SMS among top scorers in the region for NYS Math League Contest

posted May 28, 2015, 10:37 AM by Ramapo Central   [ updated May 28, 2015, 10:37 AM ]

[May 28, 2015] Suffern Middle School students were among the top performers regionally in the 2015 New York State Mathematics League competition. In February, participating students across the state took a rigorous, online test composed of 35 questions.

“The questions are based on curriculum,” explained seventh-grader Luke S., who tied with classmate Eric R. for 2nd place in the region and 25th statewide. “You only have 30 minutes to do the whole thing. I ran out of time, so I just guessed on the last three questions.”

“The test is challenging; all the questions have a twist—just like the SAT,” added seventh-grade math teacher and Math League coordinator Patricia Boswell.

Results were recently released and report Suffern Middle School’s performance against other competitors in the region (Dutchess, Orange, Putnam, Rockland and Westchester counties) and the state.


  • Alex A. tied for 1st place among 8th-graders in the region
  • Eric R. and Luke S. tied for 2nd place among 7th-graders in the region and 25th statewide


  • Grade 6 placed 3rd in the region and 18th statewide
  • Grade 7 placed 2nd in the region and 11th statewide
  • Grade 8 placed 3rd in the region and 18th statewide

Although none of Suffern Middle School’s three top-performing students claimed to “love math,” they agreed on what makes the subject appealing to them.

“ELA teachers say that their subject is best because you can be creative in coming up with any answer you like as long as you support it with evidence,” said eighth-grader and regional NYC Math League co-champ Alex A. “I like math better because there’s just one answer.”

Photo caption: Suffern Middle School Assistant Principal Dr. Andre Lawe and seventh-grade math teacher Patricia Boswell congratulated Alex A., Luke S. and Eric R. on their performance in the NYS Math League competition.

Cambridge shines spotlight on SHS program

posted May 28, 2015, 10:23 AM by Ramapo Central

[May 28, 2015] Suffern High School’s Cambridge Pre-U Global Perspectives and Independent Research course—affiliated with Cambridge University in England—is getting international attention.

On May 21, a Cambridge film crew visited the school to tape classroom activities and interview students and staff. Footage will be used to create professional practice resources for new teachers and to raise awareness of the Global Perspectives program.

“Cambridge reached out to us and asked,” explained social studies chair Jared Gelb. “It’s pretty cool in the sense that we’re the only North American program being featured.”

Gelb teaches the rigorous, two-year course in collaboration with English and social studies teacher Dr. Robert Wilson and library media specialist Dominick Martiniello.

“Suffern High School has done a good job for many years in discussing and debating issues that relate to the United States, and that perspective should remain primary. However, I thought that we could do even more in exposing students to contemporary international perspectives,” Wilson commented. “The Cambridge Pre-U Global Perspectives Program helps to achieve that goal.”

Gelb added, “Most courses are driven by content and develop skills secondarily. With the Cambridge GPR course, students are focusing on developing cognitive and analytical skills while having the freedom and latitude to pursue topics of global significance for which they have a passion. Each student can focus on what’s most important to them.”

Principal Patrick Breen and Assistant Principal and Cambridge Coordinator Dr. James Douglass helped to introduce Cambridge Pre-U to Suffern High School during the 2011-12 school year.  At the time, Suffern High School was one of just 11 U.S. high schools selected to pilot the elite program. 

Photo caption: The Cambridge crew filmed a May 21 presentation by Suffern High School senior Hannah Consiglio on government regulation of the global fast food industry.

Chen, Vanderwaal place first in Siegelbaum Competition

posted May 27, 2015, 8:54 AM by Ramapo Central   [ updated May 27, 2015, 8:54 AM ]

[May 27, 2015] Suffern Middle School eighth-graders Sarah Chen and Olivia Vanderwaal earned top honors in the Holocaust Museum & Study Center’s 19th Annual Siegelbaum Literary and Visual Arts Competition. 

