Volume 3
Issue 2
In This Issue
Fox Meadow High School Hosts "Kick Butts Day" 
Michael Sceppaquercia presented on the dangers of   e-cigarettes.

If you think that e-cigarettes are the answer to smoking without consequences, think again.

That was just one takeaway from the Kick Butts Day event held recently at BOCES' Fox Meadow Middle/High School in Yorktown. Organized by the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids, Kick Butts Day is a nationwide event dedicated to educating students and others about the dangers of smoking.

"Anything you are inhaling that is not oxygen is a problem," said Jackie O'Connor, a respiratory specialist at Northern Westchester Hospital. "If you smoke e-cigarettes, you are still getting nicotine and nicotine is addictive. The liquid in e-cigarettes contains formaldehyde and that is a carcinogen."

O'Connor told students about the toll cigarettes take on the body and on society as a whole, saying that the number of people who die from cigarette smoking each year could fill seven football stadiums. Among the visual aids O'Connor brought to illustrate the consequences of smoking was a pint-sized jar of green phlegm collected from a respiratory patient who had been a smoker.

"When you smoke, your body tries to protect your lungs by creating mucus," she said. "But the cigarettes cause an infection in the mucus and this is what you end up coughing up. You can't stop coughing because every time you smoke a cigarette your body is infected again."

In addition to guest speakers, Kick Butts Day at Fox Meadow featured exhibits created by the students including posters on the toxins contained in cigarettes, tips for quitting smoking and breathing tests to measure lung capacity.

Gallo, who organized the event, said she hopes that hearing the anti-smoking message repeatedly will reach students, and every student who gets the message will be spared the effects of smoking.
Fox Meadow Eighth Graders Adopt "Tebuka"
The eighth grade class at Fox Meadow Middle/High School has adopted a gorilla named "Tebuka" from the Diane Fossey Gorilla Fund. Tebuka is a three-year-old mountain gorilla living in the Virunga Mountains of Rwanda.

The students collected cans and bottles for a period of six months and gave them to Cyndi Sosnowski who returned them at her local supermarket. At the end of the year, they had collected the  $40 needed to adopt Tebuka.

"The students are very excited about this project and the good they are doing," said Patricia Lucido, who teaches science at Fox Meadow, adding that each eighth grader received an adoption certificate at the moving up ceremony on June 21.

Tebuka lives with his mother, Mitimbili, 19,  and brothers Ubwuzo, 9, and Isooka, 5, in Pablo's Group, a community of  gorillas living in the mountains. Tebuka's name means "be quick" and was chosen because since he started walking independently from his mother, Tebuka is quick in everything he does, always running from one place to another.

Putnam | Northern Westchester BOCES

Ellen Lane,  Editor



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Fox Meadow High School 
Graduates Ten  
Dean Yorio celebrates his graduation

"It's been quite a journey but we're all ready to graduate," said student speaker Tatianna Singh at the Fox Meadow High School graduation at Putnam/Northern Westchester BOCES Wednesday night. 

Singh acknowledged that she and her fellow graduates had to overcome many obstacles to reach this day. Ten students from seven different school districts graduated from Fox Meadow High School. The bond between students and staff clearly could be seen as teachers cheered for the students and the students praised the teachers in their speeches.

Superintendent Dr. James Langlois told the graduates that this time of their lives is "a time you are going to have to start stepping out on your own," adding that one of the things they had learned during their time at Fox Meadow was "how to open yourself up to the people around you."

In her parent address, Michelle Yorio, mother of graduate Dean Yorio, said "Fourteen years ago my son and I walked through the front doors of Walden and that was the start of our journey." She praised BOCES and the staff, saying "We have met some of the most truly amazing, caring and hardworking teachers and staff. People who truly love what they do. This isn't just a job to them." 

Keynote speaker Fred Santoli, former Principal of Fox Meadow and now Coordinator of Curriculum, Instruction and Assessment told the assembled graduates "look around at the expressions of joy you have brought to the faces of so many people." Santoli told them not to fear the future because people experience some of the greatest happiness of their lives in their twenties.

