Tiger Tracks Special edition: 2016 "Senior standouts"

CONGRATULATIONS, MAMARONECK HIGH SCHOOL CLASS OF 2016!! In this special edition of Tiger Tracks, we give you a glimpse into our graduating class by featuring a small sampling of the 361 students who graduated last month from Mamaroneck High School. You may recall that this is a tradition. From year to year, we feature ten students -- including our valedictorian and salutatorian -- who are selected to represent a range of diverse experiences and accomplishments at the high school. From the many academic successes to the performing arts and musical accomplishments, to athletic achievements, this year’s Class of 2016 was an extraordinary one….We hope you enjoy reading about each of the students highlighted here and ask that you join us in saluting the entire Mamaroneck High School Class of 2016!

Steven Rome -- Valedictorian This year’s Valedictorian, Steven Rome, is an intellect in the true sense of the word, but those who know him also consider him to be a humble, kind, hardworking and sincere individual. He possesses a rare intellectual curiosity and truly enjoys learning for the sake of learning. “MHS is such a special place--there is so much going on here, so many different ways to get involved and to explore your passions,” Steven said. “I feel so lucky to live in a community that is this supportive of education, and to attend a school with so many inspiring teachers and students.” As co-Editor-in-Chief of the Globe for the past couple years (and involved with the paper for all four of his years at MHS), Steven sought to integrate new ideas and innovations into the paper through both content and visual design. He was so excited and enthusiastic about each issue and moved the Globe forward. Steven said working on The Globe was probably the most memorable and rewarding part of his high school experience. “ It gave me a voice and connected me with the larger school community. It showed me the impact hard work and collaboration can have,” he said. During his time at MHS, Steven also was a member of Model Congress and the Sports Management Club for all four years. Additionally, he was a contributor to Calliope, MHS’s literary magazine. Throughout his four years, Steven took Art as his elective, enjoying Drawing & Painting courses for three years and then taking the new Studio Design class this year. “We truly have such a special Art program here at MHS. I am not a natural in art, but I learned so much and improved significantly,” he said. Of all his high school experiences, Steven says the New Hampshire Primary trip through the AP Government and Politics/Journalism classes was one of the main highlights. “The trip was life-changing. It demonstrated to me what you can accomplish if you think big and never give up. I met multiple presidential candidates and gained a new understanding and appreciation of our political system,” Steven said. “Mr. Liberti's passion for his field is really inspiring, and I will forever be grateful for his months-long effort to organize the New Hampshire primary trip.” Outside of school, Steven had a weekly job as a teacher’s assistant at Sunday school, where he demonstrated his patience and love for kids. Although he never was a part of a school athletic team, Steven says sports have played a big role in his life. He participated in recreational sports throughout his high school years, worked as an umpire for LMLL (Little League), and announced a few high school games on LMC-TV. Steven will attend Yale University this fall. He is undecided on a major, but looks forward to the journey and will likely lean towards the humanities, “English, history, or maybe political science,” he says.

Olivia Pollack -- Salutatorian Olivia Pollack, this year’s Salutatorian, credits MHS for inspiring her to become a lifelong learner. “MHS has exposed me to many areas of study, and college surely will expose me to even more. I leave MHS with great excitement about all the learning that awaits me in college and beyond,” she said. Olivia’s innate work ethic, aptitude, and love for all academic subjects were evident during her entire four years at MHS. AP Chemistry with Mr. Seck and AP U.S. History with Mr. Goldberg were two of her favorite classes, and she attributes this to inspiring teachers as much as course content. Olivia said, “I will never forget Mr. Seck’s genuine interest in his students, his kind disposition, and his generosity with his time, all of which motivated me to learn.” In describing Mr. Goldberg, Olivia said, “He made the past come alive and helped me appreciate its relevance to present-day events.” Olivia also enjoyed her Honors Spanish courses at MHS and is once again grateful to her teachers. She said they left her fully capable of communicating in a foreign language “through a challenging curriculum and the requirement that we speak exclusively in Spanish while in class.” At the core of Olivia’s high school experience was her participation in the music program. Olivia started playing the viola in 3rd grade and hasn’t stopped since. She was a member of MHS’s Symphony Orchestra and Chamber Orchestra. Outside of MHS, she also studied and performed at the elite Hoff-Barthelson Music School and assisted in teaching violin and viola at a summer arts program there. A particularly meaningful experience for Olivia during high school was the work she did with the Chatsworth Tutoring Club, which she was co-president of this past year. “No matter how much of my own schoolwork awaited me on a given afternoon, I was always happy to assist the children at Chatsworth with their homework first. I enjoyed their refreshing outlook on the world and was gratified to see their academic progress over time,” she said. Olivia hopes to continue tutoring children in some capacity while in college. Olivia will attend Columbia University in the fall, where she will take further courses in the biological sciences and American studies. Although she will miss MHS, she can’t wait for the adventures that lie ahead.

