Quarterly Update

July 2022


Principal's Message

Dear Members of the SHS Community:

As the 2021-22 school year draws to a close, I would like to thank each of you for the contributions you made to our school community during the past year. Throughout the year, we were reminded of the importance of in-person experience in helping our students grow academically and socially. We made continual progress towards normalcy because of everyone’s patience and generosity, as well as hard work and tenacity. Thank you all for getting us there.

This spring we celebrated the careers of our staff members who are retiring, Jeanne Cooper and John Harrison. In working to find successors for these staff members, we conducted selection processes that involved multiple rounds of interviews and broad representation to ensure the best possible outcomes, requiring an investment of time from many volunteers. I extend my thanks to all those who served on the various selection committees. I will introduce staff members who are new to the school in my opening communications in September.

I wish each of you a summer of recreation, relaxation, reconnection, and rejuvenation. Below you will find my remarks from graduation. Thank you again for your support and generosity this year, and congratulations to the Class of 2022!


Kenneth Bonamo


Good evening Vice President Yusuf, Superintendent Patrick, fellow members of the faculty, parents and friends, and most especially the members of the Class of 2022.

Today is a special day that marks the culmination of your childhood education and the beginning of college and adulthood for you. Your families and your teachers are filled with a deep hope that we have given you all that you need to succeed in these next stages, and we are filled with anticipation at what the future holds for you.

But first, let me say how truly wonderful it is to be together on such a beautiful evening. It is so good to see all of you smiling and enjoying one another’s company on this occasion filled with meaning. Let us pause here for a moment to let the beauty of this moment sink in.

We also take a moment to reflect on the values that Scarsdale represents as a community, values of active citizenship, civic engagement, and debate that is informed and respectful. The resources that the community invests in education have, we hope, provided you with an enriching and engaging experience that has developed in you a depth of critical and creative thinking, an appreciation for global interdependence, and a genuine love of learning. These goals have guided our work as a faculty in designing the courses and learning activities that you’ve enjoyed during the past four years. The vantage point of graduation allows you to appreciate the aggregate effect of your work as having both developed your academic skills and fostered your growth as individuals.

It is important to stop and reflect on this moment, for all the accomplishment it represents as well as the hard work you have put into getting here. Individually and collectively, you faced formidable and unprecedented challenges during your high school career, and you responded with tenacity and ingenuity. You have excelled in athletic and extracurricular activities, finding ways to maintain continuous engagement in the most difficult of circumstances. And you have completed your coursework and your exams and your Senior Options and have earned a seat at this very ceremony. This is not by accident but instead through commitment and dedication to your goals. We are gathered here to recognize all you have had to do during the past four years.

You are at an important moment of transition, from high school to college, from childhood to adulthood, from the familiarity of home, family, and friends to the new and different people and places. Whatever trepidation you may have is likely and justifiably overshadowed by the excitement of possibilities. Unfettered with responsibilities of families, careers, and financial obligations, you should see opportunity and possibility wherever you look, in whomever you meet, in wherever you go. Take full advantage of this good fortune and this auspicious moment in your life. Yes, you have the last summer of your childhood before you, filled I hope with good times with friends and family and also the upcoming farewells. Then you will have four years—or more—of learning, of studying, of travel, learning about the world and yourself and finding your place in it.

I do hope that your educational journey allows you to find work that truly engages you, that motivates you to pursue it on its own merits, where you find yourself in a state of flow—where you lose a sense of time and space in answering a question or satisfying a curiosity. That is one of the true pleasures of learning, and I hope you use the privilege of being engaged in study as your primary occupation to search broadly and then deeply to find the subject that brings you the most intellectual satisfaction.

Then, as you confront the challenges of our world and of our society, armed with the knowledge and skills you have acquired here at Scarsdale, I hope you will endeavor to make the world a better place. In order to make real change and bring about progress, you will need to add personal courage to the skills and knowledge you gain in school. When you take stock of the news of our day, of domestic problems, international relations, income inequality, social justice, educational policy, and environmental challenges, it should be clear that regardless of what side of any one question you take, in order to advance the cause you will need courage. As the energy of your youth matures into the wisdom of age, you will continue to find your voices and ways in which you can make your marks. Given the magnitude of these social and global problems, we will need your fresh voices and new ideas and the courage to stand up even when it means you will stand out. Your success will be measured not by how much you take for yourself but by how much you give of yourself.

