Plunge sponsored by the Blauvelt Lions Leo Club at TZHS on April 24. Following the lead of Zumba instructor Judith Richards the participants, some expert, some participating for the first time, danced and moved to the music for an hour, burning many calories and raising over $1150 dollars for the Penguin Plunge. All left the evening feeling both energetic and happy at having contributed to such a worthy cause. Some even expressed an interest in joining Judith's Zumba class on Monday night's at 7:30 at the Manse Barn in Tappan.

On Sunday, April 26, the Leo Club, in conjunction with the Heartstrings Cello Ensemble, sponsored a benefit concert for the Visions Vacation Camp for the Blind in Spring Valley New York. The 5 amazing cellists performed for over an hour to a very enthusiastic crowd, raising over $600 for Visions.

View slideshow of event




TZHS Italian Honor Society Students Spread Italian Culture and Cheer

Members of the Dante Alighieri chapter of the Italian Honor Society at Tappan Zee High School recently spent an hour bringing some Italian culture and cheer to the residents at Sunrise Senior Living in Old Tappan, New Jersey, playing Tombola, an Italian version of Bingo. The group played three games, and students called the numbers in both English and Italian. This is the 4th time the students have taught and played the Italian version of Bingo to the Sunrise residents, and it has become one of their favorite activities.







Climatologist Visits Cottage Lane Elementary

On April 29th CL’s 5th grade class was visited by Dr. Jason Smerdon, a climatologist from the Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory and Columbia University. This visit coincided with the students’ study of the Earth’s systems and how they are affected by human actions. Dr. Smerdon talked to the students about how some greenhouse gases are produced through the generation of energy to heat homes, travel, and produce goods. He spoke about how this increase in CO2 affects the average global temperature which is causing major changes in the Earth’s systems. He also encouraged students that this damage isn’t permanent and there are things that they could do to help reverse this increase. The presentation ended with a Q&A session.





TZ 10th Graders Get Visit from WWII Veteran Bernhard Storch

On April 9th, 10th grade Honors classes were fortunate to have had the opportunity to listen to World War II Veteran Bernhard Storch. Mr. Storch spent the entire day in the building speaking to four classes, as well as numerous students during various periods about his experiences in the middle of the 20th century. He highlighted his childhood, time spent in a Soviet Prison Camp in Siberia, as well as his efforts liberating four different Concentration Camps near the end of the war. Students were captivated and amazed by the humble gentleman throughout the day, and his talks have inspired a great deal of classroom dialogue since he spoke.







Forty Three TZHS Students Travel to France

Forty-three Tappan Zee High School students traveled over the spring break on a magnificent journey through France. In Paris, students visited the Cathedral of Notre-Dame, the Eiffel Tower, the Arc de Triomphe, Musee de Orsay, Cimetiere du Pere-Lachaise and took a scenic boat ride on the Seine River. They visited a French bakery and learned how French baguettes and French viennoiseries are made. The students traveled to San Malo and had the opportunity to see the 100 year old Abby, Mont St. Michel to explore its medieval architecture and beauty. In Bayeux, the students viewed the tapestry that bears a unique witness to life in the world of the XIth century and the Norman conquest of England. They visited Omaha Beach and the American Cemetery in Normandy followed by a visit to the Memorial Museum in Caen, the center for history & peace, exploring WWII, the Normandy landings & the Cold War. A splendid visit to Giverny showed the students where impressionist Claude Monet lived and painted. Everyone returned happy and excited to share their experiences with their family and friends.




