Friday, December 22, 2017



For nearly twenty five years, a gift tree has been up in the main office of Washingtonville High School.  Year after year, students and faculty alike generously take tags off this tree and follow up by placing a gift underneath.  However, many do not actually know what happens after they place their items beneath the tree.   Who delivers these presents and to whom?   

The tree that has been standing in the office each year is actually there because of one person:  Doreen Diemer, a secretary at the WHS.  She started this tradition about 25 years ago after her daughter, Michele, was diagnosed with leukemia.  A social worker reached out to Mrs. Diemer and told her about an organization called Friends of Karen and their lives were changed forever.  

Friends of Karen is an organization that supports critically-ill children and their families.  Executive Director Judith R. Factor explained, “Our mission is to provide emotional, financial, and advocacy support for families caring for children with life threatening illnesses so that they are able to cope, remain stable, and have a good quality of life when they are dealing with a very very difficult situation.”  

When asked what her favorite part of the Friends of Karen tree is, Diemer expressed,  “Seeing how generous everyone is and bringing in the gifts. Bringing them down to the organization, seeing how hard these volunteers work, and all the families that they help makes it all worthwhile”

Mrs. Diemer and her daughter, Michele Santillo
Friends of Karen started in 1978 and will be celebrating their 40th anniversary in 2018.  The organization was started by a kind-hearted woman named Sheila Peterson whose neighbor’s daughter, Karen, became terminally ill.  Instead of being in the hospital, Karen decided to return home to live out the remainder of her life with her family.  That is when Shelia decided to seek the help of her community.  She was not disappointed; they supported Karen and her family with $36,000 along with their kindness and other generosities.  The benevolence of her community allowed Karen to spend her remaining days in peace.   

Judith R. Factor sets forth a very true statement: “Illness isn’t seasonal.”  Standing by this statement, Friends of Karen provides year-round care for children with life threatening illnesses and their families.  For example, when a child in this program has a birthday, Friends of Karen graciously provides that child with a gift.  Most families’ medical bills do not leave money for birthday gifts, so Friends of Karen makes it possible.  

Supplying gifts is not the only way Friends of Karen gives back.  They often pay for medical bills, rent, and food.  From there, the family is matched with a social worker that helps support the family in their time of need.  The organization’s most popular time of year is the holidays, but they also have back to school programs where they collect items necessary for children to be successful in school.    

Unloading the gifts donated by WHS
The afflicted child may not be the only one in need of support; siblings take a major toll when their brother or sister becomes terminally ill.  Luckily, Friends of Karen has a sibling support group that provides care to all members of the family in any way they can.   
The Friends of Karen organization has helped over 900 families this holiday season.  “Friends of Karen is the greatest organization I hope you never need to know,” voiced the executive director herself.  
This organization is an amazing way to give to those who truly need it this holiday season and all year round.  Thanks to Mrs. Diemer, Washingtonville has been, and will continue to be, involved with Friends of Karen.      

Thursday, December 21, 2017



Throughout the halls of Washingtonville High School there is no shortage of students who make the seemingly impossible, possible.  How many people can say that they know a student who received the Youth in Philanthropy Award,  is working towards her Gold Award in Girl Scouts, has traveled all around the world, and is even learning to fly an airplane?  Well, members of the Washingtonville community can!  Hayley Jensen, a friend and role model to many, is doing it all.

This past November, Jensen received the Youth in Philanthropy Award.  This award is given to a person between the ages of 10-23 who has demonstrated a commitment to the community through volunteering and charity.  Hayley clearly displayed the traits of a philanthropist when she executed her Gold Award in 2017.

Jensen stated that the Gold Award Project she is currently striving to obtain includes, “Creating a program to help underprivileged girls at an all girls school in the city of Newburgh.”  Jensen then went on to say, “A lot of basic necessities are not available to them, so, I collected donations of clothing and hygiene items and brought them to the school for the girls to 'shop'.” 

