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.
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.”
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Surrounding Principal Kate Palumbo are essay writers Catherine Lawrence and Justin Vreeland. Both of them spoke at the June 21 Moving Up Exercises at the middle school.
Did parents influence Mrs. Polumbo? After welcoming the guests at the Wednesday night moving up ceremony, the middle school principal addressed the eighth-graders. “You’re leaving us taller, funnier and smarter than when you entered,” she said.
She advised the students to be “humble and kind,” and to “clean their rooms” — which got a laugh of appreciation from the fathers and mothers in the audience.
There were other light moments on Wednesday night. Superintendent of Schools Neal Miller offered a humorous look at his junior high school days. In seventh and eighth-grades, he wore a collared shirt and a short sleeve sweater every day. He felt self-conscious without them.
Quinn Skinner attended the Cornwall-on-Hudson Elementary School’s production of “Annie, Jr.” and was inspired to organize a service project to help local foster children.
Quinn, a first grader in the village school, didn’t know what an orphan was, so she started asking questions. The answers convinced Quinn she wanted to help.
“I felt sad that foster children don’t have a mommy or a daddy or a home,” Quinn wrote in a letter requesting donations. “Foster children usually only have a garbage bag to carry all their things. But we can change that if we help them.”
First she wanted to invite them over to dinner and have a sleepover, said Quinn’s mother, Mikki, but they decided to use the internet to find more feasible ways to lend a hand. Through Google, they came across some foster agencies which led them to the organization Together we Rise and the idea to put together duffel bags.
Over the last month, Master Gardeners from the Cornell Cooperative Extention have been meeting with the third grade classes, at Cornwall Elementary School, and assisting them in the garden adjacent to the school.
The third graders at Cornwall Elementary School got a little bit of a late start, but they should still be able to sample the produce they planted in their garden before the school year ends.
Last month, Master Gardeners from Cornell Cooperative Extension met with each of the five third grade classes to help them plant lettuce, radishes, and spinach. They were du to return for two more sessions – one toward the end of May and another in June.