Thirty Two TZHS Students Travel to Italy

Thirty-two Tappan Zee High School students spent 9 days over their break on a school sponsored trip to Italy, visiting the unforgettable cities of Venice, Verona, Florence, Siena, Assisi and Rome. Together with their three teacher chaperones, the group visited many of the major highlights of Italy such as the Doge’s Palace, St. Mark’s Square, the Rialto Bridge and the canals of Venice on a Gondola, Juliet’s Balcony and the Arena in Verona, the Duomo, Santa Croce, Palazzo Vecchio and Ponte Vecchio in Florence, St. Francis’s Basilica in Assisi, Piazza del Campo in Siena, and the Colosseum, Roman Forum, Spanish Steps, Trevi Fountain, Pantheon, Piazza Navona, Campo di Fiori, St. Peter’s Basilica and the Sistine Chapel in the Vatican Museums in Rome. In addition to the sightseeing, students were able to use their knowledge of the Italian language in shops and restaurants, ordering a cappuccino or gelato at the corner café, asking for directions or bargaining with street vendors. On the final day of the trip, the group got a special treat participating in Pope Francis’ audience in St. Peter’s square. How excited everyone was when the Pope came about 10 ft. from where the group was sitting….a truly memorable experience. Everyone returned home excited with many pictures and stories, some hoping to participate on the Southern Italy trip next year.





On Friday, March 27th the annual observation and celebration of Mu-Fest was held at the Tappan Zee HS Library. The day-long fair 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 festivities 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 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, Hang MUN, Wheel of Function, Who wants to be a MUllionaire, Bean bags on the MUve, MUsketball, MU Marks the Spot, MU Match, and many others. All day long, the winners participating in each challenge receive tickets which can be redeemed for healthy snack treats.




SOCSD’s 2nd Annual STEAM Expo was awash in activity when over 125 students shared the out of the box projects they have been working on over the past months in the disciplines of Science, Technology, Engineering, Art and Math. More than 200 parents, teachers and community members visited the TZHS cafeteria on Tuesday, March 24th to see first hand the creative, imaginative, and inventive designs, experiments and art of SOCSD students from grades K through 12.

The Expo gave students the opportunity to showcase their hard work done this school year in class and through various extracurricular activities and academic teams. Some of the projects on display included:3-D Printing; Makey Makey; Math Counts; Math Olympiad; Project Lead the Way; Science Olympiad; SOMS Challenge Lab; SOMS and Zeebotics (CLE) Robotics Teams (FIRST LEGO League); SOMS Robotics Club; and Zee-TV - TZHS Television Studio.

The SOCSD Art Gallery, featured student-created works that employ what is described as "critical thinking -- critical making," the constant dialogue between eye, mind, and hand.

New this year, was a trip to the stars in a special student-led presentation in SOCSD’s StarLab, a portable planetarium. Visitors to the Expo shared their amazement at the depth and breadth of the students’ work at all levels. Vicki Caramante, President of the South Orangetown Council PTA and organizer of the Expo said, "The mission of the SOCSD STEAM Expo is to provide a venue for students to show off the creative, imaginative and innovative projects on which they have been working; to enable students, teachers, parents, and the community at-large to discover the incredible work of our SOCSD students; and to promote the vision of SOCSD to infuse STEAM disciplines across all curriculum while providing our students with skills for the 21st Century."

SOCSD’s philosophy is to ensure students in Kindergarten through 12th grade are provided student-centered, challenging, inquiry-based educational experiences that are cross-disciplinary in nature and relevant to the real world. Through collaboration, experimentation, perseverance, our students are preparing for the future with creativity, deliberation, and determination.

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50 SOCSD Musicians Reach High Note At Intermediate All County Festival

Fifty music students from SOCSD participated in the Intermediate All County Music Festival held on March 6 and 7 at Pearl River HS. Students were accepted based on teacher recommendation. Many were also accepted based on their successful performance at the NYSSMA Solo Festival in May. The Intermediate All County Music Festival is sponsored by the Rockland County Music Educators Association (RCMEA) and offers an intense weekend musical experience for students at the elementary school levels. Participating students who collaborated with students from across the county were from Cottage Lane Elementary School and South Orangetown Middle School.





Around the World With Flying Colors

Celebrating their lucky 13th year of diversity, fun, educational programs, family, and the entire SOCSD community, the We The People Multicultural Festival was celebrated on Sunday, March 8th at SOMS. The South Orangetown PTAs, in conjunction with SOMS and TZHS once again presented a round the world tour which consisted of 20 countries surrounding the SOMS gymnasium, each under their own flag.

