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As you may be aware, the New York State Department of Health (NYDOH), provided updated guidance on international and domestic
travel and in-person instruction over this past weekend. Over the next 48 hours, we will be working with the Westchester County Department of Health (WDOH), our district physician, and District Reentry Team (DRT) to review this guidance and ensure that any necessary changes are implemented effectively and communicated to families, faculty, and staff.
As we have previously shared, the District, in partnership with the Westchester Department of Health, will be providing a COVID rapid testing clinic to any students or staff who wish to receive a test. Our next testing date is April 14th, as of the release of this letter, there are still testing appointments available. If you would like to make an appointment for your child (or yourself if you are a staff member). Please follow this COVID Testing Link to make an appointment.Please arrive 5 to 10 minutes early to complete your sign-in process. You can fill out the consent form in order to speed along the process.
We are excited to offer a second in a series of webinars highlighting student mental health presented by Dr. Rappleyea; this one entitled Mental Health, Covid-19 and the Impact on Children With Special Needs. Will be presented on Wednesday April 14, 2021 at 7 PM via the link shared above. You can review the recording of the first event here: Youth Mental Health During the Pandemic.
Have a good evening.
Brendan Lyons, Ed.D.
Since eighth grade, when Kristen Cinquina got called up to the Walter Panas High School girls varsity basketball team, she has wanted to reach an elusive milestone: scoring 1,000 points.
Along the way, there were obstacles that could have prevented her from reaching that goal. She suffered anxiety that sometimes left her trembling on the bench and feeling so nervous she did not want to play. And as Kristen began her senior year with about 900 career points this year, she was unsure if her final season would even happen because of the coronavirus pandemic.
But Thursday night was her night, as the Panthers faced North Salem at home. Going into the game with 989 total points, Kristen quickly scored 10 more. Then, with an assist from Lindsay Kagan in the second quarter, she sank a layup and made history. The 18-year-old point guard/shooting guard from Cortlandt Manor became the sixth girl since 1978 to join the 1,000-point club at Walter Panas.
“Although I had confidence in myself that I could do it, it still felt surreal,” she said. “I couldn't believe that everything I’ve worked for finally paid off. It was such a great feeling that everything I had dreamed of was coming true in one night.”
“I was on top of the world,” she added.
Her teammates all ran to hug her and it began to sink in.
“It kind of all came at once, the feeling that had built up over the past five years of me really wanting to accomplish this goal,” said Kristen, one of three co-captains. “I was like, ‘Ok, I did it.’ I was proud of myself. My parents were there too, so that made it 1,000 times better. My teammates were so supportive. Everyone who was there made the night feel really special. It was an amazing feeling.”
Coach Matt Evangelista said: “The team cheered her on and is very proud of her accomplishments, but we are also impressed by her character as a person, teammate and leader.”
Kristen feels gratified that she was able to push herself and keep playing through her anxiety, which affected her the most from seventh to 10th grades.
“The fact that I didn’t let it stop me from playing and accomplishing my goal, that’s the thing that makes me proud of myself,” she said. “I feel like I beat the anxiety and beat everything that was trying to hold me back.”
On reaching 1,000 points, Kristen credits her coaches and teammates who have pushed her and given her the opportunity to shine. “I had a lot of people supporting me through the whole process.”
But she also worked extremely hard, attending basketball camps and clinics and practicing every day in the offseason outside in her driveway. “Since fourth grade when I started playing, my life has revolved around basketball,” she said.
“I was putting in the work to make sure I was going to become a better player so I can put it on the court and win our games and accomplish my goal.”
Scoring her 1,000-point played out just as she had imagined.
“Everyone came together and made it a night to remember,” Kristen said. “I’m glad it all happened. I’m very grateful for everything.”
Lakeland High School
Walter Panas High School
National Foreign Language Week kicks off next week, and students throughout the Lakeland Central School District will be celebrating the Spanish and Italian languages. For the first time, fifth grade students in the district can participate as well.
“The World Language department is excited to celebrate National Foreign Language Week,” said Kelly Rampolla, who teaches sixth and eighth grade Spanish and is the district’s World Languages Coordinator.
“We have many fun, cultural activities planned in our middle school and high school buildings that students can participate in, regardless of whether they are learning in person or remotely,” she added. “We are also excited to invite fifth grade students to participate this year.”
The week, an event held annually around the nation since 1957, helps make students aware of the need for world language study.
“Learning another language is a real world skill that students can utilize to communicate and connect with people around the world,” Mrs. Rampolla said. “A new language can open the door to new places a student has never seen before. It can also open their minds to new cultures, customs and traditions.”
The theme for this year’s week is Open Your Mind to Language.
At Lakeland Copper Beech Middle School, some teachers are having their students participate with a digital activity board. The board will offer activities students can do on their own, like preparing a simple recipe from another country, singing a song in another language, or creating the flag of another country as a craft project. Some teachers are using the website Blooket to play games to learn about how to say “hello” around the world. Other teachers are participating in a contest called, “La locura de marzo.” Students listen to songs in Spanish and vote for their favorite one, and the song with the most votes moves on until there is a winner.
At Walter Panas High School, students can also create a digital poster project, writing and gathering images to reflect on this year’s theme and express what studying a world language means to them.
