Local Firefighters Teach Golden Rules of Fire Safety

Students at Increase Miller Elementary School recently put aside their notebooks and pencils and instead took up hoses, nozzles and other firefighting apparatus. Local fire engines became their classrooms and members of the Golden’s Bridge Fire Department stepped in as guest teachers to give a very important lesson in fire safety and prevention.

Throughout the school day, students in grades K-3 headed to gleaming fire engines parked at the school’s front entrance, where the department’s volunteer firefighters provided interactive demonstrations and lessons in fire safety. Students were captivated by Fire Rescue Lt. Jordan Miller, whose demonstration of breathing apparatus while fully garbed in more than 100 pounds of protective gear made him look more like a space traveler than a firefighter.

The inquisitive students climbed into the engines, imagining what it would be like to be a firefighter. Midway through one session, students of a third-grade class got to witness the firefighters abruptly dash off in the engine in response to a real emergency call.

“Fire safety and prevention is serious business, which is why we spend time every year with students at Increase Miller Elementary School,” said Mike Melillo, president of the Golden’s Bridge FD. “Awareness and education are an important part of prevention and safety for adults and children. We encourage the students to discuss with their parents what they learned about fire safety.”
Second-grade teacher Lisa Alvord said both students and staff members look forward to Fire Safety Day at IMES. “When the children go outside, they are enamored with the fire trucks, equipment and gear,” she said. “By the end of the presentation, they have learned about the genuine significance of fire safety and the important role of the Golden's Bridge Fire Department in our community. The students return to their classrooms and discuss how vital fire safety is at school, and hopefully they continue the discussion at home with their families. We value what the fire department does and thank them for their dedication to the students and staff.”

IMES Assistant Principal Andrew Galotti said, “We feel that it is important to set aside time for our students to visit the firefighters and fire trucks. Although it is a fun activity for the students, they are also learning about fire safety.”

At the end of each session, members of the Golden’s Bridge FD provided students with activity books, rulers and other items to remind them of the importance of fire safety. Firefighters also left them with these tips:

* Talk to your parents about an escape plan.

* Get outside as quickly as possible.

* You will breathe less smoke by dropping to the floor, staying low and crawling to the exit.

* Have a meeting place – like a neighbor’s front porch or another nearby spot a safe distance from your house – so that emergency responders will know that everyone is safely out of the house.

* Once you’re outside, do not go back into the house for anything – even pets or a favorite toy; toys are replaceable and the firefighters may be able to help rescue pets that are still inside.

* If you can’t get out right away – for example, if fire or smoke is blocking an escape route – yell for help by an open window or call 911 if you have a phone with you.

* Never hide under a bed or in a closet because firefighters will have a hard time finding you.

Volunteers Create a ‘Golden Road’ at JJHS

John Jay High School students volunteered their time over the weekend to work alongside Lewisboro Garden Club members in planting more than 4,000 daffodils. Principal Jessica Godin and teachers Dr. Linda Burke and Paul Saloom also pitched in.

The flowers, planted at the entrance to the school campus, are anticipated to offer a vibrant welcome to the campus when they bloom this April.

“Thank you all so much for all your hard work,” said George Scott, chair of the Garden Club’s Golden Roads.

The JJHS activity is part of an effort to beautify the town and has resulted in almost 30,000 daffodils planted around Lewisboro to date.

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Lyons Inducted into John Jay Hall of Fame

Ron Lyons was inducted into the John Jay High School Athletic Hall of Fame at halftime of the John Jay vs. Yorktown football game on Oct. 17.
Lyons’ career in education has spanned more than three decades. From 1962-1995, he worked at John Jay HS as a physical education teacher, driver’s education teacher, coach and director of athletics.

As a football coach, Lyons led his teams to 109 wins to just 20 defeats and a John Jay record of 35 consecutive wins, while capturing two bowl championships, 11 league titles and Coach of the Year honors. As a baseball coach, Lyons compiled 92 wins, secured two Sectional Crowns and was named Coach of the Year on three separate occasions. 

As the John Jay athletic director for 21 years, Lyons championed the institution of the women’s athletic program and served as the Section One Conference president for 11 years and as the Section One chairperson for football, basketball, lacrosse and wrestling.  After retiring in 1995, Lyons continued to serve Section One as the Conference One secretary until 2013.

Lyons is the founder of the John Jay Boosters Club, which continues to support our athletic programs today.

He was inducted into the Westchester County Sports Hall of Fame and recognized as the New York State Athletic Administrator of the Year for Chapter One in 1990.

