Thursday, March 30, 2017

HAVE SOME FUN AT THE SCHOLARSHIP RUN

By TONI-ANN HOM

On Saturday, April 1st, the 24th Annual Scholarship Run will be held in the village of Washingtonville.  The purpose of this run is to raise money for senior scholar athletes. The day will consist of the 5K run, walk, and wog.  For those who have never heard of the term, wogging is a combination of walking and jogging. Each year, approximately 400 people take part in this scholarship run.  It is a tradition that people anxiously await each year.

TONI-ANN HOM FOR WIZARD WEEKLY
The Scholarship Run is more than just a race.  The day will be filled with all kinds of fun activities.  For instance, there will be raffle tables set up so that people can but chances to win some really great prizes.  The tickets cost $1 each but if you buy seven tickets, the cost is only $5.  In addition, a separate children’s race will be held on the track at 11:00.    

There are many different ways to sign up in order to participate in the competition.  Race day registration will be in the high school cafeteria from 8:00 am to 9:35 am on Saturday morning. Entry fees before the day of the race are $28 per person and same day registration will be $30. Also, there is an option to create a team of fifteen athletes to get a $5 discount on the registration fee. The option of creating a team can only be done online.  T-shirts will also be given to participants in the 5K run, walk, and wog if registered before March 10th. For the serious walkers, the walk will start around two minutes after the runners begin. Runners will begin at 10:00 am and will race to be one of the top three in their age group.

There are also some requirements for the children’s run.  The entry fee is $7 per child. Participants may not be older than a fifth grade student. The run will start at 11:00 am on the high school track and will extend from 50 meters to 800 meters. Each participant will receive a medal upon finishing the run. The first 60 participants to enter will receive a t-shirt provided by Washingtonville Pediatrics. 

For the first time, the WHS Student Coalition will be sponsoring a pasta luncheon right after the race is finished. Anyone running in the race will be able to stay and can also bring a family member or a friend for an additional cost of $5.  Lindsay Maguire, head of this year’s scholarship run, is beyond excited for the big day.  “This is the first time we are including the pasta luncheon which is really exciting.”  

Many of Washingtonville’s track team members are looking to do very well on Saturday.  Liam Gildea, a runner on the boys’ track team explained,  “This year will be the 4th time I will be taking part in this run and every year it just gets better and better. I can’t wait to see what Saturday brings.”  It seems as though Saturday will be a very exciting and fun filled day! 

Good luck to all the runners, walkers, children, and woggers participating in this year’s run!Hopefully in the future, there will be even more people that become a part of this great cause. 

THE SMELL OF COFFEE IS IN THE AIR

By CHRIS CONNOLLY

Washingtonville is home to an astonishing number of talented musicians.  When walking the halls of the high school, it is not uncommon to hear a guitar strumming, a drum pounding or someone singing. Music is undisputedly a part of the culture in the tiny village of Washingtonville.  Luckily, these very musicians have a platform to reveal such talent to an eager crowd.

CHRIS CONNOLLY FOR WIZARD WEEKLY
Coffee House is a yearly event where vocalists can be accompanied by an instrument and perform for an exclusive crowd. Attendees are offered various snacks and drinks to have while performers put on a show.  Mr. Wurster, the music teacher at the high school, stressed just how special Coffee House is. “Coffee House is an evening in the large cafeteria with primarily acoustic music performed by students at our school.”  Wurster obviously has a strong connection to Coffee House.  

Many people do not know the reasoning behind the initiation of Coffee House.  Mr. Wurster explained, “We started it as a combination. We felt that we had a number of students that were looking for an opportunity to perform in this manner. We are getting more original music that kids are composing themselves and we highly encourage that. We also started it because we love to help. Mrs. Wurster and I have helped with Hurricane Katrina, cancer patients, and now we are focusing toward Literacy Orange.”  It is clear to see how electrified Wurster is about the 12th annual Coffee House, not only because of the music, but because the event helps those in need.

Aside from Mr. Wurster being a key component of Coffee House, the Community Service Club play a big role in the evening’s success. Mrs. Wurster, the club’s advisor, gave incite on the role the club plays.  “The Community Service Club sets up the seats for the audience, provides refreshments and chooses an agency to raise money for.  This year, Alex Cestari came up with the idea to combine the book drive and come up with the literary theme. The organization, Literacy Orange helps adults and children to understand literacy and reading.” 

All donations will be going towards tutoring citizens in the Orange County region to strengthen reading and writing skills. Mrs. Wurster detailed the importance of the donations tenfold, “There will be a donation box at Coffee House for anyone who brings a book. However, the actual book drive begins April 19th and will conclude on April 28th. All books will go to the children at the Newburgh Armory, the United War Veterans and the Better World Books corporation.” Making a donation is imperative as it gives a chance at education for unprivileged children and adults. 

