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RYE NECK SCHOOLS REOPENING PLAN

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July 23 Reopening Presentation

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Eighth Graders Encouraged to Use Their Talents to Achieve Prosperity

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In a virtual moving-up ceremony on June 18, Rye Neck Middle School celebrated its eighth graders’ achievements and successful completion of their middle school days. In his remarks, Principal Dr. Eric Lutinski acknowledged that the students have endured what will hopefully be the “toughest time our planet will go through in your lifetime,” and encouraged them to think about perspective and potential as they prepare for high school.

“It’s easy to get stuck in details and complain about the loss of our little rituals or comforts we think we have a right to,” Dr. Lutinski said. “It’s natural to feel like a victim and it’s natural to blame other people for how crises are handled. The trick is to allow these big events to inform our perspective, not let them become our identity. All of you have your potential intact. All of you are still armed with natural gifts and talents that you will use to achieve prosperity.”

He shared a brief list of people who were around the eighth graders’ age when they went through the influenza pandemic of 1918 and were still able to achieve success.

“This crisis will help form our life experience, but most of us are just watching it go by,” Dr. Lutinski said. “Corona is not our fault. It’s also not to blame for our problems in life, and it doesn’t have to be an obstacle. Maintain perspective and you will maintain a hold on your considerable potential.”

The celebration included inspiring words from student representatives Max Deckinger, Caroline Johansen, Haruka Nanri and Julie Van Roijen, as well as a reflection from Cathy Toolan, a teacher and eighth grade team leader. Superintendent of Schools Dr. Barbara Ferraro described the 122 eighth graders as creative, kind and hardworking.

“This unusual school year brought to life your inner strength, resilience, creativity and perseverance, enabling you to find positive results to new challenges that you face,” Dr. Ferraro said.

During the ceremony, faculty members announced awards for excellence in academics, athletics and the arts. Signifying the conclusion of one chapter and the beginning of another, Dr. Lutinski announced the names of each member of the Class of 2024.

At the conclusion of the ceremony, a group of staff members drove through various parts of the district to hand deliver an envelope to each eighth grader’s home. The students received their certificate and a hard copy of the program, as well as any awards they may have earned.



Stronger Together, Fifth Graders Move Up to Middle School

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F.E. Bellows Elementary School fifth graders celebrated their accomplishments during a virtual moving-up ceremony on June 19. The event, which was livestreamed via YouTube, opened with a slideshow of the fifth graders’ yearbook portraits while Principal Michael Scarantino read aloud each student’s name.

“This is the first moving-up ceremony being conducted via a Google Meet in my long educational career, and you are the first fifth grade cohort to be moving onto the middle school having completed your studies from home,” Scarantino said.

He commended the students for putting in hard work and commitment over the last three months of home learning, and he reminded them that they were able to get through this difficult time together.

“Your teachers and I knew that even in March, before this pandemic ended your in-school Bellows careers, that you were already armed with the skills, knowledge and tools you would need,” he said. “All this pandemic did was make you stronger, individually and as a family.”

As the students embark on the next phase of their educational journey, Scarantino encouraged them to continue to value each other’s similarities and differences and know that they always have each other to lean on.

“Your persistence, determination and grit will serve you well into your middle school years and beyond,” he said.

Superintendent of Schools Dr. Barbara Ferraro acknowledged that the students are ready for new, exciting challenges and opportunities that await them at middle school. She described them as a class of strong and resilient students, who quickly adjusted to new ways of learning while staying positive and supportive of each other.

The ceremony concluded with surprise appearances by two special guests – actor Kevin Hart and author Chris Gardner. During his remarks, Hart encouraged the students to stay together, stay focused and keep pushing forward to do better. Gardner, an entrepreneur, motivational speaker and author of the critically acclaimed “The Pursuit of Happyness,” said he was honored to be invited to share a few words of wisdom with the students.

“You’re not too young to start thinking about this, but this is not the time to disengage from your teachers,” Gardner said. “This is not the time to step back from pursuing your education. This is the time to turn on to it and turn it up because you all represent the future of this country, and before you know it, it’s going to be your turn.”


RNHS Honors Class of 2020 With Car Parade

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Escorted by police cars with flashing lights and sirens, members of Rye Neck High School’s Class of 2020 traveled from Harbor Island to the middle/high school campus in a car parade on June 16. Having decorated their vehicles with balloons and signs, the students waved and smiled at spectators along the route.

A crowd of teachers, staff, administrators, village and town officials greeted the graduating seniors on campus, where Principal Tina Wilson read the name of each student. Special thanks to Village of Mamaroneck Mayor Tom Murphy, Village Manager Jerry Barberio and the village's fire and police departments for their partnership.