The plane Hayley  flies out of Orange County Airport
Not only does Jensen display humanitarian attributes in her own community, but she has also volunteered in other countries.  She has been traveling since she was young and has been all around the world to approximately twenty countries. Jensen exclaims, “It is everything to me, to be able to learn about a new culture and see the way people all over the world live.  It has definitely shaped who I am because I've learned how lucky and fortunate I am to have the life I do.”  

Jensen has always been interested in traveling, so when she started asking for flying lessons at the age of 11, it was not a huge surprise. Hayley is a part of the Take Flight Aviation Program through BOCES.  Being the only female in the class does not stop her from trying to achieve her dreams of flying.

Mr. Connolly, principal of Washingtonville High School, emphasized, “There are a lot of people who do things to make themselves better, she is certainly one, but she is just as involved in trying to make other lives better.”  Hayley has not only been a positive impact within the school, but has gone to other countries to do what she can to make a difference in the world as well.

In the future, Hayley hopes to study International Relations, where she added, “...which probably comes from all the traveling I’ve done.”  Though she wants to study International Relations, her future plans are still up in the air. 



Since the colonization of America, Boston has been a city rich with culture.  It is the home of the Boston Tea Party, the first U.S. chocolate factory, and the first public beach.  Perhaps what makes Boston so unique are the activities people can participate in such as walking the Freedom Trail or watching the Red Sox play on their home field at Fenway Park.  Mrs. Angelillo and Mrs. Polo, advisors of Student Coalition, are giving members of their club the opportunity to experience this famous city. 

The Student Coalition Club at Washingtonville High School is one that lends a hand to benefit the school.  Students involved run the school store and concession stands at sporting events, and participate in fundraisers throughout the school year.  The club works together to improve the school by doing community service and helping people in need.  

At the end of every school year, the members of Student Coalition are given the chance to go on a trip  somewhere in the United States for a few days as a way of giving back to the students for putting in community service and working to improve the school.  The trip must be deemed both educational and fun.  Two years ago, the club went to Virginia and last year Washington D.C.  In order to be able to go on the end of the year trip, students must have completed their required community service hours.  

Mrs. Angelillo and Mrs. Polo
Senior, Jacklyn Sutter, has been going on Student Coalition trips since her sophomore year.  When asked about why she enjoys taking the trips with her classmates and teachers, she responded by saying she enjoys going on them “to see as much of the world as possible and having new experiences with fun people.”  Jacklyn also stated that she encourages students to be part of the club because it gives students the ability to “help out the school and also go on a fun trip towards the end of the year with friends.”  

This coming May, the club is making their way to Boston, Massachusetts.  The itinerary for this trip includes eating dinner at the Hard Rock Cafe, touring historic Boston, going to the Salem Witch Museum, bowling, and even going to Six Flags in New England.  There is a $100 deposit due January 12, 2018, which secures a spot on the trip.  The entire cost of the trip is $525.  Going on this trip is a way to spend time with friends and learn some history about Boston while still having fun.  

Students who aren’t members of the club can always join and, as long as they have community service hours and participate in the club for the remainder of the year, have a good shot at going on the next trip.  

Student Coalition meetings are held on the first Wednesday of every month and they usually take place in the small cafeteria.  For students who are interested, there are permission slips in the office.  Get ready for a weekend of fun!  



The boys’ swim team has continued their spectacular streak to start off the season in the best way possible.  The Wizards, with a record of 4-1, have outswam tough teams such as New Paltz, Marlboro, FDR, and Cornwall.  They have a bright future ahead of them, with only a few teams being able to match their talent. 

The only loss the boys have suffered this season came last Tuesday, December 19th, against Monroe, who is debatably the best team in Section 9.  This will probably not be the last time the Wizards will face them as both teams are expected to make a deep run into the playoffs.  Captains Jack Palmer and D.J. Quinones have been performing excellently and have been a huge contributing factor to these wins. 