The Wurster duo’s hard work and dedication feeds into the excitement of the performers.  Musician Kyle Mulcahy can hardly wait to perform, “This year will be my fourth consecutive year performing as part of the Coffee House charity event. For me, the best part is the collaboration. For the past couple of years, I have made it clear that if someone is in need of a guitar player I am happy to help.  This has resulted in a lot of great acts being able to come about and I can’t wait to do it all again one last time.”  Mulcahy’s eagerness is absolutely radiating; it is evident that Kyle loves the vibe of Coffee House. 

Be sure to support the musicians of Washingtonville in the twelfth annual Coffee House on Thursday, April 20th at 6 pm. As of now, there are about thirty acts, but more performers are auditioning every day. If interested in auditioning, see Mr. Wurster in room 190 with a song idea before spring break. There will be plenty of brownies, cookies, cakes, and especially coffee. Watch a show, indulge in snacks, and donate for the greatness of books!

WEATHER RESTRICTS WIZARD BASEBALL IN THE SEASON’S EARLY STAGES

By ROBBIE STRATAKOS

Last year, both the varsity and junior varsity boys’ baseball teams at Washingtonville High School were blessed with great weather. That weather, while windy, didn't bring upon too much precipitation, allowing both teams to practice outdoors nearly every day.  It was quite a luxury for the program, as it helped them get prepared for the 2016 season. This year, regrettably, has been a completely different story.

ROBBIE STRATAKOS FOR WIZARD WEEKLY
Thanks to a blizzard which brought upon nearly two feet of snow two weeks ago, both teams have been unable to hold even one practice on their respective field. The rainfall and cold temperatures have also played a factor in that. The rain has made the fields wet and unplayable, making it tough for both teams to do even simulated drills outdoors. As a result, both teams have gotten little to no on-field exposure. That means infielders haven't taken ground balls, and outfielders haven’t seen a fly ball off a bat. That’s quite the liability.  “It’s tough to get a grasp for how good you are as a team when you don’t get any time on the field,” coach Bauer woefully explained.  In addition to being unable to practice on their own field, varsity’s recent scrimmage didn’t help with their real game exposure either.

On Wednesday, the varsity boys’ partook in a scrimmage versus Chester, at The Rock- a baseball training facility in Chester. While The Rock does have a number of fields of its own, they are all turf fields. This means that while the facility does offer an open field and a chance to play outdoors, it does not offer teams a chance at playing on a real baseball field. That, as well as their practice restrictions, have held the Wizards’ growth as a team back a bit. 

While the weather has severely affected Washingtonville’s baseball team, that same weather has also affected others teams in Orange County. That means that while the Wizards are victims of the weather, others teams have fallen victim as well; however, how each program responds to the setbacks in their growth as a team will play a big part in their success this season. With the season just a few days away, it will be interesting to see how the beginning of the year pans out for both Varsity and JV boys.

EMPTY BOWLS HELPS FEED THOSE IN NEED


By TAYLOR HACKETT

The second annual Empty Bowls Dinner and Fundraiser was held on Friday, March 24 at Washingtonville High School. The event was sponsored by the National Art Honor Society and the proceeds went to the Country Kids Food Pantry and the Food Bank of the Hudson Valley. 

The Country Kids Food Pantry serves approximately 370 families here at Washingtonville, making this event extraordinarily beneficial to those in need. The event was a much greater success than last year and had raving reviews. 

TAYLOR HACKETT FOR WIZARD WEEKLY
The Empty Bowls event was organized and led by WHS Art teacher, Lara Held and AIS reading teacher, Kimberly Constable. This dynamic duo put blood, sweat, and tears into making this event just as spectacular as it was last year.  When asked how this year's event differed from last year Mrs. Constable replied, “This year’s Empty Bowls event was vastly different because we reorganized the lines of entry to the cafeteria so people were able to make payment based on whether they were purchasing a ceramic bowl or a disposable bowl. We also had two food lines as opposed to one which made the flow a lot better.”  In addition to that, Constable added, “We currently have tallied approximately $5,000, and at this point in time we raised at least $1,000 more than last year.”

The National Honor Society did a great deal to help put this event together.  When asked how the NAHS members helped with Empty Bowls, Vice President Victoria Stone replied, “Many NAHS members came to volunteer and many stayed from 2:15 pm to 8:30 pm. We set up by taking out all the bowls, covering the tables with paper, and decorating the hallway with posters. During the event, members served food, helped direct traffic near the auditorium and cafeteria, and walked around making sure everyone had a good time.”