The John Jay Athletic Department thanks Lyons for touching so many students’ lives throughout his career, many of whom were in attendance for his induction. Congratulations to Ron Lyons on being inducted into the John Jay High School Athletic Hall of Fame!

IDF Soldiers Visit JJHS

Since 2006, Tzahal Shalom of Northern Westchester has invited active-duty combat officers from the Israel Defense Forces to stay with host families around the community for 10 days.

During their stay, the soldiers sightsee around the area and interact with community members of all ages and interests. As part of their visit this year, the soldiers visited John Jay High School’s Modern American Culture classes on Oct. 24.

“The students and soldiers exchanged cultural experiences around school, favorite pastimes, sights to see and, of course, food!” said JJHS Assistant Principal Kim Piccolino. “It was a wonderful experience for all.”

Paralympic Skier Gives Lesson in Resilience

Chris Waddell was a competitive skier at Middlebury College when an accident on the slopes left him paralyzed from the waist down.

Decades later, Waddell has done the impossible. In addition to winning 12 Paralympic medals over four games, he became the first paraplegic to reach the top of Mt. Kilimanjaro unassisted in 2009.

Thanks to the efforts of the Katonah Elementary School PTO, Waddell gave an inspiring presentation at KES, bringing to life the school’s word of the month – “resilience.”

He encouraged students to think about the “name tags” they wear – “student,” “athlete,” etc. – and repeated his mantra, “It’s not what happens to you. It’s what you do with what happens to you.”

“Sometimes,” said Waddell, “these name tags come with limitations.”

Despite being labeled a paraplegic, Waddell has been recognized by the Dalai Lama and numerous publications, and was even named one of People Magazine’s “Most Beautiful” in 1998, a decade after his accident. He continues to travel around the world as a motivational speaker.

Waddell gave each student a card to thoughtfully fill out with their own name tags and expectations for themselves each day.

“It’s not what happens to you,” students echoed at the end of Waddell’s presentation. “It’s what you do with what happens to you.”

New Addition at JJHS Slows Traffic, Increases Safety

One of the first actions new John Jay High School Principal Jessica Godin took this year was to install two speed bumps on the campus.

“The speed bumps were in the works for several years,” she explained. “We identified a safety concern with cars driving too fast through the front circle.”

With the help of Director of Facilities Paul Christensen and his team, optimal spots for the speed bumps were identified near the entrance and exit to the school grounds.

The campus has a posted speed limit of 15 miles per hour, and the speed bumps, installed at the end of September, are already making a difference.

“We have received a lot of compliments from staff and parents already,” said Assistant Principal Antonio Ramos. “It has been all positive feedback from people who appreciate that the speed bumps were installed.”

Added Godin, “This has created a safer environment for our students, parents and staff members.”

Football Goes Pink for Breast Cancer Awareness

John Jay High School’s football team isn’t afraid to rock pink. The team has been wearing “John Jay Football Tackles Breast Cancer” shirts during Breast Cancer Awareness Month, sporting the team motto “As One” on the back.

“We thought it would be a good idea to get shirts to bring awareness to this terrible disease,” explained head coach James Clark. “Many of them do unfortunately have to deal with the reality of breast cancer at some point in their lives.”

Lynn Lee, whose son Ryan Lee is a captain and quarterback for the team, helped coordinate the team’s effort, along with a fundraiser during this month’s home game vs. Beacon High School.

“The Booster Club partnered with the football team for the event, donating 20 percent of the gate that night,” said Lee. “The Boosters also sold pink rally towels to our fans, with proceeds going to the cause.” As a result, the team raised $300 for Susan G. Komen.

“Our boys really respect this event,” said Lee. “If you come to a game in October, you can see that they all wear pink in support – towels, socks, armbands, etc.” The effort has been fully embraced by the team, Coach Clark said, with the players proudly wearing their pink shirts and accessories.

This Friday, the team will continue to wear pink at its final home game of the regular season (also Senior Day) vs. Yorktown High School at 7 p.m.

“Besides the towels that we will sell again, we will also have a donation jar at the merchandise table,” said Lee. “Any monetary donation above $10 gets a free Breast Cancer Awareness hat while supplies last.”

Introducing a Real-World Learning Experience for Seniors

A chance to dream. A chance to explore. A chance to do something new and exciting as they take their first steps into adulthood.

New this year, John Jay High School seniors will have the option to apply for the Senior Independent Experience, an opportunity to take learning off-campus at the end of their high school career.

