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Hitting the Trails, Thanks to the Vision of a Special Few

By Jana Seitz

<“Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world; indeed, it’s the only thing that ever has.”

— Margaret Mead

Walk with me if you will in an “It’s a Wonderful Life” way to what Upper Westchester County could have been if some of our George Baileys had never lived. New York is a British colony. The Jersey Palisades and Hudson Highlands have been removed by quarry companies. A maximum-security prison is at Bear Mountain. There is no inn, no park, no bridge, no nothing.

Now, let’s insert the heroes who circumvented these near disasters, changing the direction of history. Firstly and most obviously, General George Washington under whose command two forts were built on the west side of the Hudson at the base of Bear Mountain to protect an upward surge by river of the British forces during the Revolution. Forts Clinton and Montgomery were connected by footbridge across a small tributary creek, and can still be walked through today. Washington’s action saved our young country on October 6, 1777, when the British got tricky and came by land rather than by ship in a “divide and conquer” tactic, rendering our chain across the river useless. The 700 American troops lost, but the battle detained the British troops just long enough for them to miss (and lose) the battle at Saratoga, a major turning point for us.

Secondly and least conspicuously, The Englewood Women’s Club of New Jersey, a small group of civic-minded, environmentally-concerned, tenacious ladies (like the Rye Garden Club) which began a movement to save the Palisades from being blasted to Kingdom Come. Their action led to the creation of the Palisades Interstate Park Commission (PIPC) with a mission “to preserve land and to provide opportunities for outdoor recreation accessible to all.” The year was 1896.

Rye Country Day School Class of 2017

On June 9, Rye Country Day School held its 148th graduation exercises. Ninety-one seniors proceeded into the school’s athletic center to the applause of family and friends, and at the end of the event were celebrated as graduates of the Class of 2017 and Rye Country Day’s newest alumni.

The School’s highest honor, the Alumni Prize, was awarded to graduating seniors Hannes Boehning, Daniel Leva, and Kasey Luo.

The Commencement Address was delivered by Anne Sampson, Dean and Humanities teacher, who is retiring after 20 years at the school.

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David Velona, Class President, addressed his classmates as Class Speaker.

Anne Sampson delivering the Commencement Address.

Photos courtesy of Aurelie Graillot Studio

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The ever-crafty Sue Seitz loves nature as much as she does Rye. Six years ago she came up with the idea of building birdhouses modeled after venerated locales. The City was happy to install them at the Five Points intersection across from Kelly’s, where they’ve benefitted the birds and beautified a corner of town.

In the intervening years, trees have grown and covered some of those birdhouses and residents of all ages, a number of them Midland School students, have asked Sue to remodel them — and build more!

Earlier this month, DPW workers installed four new ones: The Smoke Shop (in memory), the Square House (based on the original design), Playland (complete with a solar-powered Ferris wheel), and Chicken Joe’s, the newest of local icons.

Photos courtesy of Sue Seitz

Chicken Joe’s before its elevation

DPW workers Pat Lemon (in hard hat) and Drew Ferris installing Sue Seitz’s birdhouse modeled after the old Smoke Shop.

The Square House going up

 Playland model

The Square House model up close

On June 11, 2017, School of the Holy Child held its 107th Commencement Exercises.

The Hon. Janet DiFiore, Chief Judge of the Court of Appeals and of the State of New York, was invited to share words of inspiration with the 46 graduates. “Each of you should take enormous pride in your graduation, and in all the hard work — and the perseverance — that has brought you to this special day. And I know you realize — for certain — that there is a great future and boundless opportunities ahead for every single one of you,” said Judge DiFiore.

In her first Commencement as Head of School, Melissa Dan remarked, “Graduation is not the end of your years as a Holy Child girl. This is a permanent designation! Throughout the year, I have met alumnae from the past five decades, and I can attest that you never stop being a Holy Child girl. Your stage just gets bigger. Your voice just gets stronger.”

The opening prayer was delivered by Kathryn Ann McSherry, President of Campus Ministry. Seniors Megan Carragher, Mary Katherine Cunningham, Tara Irwin, Katherine McCarthy, Catherine McSorley, and Emma Michelini sang the National Anthem. Grace Doern, President of Student Government, and Samantha Boyd Drew, President of the Senior Class, both addressed the graduating class.

In addition to conferring 46 diplomas, the following awards were presented at the ceremony:

Holy Child Award for Academic Achievement, based on the highest average for four years: Christine Altomare 

Cornelia Connelly Award for outstanding service and leadership in school and community: Grace Doern

Sister Mary Basil Award, given by the graduating class to one among them who has consistently shown Christ-like compassion, generosity, and concern for others: Amalia Guillod

Dede Ross Award, granted to the senior who has enriched the life of all at Holy Child through her honesty, humility, quiet perseverance, and sense of humor: Grace Ryan

<<The Class of 2017>>

Christine Theresa Altomare
Fiona Skye Aronson
Erin Elizabeth Ballengee
Olivia Faith Bonner
Charlotte Claire Brosnan
Mariah Margaret Brown
Caroline Rae Bryceland
Megan Elizabeth Carragher
Maria Claire Carroll
Cheryl Chen
Amanda Kathleen Cummins
Mary Katherine Cunningham
Gianna Amalia DeVita
Grace Doern
Samantha Boyd Drew
Amanda Elimian
Maya Graciela Flemister
Kathryn Grace Friedel
Julia Rose Gaffney
Agustina Garate-Griot
Izania Marie Gonzalez
Amalia Michelle Guillod
Tara Elizabeth Irwin
Eliza Frances LaRock
Zivonee Laviscount
Madison Joan Lyons
Alena Victoria Maiolo
Cira Belle Mancuso
Reilly Michelle Marzen
Katherine Drumm McCarthy
Kathryn Ann McSherry
Catherine Anna McSorley
Emma Grace Michelini
Claire Sonia Monahan
Emily Nicole Mueller
Ruthie O’Driscoll
Caroline Pace
Victoria Hope Pagan
Lila Barbara Pfohl
Isabelle Reed Robinson
Grace Cecelia Ryan
Bridget Teresa Stanton
Noelle Hope Summo
Charlotte Ray Wertimer
Katherine Elizabeth Zampolin
Catriona Marie Zaniewski

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<<College Choices>>

 

American University (2)
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Wake Forest University (2)

Photos by ryesportsphotos.com

Rye High School Class of 2017

The weather held last Saturday, June 17, allowing the traditional procession of Rye High School seniors to Nugent Field for the 86th Annual Graduation ceremonies, while the school band played on.

Principal Patricia Taylor welcomed a crowd of proud family members before turning the podium over to Schools Superintendent Dr. Brian Monahan.

Orations, from Latin scholars and a representative from the senior class, as well as musical interludes filled the air.

Valedictorian Keaton Mueller and Salutatorian Allison Hufford spoke volumes in their addresses.