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By Robin Jovanovich

It was crunch week when we visited Resurrection Grammar School for a “refresher course” on what they’ve been up to of late.

The upcoming school play was on the mind of Sr. Anne Massell, Principal. “One of our parents is a builder who owns the oldest house in Port Chester, and she helped students build the set,” said Sister Massell, who has led the school for five years.

As a school dedicated to family, responsibility, and charity, we weren’t surprised to discover that Sister Massell was co-directing the play.

At Resurrection, everyone pitches in.

Starting in preschool, Resurrection students are taught that there is a world beyond the school walls, and that many of the people who live outside those walls need food, care, and affection.

Preschoolers bring in food for Caritas, the soup kitchen and food pantry in Port Chester. Eighth graders, in one month, collected 400 pounds of perishables for the center.

Three Montessori classes make baskets for special needs patients of the Elizabeth Seton Pediatric Center in White Plains. First graders write letters to veterans.

“We gave second and third graders the option of helping make placemats for a holiday meal we were serving at POTS, or go out for recess,” related Sr. Massell, “and they all chose to help.”

Second graders recently pulled together toiletries for a Shower program at POTS, the Bronx-based nonprofit organization, of which Resurrection is an active participant.

“As much as we’re helping them, they’re helping us,” said Sister Massell. “It’s a give and take on both parts.”

Eighth graders bring back great stories from Midnight Run, according to longtime parent/volunteer Karen O’Hara. “At first, the children are a little hesitant around the homeless population we serve, but by the last stop, they are conversing and comforting.”

At Resurrection, every grade knows about Midnight Run. “It’s a badge of honor,” said O’Hara. The students make soup and sandwiches, with their parents, beforehand.

What every Resurrection student receives from the start is “the building blocks to become good citizens. By middle school, they have the initiative and are taking the lead,” said Sr. Massell.

 

Resurrection fifth graders holding a bake sale

Eighth graders putting together donations for a Midnight Run

Loading a car up for a food delivery to Caritas

By Janice Llanes Fabry

Rye Neck High School senior Claire Julian won the National Gold Medal at the Scholastic Art and Writing Awards at Carnegie Hall on June 8. Julian was one of 700 students honored that evening and one of only 55 fiction writers nationwide to earn the gold medal.

“I didn’t recognize the gravity of the award until the ceremony,” admitted Julian, who won for her short story, “A Gentler Touch”. She continued, “I wrote the story spontaneously and it was really personal, so the award is validating and very meaningful to me.”

The ceremony was quite an extravaganza. Special guest speakers included author and comedian Amy Schumer, actresses Ellie Kemper and Allison Williams, social media host Hunter March, and a past award winner, Paul Chan, who encouraged this year’s recipients to be themselves.

Rye Neck English Department Chair Melinda Merkel said, “It was a stunning night that lets talents like Claire know she’s not alone in undertaking such creative endeavors, and her efforts are not going unnoticed.”

The Scholastic Awards, produced by the Alliance for Young Artists and Writers, celebrate creative students across America. This year, the Alliance received 330,000 submissions of original art and writing in grades 7-12.

In good company, Claire’s notable predecessors who have won the Scholastic Awards include Sylvia Plath, Truman Capote, Stephen King, and Lena Dunham.

“The award is a tribute to who Claire is as a writer. She is intrinsically self-motivated,” said English teacher Mary Lanza. “She uses her writing as a creative outlet for her emotions, and there is a maturity to her imagery and complex characters.”

Quite the Renaissance young woman, Julian, who is currently working on a book of poems and short stories, is also an accomplished musician. She sings, plays the bass and drums, and is the guitarist for a band called No Reception. An avid songwriter, she was accepted into the University of Miami’s Creative American Music program and their highly selective MADE minor (Music, Artistry, Development, and Entrepreneurship).

CAPTION:

Claire Julian

At a fundraiser on June 9, under the Rye Town Park Pavilion, a parent and committee of the Rye High School Parsons Street Players raised over $15,000 for upgrades to the sound system at the school’s Performing Arts Center.

In moving appeals, Schools Superintendent Dr. Brian Monahan and Rye High music teacher and Players’ advisor Tom Snowden, along with outgoing and incoming PSP presidents Jaime Ryan and Abi Repetto, emphasized what the performing arts, the Players, and the Performing Arts Center mean to Rye’s children, families, and the community. 

The Center serves a multitude of functions, from RMS/RHS theater productions and musical concerts, to Rye School of Dance performances, “Heard in Rye” presentations, and elementary school ceremonies.

The estimated cost of the sound system is $70,000, so the committee is reaching out to the community for donations. Checks may be made payable to: Rye City School District with “Donation PSP/Sound Equipment” in the memo line, and mailed to Randee Glick-Polito, 15 Winthrop Street, Rye, NY 10580.

 

By Janice Llanes Fabry

The Metropolitan High School Theater Award for Best Comic Performance went to Rye Neck High School senior Isaak Meier. He received the award at a ceremony at SUNY Purchase on June 12.

“I did not have a speech prepared, so I shouted out to the people at Rye Neck who made this possible, including Mr. Harris and my friends here,” said Meier.

Director Scott Harris called Meier, along with his peers, among the most talented and dedicated seniors with whom he has worked. Also nominated were Rachel Wurzburger and Justin Sturgis for their outstanding duet as Elle and Emmett; Bria McClain for her supporting role as Paulette, her second nomination; and Jill Hurlbut for technical merit as stage manager.

The Metro Awards shine a spotlight on exceptional high school musical theater productions in Westchester, Rockland, Putnam, and Bergen counties. This year, they singled out Meier’s uproarious turn playing Kyle O’Boyle in “Legally Blonde.”

“Isaak, quite simply, was hilarious. He has a wonderful sense of comedy, and a perfect deadpan expression that made him ideal to play the role of the unwittingly handsome UPS delivery man,” said Harris. “He made the most of the part, keeping a straight face while the characters around him helped inform the audience of just how funny his strut and delivery were.”

About the short time he had on stage, Meier confessed, “The best part was hearing the laughs, which pumped the character to new heights. I could not have performed as well without the audience’s reaction.”

Headed to Northeastern University this fall, Meier plans to major in computer science, “but I might look into some clubs and see what they offer in theater.”

CAPTION:

Rye Neck High School senior Isaak Meier

Resurrection Grammar School celebrated the graduation of 32 eighth graders on June 9. These highly accomplished students earned nearly $500,000 in scholarships toward their high school educations.

The graduates will be attending the following schools:

Archbishop Stepinac High School

Brunswick School

Convent of the Sacred Heart

Fordham Preparatory School

Iona Preparatory School

Kennedy Catholic

Rye High School

Salesian High School

School of the Holy Child

The Ursuline School