Finally, I also urge you to build a legacy of love. The key to your success in taking advantage of the many opportunities and meeting the many challenges that lie ahead will be to infuse love into your work, your relationships, and your self-regard. If you look around this field, you will see your family and friends who demonstrated love in supporting you. You will see your teachers who loved teaching and guiding you. And most importantly, you should look at yourselves and love what you see—an intelligent, curious, responsible person, poised to continue learning in order to take on the challenges of life and of our society.

I wish you all a wonderful graduation day and health and happiness in the future. Congratulations to you all!

Alternative School

This year marks the 50th year the A-School has been in existence. To celebrate this milestone we combined our annual charity fair with a reunion party, where all former A-Schoolers (teachers and students) were invited to come back. The A-School Fair raised over $800 for the Paulie Strong Foundation. Both events were a huge success, and we plan to continue having reunions.

We said goodbye to our senior class in a beautiful graduation ceremony on Friday June 17th. Each graduating senior heard a speech written by their core group advisor. These speeches often reflect on their three years in the program; a wonderful way to say goodbye. In addition, the A-School is saying goodbye to two of our staff members. Jeanne Cooper, our English teacher, is retiring, and Jen Maxwell, our American Studies teacher, has become the Social Studies Department chair. We wish them the best of luck in their future endeavors!


Seven senior AT 2D Art students under the direction of teacher Janna Johnsen, have each painted a large planter that now adorns the Dine the Dale tent in the Scarsdale village center. Please take the time to stop by and enjoy their creative work. A special thank you to the project’s sponsor, the Scarsdale Business Alliance, with support of the Scarsdale Village Arts Advisory Council. Flowers for the planters were donated by the Village Flower Shop on Harwood Court.This endeavor follows our previous community based project, “Wing the Dale.” We look forward to continuing this collaboration, bringing more art into the heart of Scarsdale.

Please enjoy our virtual galleries and help us celebrate our students’ creative accomplishments.


As another year draws to a close, the Counseling Department would like to express our gratitude to so many in our school community.

We thank our colleagues, the teachers at SHS, for their collegiality and collaboration in the service of our students. We have worked together to support the students in our care, consistently emphasizing their progress and well being. Our mental health support staff - psychologists, youth outreach workers, and social workers - for providing invaluable counsel to students and parents, and for working so closely with us in helping those in need of personal support. Our building administration, whose careful planning and student centered approach ensures the finest experience for our students. Our assistants, often the first individual students see or parents speak to, for always being there and whose effort is so important to our success. The entire support staff at SHS - secretaries, aides, and custodians - you are the unsung heroes, and we know how invaluable your work truly is. The parents we work with, we are thankful for our partnership, and hope this year brought much success to your child.

And of course, our students. You are the reason we are in this profession, bringing so much joy to our daily work, and we are so grateful to be part of your SHS experience. Congratulations to our graduating seniors - we will miss you! And to our returning students - we hope the summer offers you some much needed rest, and we look forward to another year together.


In the English Department, the fourth quarter has found our students reading stories that span the timeline from the classic (Macbeth) to the contemporary (Jacqueline Woodson’s Another Brooklyn). To conclude their study of American literature, Amanda Filley’s 11th-graders read Jenny Offill’s novel Weather, published in 2020, which explores how concerns about climate change affect the mood and behavior of a New York City librarian and her family. Meanwhile, Frank Ceruzzi’s sophomore class finished their year with a book club unit. Each student had the opportunity to choose a dystopian novel, such as Orwell’s 1984, from a list prepared by Mr. Ceruzzi. Over the course of a few weeks, students periodically met in small groups with classmates who chose the same text to discuss their books and share reactions. Ms. Conklin’s sophomores also had the chance to choose an independent reading book at the end of the year, selecting from a list of contemporary works such as Celeste Ng’s Little Fires Everywhere. Through these encounters with thought-provoking texts old and new, students are invited to examine the human experience from different perspectives, deepening their understanding of what it means to be human.

At the same time, the fourth quarter has been a time of closure and celebration. At the end of May, our ninth-graders had the chance to spend the afternoon with their English/Social Studies/Guidance cohorts for team-building activities. Many groups used this time to act out scenes from A Midsummer Night’s Dream, which students were studying in their English classes.

