Orange County helping victims of hurricanes

Contributed photo Sen. Bill Larkin (foreground) adds a carton of water to the KFM trailer that is filled with supplies for the residents of Puerto Rico.

Contributed photo
Sen. Bill Larkin (foreground) adds a carton of water to the KFM trailer that is filled with supplies for the residents of Puerto Rico.

Cornwall: Both Hurricanes Harvey and Maria packed quite a punch this summer, leaving devastation in Texas and Puerto Rico. As citizens continue to repair their broken lives, Orange County has been collecting donations to help the victims. That generosity has spread to Cornwall, as well as the school district.

Hurricane Harvey struck Texas on Aug. 25 and lingered for five days. The Category 4 storm brought winds upwards of 130 miles per hour, leading to widespread destruction of homes and buildings.

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Graduates take a trip back in time

Cornwall-on-Hudson Elementary School Principal Darren Corsetti (third from left) recently gave a tour of the building to members of the class of 1957 and their spouses. This class was the last to graduate from the facility when it was still a high school. The tour marked the first time they had returned since graduation.

Cornwall-on-Hudson Elementary School Principal Darren Corsetti (third from left) recently gave a tour of the building to members of the class of 1957 and their spouses. This class was the last to graduate from the facility when it was still a high school. The tour marked the first time they had returned since graduation.

On Sept. 16, six members  of the class of 1957, and their spouses, returned to Cornwall-on-Hudson School for the first time since graduation. The building housed Grades 1-12 until after their senior year.

A year ago, elementary school principal Darren Corsetti was approached by Joyce Gibbons, the mother of one of his classmates. She mentioned having graduated from the village school  and Corsetti invited her on a guided tour anytime she wanted. The 60th class reunion seemed like the perfect opportunity.

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Local student is most valuable debater

Contributed photo Pierce Pramuka holds up the  Most Valuable Debater plaque and the certificate he received after a week at Cornell University.

Contributed photo
Pierce Pramuka holds up the Most Valuable Debater plaque and the certificate he received after a week at Cornell University.

Picture this! You’re 15 years old and you’re spending a week at Cornell University with students from around the world. Each day, after listening to a lecture, you’re given a proposition and told whether you will argue for or against it. Your speech must be five minutes long. If it’s shorter or longer, your team loses points.

It sounds intimidating, but Pierce Pramuka handled the pressure successfully. At the end of the week, he received a plaque as the program’s Most Valuable Debater.

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Abilities First opens first school in Orange County

Adrienne Miller converses with a student by trying to get him to open up about how he’s feeling. Abilities First School opened a temporary location in Cornwall-on-Hudson. A new facility will open in New Windsor next year.

Adrienne Miller converses with a student by trying to get him to open up about how he’s feeling. Abilities First School is using a temporary location in Cornwall-on-Hudson. A new facility will open in New Windsor next year.

On Sept. 6, Abilities First School opened its doors in Cornwall-on-Hudson. The school, which provides programs and services for students with intellectual and developmental disabilities, will temporarily occupy the former St. Thomas of Canterbury School while a more permanent facility is constructed in the old Devitt’s Medical Arts Building on Windsor Highway in New Windsor.

With locations in LaGrange and Red Hook, this will be the school’s first in Orange County. The impact is already being felt as some parents have moved their child to the new facility to keep them closer to home.

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NYMA starts early with more students

Contributed photo Cadets and faculty members gathered on the steps of the Administrative Building before the Aug. 27 Convocation. Returning cadets are in uniform; newcomers are wearing shorts and T-shirts. Some students had not yet arrived at the school.

Contributed photo
Cadets and faculty members gathered on the steps of the Administrative Building before the Aug. 27 Convocation. Returning cadets are in uniform; newcomers are wearing shorts and T-shirts. Some students had yet to arrive at the school.

Summer ended early at NYMA. Classes started on Aug. 28 so that cadets could get an extra week of instruction.

“We opened with 56 registrations,” Superintendent Jie Zhang reported at the end of the first day of school. “A few students have not arrived; a few are waiting for visas. Some students who applied for visas were rejected, but they’re trying again.”

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Cast overcomes ‘Addams Family’ gloom

Director T.J. Larke stands in to rehearse a scene with Raymond Capuzzi. Capuzzi, who plays Pugsley in “The Addams Family,” enjoyed being tortured on the rack.