At Lakeland High School, Spanish students will be creating flags from different countries and researching important information about the country they have chosen. Also, some students will be studying famous Spanish poets. They will read and analyze poems written by Federico Garcia Lorca and Juan Ramon Jimenez. Italian students will learn about the cuisine of Italy, beyond pizza and pasta, by watching the “Stanley Tucci: Searching for Italy.”
The Italian teachers at Lakeland High School and Walter Panas will be combining National Foreign Language Week and Women's History Month by listening to recent Grammy winner Laura Pausini and her song "Io Si” from “The Life Ahead” movie soundtrack. The song talks about how many women feel they are unseen, but the singer encourages women that she sees them. Students will be encouraged to recognize important women in their lives and to let them know they are seen.
Thanks to the Spanish and Italian Honors societies at Walter Panas, fifth grade students at all of the elementary schools are invited to participate this year through the Enrichment Google Classroom. Fifth graders will have the option to complete the digital poster activity.
“We hope many students in all of our schools will join us in celebrating this very important week,” Mrs. Rampolla said.
The Rebels Men's Varsity Swim Team finished sixth at last week’s Sectional Meet, with several swimmers setting team records and qualifying for States.
A major event was the 200 Freestyle Relay. The Rebels came in first in the section, broke a team record and qualified for States. The team was made up of Jack Pagel, Alex Gorzula, Steven Macaluso and Gabe Rzezwicki. With a record at 1:29.30, this is the first time the Rebels have sent a relay to States since 2009.
“Congratulations to all of our swimmers,” coach Patrick Connolly. “This was a phenomenal meet. It was one of best Sectional Meets this team has ever had.”
- The 200 Medley Relay, comprising Will Fagan, Jason Manse, Steven Macaluso and Anthony Esposito, finished in 12th place with a time of 1:48.54.
- In the 200 Freestyle, Gabe Rzezwicki finished fifth with a time of 1:49.11. During Sectional prelims, Gabe qualified for States and broke the team record in the 200 Freestyle with a time of 1:46.63.
- In the 200 Individual Medley, three swimmers competed: Will Fagan, Alex Gorzula and Jack Pagel. Jack Pagel finished 12th with a time of 2:03.60, Will finished seventh with a time of 2:02.47, which broke the previous record, and Alex Gorzula finished fifth with a time of 2:00.95, a new team record.
- In the 100 Butterfly, Steven Macaluso finished in eighth place and qualified for States with a time of 53.82.
- In the 100 Freestyle, Jack Pagel finished in 11th with a time of 50.14 and Gabe Rzezwicki qualified for States, finished third overall and broke the team record with a time of 48.89.
- In the 500 Freestyle Will Fagan finished in fifth place with a time of 4:54.28 (breaking the team record) and Alex Gorzula finished in fourth place with a time of 4:53.78, which set a new team record.
Swimmers from Walter Panas High School, Lakeland High School and Putnam Valley High School swim for the Rebels. The swimmers who were part of the Sectionals Team are: Remy Eppner (PVHS), Anthony Esposito (PVHS), William Fagan (LHS), Michael Garofalo (PVHS), Alexander Gorzula (LHS), Steven Macaluso (LHS), Jason Manse (LHS), Jack Pagel (WPHS), Gabriel Rzezwicki (PVHS), and Ronan White (LCBMS).
“Congratulations to the Rebels on a great season,” Connolly said.
Back in 2005, the Lakeland Westchester Classic Debate Tournament drew about 100 competitors. The event has grown over the years, attracting about 740 students last year from points near and far, including California and Taiwan.
But this year, with the tournament shifting to a virtual format due to the coronavirus pandemic, the event has swelled even further. Over the weekend, 1,008 middle and high school students logged on from home to debate the issues of the day and there were another approximately 600 people serving as judges, tournament staff and observers.
The tournament welcomed students for the first time from the Dominican Republic as well as from schools in Georgia, Illinois, Kansas, Louisiana, Nebraska, Nevada, New Hampshire, North Carolina, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Texas, and Washington state. In all, students came from 123 schools from 20 states, Canada, the Dominican Republic and Taiwan.
“It was an amazing weekend,” said Stefan Bauschard, the Lakeland District Debate Team coach. “We were thrilled we were able to host so many students doing what they love. The kids were really excited and really enjoyed the experience.”
Students met in virtual debate rooms, along with judges and observers. There were 1,699 debates that spanned 56,864 minutes, or about 947 hours.
Students debated criminal justice reform, the pros and cons of West African urbanization, lethal autonomous weapons, human cloning, mandatory vaccines, Green New Deal and standardized testing.
“Having more students from around the nation and world brings more perspectives to the issues being debated and makes for richer debates,” Mr. Bauschard said. “The tournament is incredibly diverse.”
Division winners include Brooklyn Technical High School (NY), Foothill High School (CA), Golden State Academy (CA), Lexington High School (MA), In-Tech Academy (NY), Mamaroneck High School (NY), Newark Science (NJ), North Broward High School (FL), Poly Prep Country Day (NY), Stuyvesant High School (NY).
About 20 members of the Lakeland District Debate Team, comprised of students at Lakeland High School and Walter Panas High School, helped run the event and judged middle school events. The event, held on a competition platform developed by Walter Panas alum Priten Shah, went smoothly.
“Everything ran really well and on time,” Mr. Bauschard said. “Everybody was very happy with the experience.”