THE QUARTERLY NEWSLETTER OF THE POCANTICO HILLS SCHOOL SUMMER 2008
Happy days. The long days of summer are special here in Pocantico Hills. While
the academic year may have come to a close, our students are still active, learning
and having fun at Day Camp where they build skills as well as self-esteem. You’ll
find them busy with on-campus activities such as swim lessons, sports and arts
and crafts, which are supplemented by hikes and field trips such as camping and
canoeing. It is all part of a Pocantico Hills summer that will be long remembered.
See you in September.
• Graduation Day…page 2 • Foundation and Board News…page 4-5
• Student Garden… page 5 • 2008 Honor Rolls…page 6-9
• Best Wishes, Dr. Elliott …page 10 • Pocantico Pride…page 11 • Upcoming Dates…page 12
‘A BEAUTIFUL EVENING’
P O C A N T I C O H I L L S G R A D U AT E S A N D C O N G R AT U L AT E S 3 6 S T U D E N T S
‘It is a nostalgic event, full
of bittersweet feelings.
We are at once sad to see
them go and proud that
they are moving on.’
ednesday, June 25, was a day for the Graduation Awards
memory book as the graduates of the
Pocantico Hills Class of 2008 were
2007 - 2008
honored and sent forth to take the
spirit of their school with them through high school Harold Ackley Award
and beyond. Michael Gregory L.
The skies were shining brightly as the 76th Annual
Commencement ceremonies celebrated the 36 eighth- PTA/Anne Marie Brown Community Service Award
graders with speeches, musical performances and the Elizabeth Janes G.
presentation of scholarship and leadership awards. Nicole Lauren N.
The graduates, in their crisp blue and white gradua-
tion gowns, proudly marched up to receive their cer- Cab Calloway Band Award
tificates of graduation, which marked their promotion Matthew James P.
to several area high schools.
For Dr. Elliott, it was a poignant moment as he noted Carolyn Keil Campbell Award
that this “beautiful evening” would be his last opportu- Rebecca Elaine W.
nity to celebrate the accomplishments of Pocantico
graduates. “This week also marks my commence-
ment,” he said. He thanked the seventh-grade parents Dr. Caroline Crescenzi Award
for arranging the reception following the event, and he Bianca Belia M.
wished the graduates continued success as they begin
their high school careers. English Award
“This wonderful ceremony is the dear culmination of Chetan K.
our children’s academic achievements,” said Katherine
Yu, Board of Education Vice President. “It is a nostal- Jason Harris Memorial Award
gic event, full of bittersweet feelings,” she said. “We Jonathan J. M.
are at once sad to see them go and proud that they
Gabriela De F.
are moving on.”
Of this year’s graduates, 14 students will attend Pleas-
antville High School, 20 will attend Briarcliff High
School, three will be going to Sleepy Hollow, one will Sophie Dahl P.
attend the Hackley School and another will attend the
FROM DR. ELLIOTT
nother academic year has drawn to a
close with some very positive results.
As school ended, we learned that 100%
Blanche E. Long Award of Pocantico Hills students taking the Algebra
Regents exam, the Earth Science Regents exam and
Nancy McDonnell Memorial Award the NYS French and Spanish proficiency tests met
Casandra Lynn Lundin S. or exceeded standards. In addition, on average,
98% of our students in grades 3-8 met or exceeded
George Morrow Scholarship Award standards on the NYS Math assessment and an
average of 90% of our students in grades 3-8 met or
Pocantico Hills Teacher Association Special Award
exceeded standards on the NYS English Language
Michael Gregory L. Arts assessment.
Our school’s 76th Commencement Ceremony honor-
Nelson A. Rockefeller Award
ing the Pocantico Hills Class of 2008 was held on
a beautiful summer night and celebrated the accom-
Social Studies Award plishments of this year’s class. We thank our seventh-
Chetan K. grade parents for arranging the reception following
the event and wish our graduates continued success
Estelle V. Storms Award for Spanish
as they begin their high school career.
Casandra Lynn Lundin S.
I often have said that as a school community we
Estelle V. Storms Award for French can be proud and grateful for all that we have.
Rebecca Elaine W. Our graduates reflect this as they move forward.
I feel fortunate to have served the educational needs
Today’s Students, Tomorrow’s Teachers Award of children in New York State for the past 36 years
Aisha T. and even more fortunate to have concluded my
career in public education here, at Pocantico.
Raymond B. Walker Award
Four years ago, I made a commitment to myself to
Bianca Belia M.
make this District a better place. Working with you,
Madeline B. Walsh Award I feel confident that has been accomplished. The
Casandra Lynn Lundin S. future is bright for Pocantico Hills. I am honored to
have served this school community, and I wish our
Women’s Club of Pocantico Hills
students, staff and families continued success.
Rebecca Elaine W.
Congratulations and Best Wishes Dr. Elliott
to the Class of 2008!