Global Opportunities

This past quarter we continued the trend of students engaging virtually with peers from around the world about issues important to us all. In May, several students spent a Saturday discussing and problem solving issues around civil discourse and the impact of social media. In April, the pilot of the Global Entrepreneurship Challenge wrapped up. Students shared their action plans and programs for making their communities better. SHS students were particularly interested in the cultural differences between how the elderly in Italy and Hong Kong are treated in comparison to in the US. Students from Argentina and Italy joined SHS students in a Scarsdale Sustainability Summit with global and local speakers. Amir Dossal of the UN and Global Partnerships and Manjula Dissanyake shared their social entrepreneurial experiences. They were then joined by local sustainability leaders Ron Schulhof and Michelle Sterling. It was amazing how similar our communities and needs are. As we wrap up this school year, we are planning for the next and hope to add travel back into our rich programs of virtual global experiences. If interested please watch your school emails, check the global bulletin board on the 2nd floor, or email hwaters@scarsdaleschools.org.

Health and Physical Education

The semi annual health fair is the culminating activity for all Health Classes, replacing a traditional pen and paper final exam. This semester we retooled the Health Fair by combining what was used pre-pandemic and what we learned from our modified COVID versions of our pedagogy. Our biggest takeaways were finding new ways of integrating additional technology and being “greener” in the process.

On the day of the Health Fair, students had the opportunity to visit more than forty different student generated presentations ranging from safer sex, mental health, and prescription and non-prescription drug abuse, just to name a few. The purpose of the assignment is for students to take an analytical and critical look at specified health related topics. Students worked cooperatively in small groups of 4-5 students and each group was responsible to comprehensively research their topic and to make connections to longevity, quality of life and personal family and community health care. As students work in their groups, they are also honing their skills in the digital world, critically analyzing health content, making real world connections, and learning to make informed conclusions. This format is a universally designed learning component of the Health Department’s evaluation process.

As the start of the fourth quarter arrived, our Physical Education classes were outside moving and learning in the fresh air and sunshine once again. One highlight from our 9th & 10th grade PE experience included a four-week Indian cultural dance experience focused on Bollywood dance. For this year's 9th and 10th grade multicultural dance residency, we invited Bina Bora, Classical Indian Dancer, to share her expertise of both Classical and Bollywood dance with some of our 9th and 10th grade classes. Students learned the basics of these two dance styles, which were then put into a three part dance choreography depicting a typical Bollywood dance. Our students had the opportunity to perform this near 5-minute piece to their peers in their PE period. The piece started out with beautiful classical Indian dance moves, and then the beat picked up with some fun and exciting Bollywood steps! Our choreography ended with partner and small-group dancing using sticks to create rhythm and energy! It was magnificent!!

Our eleventh grade students took part in our annual spring golf unit. This unit included lessons on the full swing (drivers and irons), the short game (pitching and chipping), and putting. The physical education teachers offered challenges that engaged the full spectrum of abilities in our classes: the beginners, the part-time players, and the golf fanatics. These challenges were designed to improve students’ current skill levels, and, ultimately, for the students to receive enjoyment from the game now and in the future.

As we transition into the summer months, we encourage all of our students to remain active in ways that are both enjoyable and meaningful. Have a healthy and active summer!


We were pleased and honored to participate in the first Non-Sibi Day on May 27. Along with English teacher Natalie Farina, we presented a session on Book Banning and the Power of Public Outcry. Providing historical context, including an eight year battle right here at Scarsdale High School during the Cold War, as well as the current state of this topic, we focused on the powerful ways in which ordinary citizens have stood up to this dangerous form of censorship. Students then had a chance to look at some classic titles which have been challenged repeatedly and report back on what they found. This presentation grew out of a yearlong study of this issue and the ways in which school districts have met these challenges.

Tangentially connected to this, more and more English teachers have brought their classes in to select books for independent reading and consequently, we have had the opportunity to present book talks covering the gamut of genres and topics.


Our fourth quarter spotlight is on Math 423, Programming and our Math Team. Students in Math 423 applied what they learned in trigonometry, area and 3-dimensional figures and designed wheelchair ramps on campus. They researched construction materials, conducted cost analysis and presented their recommendations in class.