"Your teachers have given you new ways to express what you feel," Santoli said. He said their hearts had expanded at Fox Meadow. Fox Meadow serves students with a variety of learning needs who have not been successful in a typical high school.

The following students graduated Alexander Dago (Ossining); William Goldberg (Lakeland); Angelo Harris (Ossining); Joseph Hyatt (Haldane); Andrew Lamb (Mamaroneck); Nicholas Maurno (Lakeland); Tori Mazzella (Yorktown); Gerald Rivale (Elmsford); Tatianna Singh (Elmsford); Dean Yorio (Yorktown). 

Fox Meadow Students Learn about 
Safe Driving

A Fox Meadow High School student takes a virtual drive home, using Westchester County's drunk driving simulator. The simulator was brought to the campus by the county Department of Public Safety.

Fox Meadow High School students were given two tests recently that teachers hoped they would fail.

In the first exercise, they were asked to walk a straight line with one foot in front of the other. Every student failed miserably. But they weren't intoxicated. They were wearing "drunk vision" googles that simulate what it is like to be under the influence of alcohol. 

Next, they were asked to take a virtual drive home in a video game-like driving simulator. During that test, participants went off the road, lurched and narrowly escaped crashing into guardrails and road signs. In the simulation, they also drove too slowly on the highway and too quickly on local roads. In short, their judgement was greatly affected.

Both tests were meant to help students understand how alcohol, marijuana or other drugs can impair your ability to drive safely. 

"It was fun and eye-opening," said one student. "I didn't think driving drunk would be as hard as it was until I tried it on the simulator. It shows that you shouldn't drink and drive."

The simulations were made available at Fox Meadow during Prevention Day, a day devoted to educating students about the dangers of impaired driving and to promoting positive decision making. In addition to the two tests, students had the chance to see what happens to a car after a serious crash and to have their picture taken in a photo booth with positive slogans printed on the photo.

"We wanted to offer some serious exhibits and something fun to bring home the message that driving while impaired is dangerous," said Mary Ann Flatley, student assistance counselor. "We also wanted to dispel some of the myths around drinking and driving or getting high and driving."

For example, many high school students believe that driving while under the influence of marijuana is not a serious risk. However, Flatley explained to students that marijuana, opiates and alcohol are all depressants. "They all affect decision making, coordination, reaction time and concentration - all essential skills for driving," she said.
Inspiring Speaker Visits Fox Meadow for Women's History Event 

Simone Scheumann speaks about her mother, Erna Hilfstein, a Holocaust survivor

"I am here today as your principal, in part, because of this woman."

That was how Ricki Butler, Fox Meadow Middle and High School Principal, introduced Simone Scheumann, guest speaker at the school's recent Women's History Month assembly. Butler asked Scheumann to come to the school to speak about her mother, Erna Hilfstein, a Holocaust survivor and teacher who had a profound influence on Butler. 

Scheumann began her presentation by painting a vivid picture of life in Nazi-controlled Poland in the 1940s, describing how her parents, teenagers at the time, were first forced to move into a Jewish ghetto and then transported to a number of different concentration camps. She described some of the "jobs" her parents were given by the Nazis, such as removing clothing from the dead and sorting their belongings into piles.

Despite horrific conditions and unspeakable personal losses, both of Scheumann's parents survived the Holocaust and went on to get married, move to the United States and raise Simone and her brother.  (Erna and Max were married in the ghetto, before being sent to the camps.)  Hilfstein lived a life of intellectual pursuit, earning multiple degrees, becoming a noted Copernican scholar and teaching at the City University of New York. She also was a devoted junior high school teacher, and taught at Butler's school in the South Bronx. 

"We were a tough group of students, but she loved us," said Butler. "Here she was, an accomplished scholar, and she chose to teach inner city kids. I have the most warm and wonderful memories of this woman. She gave me a love of learning that I'll never lose."

The theme of learning and the value of an education ran throughout Scheumann's presentation.  She recalled her mother saying, "They (the Nazis) took everything away from me, but they can't take away what I know."

Scheumann, who also went on to become a teacher, told the students, "Within yourself you have more strength than you can imagine. Nobody can take away your skills and your knowledge - you will always have you."