Josh Diaz Josh Diaz has been in the Transition Academy program since he started Mamaroneck High School five years ago. During this time, Josh (self-admittedly) has become a fixture at MHS. “Everyone in this building knows who I am,” he said. “I always introduce myself and always have a smile on my face.” Meeting people and making friends (a special shout-out to Garrett) has been his favorite part about being at the high school. So when he walked across the stage at graduation, Josh said he had mixed emotions -- sad to leave his friends, but excited for his journey ahead. “Life goes on,” he said….and then hesitated for a moment. “And I’m moving on too.” Josh talks fondly about the Transition Academy’s shopping trips to Stop & Shop, where he and his fellow students would buy what they needed for lunch. Sometimes, as they walked back to the high school, their bags would break because they were too heavy; these were moments he will always remember. Or the bowling trips they took. Or the trip to the Bronx Zoo. Josh was thrilled to have opportunities recently to appear on MHS Info, the daily news show that broadcasts live out of the television studio located at Mamaroneck High School. (First, he was a “featured student” and then he made a cameo on the show a couple weeks ago.) This fits well with his hope to perhaps become a radio host some day or pursue becoming a singer. For several years in a row, Josh performed in the opening act of the PACE program’s Performing Arts Festival -- singing new pop songs. However, he said he decided to “lay low” with his music interest in high school. Josh said he enjoyed his Transition Academy experiences working at Plates restaurant in Larchmont and with the Sharing Shelf, a charity clothing drive. His work experience should come in handy this September when he begins job training with Access-VR (an organization in White Plains that helps people with disabilities get jobs). While at MHS, Josh says there are three people that had the biggest influence on him. First, Ms. O’Reilly. “She told me to be calm and flexible,” he said. Second, Mr. Apuzzi. “He taught me everything I need to know about music and how to be a good student.” And, finally, Assistant Principal Mr. Frasene. “He always gave me advice.” Josh plans to move to the city as soon as he can “make enough money and settle down.” He imagines loving the city life -- “going out on Friday nights to hear music, going to concerts and other fun stuff. I love the action. And, here you can’t get that action,” he said. “I enjoy city life,” Josh added. “It’s really happening for me.”

