Thursday, December 7, 2017

A CHRISTMAS THRILL IN THE ‘VILLE

By KRISTEN BOERKE

The community of Washingtonville came together on Saturday, December 2nd to celebrate the holidays in a spirited fashion.  People of all ages came to the center of town wide-eyed and excited to participate in the festivities.  Whether supporting businesses or the community by purchasing or selling items at the “Christmas in the Village” or simply watching the parade, all who attended can agree that the event was an enormous success.

KRISTEN BOERKE FOR THE WIZARD WEEKLY
The parade did not always take place here in the Village of Washingtonville, according to the Washingtonville/Blooming Grove Chamber of Commerce.  In fact, prior to 2011, the village had  only a quaint tree lighting ceremony followed by refreshments at Village Hall.  However, in 2011 Hurricane Irene hit and the village and surrounding towns experienced major destruction and devastation. 

After this horrific disaster, the town and community needed to come up with a plan to pick up the pieces and get the town up and running once again.  The former Chamber President, Rick Lewis, went to the then mayor, Tom DeVinko, and suggested,  “This is the year; we need to have a Christmas Parade. The residents need something to take their minds off the devastation, even if it’s just for one night.”  Hence, the Christmas Parade was born.  In December of 2011, the first ever Christmas Parade in Washingtonville took place and, to the delight of all it’s residents,   continues to be an annual tradition.

This year was the 7th annual Washingtonville Christmas Parade and Tree Lighting Ceremony. According to Kevin Radday, owner of Betty’s Country Kitchen, it was unlike any other--  “Betty’s always takes a major part in the parade.  We look forward to it every year.”  Betty’s made a significant impact on the success of the event as they provided live music on their front porch to “add to the holiday theme.”  Also stationed on the porch were elves who passed out free hot chocolate with marshmallows, graham cracker crumbles and whipped cream.

Mr. Radday exclaimed that his favorite part of the event is always “seeing all the families that come here to Betty’s watching the parade.  It really lights up the kids’ faces to see the firetrucks and the cars go by.  The best part is probably the Betty’s families that I’ve become friends with over the past three and a half years that come in and enjoy the parade with my business.” 

Across the street in the municipal parking lot was “Christmas in the Village” where many vendors sold various items while spreading holiday cheer.  From 3-6 pm, community members set up their stations and showcased or sold their goods.  One of these vendors was Washingtonville High School’s very own National Art Honor Society.

Mrs. Held,  who is in charge of NAHS stated, “This fall,  NAHS students have been hard at work making hand crafted ceramic jewelry and holiday ornaments to help raise money for our NAHS chapter.”  She went on to say,  “Mrs. Laudato, along with several NAHS members, set up the table from 2-3 pm with over 100 individual items: ceramic earrings, necklaces and ornaments. From 3-6 pm various NAHS members, along with Mrs. Laudato and myself, greeted community members who visited our table and made purchases.”  The National Art Honor Society did very well during this event, selling close to half their inventory and raising over $320.
  
It was finally time for the main event: the parade followed by the tree lighting ceremony.  The parade gave the village a sense of community as firetrucks from neighboring towns, as well as our own, decked themselves out in lights and sounded their alarms.  Many cars, companies, and teams paraded down main street waving to the thousands of spectators. 

Kate Rocke, a senior at Washingtonville High School was a part of the parade with the Washingtonville Little League.  Kate recalls,  “The atmosphere was crazy. There were so many people by the time we hit the center of town.  People were cheering so loud and, from where I was, it looked like thousands of people came out.”  Rocke's favorite part of the parade was making the kids’ nights as she waved back to them saying, “Merry Christmas,” and seeing their faces light up.   “It makes you feel so good,”  Kate expressed.

Overall, The Christmas Parade and Tree Lighting Ceremony united Washingtonville and got everyone into the Christmas spirit.  The successful event will continue to be a tradition for years to come.  The community can’t wait to see what’s in store for next year!  

UNDERRATED WIZARDS LOOK TO UNLEASH AGAINST NEWBURGH

By BRENDAN O’LEARY

The Washingtonville boys’ varsity basketball team started their season off just as planned: winning their first game on the road against Port Jervis with a score of 65-50.  The gymnasium was packed with fans and spectators as they got their first glance at the team’s talent and effort as both teams battled hard.  Next, the Wizards have one of their toughest opponents ahead of them on Thursday December 7th  as they prepare to face off against Newburgh Free Academy. This is also the first time the Wizards will get to play on their own stomping grounds this season.

