Carpinone Family Scholarships – Summer Issue Essays – Lessons Learned In and Out of School

The Carpinone family, owners of Dwyer and Michaels Funeral Home in Tarrytown, have created a scholarship for students from Ossining and Sleepy Hollow high schools. Each month, we will publish essays from a student from each school. This is the second pair of essays in the series. Each student will receive a $750 scholarship in memory of Carmine Carpinone’s father and brother.   

Shaliyah Tucker (center) with Camille Carpinone (left) and Marlena Locicero of Dwyer & Michael’s Funeral Home.

Ossining High School 

by Shaliyah C Tucker

Shaliyah is a 2023 graduate of Ossining High School. Throughout high school Shaliyah was an AVID (Advancement via Individual Determination) student. AVID is a college-readiness program designed to help students develop the skills they need to be successful in college. 

As a child I was always very confident, and took my own advice most of the time. No matter what someone told me I would either listen and agree or it would go in one ear and out the other because I always felt as if a 16 year old could accomplish more than a 24 year old can. And because I was more mature and smarter than your average kid, at times I forgot I haven’t yet experienced everything therefore I don’t know everything.  

In 2021, when I was finally able to work I got my first job as a cashier. I didn’t last past 9 months before I quit the job. I quit because the amount of annoyance the job filled me with every time I went and the low pay because I was underage made it difficult. I was told don’t quit until you find something else, but I didn’t wait, I didnt even think about how long it takes to get hired or how I’m an independent person and hate asking anyone for help. I thought it was gonna be so easy to find another job because who doesn’t want help? But I was wrong. 

Living in a small town like Ossining made the situation worse. It’s not like the Bronx where you get side jobs or help out for quick money. It was either you had a job or didn’t and that made those past four months the most miserable/longest four months of my life. I had to say no to every plan my friends had because I wasn’t going to ask my parents for money and I couldn’t eat anything at school because the cafeteria food isn’t appetizing to me. Being unemployed made me feel like a loser and come up with late solutions on what I should’ve done such as, “I could’ve put my availability to work for days that add up to a certain pay” Or “I should’ve tried to switch to being a bagger only”. Besides my regretful thoughts I understand that I made a terrible decision but I am so grateful that I went through it. I learned to think of ways to fix the problem and at least find ways to make the situation better than what it was before other than fully giving up. My lesson was you could only be mad at yourself for so long so why not just see the good in your decision and learn from it. 

Yesfreily Rodriguez is a 2023 graduate of Sleepy Hollow High School and will be attending Bowdoin College where she plans to study psychology. She was president of the Galloping Gourmet, a high school cooking club. In her free time, she likes to write poems, dance, and paint.

Sleepy Hollow High School 

by Yesfreily Rodriguez

While abiding by school rules, I realized I had to challenge the new requirements that thwarted creativity. For the required AP Biology project in eleventh grade, I applied to paint a mural for the science hallway. In earlier years, student applicants submitted a sketch with room for change in the after-product; however, the new requirements had become more restrictive and did not provide any room for change, which was an unrealistic expectation in my opinion. Creating art is an experimental process, and artists can be inspired to make alterations to their art. Art is fluid and cannot be restricted. When my Biology teacher agreed that the new requirements limited student creativity, she helped me complete the application. 

Even though I could not change the requirements, I completed the application with a sketch, with the understanding that I could not change the after product, which had to be an exact replica of the sketch. One requirement of the application was that students had taken an AP course, or a painting course, (which I had not), or produce three works of art as proof. I also needed the approval from the Art Department Chair. When I presented my three watercolor paintings to the chairperson, she told me I was an accomplished artist. Ultimately my request was accepted.  

The mural that I painted is a giant male calico cat with a blue bow tie. In cats, the fur color is on the X chromosome. Male calico cats have an extra X chromosome-XXY, which allows both the orange and black fur color traits to appear on the male calico cat. Since I had one week to sketch and to paint the mural, I stayed after school everyday to finish it. I changed the sketch slightly by changing the body proportions without consulting anyone, since painting on a wall was a different experience from painting on paper.  

I felt validated when I received positive feedback from my classmates. My calico cat still adorns the science hallway, and I hope my painting connects science to everyday life and inspires students to become interested in genetics. This experience sharpened my reasons to defend my opinion that creativity cannot be restricted. Creativity is like the waves that emerge in the ocean that cannot be controlled or manipulated. 

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