This event wouldn’t have been possible without the support of the community. There were many local businesses that donated food for the event.  A special thank you to Amada’s Kitchen, C & G Plus Country Store, Betty’s Country Kitchen, T&M II Go, Bella Luna Ristorante, Brother Bruno’s, Cornucopia Concept Caterers and the Candy Lady. Also, thank you to the WHS PTSO and Clay Class Parents, and Heather Pillsworth. In addition to some of those businesses, Ms. Hall’s Food and Nutrition classes made the delicious bread served at the event. Last, but certainly not least, a huge expression of gratitude goes to Robert Gellman and the Food Services Department here at Washingtonville Central School District for all of the assistance making food and helping out in the kitchen. 

Anyone interested in supporting a good cause can purchase one of multiple professional artist bowls that are still left for sale.  They can be found in the display case at Ms. Held’s room.

Tuesday, March 28, 2017

WIZARD NATION DELETES DIGITAL DRAMA

By MIKAYLA CHAIT

Cyberbullying has become all too common in our society. Delete Week is a national campaign that was created by Seventeen Magazine to highlight the importance of deleting digital drama. Once a year, Washingtonville hosts Delete Week to teach its students how being kind online can have a positive impact on the lives of others. 

The Safe School Ambassador Program at WHS has been sponsoring this event for seven years. Co-program advisor of SSA, Mr. Lepere, claimed, “One of the best results of Delete Week is the awareness that is built about the strategies that can be used to avoid cyberbullying.” Delete Week will be held March 27th through March 31st.  Our Safe School Ambassadors hope to make it an informative week for all students. 

MIKAYLA CHAIT FOR WIZARD WEEKLY
During all lunches, students will be able to fill out ‘Kind O-Grams’ that will be delivered to classes on Friday. Writing thoughtful messages on paper phones, Kind O-Grams are a fun way to remind others how simple it is to be pleasant online. Mr. Lepere explained, “The Kind O-Grams are a way for kids to express their thoughts and feelings in a positive way.” Also, tune into next week’s announcements in order to hear different Delete Week facts about the awareness of cyber bullying. 

Along with Kind O’Gram and posters in the hallways, students can find large cardboard phones hung up in the hallways. Each will state different pieces of advice on how to avoid cyberbulling. “There is no changing your mind. Once you send something, it is sent,” is just one example of these positive messages. SSA member, Lizmari Pena-Perez, stated, “I believe Delete Week is a perfect way to get the school and community to join together and fight against cyberbullying. I additionally believe this week encourages students to help out anyone in need and to be more compassionate towards others who may not be having a good day.” 

No one should stand by as others are hurt on the internet. Safe School Ambassadors teach the importance of eliminating the bystander and getting everyone involved. Get involved this Delete Week and send your friends a Kind O-Gram.  Moreover, take the time to read the posters hanging up throughout the halls. Delete Week is a time to reflect on one’s influence on social media and take a stand against online bullying. On Friday, all students are encouraged to wear black to symbolize deleting digital drama

Thursday, March 23, 2017

THE SENIOR CITIZEN PROM BRINGS JOY TO WASHINGTONVILLE

By TAYLOR HACKETT

The National Honor Society hosts a Senior Citizen Prom every year in the springtime. This year's Senior Citizen Prom has been changed to May 6th, and is an event no one will want to miss. The prom is run by the members of NHS and is great time for students and senior citizens alike.  This year's prom will be carnival themed and, rest assured, there will be lots  of fun in store on this special night. 

PHOTO COURTESY OF JENNIFER RYAN
This carnival theme entails having many different booths set up for the senior citizens to play games and feel as if they are at an actual carnival. One of the games that will be included is the ring toss which is predicted to be a fan favorite.  There will also be prizes to be won at each of the booths. Lizmari Pena-Perez is President of the National Honor Society and when asked what goes on at the Senior Citizen Prom she replied, “There will be live music and there will, of course, be lots of fun and games. The seniors citizens look forward to this every year and it’s truly an amazing event. Being that it’s the beginning of May, it’s almost like the start of summer which means carnivals are coming and who doesn’t love a carnival? Being that it’s a prom, there is a lot of dancing.  The NHS students actually dance with the senior citizens which they love and appreciate so much. We even crown a prom queen and prom king at the event.”

In order for the Senior Citizen Prom to be the great success it is every year, the National Honor Society is in need of some help. The group is looking for local businesses to possibly donate food, money or even decorations for this special event. If you know of any local businesses that would be willing to contribute to this wonderful event, please contact Mr. Frisbee in Room 127 or Ms. Secreto in Room 220. When asked how not only students in NHS and even people in the community could help, advisor Mr. Frisbee replied, “We are reaching out to all the clubs here at WHS to help support or sponsor this event.  Anyone could donate money, food, drinks, or decorations. We need as much help as we can get; this is an amazing event and we want it to be great for the senior citizens. If anyone knows of people who could donate anything needed please feel free to contact me or Ms. Secreto.”

