News Around The District

  • Hippity Hoppity Easter egg hunt fun

    Posted by Alicia Smith on 4/22/2019 10:00:00 AM

    There was no doubt that students at the Carl L. Dixson Primary School were ready.

    “Let’s do this!” one student said as he and his classmates walked to the gymnasium.

    The school gathered children together to enjoy some seasonal Easter fun. They began first with decorating a paper plate, which was soon transformed into an Easter basket.

    Finishing this project, students lined up to head outside.

    “I’m so excited,” one boy said as he waited for his teacher to give the signal to leave the building.

    Awaiting the students was a front lawn full of Easter eggs.

    Superintendent of Schools, Marc Baiocco gave the go-ahead and that was all the students needed.

    There was a rush to the lawn as students searched out the four eggs with their name on it.

    Click here to see photos of the event.


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  • Books and baseball

    Posted by Alicia Smith on 4/18/2019 1:00:00 PM

    Milk, cookies, a good book .  . . and baseball. It doesn’t get any better than that. Students and their parents had an opportunity to enjoy all three during the Fourth annual Boulder Read-In, held on April 9 at the Alice E. Grady Elementary School.

    The event represents a partnership with Scholastic Books and the Rockland Boulders, a Can-Am League baseball team. The team plays in Ramapo and Girl reading book each year hosts the “Read for the Rockland Boulders” contest.

    The program encourages students to read for a certain number of hours for an opportunity to win tickets to upcoming games. The top prize, if a student reads 1,200 minutes or more, they are eligible for eight tickets to upcoming games, can throw out the first pitch and win a t-shirt.

    The evening is planned in conjunction with the school’s Scholastic Book Fair. Students and their parents purchased a book during the event or selected one from a cart full of books from the school library. The evening enabled students time to read that added to their hours.

    Math teacher Barrie Hittner is a huge Boulder fan. She arrived at the event in her signed jersey and brought along Boulders team member Albert Gonzalez.

    “The program is the perfect mix for students,” Ms. Hittner said. “It supports student reading and includes a bit of math as they add up the number of hours they read each day and throughout the week.” Numbers, she said, are part of the process as students consider how many pages are in their book and how long they have been reading.

    Group of children reading “It’s just a fun night,” Ms. Hittner said.

    “I like to read chapter books,” third-grader Amina Elzenary said as she sat with her mom reading. She often reads on the bus ride home.

    Angel Vivanco, also in third-grade, said he was interested in coming to the event so he could buy a new “Dog Man” book.

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  • A surprise assembly delights Dixson students, celebrates reading

    Posted by Alicia on 4/17/2019 12:30:00 PM

    Staff only saw a vague notice on their calendar that an assembly was to take place on April 8 and they should bring their classes to the gym at 2:30 p.m.

    Right on time the pre-kindergartners walked in and were instructed to take a seat on the floor. Soon after the rest of the classes at the Carl L. Dixson Primary School came in and took seats too.Baby Shark

    Students and staff had no idea what to expect. An air of mystery hung in the air.

    Principal Jeffrey Olender said he had an important announcement. He reminded students that March had been BEAR month, or “Be Excited About Reading.” Last month students had been given a list of reading activities to do at home. Each activity they completed, such as reading before bed or to a pet, enabled them to collect rings. If the student body collected a certain number of rings, they would earn a special treat.

    Students had read more than 2,400 books throughout March. Many documented their achievement by taking photos of themselves reading. The pictures were displayed on a bulletin board.

    “We were excited about reading,” math teacher Andrea Cleveland said, providing a distraction after Mr. Olender left the gym.

    She led students in a cheer.

    “When I say ‘excited,’ you say ‘reading,’” she said.

    “Excited!” she yelled.

    “Reading!” the students shouted back.

    Baby Shark costume Ms. Cleveland asked the students if they would stop reading since BEAR month has ended. They excitedly agreed to continue.

    Suddenly, music started playing. Surprise and delight filled the students’ faces. The well-known children’s song “Baby Shark” played loudly.

