March 2014 Education Roundup-Briarcliff Manor

(L-R) BHS Class of 2014 Valedictorian Caterina Florissi, with  Co-Salutatorians Eric Wasserman and Isabella Florissi.Briarcliff High School Announces 2014 Valedictorian and Salutatorians
Briarcliff High School announced Caterina Florissi as its Class of 2014 valedictorian and Isabella Florissi and Eric Wasserman as co-salutatorians.

At right, (L-R) BHS Class of 2014 Valedictorian Caterina Florissi, with Co-Salutatorians Eric Wasserman and Isabella Florissi.Caterina is co-captain of the Briarcliff High School tennis team and has received NYSSMA awards for piano.

Active in the community, she achieved her Gold Award as a Girl Scout by initiating a free tutoring program in the Ossining Public Library. She was also named as a Presidential Scholar, has received Congressional awards and would like to enter the field of pediatrics.

Eric worked for two summers at Yale University’s Batista Lab, where he conducted computational chemistry to improve the efficiency and sustainability of fuel cells and solar power. He is co-president of the Chemistry Club, and participated in the U.S. Chemistry Olympiad, advancing from the local to the national level.

Brazilian-born Isabella is a member of the tennis team and has participated in the sectional competition. Her Gold Award project for Girl Scouts, titled “Project Health,” is reflective of her involvement with providing healthier food options for the less privileged. In addition to receiving Congressional awards, Isabella completed an Intel project involving the response of R249P53 mutants to NSC319726 treatment. This study, concerning a protein in cancers, proved that R249 Codon is not involved in zinc bonding, which can be useful information for future drug development.

Todd School Art on Display at Briarcliff Public Library
During the month of March, a sampling of student artwork from Todd Elementary School will be on display on the second floor of the Briarcliff Public Library. Featured artwork includes conceptual work on a variety of topics, including warm and cool colors, pattern, paper weaving, watercolor painting, drawings of cylindrical cakes, and contour line trees. The artwork will be on display through March 31.

Briarcliff Manor students show off their roller coaster.Middle Schoolers Take Physics for a Ride
Sixth-grade students in two classes at Briarcliff Middle School became masters of their own amusement park recently, through a two-week project that challenged them to design, finance, project-manage and build their own roller coaster.

Working in teams of four or five, each team had to design their track and build it according to requirements. Working with a budget of $18,000, the teams “purchased” land for their coaster, as well as track, stands, and attachments (in the form of pipe insulation, paper towel tubes, and masking tape). The “car” (a marble) needed to go down a hill, turn, go through a loop, and go over at least one additional hill.

The project was a hit, as students worked diligently to get their marble to survive their track and land in a paper cup. “We saw how kinetic and potential energy affect each other,” said Jacob Lazarus. Added fellow student Skylar Kamen, “The hardest part of this project was coming up with a design to make the roller coaster fast and efficient. There was a lot of teamwork.”

Briarcliff Manor Author Puzzles Kids at Todd Elementary School
Author Eric Berlin with Todd Elementary Students Last month, author Eric Berlin (The Puzzling World of Winston Breen) brought his love of mind-bending puzzles to fourth- and fifth-graders at Todd Elementary. In anticipation of his visit, students created their own puzzles, which were then reviewed by Mr. Berlin who selected eight winning puzzles from among the entries. The winning students – Harrison Beckler, Allie Bell, Chloe Goldstein, Noreen Hussain, Trevor Lazarus, Isabel Schumacher, Brenu Tepedino, and Ella Weinstein – were treated to lunch in the library with the author.

Mr. Berlin discussed flexible thinking and the importance of creative problem solving, giving historical examples and leading students through a number of puzzle-focused games and activities. “Every creative thing you do teaches your brain to think creatively,” he explained.

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About the Author: David Neilsen