Ripp Rally Day
Rainy, windy weather didn’t stop the Homecoming celebration on Saturday, October 3rd! The soccer games were canceled, but the picnic and other fun activities were moved indoors to the gyms. The Bouncy House, face painting, balloons, tug of war, and other games kept students laughing and having fun – but perhaps the best part of the afternoon was simply having students, families, alumni, and faculty all together. That, as one parent put it, is what makes Rippowam Cisqua School “so great.”
Ninth Grade Community Service Day
The sun was shining and smiles were abundant on Friday, September 18, when the Upper Campus welcomed students from Kindergarten through fourth grade to Meyers Fields for the third annual Ripp Rally Day. Decked out in their red and blue team colors, everyone got into the action with old-fashioned Sack Races, Dodgeball, and Capture the Flag. And there was also Base Running – a slightly crazy combination of bowling pins and a baseball diamond, dreamt up especially for RCS by Director of Athletics Tom Morrissey. Best of all was the care given to our younger students by their Upper Campus partners. It was a fun morning for all and a wonderful celebration of community!
The New School Year is Here -- Welcome Back!!
On Wednesday, September 16, our ninth graders kicked off their Community Service Day with a visit to the Lower Campus. Beginning with a "philanthropy" assembly in the Sky Room, Mrs. Alison Kallman, the Lower Campus Community Service Coordinator, talked about the meaning of philanthropy. Then some of the ninth graders talked about ways they had served their community. The ninth graders then moved on to help students in Grades 1 through 4 write letters to members of the U.S. military serving our country overseas.
Working through an organization called Operation Gratitude, it was a meaningful way for our students to show appreciation and support to the men and women who protect our country. The ninth graders worked with the younger students to craft “thank you” letters that often began with “Dear Hero” and were colorfully decorated with hearts, flags, and flowers.
The ninth graders lent a hand with spelling and encouraged artwork. It was a wonderful opportunity for the upperclassmen to share a little bit about themselves and to answer questions – and the curious Lower Campus students had plenty of questions for the ninth graders:
“How did you get here?”
“Who was your teacher for JPK?”
“How do you spell ‘stitches’?”
After the ninth graders finished at the Lower Campus, they traveled to the A-Home in Chappaqua and helped with the following jobs: weeding (lots of it!), spreading of mulch, loading wood from a downed tree into a truck, and removing ivy growing up the side of the house. Following the work at A-Home, they traveled to the Boys and Girls Club of Northern Westchester. Barbara Cutri, Director of Operations at the Club, gave the ninth graders a tour of the various places: classrooms, pool, gyms, and outdoor facilities. Following the tour, the ninth graders were divided into four groups and helped out in various areas. One group played soccer outside with a group of younger children. Another group played games with even younger kids in the gym. The final two groups offered homework help to kids in the classrooms.
It was a great day for everyone!
4th Graders Sing at Citi Field!
A few raindrops could not dampen the first day of school excitement as students, families, and teachers across both campuses celebrated the start of a new school year. RCS Head of School, Colm MacMahon, and Lower Campus Division Head, Penny Jennings, were on hand to greet each Lower Campus student at the newly renovated front entrance while, on the Upper Campus, RCS ninth graders lined the arcade to provide a warm and enthusiastic welcome to arriving fifth through eighth graders. As the students settled into their classrooms, parents gathered in the Sky Room for a Welcome Back Coffee and All Parent meeting hosted by the RCS Parents Association. It was an exciting day for the entire RCS community!
The 98th year of teaching and learning at Rippowam Cisqua School has officially begun!
Check out the video of the 4th graders at the Mets game!
Fun Run and Dan Viglione Celebration!
Ninth Grade Portfolio
The weather was perfect and the day only got better from there. The atmosphere was electric, the energy was abundant, and the sense of community was warmer than the sun. The Fifth Annual RCS Fun Run was held on the Rippowam Campus track on Sunday, May 3rd. The run was a collaborative effort of the RCS Lower Campus Physical Education Department, The Office of Institutional Advancement, and the RCS Parents Association. It was designed to bring the RCS community from both the Upper and Lower campuses together and to help promote family fitness by providing a venue for parents and children to exercise together, cheer for each other, and celebrate each other’s accomplishments in an enjoyable atmosphere. There were distance appropriate races for all grades. Children and parents ran in races ranging from 100 yards for JPKers, to an open 3K race down Clinton Road and back for adults and children alike. The day was a memorable one for the more than 100 participants, and a DJ and bouncy houses provided post-race entertainment for all of the children!
The Fun Run also served as the perfect opportunity to honor beloved longtime Lower Campus physical education teacher—and founder of the Fun Run--Dan Viglione, who announced that he would be retiring this year after 32 wonderful years at RCS. Hundreds of parents, students, alumni, parents of alumni, and current and former faculty and staff members gathered to celebrate Mr. V, and several speakers paid tribute to him and thanked him for all that he has done for the School and the students. Mr. V influenced countless lives during his time at RCS, and his impact on the School community will resonate for years to come. At the celebration, Head of School Matthew Nespole announced that the Wood Gym on the Lower Campus will be named the Dan Viglione Gymnasium, in honor of Mr. V. The gymnasium will be adorned with a quote from George Bernard Shaw that Mr. V has echoed throughout the years—one that epitomizes his years at RCS and the impact he has had on so many students and families: “We don’t stop playing because we grow old; we grow old because we stop playing.”