On April 8th, Siena College hosted their annual High School Programming Contest in which high school students, working in teams on a challenging set of problems for several hours, test their programming and problem-solving abilities. The contest consisted of 7 problems with 3 hours to solve them, in two categories - green (beginner programmers) and gold (advanced programmers). 24 SHS students, accompanied by Mr. Leong and Dr. Kumaresan, competed in the gold competition this year. All 6 of our teams solved at least 3 of the problems. One of our teams successfully completed 6 of the 7 problems, and 3 of our teams finished in the top 8 and received honorable mentions by correctly completing all 7 problems. In 34 years of this contest with thousands of students participating, only about 1-2% of teams have completed all the problems, so we are thrilled with the efforts of our students. Finally, we are very proud of Matthew Zhao, Karl Li, Max Zhang and Bryan Chung who managed to place 3rd overall in the gold category. Congratulations!

Math Team

The Scarsdale Math Team was hard at work in April, participating in the annual New York State Mathematics League (NYSML) Championships. Historically, Scarsdale has been well represented in this contest, and this year has been no exception! 13 students from Scarsdale who made the All-County team and competed in Westchester Teams A, B, and C. Westchester Team A finished in 5th place overall and Westchester Team B finished in 10th place overall. We are proud of everyone for another exciting year of mathematical achievements! In the spring, we participated for the first time in “Spring Madness”. This is a shortened version of the annual Math Madness where students had another opportunity to scrimmage online with different schools across the country in a similar fashion to the fall version.


This spring has continued to deliver our traditional end of year events and routines. Part of that includes special activities and final exams to conclude our classes. Teams of teachers have worked throughout the year to assess and adjust curriculum following the last two years of hybrid instruction and digital alternatives to activities and assessments. Subject teams of teachers reviewed and updated final exams, and their materials to guide students.

To add a fun and supportive element, some chemistry teachers hosted a pre-exam breakfast gathering. They provided food and juice to ensure students were fully charged and ready to tackle the exam. Students were encouraged to wear their newly made tie-dyed shirts. At the end of the year, chemistry students are treated to the fun and colorful application of tie-dying. They are able to connect the course concepts of covalent bonding, intermolecular forces, reactions, and solubility to the process of creating bright patterns of color on their t-shirts. We were delighted to see our students excited and enjoying themselves prior to beginning their exam. While exams require extensive time and preparation on both the part of teachers and students, it was great to add a celebratory element to the return of this traditional high school experience.

Performance Arts

The SHS Drama Club closed out the year with their annual Actor’s Showcase. Enjoy recorded

excerpts here: Actor's Showcase 2022 Thanks for watching!

Social Studies

In the fourth quarter, social studies students engaged in a variety of hands-on learning experiences. Seniors in Carine Thompson’s City 2.0 class left Scarsdale for a wonderful day in the Central Park Zoo. Students evaluated the exhibitions at the Central Park Zoo to see if they align with projections for zoos of the future. The class also hiked from Belvedere Castle at East 79th Street through the Ramble before crossing Bow Bridge and ending at Bethesda Fountain. This hands-on experience gave students an opportunity to draw their own conclusions about park management while bonding with their fellow seniors.

Students in Michelle Britto and Elizabeth Harris' ninth grade classes presented their "Disruptions & Interactions" museum projects, using self-selected topics displaying global connections and communication. Students presented their "pitches" to the "board at the Smithsonian" for why their museum and its artifacts were worthy of funding and expansion.

The ninth grade students of Kami Wright and Kendra Claussen used map analysis in their study of the Age of Exploration. Comparing maps from before and during this period with maps of the modern day, students identified impacts of this age in areas such as language, religion and trade. Students engaged in research to further understand the ways in which the Age of Exploration laid the foundations for much of the modern world.

In AT Psychology, students examined the research that underpin the theories of positive psychology regarding the difference between happiness and wellbeing, and then explored ways to apply these theories to their own lives.

Special Education

“How lucky am I to have something that makes saying goodbye so hard” – AA Milne, Winnie the Pooh

If we take a moment to reflect upon the work we do in the LRC, it is clear that the relationships we build with our students is key to guiding them to become the best versions of themselves. The once nervous, yet excited freshmen are now prepared to forge ahead to the next phase of their journey. We are so proud of our seniors and we look forward to hearing about their successes. We were able to host our Senior LRC Luncheon for the first time since 2019 and it was a lovely afternoon filled with lots of laughter and celebration. We wish all the graduates the best of luck in all of their future endeavors. You will be missed.