Not unlike previous years, Newburgh is a team that is full of skilled, athletic, and very quick players.  Key returning players for NFA include forward, Sam Clark, and guard, Izzy Williams, who both score in transition efficiently and love to run up and down the court.  This year’s Newburgh team clearly displays talent, but as shown last year, was not strong enough to take down the Wizards.  In the Section 9 quarterfinal playoff game, Washingtonville held on and slightly outworked a powerful team, barely outscoring them with a final of 53-51.  

BRENDAN O'LEARY FOR THE WIZARD WEEKLY
When asked about how Washingtonville plans to handle the pressure and intensity Newburgh is expected to bring, Coach Todd Rose responded by stating, “We need to dictate the tempo of the game from the very start.  This will be a tightly played and close game the whole way, but I am confident that we simply have a better team than they do.”  Going into this game with confidence yet poise and composure, the Wizards have been preparing to face a Newburgh team that will bring a high level of intensity and speed that the team has been working on handling.

Going into the season underrated and overlooked, Washingtonville is looking forward to making this game a strong statement, proving that they are the team to beat in Section 9.  Important players coming off great opening performances include senior guards, Brendan O’Leary and Ryan Johnson, while junior Kareem Lubin controlled the paint down low.  O’Leary and Lubin scored efficiently while Johnson was a force on defense, turning attempted passes into steals commonly resulting in a basket for the Wizards.

Sophomore guard, Ryan Graham, surprised many by providing a spark off the bench scoring 10 points on only 5 attempts from the field.  Ryan explained, “I think we can beat NFA off basket cuts and driving to the basket since they often over deny.  If we can stop them from pushing the ball, we will be successful.”  

Expect the gym to be crowded and full of excitement as the Wizards take on the Newburgh team that is hungry for revenge and a victory.

NEED TO STUDY? FIND A BUDDY!

By MEGAN FICO 

As the school year progresses, grades gradually become more of a concern for students at Washingtonville High School.  Classes get harder and students tend to become more stressed out over their increasing workload.  Thankfully, there is a place at WHS where students can alleviate some of these stresses.  With the peer tutoring program run by the school librarian, Mrs. Richardson, students are able to get some extra help in the classes that they struggle in. 

Peer Tutoring is a program where students are able to get tutored by other students close to their own ages.  The goal of this program is to give students a way of getting extra help from a student that has already excelled in that class, rather than a teacher or a paid tutor.  This has been proven to be a successful strategy that increases students’ understanding of material.  According to an article written by the National Education Association, some benefits of peer tutoring “include higher academic achievement, improved relationships with peers, improved personal and social development as well as increased motivation.”

MEGAN FICO FOR THE WIZARD WEEKLY
Peer tutoring is beneficial to both the student and the tutor.  There is an old saying, “To teach is to learn twice.”  This strategy helps students learn from each other no matter what position they are in.  While one student may excel in science, another student may be at the top of his or her English class.  These students can work together to help each other understand difficult concepts and lessons, while reviewing the material themselves.

Jeremy Gutierrez, a senior who attends Washingtonville High School, has been involved in the program since his junior year.  He currently has weekly sessions with his tutor, senior Erin Wilson, who helps him out with precalculus. 

Since joining the program, Jeremy says, “The weekly sessions really help out a lot” and if it weren’t for tutoring, he could have possibly failed one of his classes last year.  His favorite part about the program is that “it’s free,” and both his tutor and Mrs. Richardson work with his schedule so the weekly sessions happen at times that work best for both of them. 

Mrs. Richardson, the school librarian, took charge of the program previously run by the National Honor Society.  She did this so she would be able to know who was involved and when sessions were going on, mainly because they would be taking place in the library and she needed to make sure there was a spot for all students.  Mrs. Richardson says that the program helps the students and she gets “great feedback from teachers of students who participate in the program.”  She also says it especially helps out parents “since the program is free, parents are saving money instead of having to pay a tutor $50 an hour.”