What a run! What fun! What a Fun Run!
4th Graders Sing at Mets Game!
Portfolio is a ninth grade requirement and, this year, consisted of three parts: Thesis, TED talk, and Project.
The TED Talks are a new part of Portfolio this year and come out of the ninth grade TED Presentation Skills Class. When discussing the skills students need to succeed in the 21st century, educators often point to critical thinking, creativity, collaboration, and communication as the cornerstones of these skills. At RCS, we intentionally build our students’ communication skills from the moment they arrive. Throughout the years, students take greater risks and gain more experience in learning how to share their ideas with others in a wide variety of venues.
This year, we created a new Fall Term class based loosely on the TED Talk model. The concept of TED Talks was born in 1984 as a way to bring together the best ideas in the fields of technology, entertainment, and design. Over time, the TED Conference became an annual event, and has since grown to a stunning popularity worldwide and includes scientists, philosophers, musicians, activists, business and religious leaders, philanthropists, and many others as presenters.
The presenters of TED Talks are without question passionate about their topic. In bringing this concept to Rippowam Cisqua, we asked our ninth graders to research a topic they were passionate or excited about, and create a TED Talk based on one of many models used throughout the world. For example, our outline typically consisted of a core message, power phrase, opening, body structure, and compelling visuals along with a variety of delivery techniques. At the end of the Fall Term, the students presented their talk (it was also filmed) to the entire ninth grade. Subsequent to this, they then worked with their facilitator to deliver their final talk (also filmed) to a range of audiences, which included Parents Association, the entire Upper Campus, select grades, certain classes, etc. We are very proud of our students’ ability to connect their interests and passion with this unique approach to public speaking. A one-minute highlight from each of the students’ TED talk presentations was shown on computer screens.
Here are some of the highlights of the projects our ninth graders did for their portfolio projects:
- dance performance of Blue Bird from Sleeping Beauty, choreographed by George Balanchine and composed by Maja Stojakov
- creation of a new nonprofit organization that focuses on getting critical clean water to the poor rural communities in southern Vietnam
- a production of two experimental films showing my artistic rendering of "Experimental"
- three paintings on canvas; they all had to do with music, which is a large component of the student's life
- a collection of writing including poems, published short stories, and an excerpt from an unfinished longer piece. Also collaborated with another student to present some of the books we have read in a book club that we co-run for 7th-9th graders.
- gave a concert at school and also described personal history with music
- paintings related to the Lakota Sioux Tribe
- on the Junior Board of Directors for an organization that allows kids with disabilities to play sports they otherwise would not be able to play
- created video game characters using various art supplies such as clay, plaster, and wire
- volunteered at the Boys and Girls Club
- pursued a leadership role on the Midnight Run and wrote for and edited the school newspaper Ripped Pages
- took photos around the Upper Campus of many students at different times then took these photos and put them into the shape of the letters 'RCS'
- volunteered for the Neighbors Link Organization and also the Mount Kisco Elementary school with a program called Learning Links
The ninth grade year is
On Wednesday, April 22nd, the Rippowam Cisqua 4th grade students had the opportunity of a lifetime -- they got to sing the National Anthem at a NY Mets game at Citi Field!
RCS Students Earn National Awards for Writing
In December, the students practiced for several weeks under the guidance of music teacher Lainie Zades, and they submitted an audition tape. The NY Mets reviewed the tape, and they announced to the School that the students had passed their audition with flying colors! The students rehearsed during the weeks and months leading up to the game, and on the big day itself, they performed beautifully! Ms. Zades directed the students, and they were joined by Lower Campus teachers Penny Cataldo and Kimberly Fox. What an incredible experience for all involved! Hundreds of Rippowam Cisqua parents, teachers, and fellow students were there to cheer them on at the game. Special thanks to Ms. Zades for all of her direction and great work with the students -- and congratulations to all of the 4th graders! They did an amazing job!
Stay tuned for a video of the performance from the Mets!
Two Rippowam Cisqua School students have been recognized nationally by the Scholastic
Art and Writing Awards of 2015. Seventh grader Cameron Hackett and eighth grader Sarah Bonnem have been identified by panels of creative professionals as among the most talented young writers in the nation. This year, over 300,000 works of art and writing were submitted. Only the top 1% were recognized at the national level. Submissions spanned 28 categories, including flash fiction, comic art, poetry, jewelry, science fiction and fantasy, sculpture, novel writing, and video game design.
RCS 7th grader Cameron Hackett received a National Silver Medal in the Personal Essay/Memoir category for his essay, “A Window to Another World.”
RCS 8th grader Sarah Bonnem received a National Silver Medal in the Poetry category for her poem, “Cut it Out.”
The nonprofit Alliance for Young Artists & Writers, which administers the awards, will honor Cameron, Sarah, and other national winners at a ceremony at Carnegie Hall in New York City on June 11.
The Scholastic Art and Writing Awards is the country’s oldest and most prestigious awards and recognition program for creative teenagers. Over the 92-year history of the program, Scholastic Awards recipients have included Andy Warhol, Sylvia Plath, Truman Capote, Richard Avedon, Ken Burns, Lena Dunham, Robert Redford, and Joyce Carol Oates.