People streamed through the “passport office” and into the gym that honored the 2015 celebration of the huge multi-cultural patchwork that makes up the community of South Orangetown. Native food and costumes of the participating countries were abundant throughout the celebration, and many countries scheduled presentations of authentic songs, dance, and costumes. The cafeteria became 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.




TZHS Students Enlightened in a Sobering Reality Check

One could literally hear a pin drop in the TZHS auditorium during an assembly in which motivational speaker Chris Memoli shared with the assembled students how his automobile accident in 2002 which caused traumatic brain injury changed forever life as he knew it. At age 17, Chris was riding in a vehicle with one of his friends the morning after a night of drinking and partying. He explained that he was not wearing a seat belt and that they were not driving responsibly, which led to an accident that left Chris critically injured and in a coma. Once he regained consciousness, he remained in the hospital for a year and began what would be only the beginning of his painful path to recovery.

After having been told he would never walk or talk again, years of therapy, numerous additional surgeries, and family and medical support, Chris has regained the ability to walk, but must “talk” with the assistance of his hand held computer. He encouraged students to make good choices. His mother encouraged students to think about their families when making the choices that we all face every day. For Chris, a split-second changed the course of his life, and he is reminded of those consequences every day. For more information, please visit Chris’s website: http://chrismemoli.com/

Special thanks to the Rockland County Traffic Safety Board for bringing Chris’s powerful message to TZHS.


TZHS Students Lobby in Albany for Stricter Tobacco Legislation

On Wednesday, Feb 25, three members of the TZHS Health Service Club; Finola Ryan, Carli Festa and Andrew Heuler, traveled to Albany for private meetings with four New York State Legislators. Meeting were arranged with New York State Assemblymen James Skoufis, District 99, and Kenneth Zebrowski, District 96; Assemblywoman Ellen Jaffee, District 97; and Senator David Carlucci for Rockland and Westchester counties. The students were on a mission they started last year which included copious amounts of research and planning for their presentations. During each of the private meetings the students presented reasons why, a NYS law should be passed forbidding the sale of tobacco in pharmacies, and, encouraged E-Sigs to be treated as tobacco and included into the Clean Air Act.

After their meetings the students took a tour of the Capitol building and had the opportunity to observe part of a session in the NYS Senate.




TZHS Students Meet With Writer, Director Michael Berry








Students at Tappan Zee High School were invited to a talk with Michael Berry, writer and director of the epic movie, Frontera, starring Ed Harris, Michael Pena, Eva Longoria and Amy Madigan. The close to 100 students who attended, mostly juniors and seniors, are taking courses in either issues and government, law and literature, or TV studio production. They all had the opportunity to view the film before the visit.

Berry shared with the students his motivation to write Frontera stemmed from his childhood. He co-wrote the script with his best friend who grew up in the border town Douglas, Arizona to help shed more light on issues such as immigration, prejudice, and gun control in the United States and Mexico. He said that one of his goals while writing was to develop the characters in a way that depicts the humanity and harshness that exists on both sides of the border.

Students and teachers asked Mr. Berry questions about his career as an actor, writer, and film director, and of course, what it was like to work with such famous movie stars. Mr. Berry admitted that he was nervous telling Ed Harris where to stand when they started filming, but that he was able to overcome his fear knowing that they had similar backgrounds in theater. Students also asked many questions about immigration laws, gun control, and various aspects of the film, including how long it took to write the script.

Mr. Berry was described by students and teachers as honest, articulate and insightful as he covered a wide range of topics that our students are learning about in school. He told them that he admittedly waited too long in his career to write about something he cared about and encouraged them to do so sooner.

Mr. Berry is a South Orangetown resident and parent.



A Night at the Opera

The Tappan Zee High School Italian classes and Italian Club recently sponsored its 15th Annual Night at the Opera. After studying Giuseppe Verdi’s La Traviata in their Italian classes, students and their families were given the opportunity to attend an evening performance of the opera in the prestigious Metropolitan Opera House in Lincoln Center in Manhattan. The group met at the high school for a pre-opera reception before embarking on this cultural journey. The trip was a tremendous success. The following day, students shared their experience with their classmates discussing the similarities and differences between the stage production they had just seen and the production they had been watching in class. The Italian classes and Italian Club were so motivated by the experience, they have already begun planning next year’s trip.