Throughout the offseason and the beginning of the current season, all of the swimmers have been working rigorously on their individual skills in attempt to reach the team’s final goal of the year.  Co-captain, Jack Palmer, seeing the team and fellow swimmers train throughout the year, explained that,  “Most of the team was working all summer on what they needed to work on, and that allowed us to come out strong.  Our team goals are to have a winning season and ultimately put a banner on the wall.”  

These statements about the offseason goals, as well the team’s main objective, were emphasized by co-captain Jack Palmer who also stated that his “personal goals are to make three events for sections and to just be a good overall leader who brings the team to a winning season.”  Jack is very confident in this year’s team and thinks that they have much potential and a bright season ahead of them as shown so far.  He will continue to compete in the 100 yard Breaststroke and 200 yard Individual Medley.

Another essential leader to this team is co-captain D.J. Quinones.  He had a tough task ahead of him from the very start of the swim season.  “Moving on from football season was probably the hardest obstacle so far since it is such a different game and the transition is very quick between seasons.”  He faced the tough transition of moving from the field to the pool.  

Being a two-sport athlete at the varsity level is never an easy task to perform, but D.J. has clearly put in the hard work and endless effort to make sure that he is the best he can be at each.  So far, D.J. has set his season best times which also qualify him for sections.  These times include 23.80 in the 50 yard Freestyle and 54.33 in the 100 yard Freestyle.  Jack and D.J., continuing to lead the team as well as perform in their personal events, will make the Wizards a hard team to beat and a scary sight for the rest of their opponents.

The Wizards will look to continue their hot start to the season as they begin to play the tougher teams around the section.  Come support your fellow Wizards as they have some of their toughest meets ahead of them.  



The holiday season is a time for families to come together and celebrate.  This past Tuesday, Taft Elementary School’s PTA made it possible for community members to do just that when they held their annual Holiday Houses event.  This is an annual celebration where families around the community can come to decorate gingerbread houses that anyone would be proud to display.

According to, the first gingerbread recipe was made in 2400 B.C., and it has been evolving rapidly ever since.  Ginger is used for gingerbread cookies, gingerbread houses, and many other delicious foods.  Around the holidays, recipes that include this delicious spice are used all around the world to keep families’ traditions alive.  

There are plenty of traditions that families have that help make the holiday season special.  For example, Cheyenne Sampson, third grader at Taft Elementary School, “has a big family dinner on Christmas day and bakes gingerbread cookies.” 

For the past 10 years, the Taft PTA has done an amazing job with keeping the Christmas tradition of gingerbread house making enjoyable and entertaining.  Gingerbread houses take an immense amount of time to complete to perfection, as people need to have patience and concentration.  First, the house itself has to be built.   This proves to be such a daunting task that it requires people to use a mount to help it stand up.  Once the walls have been adhered, the fun begins: candy is placed all around the houses, bringing them to life.   This is everyone’s favorite part. 

People of all ages truly enjoyed this event.  Students and parents were able to “get together to make a house and also see families they don’t normally get to see,” expressed one of the leaders of the Taft PTA.  Though the younger children were mainly focused on making their own magnificent gingerbread houses, throughout the event they were also worried about how their friends’ houses were moving along.  This was true for Cheyenne Sampson’s experience, as her favorite part was “getting messy and helping [her] friends decorate their houses.”

At the end of the evening, families anxiously stood by while teachers voted on the best houses. Unfortunately for the competitors, winners will not be determined until Friday, December 22nd during the school day.  Whoever wins the contest will be the gingerbread house making champion earning bragging rights for the year. 

Needless to say, this event was a huge success that continues to gain momentum.  As a PTA member explained, “We started out with 15-20 families the first year, and there are 93 gingerbread houses being made this year.”  

The growth of this event truly shows how successful it is.  In the future, there is no doubt that this event will continue to be a smash hit.  The Holiday Houses event gives community members not only a fun night out,  but a tradition and memories that will last a lifetime.