    “ . . . doo, doo, doo, doo, doo, doo . . .”

    As the students sang and clapped along, someone in a bright blue shark costume walked into their midst, causing the students to shout with glee. The shark made its way through the crowd.

    After three rounds of song and dance, Mr. Olender revealed himself to be the man inside the shark suit!


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  • Grady celebrates NEHS inductees

    Posted by Alicia B. Smith on 4/16/2019 9:30:00 AM

    It was an afternoon of pomp and circumstance as 11 fifth-and-sixth graders were inducted into the National Elementary Honor Society at the Alice E. Grady Elementary School.

    Family, friends, members of the Board of Education, the Mayor of Elmsford, and the entire Grady community gathered in the gym to recognize the hard work and leadership demonstrated by the 2019 inductees.

    Before becoming official members, inductees learned about the four principles which govern the NEHS. They include scholarship, responsibility, service NEHS inductees and leadership.

    Returning NEHS members included Matteo DiBerto, Andrew Graves, Alana Lewis, Veronica Morocho and Jaylene Sooknanan, all of whom participated in the ceremony for the new inductees.

    Among the newest members sworn-in were fifth-graders Merin Soy, Daniel Singh, Craden Dizon, Joleen Claire Rodriguez, Anthony Pagano, Chandy Alexander, Nayeli Belezaca, Gabrielle Harper and Sebastian Cuateco. The sixth-grade inductees included Ailey Simon and Dayana Gonzalez.

    Inductees then took a pledge to uphold the principles as they move forward on their educational journey.

    Principal Doug Doller placed red sashes on the inductees, at which time they became official NEHS members.

    “Congratulations to all our honorees,” Mr. Doller said. “It’s a privilege afforded to only a few.”

    Girl getting honor He encouraged the inductees to work hard, be a positive member in their communities, continue to make good choices and continue to be a good leader even if it means they stand alone in their convictions.

    “You have a world of opportunity here,” Superintendent of Schools Marc Baiocco said.

    He reminded the students, and all those in attendance, of how they are all part of the Grady school family.

    “It’s all about a partnership,” he said. “Students have shown that in their actions as well as in their academics.”


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  • On the right track, Grady students learn about train safety

    Posted by Alicia B. Smith on 4/12/2019 1:00:00 PM

    Deidre Mitchell, Safety Education Program Coordinator for Metro North Railroad, was impressed with the student’s knowledge of trains and was there to ensure they knew all the necessary information to keep them safe when riding trains.

    When asked about trains students had told her they have engines, conductors and are fast.

    Ms. Mitchell was at the Alice E. Grady Elementary School with a special guest, Metro Man, a robotic-like figure, who further reinforced safety concepts for the students.

    “We are going to talk about train safety. Metro Man and I are going to make sure when you take a train you are always safe,” Ms. Mitchell told studentsMetro Man and kids at the start of the assembly.

    She discussed staying safe while waiting on the platform and how to board a train.

    “Watch the gap!” students yelled when asked what they should do when they are getting on or off a train.

    “People fall and trip and get hurt with the gap every day,” Ms. Mitchell said.

    Metro Man nodded his head in agreement.

    The educator also asked students a series of questions testing their knowledge about train safety. She asked if it was ever OK to walk on train tracks, if they would always hear a train approaching and if they would be able to get out of the way of a moving train.

    The answer for all of these questions was a resounding no.

    “I don’t care if you are the fastest runner in this group, I don’t care if you are the fastest runner in the world,” Ms. Mitchell said. “You are not faster than a train.”

    Metro North trains can go as fast as 85 miles per hour and it takes the length of 18 football fields for one to stop, Ms. Mitchell said.

    She emphasized the dangers of playing around trains or on tracks and informed students that railroad property is private and anyone on it without permission is trespassing.

    She also reviewed the proper places for pedestrians and vehicles to cross the tracks. They should always use a crosswalk and cars must stop at the gates when the nearby lights flash.

