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By Mitch Silver

The Beach Boys sang about it more than 50 years ago in “Be True to Your School”:

<When some loud braggart tries to put me down
And says his school is great

I tell him right away, “Now what's the matter buddy

Ain't you heard of my school?

It's number one in the state.”

So be true to your school ...
>

It was love for his friends, his teachers, and his school that led Luis Galeano to leave his year-round academy soccer team after ninth grade and show up to play with the guys from the neighborhood on the Rye Neck team. Now, three years later, his high school career is over and Luis is heading off to the University of Albany, where he’ll play for the nationally ranked Great Danes in the fall.

“Playing for F.C. Westchester was good for improving my technique on the ball, but something was missing. Everybody there was playing for himself, looking to get good enough to earn a college scholarship. Me too. I found myself playing for the name on the back of the jersey, not the one on the front. So I decided to come back to play for Coach Gizzo and Coach Iacovelli.”

And Frank Gizzo and Bryan Iacovelli are glad he did. In the three years Luis played for the Panthers, the team went to the Sectional finals every time, winning in 2014. In two of those three years they lost their final game to the eventual State champs. Meanwhile, Luis was earning All-League, All-Section, and, last year, All-State honors.

Here’s what his teammates had to say at his letter-of-intent signing two weeks ago: “He’s a natural leader, even though he’s totally unselfish.” “His talent alone lifts everyone else up, but it’s Luis’ competitiveness that makes us winners.” “He’s a down-to-earth good guy.”

Last year, Albany lost a squeaker to Clemson in the NCAA Regionals. With a natural leader and down-to-earth good guy playing for them, they just might go all the way.

Midland School’s fifth graders enchanted all who were lucky enough to see their magical rendition of “Shrek the Musical.” The show was the result of months of hard work not only by a fairy tale cast, but also by teachers, staff, and parents. Not a real ogre in the bunch.

— Annette McLoughlin

By Gretchen Althoff Snyder

In 2013, Evan Kamer was looking to fill a void in the otherwise saturated world of Rye youth sports. Kamer’s son found his passion playing rugby on a club team in Old Greenwich, but sadly the club only offered rugby until the age of 15. After joining forces with another Rye resident, Ryan Fitzpatrick, the two men founded Rye Youth Rugby Club (also known as the Rye Rugby Club). While Fitzpatrick started playing rugby in a men’s league in 1991, Kamer never played but wanted to foster his son’s passion in any way possible.

“From the very start,” said Kamer, “our objective was not only to bring a quality rugby playing experience to children from kindergarten through high school, but also focus on sound and safe development of youth athletes to foster the good sportsmanship so often associated with the sport.” In fact, after every match, the team enjoys food and drinks with the opposing team. “The kids can beat each other up the whole match, but they are all brothers of rugby afterwards.”

The club started as a training program for 24 high school students; four years later, the club boasts over 150 kids with four co-ed youth groups and three Rye High School teams (two boys and one girls). In 2016, the boy’s high school team won the Division II New York State Rugby Championships.

Kamer is pleased that the community response has been so positive. Many families in Rye are expats who grew up playing rugby, and are thrilled that their children will have the opportunity to enjoy the sport as well. There are also many families who’ve never been exposed to rugby, and their children immediately take to it.

While some may view rugby as a dangerous sport, Kamer noted, “The fact that NFL teams are adopting rugby tackle drills to improve NFL player safety speaks volumes about the safety of rugby.” The club takes the safety of its players very seriously; so much so that rugby was the first RHS team to have a trainer present at every practice and every match.

Boys and girls as young as 5 can join the rapidly expanding youth program (no tackling at that age), while high school students can come out for one of the three varsity teams. While the club is entirely self-funded, the School District has been extremely supportive of the program since its inception. Jim O’Hara, Head of Guidance, coaches the team along with teachers Jim Rinaldi and Sean Moughty, and rugby professional Blake Mannion.

For more information, visit ryerugbyny.org.

Caption

The Rye High School 2016 Boys’ Rugby Division II State Champions

Photo courtesy of Evan Kamer

On one of the darkest days of the year, Rye Presbyterian Nursery School welcomed Light Table Exploration Day. When the children arrived at school, the upstairs and downstairs hallways were lined with light tables and the overhead lights were turned off. Classes from all age levels were welcome to discover and engage in light play throughout the day. 

The teachers set out an array of materials for the children to explore — translucent blocks, beads, and shapes, ribbons, loose parts, markers and colored pencils for sketching, watercolor palettes, and small animals and insects for little fingers.  

The glow of a light table adds a new element to play, as materials look different with light beneath them. The appealing and calming quality of light promotes focus and attention and young children can remain engaged in play for long periods of time because of light’s attraction.  

Photos courtesy of Margaret Sculti

<<Alexander (Tiger) Hu>> and <<Alex Meyer,>> both seniors at Rye High School, have been named to the 2017 U.S. Presidential Scholars Program. They, along with the other Scholars, are invited to Washington, D.C. for several days in June for the National Recognition program.

Waiting for pix from Rye Camera

<<Adam Coshal>> was named to the Dean’s List at College of the Holy Cross, where he is majoring in English and minoring in Art. He is a graduate of Iona Prep.

<<Christian Tanner,>> a sophomore at Duke University received Dean's List with Distinction recognition for the fall semester. A graduate of Brunswick School, he is majoring in Chemistry.

By Janice Llanes Fabry

Rye Neck High School recently collaborated with the Community Resource Center in Mamaroneck to determine the role that accessibility to transportation plays in the lives of Hispanic/Latino immigrants. Through an enterprising elective, Action Research for Community Change, students work directly with various organizations to devise a research framework that will meet their needs.

“The course is a big adjustment from going to a more typical class, taking notes, and doing homework,” offered senior Matt Lawhon. “Action Research draws a lot more on creative ability and abstract reasoning. There are a lot more directions you can go in because you’re dealing with unanticipated complexities. It’s more representative of what you see in the real world.”

For this particular collaboration, Lawhon and a think tank made up of fellow students initially met with the Community Resource Center’s former Executive Director, Milan Bhatt. They discussed examining just how pivotal transportation accessibility is in the overall well being of new and undocumented immigrants. The students had the task of designing and conducting a study to provide the center’s staff with data on how immigrants use transportation to get to work, health care, and healthy food.

Enrichment Coordinator and Action Research instructor, Dr. Valerie Feit explained that because of the nature of the course, its syllabus is constantly evolving. It is contingent upon a community organization’s specific requirements. In the past, the students have tackled senior care and food insecurity.

This time around for the Community Resource Center, Lawhon and his peers pored through immigrant and transportation studies, reviewed national and local demographics, and then developed an anonymous survey to be completed by those who utilize the Center.

According to Feit, the unbiased research painted a portrait of a fragile community that struggles with job and income insecurity in an environment where transportation to work, health care, and supermarkets is a constant challenge.

Among the most startling findings was the fact that over half of the immigrants do not have a car to get to the closest supermarket three miles away. They either walk or rely on bicycles or public transportation. Moreover, almost a third end up to driving without a license to get to a job or a medical appointment.

“One of the lasting impressions I had was just how important transportation is to a population in this area even though there’s a high degree of affluence and almost everyone has a car,” said Lawhon. “It’s an interesting idea that high school students can do the kind of research that can have a positive impact on people’s lives.”

CAPTION:

Rye Neck High School senior Matthew Lawhon