All three of Rye’s elementary schools now have a daily recycling regimen. Midland and Milton schools began working with We Future Cycle in 2017 and Osborn joined them last month. The local nonprofit helps schools throughout Westchester County put recycling systems in place, educating and training staff and students on the specifics of recycling, and counseling the schools on how to comply with state recycling laws.

Every school has enjoyed success from both an environmental and educational perspective. They’ve been able to achieve an initial rate of 97% diversion of lunchroom waste from landfills. And though the schools don’t measure the diversion rates after the initial launch, the daily estimates are consistently well over 90%.

Students are very enthusiastic about the program, and work hard to learn where all their waste belongs; the program promises to create an environmentally conscientious generation.

  • Annette McLoughlin



By Annette McLoughlin

Good teachers inspire and motivate, and can even alter the trajectory of a life. A case in point is Rye Middle School math teacher Aleksey Vodyanitskiy, “Mr. Vod”, if Russian is not your first language.

Born in Novosibirsky, Russia’s third largest city, Mr. Vod moved to the United States in 1995 after winning a scholarship to attend Hartt School of Music in Hartford. He went on to receive two master’s degrees, one in Computer Science from CUNY and another in Education from Pace University.

“I began my teaching career in a New York City Teaching Fellows program, a wonderful organization that recruits professionals from various fields and trains them to teach at high-need schools in the city,” he said. “I taught for two years in Manhattan and one year in the Bronx.”

For the past eight years, Mr. Vod has been teaching math and inspiring students at Rye Middle School. His passion and creativity are legendary, and when you pass by his classroom you are likely to hear the sound of music.

He makes math magical — and memorable — with a seemingly endless trove of goofy songs. And his students love his approach, and adore him.

<Open your eyes!

Open your ears!

Unwind your brain

So, you can see

The discriminant is always equal to

B Squared

Minus 4ac.>

While it may be hard to imagine a group of self-conscious 13-year-olds singing math rules out loud, they do. Fellow Math teacher Caitlin Stein sees the impact of his unorthodox methods every day. “He is <the> math teacher that all the students know, and his chants are catchy and helpful for all.”

RMS Principal Dr. Ann Edwards places a high value on his approach. “Aleksey Vodyanitskiy is a talented, creative, and devoted teacher. All of his students have great affection for him and their affection for math is ever growing.”

<When finding the vertex of a parabola 

The turning point of parabola’s way:

X will be equal

X will be equal

Negative b over 2a (hey!)

Negative b over 2a.>

The secret to Mr. Vod’s success? Like anyone who is first-rate at his or her job, it’s his passion for the work. “I love math and very much enjoy working with my students whom I care deeply about. I like to make class fun: we sing, we dance, we play math games and conduct math experiments. We also laugh; humor goes a long way.”

On the other side of the humor is a respect and candor that children appreciate. “I value my students’ trust and do not take their respect for granted. On the other hand, my students know that I do not "sugarcoat" and if they do something wrong I will tell them how it is. I like to think they appreciate my honesty.”

And luckily, Mr. Vod enjoys a good challenge — in this case, young teen-age students. “I love the excitement, the changes and the challenges of the middle school age. I also love the fact that the Middle School and High School are connected, because I enjoy running into my former students. And I still remember all of their names!” It’s not uncommon for former students to stop by his classroom after school, either for a little clarity on a tough segment of higher math, or often, just to sit and catch up.

For Mr. Vodyanitskiy, the greatest reward is seeing his students succeed. “I do not define success as a number grade. I see it as a hard-earned progress, built by hours of dedicated work.”

RMS Math teacher Aleksey Vodyanitskiy with students


Hamilton College has announced the names of local students who were named to the Dean’s List for the fall semester. Congratulations to <<Courtney Brown>>, who is majoring in Biology, and <<Katherine Whiston>>, who is majoring in World Politics. Both are members of the class of 2018 and both are graduates of Rye High School.

<<Penelope Deen>> was named to the Dean’s List at Baldwin Wallace University in Berea, Ohio. Deen, a graduate of Rye High School, is majoring in Acting.