    “There are three things to remember when crossing tracks,” Ms. Mitchell said. “Stop, look and listen.”
    To emphasize this point, she and Metro Man used hand signals and asked students to use them too. Together, the group yelled “stop!” putting their hands out. They then shouted “look!,” and turned their heads both ways, and  yelled “listen!,” holding their hand to their ear.

    When the assembly ended, many students had their photos taken with Metro Man.

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  • James McLeod brings message of perseverance to Grady students

    Posted by Alicia B. Smith on 4/4/2019 10:30:00 AM

    Students at Alice E. Grady Elementary School came away from their recent monthly Fitness Friday with much more than a good workout. On March 29,James McLeod they met James McLeod and heard first-hand how a person can persevere when life becomes difficult.

    Physical education teacher Drew Watson, who knows Mr. McLeod from his gym, introduced the special guest to students because of the experience and powerful message Mr. McLeod has to tell.
    “Every time I saw him he’d say ‘hello,’” Mr. Watson said of his trips to the gym, where Mr. McLeod is a personal trainer. “He was the only trainer to say ‘hello’ to me. I got to know him better and began to learn his story.”

    It was this story that Mr. McLeod shared with students in order to inspire them to treat others with respect and strive to do their best in life.

    Growing up, Mr. McLeod was bullied. He stood out among others due to vitiligo, an autoimmune disease which causes loss of skin color.

    Classmates would tease him and call him “zebra” or “cow,” he said.

    He thought sports would be a great outlet for him to relieve some of the pain he felt from being bullied. However, the kids on the basketball team were not terribly friendly either.

    One day, he decided he was not going to let what the other kids were doing bother him. It would not be easy, but he was determined.

    “I began looking at myself in the mirror and telling myself positive affirmations,” he said. “My smile became my best friend.”

    He went to school with a smile on his face. He said “hello” to anyone he met and he took his positive attitude wherever he went.

    “They could no longer tease me because I was too happy,” Mr. McLeod said.

    As time went on, the trainer said classmates began to “no longer see me as this ugly monster.”

    “They saw me as James,” he said.

    Today Mr. McLeod is known as the “That Vitiligo Guy” having fully embraced his condition and new attitude.

    Mr. McLeod went on to tell students that it does not cost anything to smile and be friendly to others.

    “You can be anything you want to be,” he told students. “For me, I made the choice to be the best I could be.”

    He became a personal trainer, a DJ, and a motivational speaker. He can now add author to his résumé. During the event, Mr. McLeod read from his first children’s book, “The Boy Behind the Face,” which tells his story.

    “My name is James and I’m a superhero,” the book begins. “My superpower is bravery, kindness and love.”

    Mr. McLeod and two studentss Mr. McLeod said his mission now is to motivate others to be kind and strive to be their best.

    Students had learned about Mr. McLeod before he arrived at their school so they would know something about him. A select group of students shared with him words they used to describe him and what he has overcome.

    “Inspiring,” “brave,” “a fighter,” “confident” and “a leader” were some of the words they had selected.

    Mr. McLeod’s message was reflected in the monthly ritual students participate in during Fitness Fridays. Students have the opportunity to write a “thank you” to someone else in the school. They write down on a special certificate why they are grateful for this other person and feel they deserved to be thanked. The students pass out the certificates to one another at the end of the event and students share with one another why they were selected. Mr. McLeod handed out the certificates with a high-five.



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  • College Night

    Posted by Alicia B. Smith on 4/2/2019 10:15:00 AM

    Looking ahead, College Night offers parents comfort, information

    For high school juniors it might not seem like it now, but time will pass quickly and soon they will head off to college. This was just one of the realities presented at College Night at Alexander Hamilton High School.

    The school’s guidance department hosted the evening to introduce parents to what they can expect as their current junior son or daughter makes their way through the college application process from touring schools to receiving the acceptance letter.

    “How am I going to get all of this stuff done,” parent Theresa Venuti said of her biggest concern. This is her first time contending with the college application process with her daughter, who is interested in studying forensics.

    The evening’s presentation was beneficial, she said, as was the meeting she had with the school’s Guidance Department.Guidance counselor talks

    Guidance counselor Monica Ahern was reassuring.