TZHS LEOS Zumba for Charity

Over sixty TZHS students, community members and LEO Club members joined together for an hour of Zumba at the LEO Club Zumba for charity night on December 4th in the TZHS Gymnasium, raising over $600 for Hospice of Rockland. Zumba instructor Judith Richards led the group in an hour of dance and exercise. “Everyone had a wonderful time and came away with a tremendous sense of satisfaction in having burned all those calories while having contributed to a wonderful cause”, said LEO Club Advisor Tricia Castelli. “Everyone is already looking forward to the next Zumba for Charity night to be held on March 5, 2015 to benefit the Penguin Plunge”, she added.




Spanish Club Members Celebrate El Dia de los Muertos

Spanish Club members enjoyed a variety of activities to celebrate the Mexican holiday El Dia de los Muertos by decorating paper skulls and creating papel picado, which are colorful cut-out tissue paper designs. Students also had fun preparing and eating very tasty quesadillas, guacamole, and sangria; they also had an opportunity to order a full Mexican meal in Spanish during the Spanish Club’s restaurant outing in December to Fiesta Mexico.







SOMS American Idol Club Goes to Nyack Manor

On Monday December 15th, the South Orangetown Middle School American Idol Club traveled to the Nyack Manor Nursing Home to perform a Holiday show. The students put on a wonderful performance that was enjoyed and appreciated by all.






TZHS Italian Honor Society Spreads Holiday Cheer to Seniors

Italian Honor Society members from Tappan Zee High School brought some holiday cheer and Italian culture to the residents of Sunrise Senior Living in Old Tappan, NJ on Wednesday, December 10th. Close to 20 students spent a very pleasant hour with many of the residents, teaching and playing Tombola, the Italian version of Bingo which is traditionally played on Christmas Eve and throughout the rest of the season. Students worked side by side with their Sunrise friends, some of whom were repeat participants at what has become a bi-annual activity. Seniors and students alike had an enjoyable afternoon and look forward to the next tombola afternoon in the spring.






Assemblywoman Ellen Jaffee Provides SOCSD With Legislative Grant

Assemblywoman Ellen Jaffe has provided SOCSD with a $25,000 legislative grant to extend more opportunities to students in the area of science and STEM. This grant will help the district continue to meet the expectations of the Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS). The District will allocate a portion of these funds to participate in The Jason Project and Engineering is Elementary. It is also anticipated that a portion of the funds may be used to participate for a second year in the Students Spaceflight Experiments Program (SSEP).

The Jason Project is geared toward connecting students to real science and exploration in an effort to inspire and motivate them to study and pursue careers in Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM). This partnership will enable students to engage in: real connections to STEM role models, interactive online and printed activities, STEM related articles, Hands-on lab activities, and Videos, games, digital labs, and other multimedia resources.

Engineering is Elementary is a program which combines science content learning with real life engineering projects. For each unit there is a realistic fiction story containing science content. Each lesson has an experiment/engineering activity associated with it. The final product is an engineering project used to solve the problem presented in the story.




TZHS DECA Club Helps Wishes Come True

On December 7th, the TZHS DECA Club members held a fundraising event outside of both Marty's Bagels and Gino's Bagels from 8am - noon to help raise funds for the Make-A-Wish Foundation. In addition to the event, the club for the past several weeks has been selling Make-A-Wish paper stars for $1. each that contributors can write their names on to be displayed on a wall in the High School. Through the fundraising, DECA members have raised $600, which the club will match for a grand total of $1200. That will be sent to the Make-A-Wish Foundation to help create a dream for children suffering from childhood illnesses.