Mark your calendars and go to the Senior Citizen Prom on May 6th. It is sure to be a very entertaining event and the National Honor Society is eager to make it just as successful as it has been in the years past. 

BAND AND CHORUS JAMMING OUT AT THEIR ANNUAL POPS CONCERT

By TONI-ANN HOM

Every year, the band and chorus classes come together for a wonderful pops concert for everyone to enjoy. A pops concert consist of groups of musicians performing popular music and show tunes as well as well-known classical work. Mr. Wurster, the chorus teacher at Washingtonville High School, conducted the concert choir, treble choir, and the chamber choir. Mr Briggs, a band teacher at the high school, conducted the concert band and the jazz ensemble. Mr. Contzius, also a band teacher, conducted the wind ensemble. In addition, there was a special performance by the percussion ensemble. Each group performed a group of songs and, without a doubt, amazed the audience. 

TONI-ANN HOM FOR WIZARD WEEKLY
Mr. Wurster is very proud of how well his students performed. The chorus groups have been rehearsing for this event since their winter concert concluded in December.  Not only did they start working on the pops concert music, but also music for their spring concert coming up on Thursday, May 18th.  Mr. Wurster explained how the students’ hard work and dedication paid off.  “It's a lot to be preparing for two concerts at once, but that’s what makes us better. The students actually chose the songs that they wanted to sing, and I was there to make sure it was performance ready.”  

The concert choir performed I’ll be There and Jubilate!  The treble choir, which consists of only girls, performed Stay with Me and Geronimo. Last, but certainly not least, the chamber choir, which is more advanced, sang Run To You and Season of Love.  

Coffee House is also another event that the chorus students have to look forward to. Coffee House will be on April 20th at the High School.  It is a fundraiser for an illiteracy organization. On top of all the concert rehearsals, students have their Coffee House performances to perfect as well. 

As always, Mr. Briggs and Mr. Contzius are also proud of how well their students performed.  Mr.Briggs explained how the band students managed to prepare for the night. “We're always keeping our students busy with pieces to be working on and we decide on which music to play based off that. We have also been working on this concert since January as well as our spring concert.  Students are always welcome in our concert band and we are always having fun!” 

The concert band performed three pieces of music: Cartoon Symphony, Hallelujah, and John Williams in Concert. The wind ensemble performed two intermediate pieces: The Irish Washerwoman and Africa: Ceremony, Song, and Ritual. A special performance from the percussion ensemble was incredible!  They used upside down metal garbage cans to perform, Stinkin’ Garbage.  The Jazz Ensemble played Take Five, All of Me, and Cool

The Jazz Ensemble comes in every Tuesday and Thursday to rehearse at 6:30 am before the beginning of the school day. In a couple of weeks, there will be a jazz concert at the high school. Bands from other schools will be making an appearance. It’s a night that you don't want to miss!

iDECIDE TO STAND UP TO DRUGS AND ALCOHOL


By MIKAYLA CHAIT

iDecide is a program that was developed to teach elementary students the importance of drug and alcohol prevention along with the effect these substances have over a person’s life.  It was created several years ago by Washingtonville High School students and was originally run by Mrs. Cooney, a former guidance counselor and graduate of Washingtonville.  Although Mrs. Cooney has left the district, Mrs. Losquadro and Mr. Saladino now have the privilege of spearheading this beneficial club. 

Through different methods, students are able to interact with their peers, as well as iDecide mentors, in skits and exercises such as The Puppy Rescue.  In addition, students learn facts about dangerous substances.  The mentors are a vital element in the iDecide program; they must be willing to work hands on with the elementary students and be someone the kids can look up to. When asked about this year’s group of mentors, Mr. Saladino replied, “This year's group of mentors is particularly stellar! They have proven to be exceptionally responsible and are exceptional role models.  Their voices have great power and influence over the fifth grade population they are working with in the elementary classrooms.”  As iDecide mentors continue to pass through high school, there is always room in the club for new members. 

MIKAYLA CHAIT FOR WIZARD WEEKLY
Originally, this program only took place at one of the elementary schools, Little Britain, considering Taft and Round Hill participated in the D.A.R.E. program. With its absence, all three elementary schools now rely on their high school iDecide mentors to teach them about drugs and alcohol.  Junior Megan Geary went to elementary school at Little Britain and is now an iDecide mentor. When asked about her experience returning to her old school,  Megan stated, “Going back to the elementary school is awesome. Being able to work with the kids is really cool because they look up to you and admire you more than you know.” Megan then recalled what it was like participating in iDecide as a fifth grade student, “I participated in iDecide in 5th grade and it was one of my favorite parts.  I looked up to them [the mentors] tremendously, so I know the kids feel the same about us.” Overall, iDecide leaves a lifelong impact on the students that have the privilege of being able to go through the program. At the end of the four week agenda, the students get to celebrate with a pizza party and a ceremony. 