The Senior Independent Experience has been imagined from the ground up by school administrators, faculty members and consultants, along with input from a staff, student and parent site-based committee. School officials have also reached out to area high schools that offer similar programs to soon-to-be graduates.

Students who apply for and are accepted into this year’s program can opt to spend a significant amount of time in the last 4-6 weeks of school off-campus pursuing an internship-like opportunity at a business or organization of his or her choice, gaining real-world professional experience; or complete a capstone project on- campus. The Senior Independent Experience will work with a pass/fail result, to be decided by a teacher that has the program worked into the curriculum (Humanities Research, Modern American Culture, Studies in Environmental Science or English 21-12), or an alternate staff advisor who will guide the student throughout the process.

According to school counselor Lucy Liberatore, who along with English teacher Marguerite Hefferon is building the program, several area businesses and organizations have already expressed interest in offering opportunities to John Jay students this spring, including Northern Westchester Hospital and the Katonah Museum of Art. Students will be encouraged to take personal initiative to discover, build and execute their individual experiences, taking responsibility for their own learning, beginning shortly after midterms in January.

While the Senior Independent Experience is a new initiative, Liberatore and Hefferon are already receiving positive feedback from students, parents and business owners about its potential.

Katonah-Lewisboro School District Board of Education Seeks Committee Members

Candidate Submissions for the Lewisboro Elementary School Utilization Committee due October 24. 

The Board of Education of the Katonah-Lewisboro School District is inviting community members to serve on the Lewisboro Elementary School Utilization Committee.  Those interested in participating must send a letter of interest and resume to the District Clerk by Friday, October 24, 2014.

The role and purpose of the Lewisboro Elementary School Utilization Committee is to investigate financial, legal, zoning and infrastructure possibilities/limitations associated with the potential leasing of Lewisboro Elementary School.  The Committee will develop a plan for the LES facility which serves both the financial and social interests of the community and will pursue and secure potential tenants.  

The Committee will meet monthly during the day (Tuesdays, 9:30 a.m. – 11:30 a.m.) and will ultimately make recommendations to the Board of Education for action.  

Community members interested in participating in any of the above committees must submit a letter of interest and resume by Friday, October 24, 2014 to District Clerk Kimberly A. Monzon, kmonzon@klschools.org or by mail to Ms. Monzon, Katonah-Lewisboro Union Free School District, P.O. Box 387, Katonah, New York 10536.

Sun Shines Down on KES Walk to School Day


Katonah Elementary School students traveled by bike, scooter and on foot to get to school on Oct. 8 in recognition of International Walk to School Day.

KES Assistant Principal Terence Costin said rain had been in the forecast, but the skies miraculously opened up in time for KES students to safely travel to school on foot, along with schoolchildren across the globe who also took part in the annual tradition.

“Thank you for joining millions of kids across the world for International Walk to School Day,” Costin said to students.

KES is the sole school in the district that participates in Safe Routes to School, an initiative that dates several years back.

“We have a neighborhood school that lends itself well to walking and riding,” Costin said.

In 2010, the district invited a consultant to the school to examine the walkability of the area. With the help of town leadership, striping and sidewalks were soon being added to the neighborhood to make it a safer place for walkers and bikers.

“We are very fortunate to be part of a community that has the vision and resources to help us,” Costin said. “The town has been extremely responsive.”

In addition to live music at the plaza, students received pencils, stickers and snacks before heading inside to school for the day. Also making a special appearance was school mascot Buddy the Bulldog, who danced with, hugged and posed for photos with students and their families.

The PTO, which helped coordinate the day’s efforts, continues to promote safe walking and bike-riding habits through literature on its website and correspondence with KES families.


Meadow Pond Students Enjoy Fall Bounty

Meadow Pond Elementary School students spent one of the first days of fall out in the garden harvesting vegetables for the school’s annual Soup Day.

The outdoor experience offered students a hands-on lesson on how their food is made as they took an active role in its cultivation and preparation.  

“The Garden Club plants the seeds in the spring,” said Keli Mazzoni, a Meadow Pond third-grade teacher. “Each class then plants those seedlings or directly sows seeds in the garden.”

Volunteers help maintain the garden over the summer, and many pitch in to help prepare the vegetables.

“Each class harvests something from the garden and prepares it for soup,” Mazzoni explained, “whether it be peeling the carrots, cutting the butternut squash or tearing Swiss chard.”

After careful preparation, the soup is cooked all day before being reheated in time for Soup Day.

“It was so delicious,” Mazzoni said of this year’s final product. “Many kids came back for seconds and thirds!”

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