The Columbia Chronicle

February, 2020

A Message from Dr. Morgan

It is hard to believe that the first semester has come and gone. It has been busy at CHS and we have accomplished a lot so far. We are so proud of our students. Our school district has moved to the electronic newsletter, Smore. CHS will use Smore as an opportunity to highlight our awesome students and the amazing achievements they are making inside and outside of the classroom. We will also include pertinent information that we believe will help all students be successful at CHS.

We hope you enjoy the "updated" Columbia Chronicle.

Black History Month Concert

The CHS orchestra program performed it's first Black History Month Concert on February 18, 2020 at the Woodland. Chamber groups from the orchestra program performed music entirely by African American composers. Groups that performed included Quitessentials, Furioso Quartet, CHS Virtuosi Ensemble, CHS Masterworks Orchestra, and the Harambee Orchestra. Congratulations to all the students who did such a wonderful job and a big Thank You to CHS alumni Terrence Thornhill who found tremendous music for all the groups to play.

ECEA Essay Contest Winners

The Essex County Education Association holds an annual essay contest that SOMSD students were invited to take part in. Grades 9, 10, and 11 were tasked with responding to the prompt "Looking back, who in your school career has had the biggest impact on your life?" 12th grade students wrote a narrative about something they accomplished that they didn't think they could do.

Two Columbia students took home county honors. Kate Kampner, grade 10, wrote an essay about how she found power within herself and was awarded a 3rd place prize. Senior Hannah Brownstein wrote about her experience with the Unaccompanied Minors and took first place. Both students will be honored at a ceremony in the Livingston Mall on March 5th at 6:30. All are welcome to attend.

Airplane Launch 2020

The students in the Exceptional Learner’s Program took flight with the Columbia High School Robotics club.

The students took S.T.E.M. to a whole new level! Our exceptional learners are receiving peer to peer training in science, technology and math. The newly minted junior engineers are cataloging their designs and learning adventures in science journals provided by the Robotics Club.

Under the tutelage of Sophia and Lilly Mencarini, the students designed paper airplanes to compete in the launch competition. A former competition launching robot designed by the students in the Robotics club propelled the planes down the hall.

Students used both standard and non-standard units of measure to determine which plane traveled the farthest. School administrators were present to cheer our students on and to celebrate as we honored our champion!

Our first ever launch champion, tenth grader Wadney Daudin-Prophete was crowned after besting his classmates by just two units of measure.

Academic Resources During 9th Period

As most students at CHS follow an eight period schedule, 9th period can be used as a consultation period with teachers on Monday, Wednesday and Thursday. The library will be open period nine for students with a pass from our school administrators. One hundred passes will be evenly distributed to students during our three lunch periods. Tutoring will also take place in the library through Achieve Tutors and MAC Scholars.

Please be mindful of the following so that we can continue to ensure that the building is safe for all of our students:

  • If students are not participating in extra help sessions or do not have a pass to enter the library, the expectation is that they exit the building promptly upon the completion of 8th period.
  • For students who are athletes, they will be allowed to wait in the cafeteria until the start of their practice.
  • Students in the library during 9th period as well as throughout the day should be working on school work. Once they finish their work, they are able to leave. The library is a place for studying and academic support and we want to ensure that all students are given the chance to succeed academically.
Thank you for your continued support.

Zander Rhodes, '21, Selected for Team USA/Fencing World Championship

Zander Rhodes, class of 2021, has been selected to represent Team USA at the World Championship for BOTH Cadet (under 17) and Junior (under 20 yrs old) categories. The Cadet and Junior World Championships are like the Olympics but only for fencing, and this year the US is the designated host. Only the top 3 and 4, respectively of each country are chosen.

· For Cadets, Zander is ranked # 2 in the US and # 1 in the World

· For Juniors, Zander is ranked # 3 in the US and # 9 in the World

Zander had a modest performance at the SR(Senior) World Cup (Olympic qualifier) in Kazan, Russia, finishing 50th and losing 9:15 to the 21st seed in the World, Fanni Kreiss (Hungary). Zander maintains her U.S. SR ranking at 9th place (top 4 to 6 are the US Olympians).