Friday, December 15, 2017



With the holiday season upon us, if one were to ask another what he or she was thankful for, the generic, albeit true, answer would probably sound something like friends, family, and health.  Occasionally, there will be those who believe the best part about the holiday season is receiving gifts.  Unfortunately, there are those in our community that will not know the feeling of opening bright packages this season.  This year, the Washingtonville Track and Field hoped to make this tradition a reality for families in our community that needed some uplifting this holiday season.

In order to organize this event strategically, the girls and boys divided into groups of approximately five students and worked to fill baskets with the needs and wants of  specific families in mind.  Coach Michael White Sr. explained how the event came about by sharing, “We have good friends who decided to do something to brighten the lives of families who are living in temporary housing in Newburgh and we knew it was something our team could help with.”  The recipients of the families that will be receiving these baskets are currently homeless.  The members of the track and field team wanted to be a part of something meaningful and knew they had to help in some way.

The girls' team captain Ashley Moskowitz, a junior, explains the process of making the baskets.  Both teams were given a list of items that a family in need could benefit from.  The list contained various items such as food, snacks, toys, activities (for all ages), and practical or personal items.  All of these gifts were strategically loaded into laundry baskets.  Once finished, each group decorated the baskets with tinsel, bows, and all things festive and bright.

This event not only benefits those who truly need it this holiday season, but it also brings the team together through team bonding.  As each group plans what to buy, goes out shopping together, makes the basket, then decorates it, they are actually forming bonds and unifying as a team.  It also teaches teammates the importance of working together while making each of them feel good inside.  

According to Coach White, “The coaching staff is so proud of the way our team rose to the occasion to help families in need.  The selfless generosity they showed is just awesome to witness and exemplifies what makes the Wizards unique.”  

Ashley Moskowitz could not agree with this more, “I think everyone deserves to have something special for the holidays.  To be able to do something nice like this is what the season is all about so I personally like to be able to help any way I can and these baskets are the perfect opportunity.”



The Washingtonville girls’ varsity basketball team played their 5th game of the season on Monday, December 11th.  They were coming off a strong showing against Newburgh Free Academy where the Wizards were able to easily secure a win.  With a final score of 51-31, there was no doubt that the Wizards were the more talented team, and this momentum drove them forward into performing amazingly again on Monday.

Over recent years, the Cornwall Dragons have had their share of dominant girls’ basketball teams.  This was exemplified last year as the Dragons managed to win the Class A championship.  Coming into the Wizards’ gym this past Monday, Cornwall was expecting another tightly contested game and were seeking revenge since the Wizards defeated the Dragons 46-37 last season.  This was not the case this year.

Washingtonville dominated the Dragons with a final score of 65-34, shooting at a high percentage and easily running up and down the court for quick layups.  It was a great experience to watch all the Wizards, starting or not, get in the game and have their moments on the court.  This game was definitely a statement to the rest of Section 9, showing that they can be a tough playoff contender down the road.  Fantastic overall performances were shown once again by captains Victoria Pecovic (18 points) and Victoria Mirecki (20 points).

Pecovic is having such an impact on this young, yet highly skilled team so far.  The Wizards “have been working extremely hard at practice for hours on end.  It also helps that 10 out of the 12 of us were on the team last year so our chemistry has been outstanding.”  Pecovic realizes the team’s legitimate chance at success and wants to “take our team to the section 9 championship for the first time in Washingtonville girls’ basketball history.”  

Also looking into the future and seeing potential as well, senior Lexi Rodriguez wants a very productive year but for a more sentimental reason.  When interviewed, Rodriguez recited her never ending love for the game of basketball and how her grandmother has been an important influence.  “When she passed, I wanted nothing more than to make her proud up there while she looks down to check on me.  I’m focusing my personal success and the team’s success during my senior year of basketball all for her.”  

Stay tuned as the Wizards hopefully continue to disrupt many more teams around the section.  It is unbelievable that such a blossoming team already has so much camaraderie and this can lead them to unimaginable accomplishments.