Although iDecide has had a change of leadership this year, the club is stronger than ever. Mr. Saladino claimed, “The transition has been quite seamless.” Furthermore, though the journey for this year’s iDecide has come to an end, the club will continue to grow stronger and prosper for years to come. Becoming a mentor is extremely rewarding and an exceptional experience. Not only do high schoolers get to teach children about the dangers of drug and alcohol abuse, the experience also reminds mentors about these hazards. 

If interested in being apart of iDecide next year, see Mr. Saladino or Mrs. Losquadro who both travel back and forth from the high school and the middle school. Listen for announcements each fall to find out when meetings will be held and make sure to sign up for the email list which is extremely helpful to find out about cancellations and new meeting times. Ultimately, it is never too early to start teaching students about the risks of drugs and alcohol. 

EMPTY BOWLS FILL STOMACHS

By CHRIS CONNOLLY

Although it may not be noticed by many, hunger does exist in Orange County, even in the town of Washingtonville.  There are an alarming number of families that work tirelessly to meet the needs for survival. All too often, even with hard work, families can not afford a reasonable amount of food to sustain the nutritional needs of their loved ones.   Solving this epidemic is difficult to say the least, but there is a great cause at Washingtonville High School that seeks to tackle it. 

CHRIS CONNOLLY FOR WIZARD WEEKLY
One of the talented Art teachers here at Washingtonville High School, Ms. Lara Held, is a huge part of coordinating an event that is known as The Empty Bowls Project. “The Empty Bowls Project is an international grassroots effort to raise both money and awareness in the fight to end hunger,” Held informed. She went on to explain, “John Hartom and his wife, Lisa Blackburn, started the Empty Bowls concept in the fall of 1990 at Bloomfield Hills Lahser High School in Detroit, Michigan.  Empty Bowls events have been held across the globe and have raised tens of millions of dollars for organizations fighting hunger. These events also raise public awareness about hunger and provide people of all ages the chance to work for positive change in their own communities and beyond. As an artist and teacher of ceramics, I have always had Empty Bowls on my radar.”  It is clear to see the passion that Held has for improving the community’s well being. 

Ms. Held isn’t the only person in collaboration with Empty Bowls.  Kimberly Constable, the high school’s AIS reading teacher, is Washingtonville’s Empty Bowls’ co-chair. She is in charge of organizing all the food, services, goods, donations, and volunteers for the event. Constable is one of the key components for Empty Bowls and is certainly an important reason why it has been such a hit in the past. 

Aside from the teachers, the students play a vital role in the success of Empty Bowls.  Treasa Moscato, an art student in Ms. Held’s class, created a bowl this year. “We were told to make a food-inspired bowl, so my theme was M&M’s. I made my bowl because the issue of hunger, especially in our community, is prevalent.  I think helping people in our community, and even in our school, is pretty awesome.”  Moscato is very intertwined with art and making a difference, so Empty Bowls was the perfect solution for her. 

Other then Treasa’s bowl, there are countless more. Ms. Held elaborated on why there are numerous reasons to buy one.  “When you purchase a bowl, the money you donate goes to the Food Bank of the Hudson Valley with fifty percent of that money earmarked for the Country Kids Food Pantry in Washingtonville via the Food Bank's ‘Adopt-A-Pantry’ Program. Dedicated staff from the Country Kids Food Pantry go to the Food Bank to stock up on food supplies to feed over 350 Washingtonville families. Bowls range from five to twenty five dollars.”  

When a bowl is bought, it isn’t just a bowl, it is a potential chance at life for some. Ending starvation is becoming more achievable with the Empty Bowls program.  Washingtonville’s Empty Bowls dinner and fundraiser, sponsored by the National Art Society,  will be taking place Friday, March 24th from 5:30 pm to 8:00 pm in the high school cafeterias. Buy a bowl, share a meal, and most importantly, save a life!

SPRING ATHLETES ADJUST TO FIELD CONDITIONS

By SEAN LYNCH

The snow days that occurred this March mean a delayed start for spring sports in Washingtonville. The longer the snow remains on the playing-fields, the more creative our athletes will have to get to ensure they are in game shape. 

For varsity baseball player Jeremy Gutierrez, this means working on his flexibility in the gym. “I always have to prepare for unplayable conditions in March,” Gutierrez acknowledged.  “I focus on stretching before my workout and during my breaks, I stretch even more.  It’s imperative to stay in shape even when I can’t be on the field.”