She also had the honor of carrying the US Flag during opening ceremonies in Kazan, Russia.

There are only 2 more Olympic qualifiers remaining and we wish Zander good luck in those competitions!

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Foil of Kazan 2020, T64 Kreiss (HUN) - Rhodes (USA)

Students' Presentation Published in International Database

Students Vivienne Clarke, Nate Fisher, Joshua Lee, Melinda Lituchy and Ruby Sigmund in the Science Research Class went to the Waksman Institute of Microbiology at Rutgers University on January 30, 2020 to give a presentation to the professors and their peers on the progress they have made in the Waksman Student Scholars Program. This is a year-long authentic research program in molecular biology and bioinformatics.Their findings will be published in an international database, GenBank, where scientists all over the world can use their information in further research.
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Destiny Access for Students

Destiny is a software program CHS is using to check out Library books and textbooks in the following subjects:

  • English/Language Arts (most courses)
  • Social Studies (not all courses),
  • World Languages (Spanish 2-3-4 only) and
  • Fine Arts (AP Art History only)

Students will have an account in this system as well as in PowerSchool. Click on the attached document for detailed instructions on how to set up your account.

Enterprising Exceptional Learners Offer Healthy Snacks to Students & Assistance to Staff

The students in the MD/Life Skills classroom have initiated several classroom based enterprises. Student athletes, artists and club members are invited to hydrate and carb load with the Snack Huddle. The students in the Exceptional Learners Program will prepare healthy snacks for students as they prepare for their afternoon competitions and activities.

Additionally, the students offer express office support. Students will help administrators and staff to reduce their carbon footprint by collecting the materials that need shredding.

Stop by and see all of the good things that room A334 has to offer.

Infinite Step Team Events

The Infinite Step Team will be hosting a Step Competition on March 28, 2020. The day will be filled with competitive fun and a whole lot of dancing! It will be an event you won’t want to miss! The Infinite Step Team are also headed to Nationals in May to compete against some of the best step teams in the country! Tickets are $7 in advance and $12 at the door. Please see Ms. Massoud in C211 or one of her steppers to buy your ticket.

Hetrick-Martin Institute is coming to Columbia!

Please see attached announcement.

CHS Announcements

  • The College & Career Fair will be happening on Wednesday, March 4th, from 7-9pm in the CHS Gym. Over 130 colleges, career and gap year programs will be featured.

  • Attention CHS artists! Are you interested in branching out and learning more about Science, Engineering and Technology? The CHS Junior Robotics Team, Crimson Claws, is looking for sketch artists to help with technical designs and scientific schematics. This opportunity is fun, educational and looks great on college application! Email:

  • The Yearbook Club is asking for all CHS students to send candids of you and your friends. Pictures can be from any event or class related to school. We want YOU to be in the yearbook. Please send your pictures to See Ms. Cahill or Ms. Crimi with any questions.

  • The Ladies of Leadership Club is doing a Love Drive. They are packing fanny packs to send to a disadvantaged school in Nigeria (funded by Kor Foundation). They are looking for travel sized items such as toothpaste, toothbrushes and sanitary pads. Drop off items in Room A320, the 2nd floor Teachers Lounge or in the Main Lobby.

  • Did you miss your chance to buy tickets for Matilda The Musical? We are excited to announce that we are adding an additional performance on Saturday, March 21st at 2:00pm. CHS students had priority access to buy tickets on Friday, Feb. 28th and will also be able to have priority access on Monday March 2nd during all three lunch periods. These new tickets are $20, $15 or $10 each, payable by cash or credit card with fees added. There are also a limited amount of tickets that were set aside for students for other shows. These tickets are $12 each and are payable by cash only.

  • The Infinite Step Team is doing another round of Krispy Kreme orders! Be sure to see Ms. Massound in C211 or one of her steppers to order some delicious donuts and coffee!