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By Janice Llanes Fabry

Rye Neck High School senior Claire Julian won the National Gold Medal at the Scholastic Art and Writing Awards at Carnegie Hall on June 8. Julian was one of 700 students honored that evening and one of only 55 fiction writers nationwide to earn the gold medal.

“I didn’t recognize the gravity of the award until the ceremony,” admitted Julian, who won for her short story, “A Gentler Touch”. She continued, “I wrote the story spontaneously and it was really personal, so the award is validating and very meaningful to me.”

The ceremony was quite an extravaganza. Special guest speakers included author and comedian Amy Schumer, actresses Ellie Kemper and Allison Williams, social media host Hunter March, and a past award winner, Paul Chan, who encouraged this year’s recipients to be themselves.

Rye Neck English Department Chair Melinda Merkel said, “It was a stunning night that lets talents like Claire know she’s not alone in undertaking such creative endeavors, and her efforts are not going unnoticed.”

The Scholastic Awards, produced by the Alliance for Young Artists and Writers, celebrate creative students across America. This year, the Alliance received 330,000 submissions of original art and writing in grades 7-12.

In good company, Claire’s notable predecessors who have won the Scholastic Awards include Sylvia Plath, Truman Capote, Stephen King, and Lena Dunham.

“The award is a tribute to who Claire is as a writer. She is intrinsically self-motivated,” said English teacher Mary Lanza. “She uses her writing as a creative outlet for her emotions, and there is a maturity to her imagery and complex characters.”

Quite the Renaissance young woman, Julian, who is currently working on a book of poems and short stories, is also an accomplished musician. She sings, plays the bass and drums, and is the guitarist for a band called No Reception. An avid songwriter, she was accepted into the University of Miami’s Creative American Music program and their highly selective MADE minor (Music, Artistry, Development, and Entrepreneurship).

CAPTION:

Claire Julian

At a fundraiser on June 9, under the Rye Town Park Pavilion, a parent and committee of the Rye High School Parsons Street Players raised over $15,000 for upgrades to the sound system at the school’s Performing Arts Center.

In moving appeals, Schools Superintendent Dr. Brian Monahan and Rye High music teacher and Players’ advisor Tom Snowden, along with outgoing and incoming PSP presidents Jaime Ryan and Abi Repetto, emphasized what the performing arts, the Players, and the Performing Arts Center mean to Rye’s children, families, and the community. 

The Center serves a multitude of functions, from RMS/RHS theater productions and musical concerts, to Rye School of Dance performances, “Heard in Rye” presentations, and elementary school ceremonies.

The estimated cost of the sound system is $70,000, so the committee is reaching out to the community for donations. Checks may be made payable to: Rye City School District with “Donation PSP/Sound Equipment” in the memo line, and mailed to Randee Glick-Polito, 15 Winthrop Street, Rye, NY 10580.

 

By Janice Llanes Fabry

The Metropolitan High School Theater Award for Best Comic Performance went to Rye Neck High School senior Isaak Meier. He received the award at a ceremony at SUNY Purchase on June 12.

“I did not have a speech prepared, so I shouted out to the people at Rye Neck who made this possible, including Mr. Harris and my friends here,” said Meier.

Director Scott Harris called Meier, along with his peers, among the most talented and dedicated seniors with whom he has worked. Also nominated were Rachel Wurzburger and Justin Sturgis for their outstanding duet as Elle and Emmett; Bria McClain for her supporting role as Paulette, her second nomination; and Jill Hurlbut for technical merit as stage manager.

The Metro Awards shine a spotlight on exceptional high school musical theater productions in Westchester, Rockland, Putnam, and Bergen counties. This year, they singled out Meier’s uproarious turn playing Kyle O’Boyle in “Legally Blonde.”

“Isaak, quite simply, was hilarious. He has a wonderful sense of comedy, and a perfect deadpan expression that made him ideal to play the role of the unwittingly handsome UPS delivery man,” said Harris. “He made the most of the part, keeping a straight face while the characters around him helped inform the audience of just how funny his strut and delivery were.”

About the short time he had on stage, Meier confessed, “The best part was hearing the laughs, which pumped the character to new heights. I could not have performed as well without the audience’s reaction.”

Headed to Northeastern University this fall, Meier plans to major in computer science, “but I might look into some clubs and see what they offer in theater.”

CAPTION:

Rye Neck High School senior Isaak Meier

Resurrection Grammar School celebrated the graduation of 32 eighth graders on June 9. These highly accomplished students earned nearly $500,000 in scholarships toward their high school educations.

The graduates will be attending the following schools:

Archbishop Stepinac High School

Brunswick School

Convent of the Sacred Heart

Fordham Preparatory School

Iona Preparatory School

Kennedy Catholic

Rye High School

Salesian High School

School of the Holy Child

The Ursuline School

Tina Yu Wilson, who brings nearly 20 years of experience in public education in Westchester and New York City, was appointed principal of Rye Neck High School, effective July 1.

She joins Rye Neck from the Hendrick Hudson Central School District, where she currently serves as assistant principal. During her tenure there, Wilson has held a number of positions: supervising administrator of the Math and Science departments, district delegate for Project Lead the Way programs, and co-facilitator of the implementation of the Teacher is the Core initiative.

Before that, Wilson worked for the New York City Department of Education, as an assistant principal and as a middle and high school Science and Math teacher.

She earned a bachelor’s degree in Biology and a master’s degree in Secondary Education from Long Island University. She is currently working toward a Ph.D. in Education from Manhattanville College.

Rye Neck Superintendent of Schools Dr. Barbara Ferraro says, “Tina Wilson’s leadership will quickly prove an asset to the High School. She is an experienced and highly effective administrator who understands the importance of creating and maintaining a school culture of inquiry, building positive relationships with students, providing opportunities for professional collaboration and professional growth for teachers, and engaging all stakeholders through clear communication and accountability.”