Leos Out On the Prowl - Helping Others

Wherever there is work to be done, the Blauvelt Lions Leo Club at Tappan Zee High School is there to assist. The Leo Club was asked by Mayor Chris Sanders to help clean out the Garden Beds in the Piermont Library Parking Lot. On November 8th close to 20 Leos, along with advisor Tricia Castelli, Piermont Landscape architect Dan Sherman and Community Garden member Colleen Duffy Céile Leidy worked hard pulling weeds for two hours, that had suffocated the beautiful grasses in the parking lot beds. The Leos were extremely satisfied at the work done, and were happy the community will once again be able to see the lovely grasses that will flourish in the beds.

On December 1st, Leos and Lions once again joined forces to help out at Soup Angels in Nyack, serving dinner to over 60 persons in need while the day after thanksgiving brought over 25 Leos in a joint effort with the Immaculate Conception Church on a Midnight Run bringing clothing, toiletries, food and good will to the homeless of New York City.




TZE Field Turns Into Mission Control Central

Despite freezing temperatures, the TZE field was alive with expectation over the much anticipated Rocket Launch. Students in Mrs. Mary Danner’s third grade class designed rockets with the Tinkercad program and printed them with 3-D printer technology. Mrs. Kimberly Guzas, TZE technology teacher, worked with the entire third grade in designing the rockets and helping with the 3D printing. Mr. Marc Eckert, the district’s technology coach, assisted the students in the 3D training and also built the launch pad. The rockets were propelled through the use of pressured air which the students, using a bicycle pump, pumped into the tube prior to each launch. Rockets were propelled one by one into the sky and in between each launch, the students quieted down and watched with a sense of pride as the next one went up. The entire third grade will have a chance to launch their rockets, class by class, through the week.

In the district’s ongoing effort to enhance student’s 21st Century skills in the STEM areas, projects like the Rocket Launch exposes third grade students to the critical analytical thinking and hands on skills necessary to carry them through their school and lifetime careers. SOCSD, as always, takes pride in the accomplishments of the students through the work of its staff and the continued essential support of their community without whom these programs could not be created or sustained.



TZ Boys Basketball Bake for Memories

On Saturday, December 6, the TZ Boys Basketball baked cookies for the "Baking Memories For Kids Foundation". The foundation bakes cookies to sell and monies raised goes toward sending families who have children with terminal illnesses to Disney World for an all-expense paid, once in a lifetime trip that creates memories they otherwise may never get to experience. The TZ Boys Hoops program baked for 7 hours last Saturday resulting in over 38,000 cookies. For more info about the foundation check out www.bakingmemories4kids.com







Coach DiDomenico Attends First Annual NFL Character Education Summit

TZ Varsity Football Coach Andy DiDomenico was one of only 55 High School Football coaches Nation-Wide and the ONLY NYS Coach to be selected by the NFL to take part in the first annual NFL Character Education Summit in Orlando, Florida last weekend. Among the 55 coaches who attended the summit were 19 former NFL players who are now coaching at the high school level. Coach DiDomenico took part in multiple workshops and sat on a special panel examining the importance of infusion of character into athletics.







WOS Students Utilize 21st Century Technology

WOS Librarian and School Media Specialist Patricia Eyer has been working with WOS students in honing their 21st Century skills. The students have been using ThingLink for Education which is a hands on interactive program that allows students to create interactive images and videos while enriching their enthusiasm for learning. Students in Mrs. Alison Costello’s second grade class were shoulder to shoulder teaching their counterparts in Mrs. Mary Fleming’s second grade class how to use the interactive website to share what they recently learned about non-fiction.




TZHS Japanese Culture Club Entertains COVE Students

Last week, the TZHS Japanese Culture Club hosted an after school event together with the COVE students. Culture Club students read the story, Kamishibai Man by Allen Say. The book tells of a Japanese man who made his living as a storyteller using a special kamishibai stage. The Club was able to borrow a kamishibai stage from the WOS Library. The stage is used to show the pictures that provide a visual accompaniment to the story.

After the first story was read, refreshments of baked sweet potatoes, which are a favorite Japanese treat, along with other snacks and green tea were served. While the COVE students and club members enjoyed their snacks, the officers of the Japanese Club read a second story of Momotaro, The Peach Boy, using the kamishibai stage. The event turned out to be both pleasurable as well as educational for all involved.