“Breaking the Bonds of Hate” was the theme of this year’s competition, which drew submissions from middle and high school students across Rockland, Orange and Bergen counties. First place prizes were awarded in the categories of Prose/Poetry and Visual Arts at each grade level.

Chen won first place in the Prose/Poetry category and Vanderwaal placed first for Visual Arts. Winners were honored at an evening reception at the Holocaust Museum & Study Center on May 12.

Social studies teacher Joan Weiner commented on the good news, “Suffern Middle School, and especially Team Delta, is very proud to have TWO winners!” 

Photo caption1: Suffern Middle School eighth-grader Sarah Chen was awarded first place in the Grade 8 Prose/Poetry category of the 19th Annual Siegelbaum Literary and Visual Arts Competition.

Photo caption2: Eighth-grader Olivia Vanderwaal earned top honors in the competition’s Visual Arts category for her powerful collage.

SHS names May Artists of the Month

posted May 27, 2015, 7:29 AM by Ramapo Central   [ updated May 27, 2015, 7:29 AM ]

[May 27, 2015] Five Suffern High School students were named May Artists of the Month by the Suffern High School Art Department on May 20. Congratulations to: Kiandra Antenor, Katherine Krasinski, Dheivanai Moorthy, Emily Piescki and Natalie Smith.

Each month, art teachers nominate students based on their commitment to creating art, effort and motivation, skills and problem solving. Artists of the Month are selected from all grade levels and across more than two dozen visual arts classes.

Works by Artists of the Month, along with teacher nominations, are on display outside the Suffern High School auditorium. 

Photo caption1: Senior Kiandra Antenor was nominated as May Artist of the Month by art teacher Tom Okada for her exceptional photography work. 

Photo caption2: May Artists Kiandra Antenor and Dheivanai Moorthy were among the artists honored by the Suffern High School Art Department on May 20.

BAM! POW! Sloatsburg artists explore their inner superhero

posted May 26, 2015, 8:23 AM by Ramapo Central   [ updated May 26, 2015, 8:23 AM ]

[May 26, 2015] Each year, Sloatsburg Elementary School produces a truly epic student art show.

May 19 marked the opening of the 2015 show, themed “POP Goes the Hero.” Sloatsburg artists, decked out in their Pop art, crime-fighting finest, proudly toured parents and community members through the building to point out extraordinary works in a wide range of media created by K-5 students this school year.

After the big event, art teacher Theresa Dolan took time to talk about the inspiration behind his year’s show.

Where did the superheroes theme come from?

“I wanted to use an era of art that evoked what is endearing and familiar to each one of us: the movies, food and heroes who save the day and always come to the rescue, whether they be real or imagined. It was also to celebrate the fact that we can all be a hero as well as just admiring them.

“Our students are very much aware of what goes on in the world, whether through media, discussion with their families or with peers and education. We don't always realize the effect it has on them and how stressful and burdening it can be to their performance in school and socially.

“I told the students that it was time to focus on the heroes and what attracts us to them; courage, honor, integrity and perseverance. Sometimes completing an art project requires all of those elements as is in everyday life.

“And that no matter how hard schoolwork, a project or life may seem, there is always hope that one can do it! For their parents it was a reminder of those comforting, ‘feel good’ memories and that hope lies within each of their children.”

How do you come up with fresh ideas every year?

“The truth is that the students and I get bored from doing the same thing every year in the curriculum! So each year, I try to introduce new forms of art and mediums. I believe it’s the best way to exercise the imagination and creativity in all of us. Be resourceful and try something new...isn't that how we all learn? Besides, it keeps me on my toes!

“This year, we added wire portraits of our graduating class of fifth-graders, graphic novels/comics, multidimensional art, and introduced new areas of art history.”

Anything else you’d like to add?

“YES! I want to acknowledge PTA Art Show chairperson Cherish MacRobbie. Cherish NEVER discourages my vision for the children. She has boundless energy and is a dedicated mother, PTA officer and person. Her children are graduating this year and she will be truly missed.