SEAN LYNCH FOR WIZARD WEEKLY
As for the boys golf team, it’s been a long wait to be able to get on a golf course, and now they will have to wait even longer.  “Our golfers have been so excited to get out on a golf course, and all this snow has put a pause on that desire,” golf coach Todd Rose sadly informed. “It is no doubt an inconvenience, but I’m confident the snow will make us even more determined for the upcoming season.”

As the snow has hampered the ability to participate in outdoor sports, here are a couple of great ways to stay in shape until the weather improves.  First, athletes can consider hitting the gym.  Although the fresh air from running outside may be missed by many athletes, running on a treadmill at a local gym keeps cardiovascular fitness at a healthy rate.  Another option to consider is visiting the weight room after-school.  Every Monday and Wednesday, students at Washingtonville go to the weight room here at the high school.  If students don’t have a gym membership, this is a great way to stay in shape.

Although the weather has put a delay on spring sports, our athletes will be prepared for when the conditions do finally improve. This dedication shows that our spring athletes are ready.  Best of luck to all of the spring athletes here at Washingtonville!   



PERCUSSION ENSEMBLE SHINES ON CONCERT SPOTLIGHT

By ROBBIE STRATAKOS

Washingtonville High School is not all about sports and clubs; it is much more than just that. One facet of the high school that can sometimes go unnoticed and unappreciated is the music department. Ranging from the trumpet, to the clarinet, to even the percussion section, Washingtonville is home to a very diverse musical unit. That makes the department very versatile.

ROBBIE STRATAKOS FOR WIZARD WEEKLY
Led by Mr. Briggs and Mr. Contzius, Washingtonville has built a very successful music program. This department has grown and has been home to a number of talented, and upcoming musicians over the years.  Senior percussionist, David O’Keefe, says both of these men are to be thanked for the group’s success. “Mr. Contzius and Mr. Briggs are two of the most knowledgeable music educators I’ve met during my education, and we couldn’t have done the ensemble without them,” explained O’Keefe .

Last Friday, the Wind Ensemble partook in their yearly “Pops Concert.”  At this event, the wind ensemble played hit songs that can be heard on the radio today.  However, it was members of the percussion section that really put themselves on display. Midway through the concert, the percussion section performed an individual and unique solo, also referred to as “the percussion ensemble.” While the music and tone tend to be pretty civil, this solo came across to the watchful eyes and ears of the audience as a loud, different, upbeat, and a very unique tone.  A big part of that notion was due to the setting of the event. 

The group used trash cans as drums, setting the stage for a unique performance. It was a magnificent sight for all eyes as the performance was a different and also very invigorating occurrence to watch transpire.  O’Keefe believes that the performance was stirring and showed just how special music truly is. “The performance was exhilarating because it was the end result of almost the entire school year to this point. Music is unique because it’s a portal through which complex ideas are expressed without words,” noted O’Keefe.  Overall, the percussion section put forth an impressive and exceedingly distinctive performance showing just how talented and advanced the Washingtonville Music Department truly is.

Tuesday, March 21, 2017

SAFE HOME SAVES LIVES

By CHRIS CONNOLLY

CHRIS CONNOLLY FOR WIZARD WEEKLY
Although our community has done a great deal to prevent dating violence, it is still a frightening reality. Toxic relationships are found all too often among college students, high-schoolers, and even middle schoolers. Despite this being a tragic reality, there are programs to widen knowledge and awareness of this horrific situation.

The fourth annual Safe Homes Teen Summit will be hosted at Washingtonville High School on Wednesday, April 26th. This full day student conference is provided by the Safe Homes Organization of Orange County. Paul Saladino, a social worker here at Washingtonville, went more in depth about the event. “The goal is for teens and adults to gain knowledge and skills necessary to notice and put a stop to teen dating violence. During the conference, students will have the opportunity to participate in different workshops to explore key topics on the dynamics of dating violence.”  At the event, trained instructors will go more in depth and discuss ways that citizens can bring what they have learned back to the school and community.

It is imperative that students and parents alike attend this conference.  Many people don’t know how treacherous dating violence is in America.  Saladino elaborated, “One in three adolescents in the United States is a victim of physical, sexual, emotional, and/or verbal abuse from a dating partner. Girls and young women between the ages of sixteen and twenty four experience the highest rate of intimate partner violence, almost triple the national average.” There are countless statistics that would make any parent question a child’s significant other.  This shows just how important it is to know how to put an end to toxic ‘love’. 