It is relatively easy to get involved in the peer tutoring program, and anyone can join, whether they want to be a tutor or be the one getting tutored.  Students are able to sign up for peer tutoring by either seeing Mrs. Richardson in the school library, or going onto the library website where there are forms to be a tutor or a tutee.  This program is a meaningful way to get community service hours for tutors, and a convenient way for students who need some extra help in a class to get the attention that they deserve. 

WORRY-FREE HOLIDAY SHOPPING

By ERIN WILSON

Everyone knows how hard it can be to find valuable, yet inexpensive gifts for loved ones during the holiday season.  However, the Round Hill Parent Teacher Association (PTA) does a spectacular job making sure that people of all ages can achieve this mammoth goal.  The Round Hill Holiday Boutique gives students and their families the chance to find exceptional gifts at incredibly reasonable prices.

ERIN WILSON FOR THE WIZARD WEEKLY
For many years, the Round Hill PTA has been putting on a holiday boutique at the elementary school.  This event is held during the school day for the elementary school aged children and extends its hours into the night so that family members can also take advantage of the spectacular deals.  This event definitely did not fail to satisfy the families of the community. 

The Round Hill PTA made sure that money would not be a problem for their customers; the items displayed for purchase ranged from 75 cents to 15 dollars.  

It takes an immense amount of time and dedication to pull off an amazing event like this.  Elaine Perri, President of the Round Hill PTA, states that the preparation is “ongoing since September...[the PTA] has to keep in contact with vendors to get everything.”

The boutique is always an enormous hit, as the students enjoy picking out presents for their friends while also “getting things for [their] family,” as Frankie Warner, second grader, confessed.  Every present displayed is carefully picked out by the PTA, as they “make sure the gifts are not just something that will go home and be broken,” added Elaine Perri.  

From jewelry to stuffed animals, there are gifts for people of all ages to truly enjoy.  Jackson DeAlva, a preschool student in Washingtonville, proclaimed that his favorite thing to get was  “the light-up pens.”  Elaine Perri expressed that it’s amazing to see “kids looking at gifts and thinking, ‘Oh, my mom would like that!’”  This event elucidates the fact that the children are thinking about others rather than themselves.

The boutique lasted throughout the week of December 3rd, giving the children and parents more chances to buy those simple, yet important gifts for the holidays.  The Round Hill PTA organizes important events all throughout the school year, and the holiday season is a great time to see them in action.

No one should have difficulty finding or having to pay for gifts for their loved ones during the holiday season.  The Round Hill Holiday Boutique has been doing an unbelievable job making sure that no one will have to face these difficulties during such a joyful time.

NO COMPLAINTS WHEN IT’S TIME TO PAINT

By DYLAN SPAULDING

With the holiday season upon us, what's better than gathering with your family and personally making your own ornaments while being treated to free cookies and desserts and listening to traditional Christmas music?  On Saturday, December 2, the class of 2018 did just that when they hosted their first ever “Paint Your Own Ornament” fundraiser. 

DYLAN SPAULDING FOR THE WIZARD WEEKLY
On this chilly winter afternoon, people of all age groups attended the festive event.  From grandparents to grandchildren, it was truly a special time for community members.  In order to participate, people purchased blank ornaments at a cost of 12 dollars.  Paint and brushes were supplied along with all the bells and whistles.  If artists needed supplies, all they had to do was  ask one of Santa's helpers. 

Not only was there painting but also story time for the youngsters.  Kids filled their hands with cookies and cups of milk and gathered for a Christmas story told by one of the elves.  It was then that their parents were able to take a break and enjoy the refreshments while painting their own ornaments.  

DYLAN SPAULDING FOR THE WIZARD WEEKLY
All proceeds went directly to the class of 2018.  This event was a huge success according to the 2018 class Vice President, Alexa Siciliano. “This being our first time doing this, we expected at least 50 people, but the community truly came out with their families and a little more than 100 people came.”  The planning of this event began in the early days of October and took a tremendous amount of work and cooperation. 

The event raised over one thousand dollars, according to class treasurer Anthony Witte.  “All the money raised will be used on upcoming senior events like the All Night Party, Senior Banquet and what not.”  All these senior events will be happening in the upcoming months.  Anthony's main role was making sure everyone was happy and had all of their supplies. He even had to dress up for the occasion.  He expressed, “It was my goal to have the ugliest sweater there.  When I looked around, I had some competition, but I think I took first place!” 