<<Claudia Franklin>> was named to the Dean's List at the Roy H. Park School of Communications at Ithaca College. She is majoring in Integrated Marketing Communications.

<<Alexander Janowicz>>, a first-year student at Colby College, recently returned from spending the fall semester studying abroad in Salamanca, Spain. She is a graduate of Rye High School.

<<Sadie Mazzola>> was named to the Dean’s List at the University of New Hampshire for earning Highest Honors.

<<John McCabe>> was named to the Emerson College Dean's List. To earn the honor, a student must have a grade point average of 3.7 or higher. McCabe is majoring in Media Arts Production.

<<Peter Nolan>> was named to the Dean’s List at Worcester Polytechnic Institute, where he is majoring in Computer Science. Nolan is a member of the class of 2018.

<<Alexandra Pankoff>> was named to the Dean’s List at the University of Vermont. To be so recognized, a student must have a minimum GPA of 3.0 and rank in the top 20 percent of the class in their respective college or school.

<<Grier Poole,>> a senior at Bucknell University, was named to the Dean’s List for the fall semester. A student must receive a GPA of 3.5 or higher to earn this distinction.

Two local students were named to the Dean’s List at The University of Hartford. Congratulations to <<Thomas Steers>> and <<Max Twyman>>.

By Annette McLoughlin

Shakespeare knew it, and captured it perfectly. Teenagers have been passion-fueled and head-strong from time immemorial. And yet, for all the challenges those passions can present, there is a profound beauty in this age that too often goes uncelebrated.

But celebrate we must the accomplishments of the contributors to the 2017 edition of Zephyr, the Rye High School art and literary magazine now in its 55th year of publication.

The Columbia (University) Scholastic Press Association scores each submission on a basis of 1,000 points: 200 for “Essentials” (readability) and 400 each for “Verbal” and “Visual” elements. A magazine can qualify as a “Gold Medalist” if it receives a combined score of between 800 and 1,000 points.

The 2017 Zephyr received an impressive 982 points, which qualified it for the highest prize. The magazine was awarded 188 points in the Essentials category, 398 for Verbal, and a 396 for Visual. It also received a special citation, All-Columbian Honors, for earning high points in each category.

“It was a distinct pleasure to read and critique the 2017 Zephyr,” wrote the CSPA panel. “The top-notch aspects of your magazine include layout design, writing skills, and selection of verbal and visual works.” Judges praised the use of metaphors and similes, as well as “the outstanding rhyme schemes” in a variety of poetry styles — ode, sonnet, and bilingual; and “the focus, flow, and purpose, and marvelous use of color” in the art.

Rye High teacher and Zephyr Literary Advisor George Krajca says, “The community is justifiably proud of the academic and athletic achievements of our students. We also have reason to celebrate their artistic achievements. Rye High School offers students opportunities to explore their talents in art, music, drama, and creative writing. Zephyr allows us to showcase some of the remarkable work that our students produce.”


The Harvey School in Katonah announced the names of local students who earned academic honors for the fall term.

Eighth graders William Abt, Mason McComb, and Clyde Press and seniors Samuel Chumsky, Lily Koenig, and Aidan Roberts, were named to the Head’s List for achieving at least a 3.7 grade-point average.

Named to the Honor Roll, with grade-point averages of at least 3.3., were Emmanuel Soto-Ruiz, a senior, Grant Doherty, a sophomore, and Layne Siegel, an eighth grader.


The Rye City School District recently moved its central office down the road to 555 Theodore Fremd Avenue, the spacious, blue-mirrored International Corporate Center, from 411 Theodore Fremd.

The move was motivated by an opportunity to capitalize on a larger space with a lower per-square-foot cost.

Schools Superintendent Dr. Eric Byrne applauds the move, “It’s great for all of the school Administration, including the Special Education and Facilities Departments, to be together under one roof for the first time in a long time — if ever.”

Phone numbers and email addresses for central office personnel remain the same.

— Annette McLoughlin

Caption: Dr. Eric Byrne outside the School District’s new central office