The conference isn’t the only thing one can do to increase awareness. Each year a group of Washingtonville students are trained as Mentors in Violence Prevention. Mr. Saladino informs, “This is a seven week training provided by youth educators from Safe Homes of Orange County.  Mentors in Violence Prevention is one of the longest running and most widely influential gender violence, sexual harassment, and bullying prevention programs in the world.  Founded in 1993, MVP has inspired countless men, women, boys, and girls to challenge and change social, cultural, and institutional norms that support abusive behavior.” Mentors in Violence Prevention is certainly something that can change the face of abuse. 

Interested students should contact Mr. Paul Saladino or Ms. Katherine O'Sullivan for more details. If people work as a progressive whole, the menace that is dating violence can be put to an end abruptly. Please attend the Safe Home Teen Summit; it can save a loved one.


Monday, March 20, 2017

HEART SCREENING FOR A GOOD CAUSE


By TONI-ANN HOM 

Every day, people are diagnosed with serious heart conditions that can change their lives in an instant. Kyle Honan, a graduate of Washingtonville High School, was just 24 years old when he passed away in his mother's arms because of a terrible disease known as cardiomyopathy.  Kyle brightened everyone's day with his smile and indescribable acts of kindness.  Kyle’s mother, Liz Honan, has dedicated a tremendous amount of time and effort to help prevent this type of tragedy from happening again.  

TONI-ANN HOM FOR WIZARD WEEKLY
Cardiomyopathy is a disease of the heart muscle. It makes it harder for the heart to fill with blood and decreases the ability for the heart to pump blood throughout the body. This condition can cause abnormal heart rhythms.  It has been said that it is unusual for this disease to affect those who are athletic, but Kyle Honan was, indeed, athletic.  Like many people, the Honan family lives in an allergy and asthma valley.  Mrs. Honan informed, “By living in this type of environment and by using certain medications, this caused my son’s cardiomyopathy. He may have already had the gene but it was unknown to our family.”

Liz Honan and her family intend to help save lives by offering a way to detect any early cardiac conditions. The Kyle Honan Heart to Heart Foundation was created by Mrs. Honan to raise awareness of the condition known as cardiomyopathy.  This organization aims to spread the story of her son and his condition. More importantly, it encourages others to get their hearts screened for early detection so as to prevent future tragedies.

The Kyle Honan Heart to Heart Foundation is partnering with The Free Youth Heart Screening to give young people the opportunity to get their hearts screened.  On April 8th, a fundraiser in the Washingtonville High School gym will take place to raise money and awareness. At the event, free heart screenings will be offered to people 12-25 years old.  It will start at 9:00 am and will finish at 3:00 pm. Pre-registering online is recommended before attending. Financial assistance will be  provided for those families struggling with asthma, autism, and cardiac related medical bills. Moreover, scholarships will be offered for students of Washingtonville High School. If under 18, a parent or guardian must sign the permission form before any screening can take place.

The entire heart screening process includes different variations of tests. These tests can detect risk factors and conditions associated with sudden cardiac arrest.  It’s safe, quick, and easy!  The process includes a blood pressure reading and an electrocardiogram (ECG or EKG).  The results will be reviewed by a certified cardiologist and will enable people to get the help they need in case of an early detection. The heart screenings are free, but donations are very much appreciated to help with the screening costs and to fund for future screenings.

Kyle Honan lived his short life always doing for others and his foundation was created to continue his legacy and honor the young man he was.  Come support a great cause.

WASHINGTONVILLE’S FRENCH CLUB IS TRÈS BIEN

By TAYLOR HACKETT

TAYLOR HACKETT FROR WIZARD WEEKLY
The French Club is the newest addition to the various clubs at Washingtonville High School.  The club focuses on different French cultures in different countries around the world such as Haiti, France, Belgium, Canada and the French West Indies, just to name a few.  The club recently got approved by the Board of Education and the students involved couldn’t be more excited. 

Not long ago, the French II students at the high school approached their French teacher, Ms. Tompkins, and asked her if she would consider advising a club that promotes the subject that she is so passionate about.  Thankfully, she said oui.  When asked what the students will be doing in the French Club Ms. Tompkins replied, “Each meeting we will talk about a different country, speak French and try some different foods from different places.  The club will focus on what the kids want to learn about.”

Many of Ms. Tompkins students are excited about this new venture.  When asked why he wanted to participate in the French Club, Joseph Skinner replied, “I’m interested in speaking other languages, especially French, and the French Club is a way for me to further my knowledge of foreign language.”  His classmate Joe Whittle added, “I wanted to learn about more places where French is spoken. I also want to try and speak French more fluently. In addition to that, I want to expand my French vocabulary to make myself a more well-rounded French student.” 

On Monday, March 20 through Friday, March 24, the French Club will be promoting Foreign Language Week  in addition to having Haitian Day on March 23.  March 23rd  is  also the French Club’s third meeting in Ms. Tompkins classroom, room 209, at 2:15 pm.  The meeting is open to all students, even those that don’t take or speak French. The French Club sounds like a great addition to the many clubs here at Wizard Nation and the students are eager to participate.  If you are available on March 23rd,  stop by and see what French Club has to offer.

