Principal Eric Lutinski, in his eighth year here, is pleased about the Rye Neck Middle School’s growth.
By Janice Llanes Fabry
Principal Eric Lutinski, in his eighth year here, is pleased about the Rye Neck Middle School’s growth. “We have our largest enrollment in decades, 375 sixth, seventh, and eighth graders. A robust number speaks to the strength of the district and we can support it without losing the benefit of the small school feel. It strengthens extracurricular activities, clubs, sports, theater, and music programs,” he said.
By all accounts, the school year has had a spirited start. The Middle School Student Senate raised money and purchased a new Chanticleer Pear tree, modeled after the survivor tree from 9/11, which was unearthed from the ashes at Ground Zero. The resilient tree was nursed back to health at Van Cortlandt Park and replanted at the city’s memorial. The middle school students planted their own tree on campus and dedicated it to the memory of all the victims.
Last week, the middle and high schools held Book Talks, a program that fosters a love of reading. In lieu of the traditional summer reading, students were required to read one book they had selected last spring from a thoughtfully devised list. Faculty and staff also signed up and they all shared meaningful conversations about their respective books on October 5.
“The program is a great way to entice students and it also gives us the freedom to approach a book in creative ways,” explained Lutinski, who read “Joey Pigza Loses Control” and discussed it with his group of middle schoolers. “Anything that will help us see things from their point of view is beneficial,” he added.
Coming up on October 24 are assemblies with Mike Nerney, an adolescent brain expert. Sponsored by the PTSA, presentations will be held during the day for students and at 7 p.m. for Rye Neck parents. Armed with scientific research, Nerney will address how adolescents perceive risk and how their parents can help them. This is a return engagement for the former Director of the Training Institute of Narcotic and Drug Research.
“A good speaker has to have good content and good presentation skills, and when you get both that’s a keeper,” said Lutinski about Nerney. “He’s an articulate and engaging presenter with a sense of humor. Here at school, we are focused on academics, but how the kids get along when we’re not around and how they manage situations is so important.”