FROM OUR FOUNDATION
Dear Parents and Friends,
ocantico Hills students were treated to a best as they embark on their college educations.
gorgeous day at Swan Lake while “Walking in
Rhythm” to raise money for the school’s music Finally, we wish to thank Dr. Thomas Elliott for his
department. Thanks to their efforts, students outstanding service to the school and wish him luck
raised over $3,000 to initiate a recorder education as he and Carol begin this new chapter in their lives.
program for the Intermediate House. These funds will We also wish to extend our warmest welcome
also be used to purchase a portable PA system with to Dr. Freddie Smith as he joins our Pocantico Hills
family. We look forward to continuing our positive
microphones for traveling performances in the com-
growth under his leadership.
munity and a variety of rhythmic instruments for all
students to use in class and performances. We thank Best wishes for a relaxing, peaceful summer,
you for your enthusiastic support of this community-
Shelly Marchese, Chairman and President
wide effort to help our kids stay fit, have fun and
work off their collective steam for a musical cause!
Tremendous gratitude goes out to Christine Vander
Els, Gwen Knoff Jones, Therese de Chaves, Ruth FROM OUR BOARD OF EDUCATION
DiLorenzo and all the other Foundation members
who made this event possible. Dear Families,
he school year at Pocantico Hills has ended
With your generous gifts throughout the past year, the successfully, and I hope that all are enjoying
Foundation again accepted and funded grant requests their vacation time.
submitted by the teachers and administration. This
Our graduates at Pocantico distinguished
year, the Foundation will fund an innovative writing
themselves with their many achievements, and our
program for the sixth grade that strengthens social
graduation ceremony was held on a beautiful
competency through an ongoing writer’s workshop.
The program encourages students to think and talk
about social issues they encounter while improving One of our Pocantico students, Billy Cember, made
their writing skills. We are also funding new technol- all of Pocantico especially proud as he delivered the
ogy to enhance the teachers’ ability to more effectively valedictory address at the Briarcliff High School
communicate with their students including a new Graduation.
microscope for the science lab that interfaces with We, as a Board, wish Dr. Thomas Elliott and his wife,
the computer and SMARTBoards and a design printer Carol, a joyful retirement and thank him for his many
that produces poster size documents. Also, the contributions to academic advancement here.
Foundation will contribute to a college scholarship We also heartily welcome Dr. Freddie Smith as our
program initiated by James McVeigh and a camp new Superintendent. Dr. Smith is on the premises now.
scholarship program. Please stop by to say hello.
A wonderful highlight for the Foundation is the Regards,
privilege of awarding scholarships to college-bound Robert W. Balog, President, Board of Education
seniors who attended Pocantico Hills School. This
year, of 12 outstanding applicants, all who are
flourishing and succeeding in their given interests, we
awarded four $1,000 scholarships to Samuel Castro,
Sonia George, Jorge Matta and Michael Robinson.
We congratulate the recipients and all applicants on
their tremendous achievements and wish them the
Students’ Organic Garden
ocantico Hills Central School students could
soon be eating salad and soup from vegetables
that they will grow in an organic school
garden located on the neighboring Rockefeller
estate in Pocantico. The Rockefeller family has a long
history of supporting environmental sustainability ini-
tiatives worldwide, as well as in their own backyard.
The pilot project, which kicks off in September, will
involve third and fourth-grade students.
“The school garden is a natural extension of the
Pocantico Programs of the Rockefeller Brothers Fund
that participates in other local partnerships with
organizations such as the National Trust for Historic
Preservation and Historic Hudson Valley,” said Charles ganic gardening techniques together with the garden’s
Granquist, executive director of Pocantico Programs. varied applications for curriculum. Students will work
in the garden weekly and manage it through the school
Pocantico Hills teachers will participate this summer year by utilizing outdoor beds, a greenhouse and cold
in training sessions with Denise Martabano, the health, frames. The project will produce three harvests in con-
wellness and sustainability coach for the Katonah- junction with three annual events to feed the entire
Lewisboro school district. They will learn about or- school with organic crops grown in the school garden.
Additional partners for the project will include the
Stone Barns Center for Food and Agriculture and
Putnam/Northern Westchester BOCES.
The Pocantico garden complements the efforts by
Westchester schools to create curriculum that inte-
grates sustainability concepts into everyday teaching.
Using a global framework and an interdisciplinary
approach, curriculum is being developed in math,
social studies, English and the arts that will be unified
under the overarching principle of environmental
sustainability. An edible classroom makes these
subjects come alive for the students.
The first edible classroom was created by noted Amer-
ican chef, Alice Waters, in Berkeley, California. In her
urban program, students planted, prepared, served
and ate homegrown food in order to appreciate the
earth and healthy eating habits. The school garden
at Pocantico will be mentored by Denise Martabano,
who said, “When kids grow their food, they own it, and
they want to eat it.”
r. Thomas Elliott came to Pocantico Hills in
2004, bringing with him an enthusiasm for
learning that inspired the entire District to
strive for excellence. During his years as
Superintendent, Dr. Elliott worked with teachers,
administrators, staff, parents and students to ensure
that all children would reach their full potential, in
academics, sports, the arts and many other ways, as
depicted in these photos.