Director T.J. Larke stands in to rehearse a scene with Raymond Capuzzi. Capuzzi, who plays Pugsley in “The Addams Family,” enjoyed being tortured on the rack.

The Addams family is described as creepy, kooky, mysterious, and spooky, so it only seems appropriate for the Step it up Summer Stage production of the musical comedy to have been met with doom and gloom since the beginning of the two-week program.

Benjamin Kohn was originally slated to serve as musical director for the 5 to 18-year-old thespians. Unfortunately, director Karen Eremin explained, Kohn was in a car accident the Thursday before auditions. He injured his wrists and suffered a concussion rendering him unable to perform his duties.

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‘Beauty and the Beast, Jr.’ on Friday

Quinn Andrews, Patty Pettus, Leah Boucher, Ariel Yarmus, Alex Raposo rehearse a scene in “Beauty and the Beast, Jr.”

Quinn Andrews, Patty Pettus, Leah Boucher, Ariel Yarmus, Alex Raposo rehearse a scene in “Beauty and the Beast, Jr.”

With “Beauty and the Beast’s” success on Broadway and the cinematic release earlier this year, it only made sense for Riverlight Theatre Arts  to choose the fairy tale for its summer performance. It also helped to have the guidance of musical director Sean Pallatroni, who worked on the original Broadway show.

There will be two performances of the play on Friday, at 5:30 and 7 p.m. in the Cornwall Middle School auditorium.

The program, which caters to students ages 6 to 16, is funded by the Cornwall Middle School PTO. This summer’s show will see 35 performers grace the stage, a larger number than in years past.

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Olivia Perez’s anti-hate essay wins top prize

Olivia Perez

Olivia Perez

Students in grades 10 to 12, throughout Orange County, were eligible to enter the third annual Stop Hate essay contest, sponsored by the Jewish Federation of Greater Orange County, the Newburgh Ministry, Inc., and the Orange County Human Rights Commission. Of all the participants, Cornwall High School sophomore Olivia Perez was declared the winner.

“Winning the contest is very overwhelming because I was one essay out of so many in all of Orange County,” Perez said. “The fact I won really showed me if I put my heart to it, I can do it. I felt proud to be from Cornwall and be able to do that.”

The purpose of the contest is to promote tolerance and understanding through education. This year’s topic focused on the issue of refugees, by comparing the plight of Syrian refugees with that of Jews just before the Holocaust of World War II.

English teacher Kelly Robinson-Finn told her students about the essay contest at the end of March. Perez was one of Robinson-Finn’s advanced students who opted to enter.

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Third Gagnon wins Sands Award

Kathryn Gagnon is the third sibling to receive the Sands Award for the highest grade point average among graduating eighth graders.

Kathryn Gagnon is the third sibling to receive the Sands Award for the highest grade point average among graduating eighth graders.

Cornwall Middle School might want to think about changing the name of the Sands Award to the Gagnon Award.

To date, three of the six siblings who have graduated from eighth grade, have received the award for highest grade point average in their class. The latest recipient is Kathryn. She follows her sister, Megan, who received the award in 2011, and her brother, Jonathan, who earned it last year.

“I was really happy,” Gagnon said when she heard her name announced at the moving up ceremony last week. “I couldn’t stop smiling. It was just amazing to walk up on stage and receive that applause.”

Gagnon wasn’t aware she’d be receiving the award until that night, but it was something she’s been working toward.

Throughout the year, Gagnon knew she had a high grade point average, but so did her friends. Her average after three quarters was a 99 or 100.

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Portable planetarium landed in COH

Before entering the Star Lab, Lisa DiMarzo discusses the various constellations that can be seen in the night sky.

Before entering the Star Lab, Lisa DiMarzo discusses the various constellations that can be seen in the night sky.

Before the school year ended, students in Cornwall-on-Hudson Elementary school received a special visit. Lisa DiMarzo, founder of Impact Education, brought her portable planetarium and treated the kids to a sky show, in the gymnasium.

The Star Lab is a 20-foot wide inflated planetarium with a dome that allows those inside to see the stars and constellations. Using a projector, DiMarzo is able to show the exact position of the stars on any given day. She can put the stars in motion to show their nightly progression from east to west.

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