Jaqueline Bautista Jaque, who arrived to the United States from Mexico with her parents when she was three years old, is “one special lady,” says her guidance counselor Lainie Lichtenstein. “She is humorous, smart, giving, civic minded, culturally aware, and wise beyond her years,” Lichtenstein says. English teacher Waldina Pineda, who oversees the Mamaroneck Scholars program (which Jaqueline was a part of) says Jaque understands that her parents’ sacrifice has given her the greatest gift -- an education. “When faced with challenge, Jaque tackles, meets and exceeds expectations. Jaque is strong and resilient. She is a fighter, and she is passionate. She is full of hopes and dreams for herself and for the society we live in. Jaque has always used her education to empower herself and accepts all opportunities presented to her with humility. She has the foresight to understand how they will ultimately help her achieve her goals,” Pineda says. “Thanks to open enrollment, Jaque enrolled in several AP classes beginning in her junior year. Jaque graciously accepted support from the Mamaroneck Scholars Program, and she quickly became a leader in the group, encouraging fellow scholars to stay after school as long as possible to finish problem sets, outlines and essays. This leadership extended outside of the program and Jaque has really made a name for herself among her peers and the faculty.” Jaque’s rigorous course load her Junior and Senior years included classes such as AP American History, AP European History, AP Biology and AP Environmental Science, as well as Honors English and College Composition. Through her own dedication, coupled with teachers who believed in her, Jaque is unarguably a success story. She dreams of becoming a teacher one day and starting a non-profit organization that helps first-generation students like herself and underprivileged students through their college process. Jaque will begin the journey this fall to make this happen by attending City College of New York, where she will be dorming in the Towers. Among the influential teachers in Jaque’s life were Ms. Andrews, her regents chemistry teacher as a sophomore. “That class was not easy but she had a lot of patience with me as I struggled to understand the material. Her love for her job and dedication to her students made me feel valued, but above all she believed in me,” Jaque said. Ms.Groninger, her Honors English teacher as a Junior, "was among the first people who I spoke openly with about my identity as an undocumented Latina. Although I used to be scared to speak about my legal status in fear that I would be rejected, Ms.Groninger made it clear to me that there are people out there who appreciate you for everything that you have to offer as a person and who would care for you regardless of your flaws and vulnerabilities.” Ms.Pineda, Mamaroneck Scholars, “is my best friend, and as lame as that sounds, it couldn't be more true. She has seen me grow throughout high school not only as a student but as a person. I truly do not believe I would be where I am today without all her help. From reading my assignments to being there for me when I cry, Ms.Pineda has done everything that she can for me. She has pushed me as a student and has helped me reach my potential. She believes in me and hopes to see me go far in life. I hope to one day make her proud. She has been my go-to person for the last four years, and I will miss her very much,” Jaque said. As a freshman, Jaque participated in the Performing Arts Festival even though she was not part of the PACE program. She said she had lots of fun exploring the art of dance and participating in the festival, but learned that dancing was not for her. As a Junior, Jaque started a club called Cultural Call Out, where the group discussed issues that people of color would have to face in America. “I was nervous to present the idea because I was unsure how people would react to having open discussions about sensitive topics such as sexism, racism, colorism, etc,” she said. “However, the club was welcomed, and I was excited to have these discussions with people who would face theses issues and people who were willing to be exposed to the material.” According to Jaque, the most valuable advice she ever received in high school was that “Things get better. It’s hard to believe it when your going through such a difficult time in your life. It seems as if the world is crumbling under your feet, but it's important to stay strong and to keep moving forward,” she said. Jaque credits her social studies teacher Ms. Cronin for helping her to tackle something she initially thought she was capable of: taking an AP class. “Ms. Cronin pulled me aside one day and told me that she thought AP US History was the best option for me. I didn't tell her I thought she was wrong. I simply thanked her for her advice. She then reminded me every single day to make sure I got a spot in that AP class. So I finally signed up expecting to drop the class after the first few weeks,” Jaque said. It turns out she did very well in the class and has grown to really enjoy challenges. “I didn't think I was good enough,” she said. “But I have been reminded throughout my four years in high school that not only do people believe in you, but you need to be willing to give things a try. Sometimes you might even be surprised at the outcome.”