The Wizards play their next game home on Friday, December 15th against Valley Central.  Come out and show your support with the rest of Wizard Nation when the game tips off at 6:30.   



Eating disorders are defined as: any of a range of psychological disorders characterized by abnormal or disturbed eating habits.  Two of the most common eating disorders are known as anorexia nervosa and bulimia nervosa.  Though these are the most common, they are not the only two.  There is also binge-eating and other specifically diagnosed eating disorders, like picky eating, that lead to serious issues such as unhealthy weight.

In the United States, at least 30 million people of all genders, ages, and ethnicities suffer from this some form of this disease. Eating disorders are considered a mental illness, and because of that, more often than not, it works hand in hand with depression, anxiety, and self-harm.   Many hold the misconception that eating disorders are attention seeking behaviors, when they actually are not.  People suffering with the illnesses want to keep it hidden and not be noticed.

Eating disorders do not just happen out of the blue.  They often start in high stress environments or situations such as school because students feel the need to live up to impossible standards.  Today’s media also bears a large portion of responsibility for people thinking they need to have a certain body image.  In magazines and online, there are always pictures of people who seem to be “flawless”. This could lead to people having self confidence issues which, in turn, could lead  to the start of an eating disorder.

Hiding an eating disorder is extremely detrimental.  A person who is suffering from the disease or knows of someone suffering, should talk to a trusted adult.  Speaking up can really help someone out who does not realize how awful their situation actually is.  Mrs. Davis, a guidance counselor at WHS, expressed, “If peers are aware that there is an eating disorder happening, they should report it to a trusted adult, counselor, or even the school nurse.”   People with the illness typically do not want their disorder to come to the surface, so when a friend does tell someone, the sufferer may get very angry.  In the long run, it is what is best for the struggling person.

Though eating disorders often occur in teens and young adults, that does not mean that they are the only people who have a chance of developing one.  A famous singer, Demi Lovato, started struggling with her eating disorder when she was just eight years old.  Lovato, now 25, continues to struggle with her eating disorder.  She states, “The less I have to think about food, the easier it is to go about having a normal life and I don’t want to let anybody down, so when I do have moments when I slip up, I feel very ashamed.” 

Eating disorders can make anyone struggle, even the most  successful people.  If you know someone or you are someone who is at war with an eating disorder, you are not alone.  You can get the help you need to get better by talking to a trusted adult, a guidance counselor, or call the helpline at (800) 931-2237.   You do not have to battle this by yourself.



Choosing classes can be one of the hardest parts about going to school, aside from taking those classes and doing well in them.  Whether it’s an elective or a core class, it always seems as if there are almost too many options to choose from.  Students at Washingtonville High School are extremely fortunate to have the opportunity to build their own schedules that fit their interests while also helping with their futures.  Elective classes are a way for students to prepare themselves for future careers or problems they may encounter in life.  

Many people believe that it is important for a student to take as many electives as possible, especially in high school.  If students just take core classes, they drown in work, so slipping a few electives into their schedules can alleviate some of that stress.  This can be helpful because going through high school is already hard enough, and packing on difficult classes does not make it easier.

Taking harder classes does not always show a student’s full learning potential.  A student may be very bright, but could be a poor test taker, which could end up lowering his or her overall average.  According to an article written by Susan Rambo, who has been teaching at Walter Johnson Junior High for 29 years, “Elective classes reveal the skill sets of some students that might not be obvious in their other classes, helping them see their strengths and affording them opportunities to be of value to their classmates.  Reaching performance goals or learning a new language requires students to be organized, to set goals, and to evaluate if they’re meeting those goals.”  Teachers who teach electives say that students should be taking these classes to help them form life skills. 

Mrs. Exarchakis, a guidance counselor employed at Washingtonville High School, explained that there are many different electives a student can take.  To name a few, she listed, “Transportation Systems, which is a technology class, Marketing, which is a business class, Food and Nutrition for family and consumer science, JROTC, and Drawing and Painting is an art class.”  