“I also have to thank the PTA…they just increased our budget in support of next year’s show. I started planning it last night!

“Lastly, Principal Joe Lloyd has given me such freedom and trust. He told me to let it rain art.”

Photo caption: Sloatsburg Elementary School students explored their inner superheroes as part of this year’s Annual Art Show.

Corini named 2015 Outstanding High School Social Studies Teacher

posted May 22, 2015, 10:54 AM by Ramapo Central   [ updated May 22, 2015, 10:54 AM ]

[May 22, 2015] Suffern High School social studies teacher Michael Corini was presented with the 2015 Outstanding High School Social Studies Teacher Award at the annual meeting of the Westchester Lower Hudson Council for the Social Studies on May 20.

Corini joined the Ramapo Central School District 15 years ago and currently teaches ninth-grade honors social studies and Syracuse University Project Advance, a college-level American History course. He was nominated for the award by English and social studies teacher Dr. Robert Wilson.

“Mike and I continually exchange ideas concerning past and recent legal and political issues that arise in our respective classes,” noted Wilson. “He is proactive in promoting department members and students when they engage in tournaments or give presentations at conferences. Indeed, Mike is a major factor why Suffern High is held in high prestige by both students and parents.”

“To be nominated by Bob was the best part. To have someone of his caliber think that I should receive this recognition IS the award,” Corini said. “Walking around this building every day, every teacher is performing at or above this level. So, I’m accepting this award for them.”

Photo caption: Michael Corini (second from right) was joined by Suffern High School Social Studies Department colleagues Matthew Biggar, Dr. Robert Wilson and Jared Gelb as he received the Westchester Lower Hudson Council for the Social Studies’ 2015 Outstanding High School Social Studies Teacher Award on May 20.

With practice, SMS musicians do well and do good

posted May 22, 2015, 10:41 AM by Ramapo Central   [ updated May 22, 2015, 10:42 AM ]

[May 22, 2015] Practice literally “paid off” for 41 Suffern Middle School orchestra students who spent 18,265 minutes plucking and bowing to raise $1,860.81 for the Food Bank of the Hudson Valley.

As participants in the Harry Chapin Practice-a-Thon, these musicians signed up sponsors for minutes spent practicing in the month of April. Then, they practiced. A lot.

“I have been experimenting with practice this year,” noted orchestra teacher Tara Goozee. “At this time, there is no ‘official’ word on practice but I'd like to change that and make at least a clearly stated expectation.”

The statewide event aims to strengthen instrument practice habits while helping families in need. In Rockland County, the Food Bank of the Hudson Valley supplies dozens of member organizations, such as food pantries, soup kitchens and emergency shelters.

Photo caption: These Suffern Middle School musicians (and several others) collectively raised nearly $1,900 for the Food Bank of the Hudson Valley by practicing 18,265 minutes during the month of April!

Economics Club makes strong showing at first statewide competition

posted May 21, 2015, 7:45 AM by Ramapo Central   [ updated May 21, 2015, 7:46 AM ]

[May 21, 2015] Suffern High School Economics Club teams placed 2nd, 4th and 5th in the David Ricardo Division of the New York State Economics Challenge. Reserved for first-time competitors, the division was comprised of 21 teams. The annual event is sponsored by the National Council for Economic Education.

Suffern High School’s club was launched two years ago by then-sophomores Steve Woo, Zac Pearlman, and Nick Tomiello, who were interested in starting an economics debate club. Members meet weekly to the high school to discuss and debate various economic and financial literacy issues—such as the merits of public education, healthcare and taxes—and their impact on everyday life.

Congratulations to: 

Suffern I (2nd place): Steve Woo, Cameron Martel and Jeremy Dohmann

Suffern II (4th place): Cyrus Behzadi, Lenard Halim and Josh Rosenthal

Suffern III (5th place): Nick Tomiello, Zac Pearlman and Johnny Riskin

Photo caption: Suffern High School’s Economics Club (pictured with business teacher and advisor Gary Weed) competed in the New York State Economics Challenge for the first time this year.