We would like to thank Dr. Elliott for all his hard work
and dedication during his tenure at Pocantico Hills.
Good luck, Dr. Elliott, to you and your entire family.
G R E AT A C H I E V E M E N T S A N D N E W S F R O M S T U D E N T S , A L U M N I A N D T E A C H E R S
• This year’s Pocantico Hills Swim and Dive Team is a proud team, full of history and accomplishments. With more
than 100 team members from the ages of 5 to 18 registered, this team is about more than times and wins. This
team is about a 6-year-old who could barely pass the deep water test in early June and is now competing in races
that require competitors swim 25 meters with an audience of 200 people cheering for them.
It is about a boy named David M. who had a suc-
cessful season of swimming on last year's team and
this year stepped up to the challenge of trying out
for the diving team. To be on the diving board with
all eyes on you is not easy; it takes courage. Every-
one cheered him on.
It is about high school boys who are now 18,
swimming for the last time this year after having
participated on the team for over 12 years.
It is about our life guards who are watching and
cheering from the stands.
It is about the grandparents who cheer now for
their grandchildren as they remember cheering on
their own Pocantico children.
The Pocantico Swim & Dive Team celebrated its many achievements at the annual swim team awards dinner on
Aug. 1. Each swimmer or diver was honored, and the community of parents and coaches saluted the many
milestones of talent and courage this season. Swimming is a team sport, and the community loves each and every
This year’s coaching staff are alumni of our swim team: Maureen Kringas, Caitlin Balog and Neil Quinn. They each
maintain the spirit of competition and the fun of competing as a community. The diving coaches, Caliph Moham-
mad (also a Pocantico alumnus) and Stephanie Petfield, coach a diving team rich in talent and spirit.
What a great summer!
• This year more than 100,000 students nationally and over 1,000 students
in Westchester sat for the National French Exam. Six of our Pocantico Hills
students placed in the top 10 in Westchester! Those students are Natalia S.,
Cindy D. and Marcelo R. (sixth grade), Nicola S. and Andrea C. (seventh
grade) and Rebecca W. (eighth grade).
The Westchester Chapter of the American Association of Teachers of
French considers these students to be the best of the best - la creme
de la creme! They have embarked on the study of a magnificent language
with a history, culture, literature, art and music unrivaled in the society
of the world. Here, Dr. Elliott with the French
To celebrate their success, a prize ceremony was held on Wednesday, May
14, at the Performing Arts Center at the Rye Country Day School. Congratulations, or as they say in French,
Felicitations, to all the students and to French teacher Madame Sable for a job well done.
• Kudos to Anthony P., a junior at Fordham Prep in the Bronx, who has made the honor roll each quarter and also
has made high honor roll four times in his three years at Fordham. He was awarded the Principals
Honor Roll twice and was recently inducted into the National Honor Society.
• Casandra S. took second place in the Westchester Swimming Association Diving Championships in the 10-13
POCANTICO HILLS CENTRAL SCHOOL
upcoming dates 599 Bedford Road
Sleepy Hollow, N.Y. 10591
25 School Board Meeting: Library 8 p.m.
1 LABOR DAY School Closed
2 Superintendent’s Conference Day: Board of Education
No School for Students
Teachers Report Mr. Robert W. Balog, President
RAMADAN Begins Mrs. Katherine Yu, Vice President
3 Superintendent’s Conference Day: Mr. John Conrad, Trustee
No School for Students
Teachers Report Mr. Maurice Curran, Trustee
4 FIRST DAY OF SCHOOL: K-8 Mr. David Wilens, Trustee
No 9th period
Superintendent, Dr. Freddie D. Smith
8 School Board Meeting Library 8 p.m.
10 “Coffee with the Superintendent”
Cafeteria 7 p.m.
PTA General Meeting Cafeteria 8 p.m.
11 Foundation Meeting Teachers Lounge 8 p.m. ACHIEVEMENT
World Trade Center Anniversary
17 Primary and Intermediate Open House 7 p.m. DIRECTION
18 Briarcliff High School Back-to-School Night 7 p.m.
22 School Board Meeting Library 8 p.m.
For more information, please visit our website:
23 First Day of Pre-K
After-School Program (ASP) begins for Pre-K
Middle School Open House 7 p.m.
24 PTA Truck Day (Pre-K – 3)
Pleasantville High School Back to School Night 7 p.m.
25 Sleepy Hollow High School Back to School
Night 7:30 p.m.
7th & 8th Grade Retreat
26 No 9th Period
7th & 8th Grade Returns from Retreat
29 ROSH HASHANAH Begins at Sundown
30 ROSH HASHANAH – School Closed