Jack Boyle Each year, when it comes time for this “Student Standout” issue, it’s typical that at least one of the students featured has been a participant in the PACE (Performing Arts Curriculum Experience) program. For Jack, his experiences with PACE have been at the center of all things Mamaroneck for him. In fact, up until 9th grade, Jack had attended private school….but from the moment he toured MHS, he fell in love with PACE and knew that is where he wanted to be. “My PACE teachers -- Mr. Moore, Ms. Parsley, and Mr. Derby -- have been amazing mentors to me,” Jack said. “I have learned so much from them about all three areas of the performing arts -- dance, music and theatre -- and enjoyed every single second working with them. PACE opened my eyes and made me see the arts differently. It exposed me to dance especially, and I never thought I would dance in my life. And I found a passion for directing as well.” From performing in the school musical, Anything Goes, to the PACE Fall Play, Caucasian Chalk Circle, and being Student Director for Shakespeare’s Much Ado About Nothing, Jack feels privileged to have worked with such talented fellow students. And students feel lucky to have worked with Jack. “The trust that all of our students have in Jack is total and complete. They all know that in his faithful hands they will be given an opportunity to test their limits, to dive deeply into the process, and to always be treated with kindness, generosity, and respect. Jack is simply one of the strongest student directors we have had,” Mr. Moore said. “Jack is simply PACE.”Jack was the male lead in the faculty conference skit performed this year and was also involved in MHS Improv Olympics. His guidance counselor Ashley Martinez describes Jack as “humble and kind and a genuinely awesome kid.” In addition to his performing experiences, Jack enjoyed serving as a Caprice Advisor and participating in Model U.N., as well as helping those in need through the MHS Clothes Closet. Jack’s goal is to work in the arts in some shape or form or to direct for Stage one day, perhaps on Broadway. He is headed this fall to Chapman University in Southern California, where he will major in Theatre Arts and concentrate in directing.

Lauren Chapey Most of us know Lauren Chapey as a National Champion and part of MHS’s NY State Championship 4X800 relay team. But beyond her Mamaroneck cross-country and track accomplishments, Lauren, as her guidance counselor Cathy Quackenbush describes her, is a student with “maturity, intelligence, passion and drive...She is thoughtful and altruistic...a true leader and organizer!” Lauren speaks passionately about her love of physics and the influence that MHS Physics Teachers Dr. Nunes and Mr. Schmidt had on her, as well as Mr. Short and his AP Language and Composition class, where Lauren was thrilled to see her writing improve significantly. Her video classes with Ms. Dombroff also were a favorite, resulting in Lauren winning a handful of film festival and video contests. “‘Artist’ was the last word I would ever have used to describe myself before taking video. Now, however, I love expressing myself through my films,” she said. “Ms. Dombroff’s teaching style and bubbly attitude bring out the best in students and their work.” Lauren adds, “I also could not go without mentioning my AP Spanish teacher, Señora Kahn. She is not only amazingly intelligent and full of knowledge, but above all she is a passionate educator and fantastic person. Her excitement for what she teaches is effusive and contagious.” Dedicating much of her high school career to working on Mamaroneck’s student newspaper, The Globe, Lauren took on a new editor’s role each year. She took pride in working with her peers to transform the paper into what it is today -- growing it from a dozen pages of news to a 20+ page award-winning publication that appeals to a wide audience of high school students and Mamaroneck community members. As a vibrant member of MHS’s Student Council, Lauren especially loves seeing ideas through from plans to realities and “then to smiles on our classmates’ faces”. This year, she organized and facilitated a student forum regarding physical education policies and curriculum changes. Students voiced their questions and concerns to staff at the forum, and now administration is working with a smaller, more intimate group of both faculty and students to find the best physical education system for everyone. “I love being able to actually change the school according to my peers’ complaints or desires,” she said. Lauren, along with Ben Morris, served as the student liaison to the Board of Education. Each month, she and Ben would present a report to update the community on MHS happenings. In speaking further about her experiences on cross-country and track, Lauren says “I cherished every moment with my team, and I will miss them all tremendously. I am also so, so grateful to all my coaches (Robert Morrissey, Nicholas LaRosa, Marge McEvoy, and David Smith) for everything they’ve done for me. They sacrifice so much for the team...They encourage us all to not only be the best runners we can be, but the best people we can be. I would not be who I am today without their guidance and support. Running has taught me so much and has truly changed me. It has taught me that from the greatest pain comes the greatest glory. It has taught me that you get out of life what you put in—whether it’s training, studying, or just being a good person.” Like Steven, Lauren will attend Yale University in the fall and, although her major is undecided, she leans towards engineering and is interested in physics, writing, Spanish, and film studies.