Sloatsburg gets green with Earth BEAT

posted May 20, 2015, 7:02 AM by Ramapo Central   [ updated May 21, 2015, 12:28 PM ]

[May 20, 2015] Sloatsburg Elementary School students biked, relay raced and bingo-ed to environmental awareness last week, thanks to a two-day, school-wide visit by Earth BEAT educators.

Earth BEAT (Basic Environmental Awareness Training) is a Keep Rockland Beautiful program that uses fun, hands-on learning to promote understanding local ecology, waste reduction and energy conservation. Activities included Nature Bingo featuring local wildlife, Garbage Relay Stations to help students differentiate between types of trash, recyclables and hazardous waste and Nature Trail Exploration to identify native plants on school grounds.

“Two major components of our mission are positive character development and healthy living,” explained Principal Joe Lloyd. “With this in mind, Earth BEAT inspires students to be both responsible stewards of the environment and caretakers of their own health.”

As first-graders wrapped up the Garbage Relay Station activity on May 14, they learned small things they could do—such as packing a waste-free school lunch—to make a big difference in what goes into landfills.

“Even at a young age, we can plant the seeds and open children’s eyes to the natural world around them,” noted Earth BEAT educator Kerry Moran. “They may not be able to make some of these changes, but they can ask their parents to help.”

Check out the story on! And watch a slideshow here.

Photo caption: Earth BEAT educator Kerry Moran discusses how to pack a waste-free school lunch with Sloatsburg Elementary School first-graders on May 14.

Ramapo Central salutes SHS Top 10%

posted May 18, 2015, 6:42 AM by Ramapo Central   [ updated May 18, 2015, 6:42 AM ]

[May 18, 2015] Ramapo Central Board members and administrators gathered to celebrate the 36 Suffern High School seniors who placed in the academic top 10 percent of their class at an evening reception on May 5.

Suffern High School Principal Patrick Breen commended students on their accomplishments, noting that highlighting outstanding academic achievement was a fitting start to the flurry of year-end events.

Seniors were personally congratulated by Breen, Assistant Principal Andrew Trust and Ramapo Central Superintendent Dr. Douglas Adams, and each briefly shared their college plans.

From applied mathematics to environmental science, more than half of the soon-to-be grads plan to pursue studies in a STEM field, with many entering engineering programs. 

Institutions welcoming top-performing Mounties this fall include: College of William & Mary, Cornell University, Franklin & Marshall College, Georgetown University, Hamilton College, SUNY Fredonia School of Music, MIT, New York University, RCC Honors Program, SUNY Binghamton, Stevens Institute of Technology, University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign, University of Michigan, University of North Carolina Chapel Hill, University of Pennsylvania, University of Virginia, Washington University and Yale University.

In closing, Breen thanked parents for their support and expressed great pride in students’ success. “It’s exciting to hear where you all are headed,” he said. 

Congratulations to: 

Ayesha Ali

Alyssa Burke

Steven Cioffi

Hannah Consiglio

Stephen DeBoer

Gray DeSimone

Jacob Diamond

Jonathan Divietro

James Dowd

Mary Dugandzic

Samir Dutta

Alexander Fernandez

Robbie Gershon

Joseph Girard

Joshua Gorelick

Ryan Gutmann

Sara Haberman

Rachel Haberman

Saumya Kasliwal

Stephen Lereah

Rachel Liebergall

Alexa Martin

Michael Nicholson

Dunahay Pereyra

Devon Pradhuman

Sarah Pungitore

Marilia Riva-Andrade

Eytan Rubinstein

Erika Samovici

Ryan Sedwick

Imani Solan

Jeremy Solomon

Alexandra Vinick

Samantha Walker

Justin Weisberg

Kate Zendell

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