As for our returning students and families, we hope that you have a restful summer and find time to recharge and have some well-deserved fun. We look forward to the continued partnership and collaboration in the next school year.

Happy Summer!


We would like to introduce the community to our new STEAM website. Here you will find descriptions of all the STEAM courses, a chart to navigate through them, as well as examples of projects that have been done in the past in each course. We hope this will provide clarity for students and families. Our program continues to grow, with 64 students being accepted into next year’s entrepreneurship program.

This semester, Design for Modern Production students created projects for blind users. They chose to make either raised dot dice or finger mazes, which are similar to a fidget spinner for the blind. They 3D modeled them and then either 3D printed them or laser cut them. They are being given to a teacher of the visually impaired to use with her students. You can see some of the items below.

AT final pitch night was successful with ten teams pitching to a large audience of parents, community partners and faculty. Their entrepreneurship projects ranged from a mentoring program matching Scarsdale High School students with younger non neural typical students in the area to a reminder ring that would assist a young woman in remembering to blink so she would not lose her vision. We challenged all the groups to create projects that would live on beyond this year through finding systems or community partners to continue their work. You can view this year’s pitches here. We would like to introduce the community to our new STEAM website. Here you will find descriptions of all the STEAM courses, a chart to navigate through them, as well as examples of projects that have been done in the past in each course. We hope this will provide clarity for students and families. Our program continues to grow, with 64 students being accepted into next year’s entrepreneurship program.

This semester, Design for Modern Production students created projects for blind users. They chose to make either raised dot dice or finger mazes, which are similar to a fidget spinner for the blind. They 3D modeled them and then either 3D printed them or laser cut them. They are being given to a teacher of the visually impaired to use with her students. You can see some of the items below.

AT final pitch night was successful with ten teams pitching to a large audience of parents, community partners and faculty. Their entrepreneurship projects ranged from a mentoring program matching Scarsdale High School students with younger non neural typical students in the area to a reminder ring that would assist a young woman in remembering to blink so she would not lose her vision. We challenged all the groups to create projects that would live on beyond this year through finding systems or community partners to continue their work. You can view this year’s pitches here.

Student Government

The Student Government held our annual carnival for the first time in three years, creating an opportunity for students and the wider community to come together in a fun environment. We were able to raise approximately $15,000 for charity, and we provided our school clubs an opportunity to fundraise for themselves while raising awareness about their causes and interests. As testing week approached, Student Government handed out Munchkins and chewing gum with the design of “take one and share one with a friend,” in an effort to encourage students to reach out to each other and build a broader sense of community.

World Language

Students and teachers in World Languages have completed the end of the year assessments of speaking, listening, reading and writing skills as we headed into the final stretch of the academic year. Some students completed integrated performance based assessments which address the interpretive, interpersonal, and presentational modes of language usage while incorporating a unifying thematic framework.

Many of our French students have been paying close attention to this year’s election season in France. The AT students researched topics from the French perspective, such as inflation, the War in Ukraine, the environment and immigration. Based on their findings, students created statements of intent, campaign posters, debated and held mock French elections as their final portfolio project. AT Spanish students have completed their final portfolio projects and presented to one another in small groups on global topics such as solar energy in Mexico, healthcare in Cuba, the political system in Venezuela, women’s rights in Ecuador and many others. Students in Spanish 342 completed their final projects and participated in the second annual Fairy Tales Story Telling Day via zoom with elementary Spanish students at Greenacres. AT Mandarin students researched, created and presented their final portfolio projects on an aspect of Chinese culture, such as martial arts, Chinese herbal medicine, Chinese traditional clothing and others. Latin students in 334/344 have been working on hypothetical and conditional statements and created original videos of stories from Virgil’s Aeneid retold with their own imaginative adaptation.

The language clubs have also remained active though the end of the year. The French club held its final activity of French pictionary and ice cream sundaes outdoors in the BOE breezeway. The Latin club had a successful Floralia Spring festival, also outside, in which they participated in games such as musical chairs and human wheelbarrow races. The Spanish club’s final activity was also held outside, at the Brewster entrance with complimentary churros for all and a sampling of popular music in Spanish. And last but certainly not least, the clubs have once again collaborated to produce the third edition of the highly anticipated World Languages Literary magazine, The Polyglot 2022. Check it out online, it is indeed espectacular, formidable, spectaculi, 棒 !