At Washingtonville High School, there is no shortage of electives a student can take, but according to Mrs. Exarchakis, “There is definitely a limit on how many electives a student can take.  It all depends on their current schedule and what requirements they need to fulfill in order to graduate.”  Obviously, there are classes that students need to complete and pass in order to receive a diploma at the end of their senior year, but electives are also very important.  

Classes such as Transportation Systems and Drawing and Painting are very hands on classes, which cater more to the learning style of kinesthetic learners.  This is important because not every student can learn just through lecture for an hour and a half.  Hands on learning gives students a visual representation of what they are learning and what their final outcome should look like. 

A student’s schedule should be filled with the classes required for graduation, but also classes they enjoy.  There is no rule on how many electives or core classes a student should be taking, but it is suggested that students take classes that could potentially benefit them in the future.  With the option to create their own schedules, students are ultimately given the option to choose their paths for high school.  Many guidance counselors, such as Mrs. Exarchakis, say that students should take classes that pertain to their future goals. 



At some point in their lives, most high school students have heard their parents say,  “You guys have it so easy with all this new technology,” or something along those lines.  Though parents strongly believe this to be true, they are dead wrong.  Today's kids are faced with new problems of which many parents have no understanding.  Teachers and administrators are becoming more aware of the growing situation and are making changes to fix the problems.

This past week, on December 7th, a monthly meeting was held in Mr. Sale’s room after school to counteract these problems.  The group is known as the Principal’s Advisory Committee.  This group is where students of the high school can directly discuss with Mr. Connolly, and other members of the faculty, what is going on within the school.  “Hearing directly from the student body is our main tool.  Upon hearing from them, we can make adjustments to fix the problems that plague our students.”  Mr. Connolly urges students to come to join this committee and work together to make a better place. 

The mission of the committee is to: help students develop 21st Century skills in order to create resilient innovators who are problem solvers; promote student physical, mental and emotional wellness at a time in which students face numerous internal and external stressors; promote global citizenship; and redefine success by supporting students' passions and talents so that when students graduate they are confident, skilled, knowledgeable, and ready to pursue their dreams and contribute to society.  These missions are going to be achieved through promoting student physical, mental and emotional wellness.  

Other ways the administrators of Washingtonville High School have tried to accomplish these missions are through assemblies given by people such as Chris Herren and Bobby Petrocelli and the “Not One More” mock accident assembly.

When looking around the cafeteria, it is apparent that some kids are struggling to keep up with grades and social media while also trying to make a future for themselves.  “I monitor and watch kids every day with these problems.  I’ve also watched my sons go through the same problems,” security guard John Delgardo says as he continues to  emphasize that social media is the leading cause of damage affecting the mental health of students today.

The new vision of the Principal Advisory Committee is to give the old outlook on school a new modern look.  Washingtonville High School’s goal is to produce Wizards who leave the school better than they found it.  Most children are way more stressed than their parents ever were and it’s time to improvise, adapt and overcome these new challenges.


Firefighters, along with other emergency personnel, protect the citizens of their local towns and cities.  They save lives on a day-to-day basis all around the world, but how much do people really know about their local firefighters?

For 125 years, the Washingtonville Fire Department, also known as Monell Engine Company, has done a marvelous job keeping the Washingtonville community safe. The first meeting that ever took place for Monell Engine Company was held on December 8th, 1892.  At this time, the station’s equipment was stored in a small building in the heart of the town, which now belongs to the Spear Printing Company.  Twenty years later, they were relocated to the building that is now home to the Washingtonville Police Department.

Monell Engine Company’s current location was built in 1975 and has been standing strong ever since. The firefighters are not the only ones involved with the local department; the fire police and fire commissioners play a crucial role as well.  Each of these jobs help to keep the community safe.