Tyler Sakakeeny During his four years at MHS, Tyler Sakakeeny enjoyed many different activities and classes, from his video elective to tennis, and from swimming and soccer to tutoring opportunities and Spanish classes. “I’ve had many great teachers and taken some incredible courses that it would be too hard to list them all, though Mr. Liberti, Sra. Kahn, and Mr. Short are especially memorable. The enthusiasm with which all of my teachers approached their job was incredibly inspiring and important to see, and their passion for their field is contagious,” Tyler said. “I’ll never take for granted any of the long one-on-one conversations with my teachers outside of class, and hope in the future that those kinds of discussions will be part of my college experience.” Tyler credits MHS video teacher Ms. Dombroff for teaching him everything he knows about video. “She has helped me on projects both inside and outside of class and has encouraged me to employ my video skills wherever I can,” said Tyler, who served as videographer this year during the AP Government & Politics/Journalism classes’ trip to the New Hampshire Primary. Tyler was on the Tennis Team for four years (Captain this year), the Swim Team for senior year and the JV Orange soccer team for freshman and sophomore years. “Mr. Hooker was an amazing coach, allowing us to train at our own pace, which led to greater success and more wins,” said Tyler. It wasn't until he was a senior that Tyler decided to join the swim team. “It was actually incredibly fun, and I can honestly say I didn’t regret waking up at 5:30 am for morning practice twice a week!” he said. Since 10th grade, Tyler has been volunteering with Ace Tutoring, working with kids who just arrived from different Spanish-speaking countries and did not speak much (if any) English. He would tutor them on their material in Spanish so they could understand what was being taught in class. Tyler said this was one of his most rewarding experiences during high school. “Often I’d drive some of the students home after Ace, which helped me get to know them as individuals and not just students,” he said. Rob Adams, Tyler’s guidance counselor, said “Tyler is always positive and trying to give back to the community. He loves tutoring students and has a tremendous amount of empathy that allows him to easily connect with a wide range of people. He’s an equally ardent animal lover and did his senior internship at the Mamaroneck Veterinary Hospital this year.” The respect is mutual. Tyler said that Mr. Adams from the start helped him to navigate the high school, from school-related topics like what courses to take or what colleges to look at, to broader topics like emphasizing not rushing through life and getting real world experiences. “Mr. Adams never failed to steer me in the right direction. I’m so grateful for the amount of time and energy he dedicated to help me have the most enjoyable high school experience possible,” Tyler said. Tyler will attend Rice University in the fall of 2017, after he takes a gap year working in Australia and Argentina, as well as backpacking in southeast Asia. With so many interest yet to pursue, Tyler has not yet selected his major.

Nicole Parry To be able to realize how certain teachers have impacted your life is beautiful thing. Now, reflecting back, Nicole Parry, who will soon be entering the United States Military Academy, realizes the impact Ms. Delaney had on her life when she showed that clip of the Army vs. Navy football game freshman year, Nicole also talks about the influence her chemistry and AP Environmental Science teacher Ms. Andrews had in not only learning her to take advantage of every opportunity that is thrown her way, but also encouraging her to go out and work as hard as she possibly could both in and out of school. And how her math teachers Mrs. Delaney and Ms. Rinaldi pushed her and supported her throughout her high school career. “Thank you to these three teachers for supporting me through this crazy journey. I will never forget the impact that they’ve had not only made on my experience in high school, but my life,” Nicole said. Since 7th grade, Nicole was a member of the Mamaroneck Varsity Swim team. She credits swimming with teaching her about time management, self-discipline, creativity, patience, perfection, analyzation, speed, being diligent and meticulous, and most of all hard work. “Everything that I have learned from swimming I have implemented into all of other extra curricular activity that I taken part in,” said Nicole, who was ranked nationally. In addition to spending hours in the pool each day, Nicole found time to be involved with many other clubs and activities, from Yearbook and the Mamaroneck Schools Foundation, to serving as an Ambassador for the Bathsheba Foundation - a foundation that collects clothes, books, food, and other necessities for families in Africa. “I believe that every experience during my four years at Mamaroneck High School has morphed into a big book that has left me with an impression. That impression is that in my opinion, unity, change, and drive are the three most important things to succeed in high school and the real world,” Nicole added.