People of all age groups attended this festive event.  Everyone who attended will be having an extra ornament on the tree this year.  When people were leaving they were already asking about next year's ornament painting,  so it's safe to say this fundraiser will be happening in the future.  


THE WIZARD SPORTS’ REPORTERS

By MICHAEL DEPAOLO

As many students at Washingtonville High continue to debate about their favorite sports teams, it couldn't be a better time to join the Sports Journalism Club.  Many people wonder what it has to offer. 

So many students have face the harsh reality that they will not be becoming professional athletes upon graduating from high school; however those same students continue to have a love and passion for sports. They want that to be a part of their life.  The Sports Journalism club gives them that place where they can talk and debate about what their passion.  Many students who attend the club also want to pursue a career in journalism in the future. This gives them the skills they need to pursue their desired career. 

MICHAEL DEPAOLO FOR THE WIZARD WEEKLY
The Sports Journalism Club is run by Mr. Clough and Mr. Bruscino, along with the club presidents: Matt Benson, John Contino, and Andrew Fitzpatrick.  This club is designed not only for fun, but for learning more about the teams students are passionate about. Their meetings consist of creating and publishing articles of their choice (sports related, of course) and having a good time while doing it. 

Some of the activities members participate in are different tournaments such as Madden and NHL tournaments. The club as a whole competes against each other in a bracket system. The winner will get his or her last name on a banner which will be hung on the wall along with the banners from previous years. 

There are also many different opportunities in the club.  For instance, this week the club has invited a representative from the MLB (Major League Baseball) Network, Matt Baker.  He is one of the head researchers for the network.  In addition, he is also bringing in some examples of the work he has to complete on a daily basis to give the club members an idea of what being a part of a sports journalist team is like.  Mr. Clough stated, “I think it’s really cool that we are able to bring opportunities like this to the kids.”

President, Matt Benson, talked about how “we have a relaxed environment where you can debate and discuss sports on a weekly basis while writing articles on the topics of your choice.”  The club has a blog similar to The Washingtonville Wizard Weekly where they publish their articles for the students to read. It’s called Wizards Sports Reports, and can be found on wizards.blogspot.com.  They also publish a magazine  annually containing all of their articles. 

The students who take part in the club take great pride in their work. It has a healthy atmosphere for everyone.  Their meetings occur during the week on Thursdays in room 221 after school.  Come join them to see what it’s all about.

CAN’T SLACK, TIME FOR TRACK

By CAROLINE HART

It’s that time of year again when athletes all over the school have begun arduously preparing for their winter sports; this includes the athletes participating in indoor track.  Indoor track usually starts at the beginning of November and ends around February so, naturally, the runners and field-eventers have been consistently working hard to get prepared for their season. 

CAROLINE HART FOR THE WIZARD WEEKLY
Those who do not follow cross country and/or track often get them mixed up.  Cross country is a long distance sport where the runners must endure a course of 3.1 miles, also known as a 5k.   Outdoor track, on the other hand, obviously takes place outside.   When participating in outdoor track,  athletes do not only compete in running events, but also field events such as pole vault, shot put, weight throw, high jump, and long jump.  Indoor track is different than both of those sports.  It is run in  indoor field houses and athletes compete in different or modified events.

Liam Gildea, captain of the indoor track team, stated, “The two sports differ in the idea that for cross country you need a lot of endurance and not a lot of speed, but in track you need a lot of speed and not a lot of endurance.”  Though, both sports require different skillfulness, they are alike in the demand and full time and commitment required of athletes. 

The team’s first meet is this Friday, which means that the team has had a whole month to prepare for the beginning of what could be an amazing season for the Wizards.  All the athletes have been working rigorously to get to where they need to be.  Gildea expressed, “Overall we have had some good workouts these past two weeks which I think will result in good races for the team this year.”  

Being physically prepared is a tremendous part of being ready to compete, but athletes also need to to be mentally prepared.  To be physically prepared is only half the battle for any running event. Maanasa Hanubal, a sophomore runner, voiced, “If you are not in a good and positive mindset, then you will not run how you would want to.”  Without a positive mindset, reaching the goals proves to be very difficult.

The indoor track team has a big season coming up.  If they continue to work hard and have that positive mindset, then the team will achieve great things things this season.  Good luck Wizards!