Fire commissioners and fire police take care of much needed responsibilities in the fire department.  The fire police have a very important job.  “[They] secure the scene, redirect traffic around the fire scene, and watch over the fire department apparatus and equipment at the scenes,” explains William Wilson, three-year volunteer at Washingtonville Fire Department. In addition to these jobs, fire commissioners are in charge of fire prevention and fire safety for their local towns.

There are approximately ninety members of the Washingtonville Fire Department and it is continuing to grow.  The members and volunteers of the firehouse attend monthly meetings and weekly drills, held by Chief James Skelly and his fellow officers.   These brave men are always prepared for whatever their job tosses their way.  According to Jaden Breyette, senior at Washingtonville High School and near two-year member, “There is a lot of hands-on and book work involved in training to become a firefighter.”
Everyone welcomed into the Washingtonville Fire Department community has a different reason as to why they joined.  William Wilson, retired NYPD detective “joined because [he feels] like it is always good to give back to the community that you live in.”

During the holiday season, the Washingtonville Fire Department is always thoroughly involved in Washingtonville’s Christmas Parade and in the local elementary schools.  It is not only the children who get excited to see their heroes at the parade and in their schools, but the firefighters themselves are excited to be a part of it all.  Jaden Breyette finds it “cool to get to ride in one of the trucks or park at Dunkin' Donuts and watch everyone go by.”

Being involved in the Washingtonville Fire Department teaches the volunteers and members a plethora of life lessons.  William Wilson expressed that he has learned “to have teamwork [which is needed] to be able to work on all different types of emergency scenarios.”

Everyone involved in the fire department “gets along well,” as Jaden Breyette explains.  William Wilsons adds that his favorite part about being a volunteer is “all of the friendships that he has made.”  

It is very crucial that the people of Washingtonville know the importance of the Washingtonville Fire Department.  The community is glad that they will continue to grow and serve the village of Washingtonville to keep it safe from harm.



Most students love to get their school yearbooks year after year.  They enjoy looking at their friends’ school pictures and having their favorite teachers sign it. What most probably don’t know is how much time and effort to takes to make this treasured keepsake behind the scenes.  

The yearbook club works extremely hard to complete the book that students wait for each year. Every picture and name in alphabetical order, every teacher and staff member, every team sport, and even pictures of different activities throughout the year are all included into one book.  The design of the the cover and every page is all done in this club by fellow students of WHS. 

Sometimes students underestimate what it takes to create the yearbook.  The club needs a variety of staff members to meet these expectations.  From editor to photographers, all members play a crucial role in this club.  Mrs. Bac, the club advisor stated, “I really don’t have a role in the club.  I’m more of a supervisor than an advisor.  It’s the kids that make the magic happen.”  This  elucidates the fact that there really isn’t any work done to the book by adults; the yearbook is solely created  by the students. The students are the ones to make the book into something much more special; it is something to reflect back on through the rest of a Wizard’s life.

During the club meetings,  students simply walk in and do their jobs as there are no extended deadlines. Everything has to be completed on time with no questions asked. In addition, everything has to be submitted for the book orders to begin.  Sports editor, Maya Diaz, stated, “There is no better feeling than ordering a yearbook and being able to reflect on what you’ve created.” She also talked about how they are working with a company to incorporate their app into the book. This app allows students to open it and hold their phones over certain pictures.  It will then play a video of the moment the picture represents.

There are 13 members that participate in this club. They all play different, yet important roles. These roles range from editor in chief to  marketing editor.  There are also different students that take the pictures and help with the layout and design of the book.  Editor in chief of the club, Brendan Pardo, stated, “The reason I joined yearbook is because I wanted to give something back, something physical and something someone can hold.”  The members of this club are proud to be able to give something so meaningful to their school and their peers. 

The yearbook club is more than just a stressful job.  It is a club that proves how dedication, responsibility, and hard work truly pay off in the end.  This club is definitely important to the school and to all of its students because it makes the book that becomes a memory of the passing years, and for the seniors’ last year of high school.  

Thursday, December 7, 2017



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.

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!