Welcome to the TZ Athletic Hall of Fame Class of 2014

It was an evening of accolades, tributes, praises and awards at the 6th Annual Tappan Zee Athletic Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony held on Sunday November 16th at the Colonial Inn in Norwood, NJ. For the 6th year, TZ Athletics honored "its own", as they welcomed seven individual inductees as well as the 1975 Girl's Swim Team. The TZ Athletic Hall of Fame committee was established in 2008 with the goal of properly recognizing the accomplishments and contributions of Tappan Zee High School athletes, coaches and administrators to the school community. This year's evening of celebration went to: The 1975 Girls Swim Team, Coach Nick Mottola (posthumous), John Mercurio ’53, Don Scheulen ’66, Tom D’Amato ’74, Mitch Norotsky ’81, Joanne Monks-Morris ’86, & Emilio Collins ‘90.

Slideshow of Event





SOCSD Welcomes Newest Instructional Science Coach

SOCSD has just announced the appointment of their new Instructional Science Coach. Samantha Levine will begin her employment with the district on November 10th and will be working with K-8 students. This is Samantha’s 13th year of teaching, having most recently taught elementary and middle school level science at PS 110 in Manhattan. At the same time she taught elementary science to graduate students at Metropolitan College. Samantha is Starlab certified and has extensive experience in Lego Robotics.







Leos and Lions Working Together for Others– A Perfect Match

The Blauvelt Lions LEO Club at Tappan Zee High School and the Blauvelt Lions have been working together to help others in a seamless arrangement of cooperation. So far this Fall, Leos and Lions have volunteered at two Soup Angel soup kitchens in Nyack, prepared and baked close to 100 apple pies which were sold at the Blauvelt Lions Applefest in September raising over $6000 for charity. Over 100 Leos and Lions manned the event, which included activities and inflatable rides for children and close to sixty vendors. The groups volunteered at the Fall Work Day at Visions Camp for the Blind on Oct. 11th, and a Road Cleanup in Blauvelt on October 25th. Leos also volunteered at the Orangeburg Family Picnic, the AT Children’s Project Fundraiser, OMM opening day ceremony and the Fragile X Syndrome Fundraiser. The Leos are presently running a toiletry drive to collect items needed for their Breakfast and Midnight Runs to bring food, clothing and toiletries to the homeless of New York City. They are collecting men’s and women’s deodorant, shaving cream and razors, soap, toothpaste and toothbrushes, small sized shampoo, conditioner, body lotion, hand lotion. They will also be collecting men’s socks, undershirts and underwear, hats, gloves, scarves and men’s pants, sweatshirts, coats and shoes. Donations can be dropped off in the Tappan Zee High School lobby collection box.





SOMS Students Participate in Take A Veteran To School Day

On Friday, November 8th, students in Ms. Sorensen's 6th grade Challenge Lab class participated in Take a Veteran to School Day. The national program, originally launched in 2007 was developed by the History Channel in an effort to link veterans with students nationwide. Schools, classes, students, and communities take the opportunity invite veterans of all generations, wars and backgrounds to share their stories and receive thanks for their service. To date, thousands of schools nationwide have participated in the event.

Thirteen veterans visited Ms. Sorensen's students to share with them stories of both fear and heroism from as far back as the Battle of the Bulge. Participating veterans were: Tom Williger, Vietnam; Ben Roujansky, WWII; John Trachten, WWII; Jack King, Vietnam; Chester Lubeck, Battle of the Bulge; Tim White, post war Korea; Jake Miragia, Korea; John Ouderkirk, Desert Storm; Simon Jeruchim, Korea; George Hockett, Korea; Tom Shine, Korea; John Antonucci, Vietnam & Cuban Crisis; Len Feroldi, Korea. Many of the vets attended SOCSD themselves and now have grandchildren attending school in the District.

All the veterans had important stories to tell, and Take a Veteran to School Day provided them a wonderful platform to share that history first hand and maintain a connection with the younger generation..