Ittai Rosales In his family, Ittai Rosales is a first generation college student, and he’s excited and proud to have accomplished what he did in high school. “It’s exciting for my parents as well,” he said. “It feels good to see them be so proud.” Ittai took Art as his elective for the last four years. He says it not only shaped him as an artist, but as a person too. “The art department and the courses I’ve taken were an incredible experience for me. Mrs. Shoffiet and Mr. Klein had such an influence on me as a student and as a person,” Ittai said. “Mr. Klein is a walking encyclopedia of art, and Ms. Shoffiet always kept me striving to make something better. Her honesty in critics kept me on my toes, and she gave us a taste of what being a real artist was by doing so. Both Mr Klein and Ms. Shoffiet went above and beyond being teachers. They were mentors to me, and I admire them greatly.” From Art foundation, Drawing & Painting, Advanced Drawing & Painting, and AP Art History, to AP Studio Art, Ittai says he learned a tremendous amount about technique and creativity. He felt his biggest accomplishment was putting together his art portfolio his senior year and seeing the end-product. Ittai’s participation on the track team was another huge part of his MHS experience. “My high school career would not have been the same without the four track coaches I had the pleasure and honor to work with and the entire track team,” he said. “I made so many great friends through the team and learned how to manage my time better, as I’d come home and have less time to get my homework done.” Ittai was named an All Section runner, and his relay team placed 18th in the nation. “Overall, Mamaroneck High School provided a great learning environment and definitely prepared us for college. From the beginning, MHS teaches its students to be independent, and it’s really helpful to learn how to handle free time. It may be hard for some people to get used to the liberty at first, but in the long run it’s a good thing. I would suggest to freshmen coming in to take it slow and seek advice from either a counselor or upperclassman,” Ittai said. This fall, Ittai will attend Siena College, where he hopes to major in marketing and fine arts. He begins a summer program at Sienna in August.

Hannah Lachow Hannah Lachow developed many new interests at Mamaroneck High School, and she is grateful for the teachers she had who inspired her to do so. She sees how one research paper that she wrote for AP US History class on the racial achievement gap sparked her curiosity and interest in education policy, which she will now consider as a major when she heads off to Northwestern University this fall. “Writing this research paper opened me up to the idea that learning, while such an enjoyable experience for me, is built and influenced by privilege. Because of this, I started volunteering with Reach Out and Read, an organization geared towards minimizing the racial achievement gap, and am now even considering going into education policy as a major or career,” Hannah said. She described how Mr. Goldberg helped her understand that history is relevant and said playing the role of a lawyer in the Lincoln Trials was the first time she felt really passionate and truly driven by a genuine interest in a subject matter in school. This year, Hannah served as co-editor-in-chief of MHS’s newspaper, The Globe (along with Steven Rome and Andy Ballard), and wouldn’t trade that experience for anything. “It was so amazing to be surrounded by such smart, passionate people and to really put effort into something that I truly cared about,” she said. “My experience on the Globe allowed me to be a part of the journalist group during our trip to New Hampshire with A.P. Gov. Working as a ‘real journalist’ for a few days showed me how far determination, confidence, and hard work can get you. That experience was probably the most surreal of my entire life, and I know I will look back on it as a highlight forever,” she said. Now journalism is another area she will consider pursuing. “Between my time spent on the Globe (where Mr. Bosch is the faculty advisor) and taking A.P. Lit, I learned so much from Mr. Bosch’s teaching but also from his attitude. He is truly one of the kindest teachers and people I have ever met,” Hannah added. Hannah also was a part of the PACE program for four years, focusing specifically on dance her final year. Although she does not consider herself the most “PACEy” or talented person in the program, she said her experiences in PACE will leave a huge mark on her because of the friendships she made. “On the last day of Pace 4 Dance, the entire class wept,” she said. “I am really going to miss Mamaroneck High School. As simple as it sounds, I just love our high school and this town. I am so fortunate to be able to say that I truly love learning and think that is mostly due to this high school and the opportunities I have been given,” Hannah said.

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