Monday, March 13, 2017

COMMUNITY SERVICE CLUB CONTINUES TO PORTRAY POSITIVE MESSAGE

By ROBBIE STRATAKOS

Have you ever thought of assisting or helping out someone in need? While you may think you have it rough, there’s always someone who’s in a worse or more difficult situation. Those people in need are also sometimes in need of a donation or something to help their everyday lives. Have you ever thought of being that helping hand? Many students at Washingtonville High School have. Those people have put their thoughts to action by actually executing and following through with their endeavors. How have they done so? They’ve done so through the Community Service Club.

Washingtonville High School is home to a bevy of clubs; however, one club that tends to stand out more than others is the Community Service Club. The clubs’ history of doing great things both in and out of school have contributed to the spotlight they rightfully receive, thanks to events such as the food pantry. At the food pantry, students provide families and people in need with necessary groceries. The spotlight they receive is also due to what they’re up to in the present day.

ROBBIE STRATAKOS FOR WIZARD WEEKLY
Currently, the Community Service Club has founded and involved itself in a number of various organizations, one being the “Habit for Humanity of Greater Newburgh.” This association involves students helping to build homes for families in need. Washingtonville offers its  students the opportunity to partake in helping these families on specific Saturday dates; they preach a vision of “safe, decent and affordable housing.” Preaching this, as well as helping provide families in need with shelter, sends a positive message to the community; however, the “Habit for Humanity of Greater Newburgh” isn’t the only way the Community Service club sends and portrays a positive message to the community.

In addition to their efforts in the city of Newburgh, the Community Service Club also partakes in a Coffee House get together. At this event, the Club donates a charitable sum. By joining forces with the Washingtonville music department, the Community Service Club puts forth a charitable donation to a worthy charity of their choice. By putting together a nice get together to help others in need, the Community Service Club helps create a gratifying, and relaxing get together that simultaneously helps aid those in need.

Unfortunately, the world we live isn’t all smiles and roses. There are people who are in need of help whether it’s through a donation or even just everyday groceries. Whatever the case may be, the Community Service Club does their best to put forth a helping hand. From the food pantry, to the “Habit for Humanity of Greater Newburgh,” to Coffee House, the Community Service Club does outstanding things for the people in the local community. Care to join in? The club is always looking for new members.  See Mrs. Wurster and Ms. Frey for details.

MIDDLE AND HIGH SCHOOL BANDS COME TOGETHER BEAUTIFULLY


By MIKAYLA CHAIT

Once a year, the music departments at Washingtonville Central School District come together to showcase their music. Middle school band students travel to the high school to discover more about what opportunities they can take advantage of as an instrument player in high school. While learning about the different bands they can be a part of in high school, the middle schoolers listen to the songs each high school band has been preparing. From a high schooler’s perspective, they are able to see how much they have grown as an artist from sixth grade to present day as they listen to middle schoolers play their selected pieces.

MIKAYLA CHAIT FOR WIZARD WEEKLY
Each band is given the opportunity to perform in front of their peers with a piece that they have been studying for weeks. Before each piece, the band teacher gives a brief description of what the band has been working on and how that will help them grow over the course of their musical careers. High school band teachers, Mr. Briggs and Mr. Contzius, inform the students how flexible they can be when it comes to fitting band into their high school schedule. Middle schooler Caeli Lascar said, “It was overwhelming, but a lot of fun.” Although there is a great deal of information to take in, Band Day helps further middle schoolers’ interest in the music department.

Band Day is a learning experience for everyone who attends. When asked if Band Day seems beneficial to the students, Mrs. Skopin said, “Yes. I think it is. I think it helps them see the progression from sixth grade.” Since all of the Washingtonville band teachers are in one room, high school students are able to see the teachers that inspired them to continue music in high school, like Mrs. Skopin, Mrs. Giorgio, and Mr. Shackleton.  Moreover, middle school students are able to meet the high school teachers that will guide them through high school band. Not only do they get to look back on their time in middle school, WHS students get to meet the students that will fill their shoes once their time in high school ends. Being able to see the musical abilities of those much younger than them inspires the high school students to work harder.  Likewise, watching the high schoolers allows the middle schoolers to look forward to how much their musical talents will expand in the years to come. 

Overall, students on Band Day are able to come together to celebrate their love of music.  Spending a day together appreciating each other’s hard work and learning about the opportunities that come with band, Band Day is truly a unique learning experience. The high school teachers hope to inspire the middle schoolers into furthering their musical education and growing their appreciate for the art.