Their one unanimous request for Veteran’s Day: Whenever you see a veteran, just say, “Thanks for all you’ve done”.




D is for Dictionary

This past Wednesday, members of the South Orangetown Rotary Club and Orange and Rockland Utilities were at TZE as part of the annual dictionary assembly and distribution. Orange and Rockland opened the assembly with as short question and answer period and an explanation of their job in providing electricity to our homes. Dr. Mitchell then spoke to the students about their dictionaries made possible through the O&R and Rotary contribution. He introduced Mr. Bruce Wooley, from the Rotary Club, who explained more about the Rotary's mission. Students then lined up across the front of the gymnasium as each student received a copy of “A Student's Dictionary. The students were excited to receive their new dictionaries and began looking through them immediately. Dr. Lee then challenged the assembly of students to find the longest word in the English language which is on page 373 and to be able to come to his office and pronounce it. Thank you to the Rotary Club and Orange and Rockland Utilities for this wonderful annual event.




SOMS & TZHS Italian Language Students Combine to Celebrate Italian Heritage Month

Over 150 families of students of Italian in the South Orangetown Central School District joined South Orangetown Middle School Italian Club and class members and Tappan Zee High School Italian Club and Italian Honor Society members and Italian teachers Roberta Avantifiori, Tricia Castelli, Christina Nilson and Maria Stillo, for the groups’ first annual Italian Potluck Family Night held on October 24, 2014 in the Tappan Zee High School Cafeteria. The Potluck dinner, organized as a celebration for Italian Heritage Month, featured over 50 Pasta and Main dishes brought by each family group attending, desserts provided by the two clubs as well as families, and an hour of entertainment which included the dancing of the Tarantella, a traditional Italian folk dance, a sing-along of Italian songs and a round of Tombola, a form of Italian bingo. The evening was a huge success, and everyone left eager to participate again next year.

- View Slideshow of Event


WCBS Newsradio 880's Sean Adams Interviews TZ Athletes & Coaches

WCBS Newsradio 880 reporter Sean Adams came to TZHS after having read the Journal News Article which ran two weeks ago regarding TZ Athletics’ positive attitudes concerning character, citizenship, public spirit and social responsibility. He wanted to interview some of the student athletes and coaching staff about life rules and sportsmanship off the field.

Audio clips which were aired on his show throughout the day on Monday, October 27, 2014 are below:

Part 1            Part 2

TZ Athletes Continue To Pay It Forward

TZ teams were very busy over the past few weekends as they proved the most important wins are not always on the field. TZ Volleyball teamed up with Pearl River Volleyball to host the 5th Annual Orangetown Volley for the Cure game in the fight against Breast cancer. The teams raised over $1,000 for the cause........ (and TZ won the match!).

Last weekend TZ Boys Lacrosse and Middle School Volleyball took part in the Light the Night walk for the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society at Boulders Stadium.

Back at home, the Middle School Girls Soccer took time out of their practice to donate and pack up packages for the troops. Each package included a personal note from the girls.



Another Crowd Pleaser for the SOCSD Acoustic Underground

SOCSD’s increasingly popular Acoustic Underground did not disappoint on Friday evening, October 10, as thirty-seven TZHS student musicians and singers performed twenty-four acts for their peers, parents, and teachers in the TZ Band room. This mélange of musical performances was a true crowd pleaser with its variety of groups, duets, and solo artists on guitar, piano, bass, violin, cello, drums, and ukulele. And, as tradition has it, Dr. Mitchell took his place on harmonica. The semi-annual Acoustic Underground, sponsored by the Spanish Honor Society, is enjoying a growing popularity with the community who enjoys hearing and singing along with the musical talent of TZHS students and faculty members. The audience was entertained by witty emcees and members of the Spanish Honor Society, Lily Alig and Lily Samett.




TZ Athletes in Service to the Community

It’s not all about the game for TZ athletes. At the 2nd Annual Rockland-Westchester Boys Soccer Challenge for Breast Cancer, twelve teams took part in six games over the Columbus Day weekend raising over $3,500 for the cause. In the six games pitting Rockland vs. Westchester teams, Rockland was 4-1-1 including a convincing 4-0 TZ win over Harrison. Special recognition should go out to TZ Boys Varsity Soccer Coach Jon Jacobs who organized and oversaw the entire event.

On the Sunday of the Columbus Day weekend, the TZ Modified Volleyball team who took part as a team in the Mickey Reeve Duathalon for Huntington’s Disease.

On that same day, the Boys and Girls Varsity Cross Country team who took part in the Nyack Hospital Blow Away Breast Cancer 5K.

“Community service, citizenship, respect, and team spirit are as important to our athletes, teams and coaches as any game they compete in,” said SOCSD Athletic director Liam Frawley. “We are extremely proud of our Athletes in school, on the field, and in the community”, he concluded.




Up, Up, and Awayyyyyyyy......SOCSD Unveils STARLAB Planetarium

One small step for man....one GIANT step for South Orangetown Central School District as their brand new Starlab Planetarium was unveiled at last week's Board of Education meeting. With the help of a legislative grant from Assemblywoman Ellen Jaffe, and a donation from the South Orangetown Education Foundation, the Milky Way and the entire Solar System became reachable for the first time to every student in the district.

The Starlab is capable of holding 2 classrooms of students and is easily portable from school to school. Right now Starlab is scheduled to travel to each SOCSD building at least twice during this school year. Every student will have the opportunity for learning experiences that are aligned with the science curriculum and the Next Generation Science Standards, which focuses an emphasis on space and Earth at every grade level.

Assemblywoman Jaffee, representatives from the Education Foundation were present at the meeting and, along with the SOCSD BOE were able to get a firsthand glimpse inside the Planetarium to hop a ride into outer space.




WOS Students Celebrate National Library Card Sign-Up Month

The month of September is National Library Card Sign-up Month when the American Library Association and libraries across the country remind parents that a library card is the most important school supply of all for students. The event was launched in 1987 by then Secretary of Education William J. Bennett who said: "Let's have a national campaign...every child should obtain a library card - and use it."

Since that challenge was offered, thousands of public and school libraries now join each fall in a national effort to ensure every child joins their local library.

This month, Library Media Specialist Patricia Eyer met that challenge with students at WOS when she invited librarians from each of the five local libraries, on a rotating schedule, to come in and speak with all the children about the value of getting a library card, and also reading books to each of the groups. Palisades’ Librarian Lillian Gunther came to read The Day The Crayons Quit to Mrs. Berube’s 1st grade class. Librarians from Tappan, Blauvelt, Orangeburg, and Piermont Libraries came at different times throughout the week to share books and information with students.




SOCSD Italian Clubs & Honor Society Dance at Italian Feast

An enthusiastic audience joined the South Orangetown Middle School Italian Club Members and the Tappan Zee High School Italian Club and Honor Society Members as they danced the Neapolitan Tarantella on Sunday, September 14th, at the Rockland Lodge Italian Feast which was held over the weekend at the Masonic grounds in Tappan, N.Y.. This is the 5th year that the combined groups have kicked off the entertainment on the last day of the ever more popular 4 day Feast. Following a demonstration of the Tarantella by the students, Italian Teachers Roberta Avantifiori, Tricia Castelli, Christina Nilson, and Maria Stillo, community members were invited to participate alongside the students in the second round of the dance. A large number then joined the group and both students and community members thoroughly enjoyed the experience.

Click here for additional pictures of the festivities





....with liberty and justice for all

On a particularly somber morning, SOCSD students in all buildings observed the 13th anniversary of the tragedy of September 11th, 2001. Moments of silence were observed, books were read, music was shared, discussions took place and the overall emotion throughout the day was that even though so many lives were senselessly lost, the heroism, strength and compassion of that day as well as the days that followed confirmed what we already knew about this great nation.





TZ Braves the Chill for ALS
See how the TZ Dutchmen get the job done!


Space mission recalls pioneering Apollo 11 lunar landing
- Our Town by Suzanne Daycock