    “This is a process,” she told parents. “Just come see us” if there are any questions or concerns they may have.

    Using a PowerPoint presentation, Ms. Ahern walked through what students, and their parents, should be doing now and what to expect as they make their way through looking at schools, submitting applications and learning how financial aid is distributed.

    During their junior year students should take the SAT and ACT tests, research colleges, register for challenging courses to take in their senior year and put together a resumé or begin a portfolio, if necessary.

    Schools, Ms. Ahern said, first look at a student’s grades from their high school experience, looking to see not only how a student did but the types of courses they took.

    “Often with Advanced Placement courses we hear the more the better,” Ms. Ahern said. The risk with this attitude is a student becomes overwhelmed.

    Other important considerations include standardized test scores, grades from the courses they took in their senior year and what extra-curricular activities a student was involved with, including clubs, sports or opportunities outside of school.

    In addition, recommendations from teachers play an important role.

    “They show what the staff and teachers see in the student,” Ms. Ahern said.

    Students will also have to submit an essay as part of their application.

    “Don’t ever underestimate the essay,” she said. “It’s very important,” she said. “The essay is what sets the child apart from everyone else.”

    Increasingly, Ms. Ahern said, schools are looking at whether a student demonstrated interest in their institution. This includes talking with an admissions representative at a college fair, touring the campus and how often they visited the school’s website.

    As the importance of a student’s “demonstrated interest” has increased, the importance of the interview has decreased. However, Ms. Ahern encouraged students who are offered an opportunity to have an in-person interview to do it. It is one more way a student can show an interest in the school and serves as an example of their commitment to the institution.

    It is important, Ms. Ahern said, for students and parents to have a reasonable number of schools under consideration. Her recommended number is a student should not apply to more than six schools.

    “Six is the magic number for us,” she said.

    These should include two target schools — those the student is most interested in and in which they have met the most admissions requirements.

    There should also be two safety schools, those in which the students GPA and standardized test scores exceed the school requirements and the student has a good chance of being accepted.

    Finally, there are the two reach schools, those that may seem like a stretch or a dream school for the student but still hold a possibility of being accepted even if they fell short in one requirement but exceeded expectations in others.

    “We also want to make sure a student likes their safety schools,” Ms. Ahern said. “You have to like your safety school because you just never know.”

    When trying to categorize schools into these three categories, there are certain elements a student should consider when making their list. Among them are the size, location and type of school, along with how competitive it is, campus life and, most important, if they offer their major of interest.

    The type of college should be considered too. Is the student looking at private schools, or public universities or a SUNY or CUNY?

    Perhaps the biggest concern for parents through all of this is the cost of sending their child to college and what they can get in terms of financial aid.

    Most colleges accept a common application, meaning a student will only have to fill out an application once and send it to all of the schools on their list.

    The FAFSA is the form they will likely become well acquainted with as it will need to be filled out every year in order to receive any scholarships or grants.

    “We say the earlier the better,” Ms. Ahern said of getting the form submitted each year. Schools, she noted, may have different deadlines for the FAFSA, so it is important to keep track of those dates.

    Ultimately, Ms. Ahern advised, the things parents need to do to help their child include to visit schools with their son or daughter, help them compile their list of schools and assist them with staying organized.

    And, she said, they should reach out to the guidance department with any questions or concerns. They are there to help.

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  • AHHS Career Day

    Posted by Alicia Smith on 3/26/2019 2:20:00 PM

    Math does have some practical uses and Sarah Wolin proved it.

    “We are big number crunchers,” she said.

    Ms. Wolin, an actuary, was among the professionals participating in Career Day at Alexander Hamilton High School on March 15.

    “If you like math, this might be a career you want to pursue,” she said. “I liked math growing up,” Ms. Wolin, a member of the AHHS Class of 2010, said.

    For those who are less number-orientated, there are many more career possibilities to consider. Special guests visiting the school ranged from librarians and fashion account executives to architects and police detectives.

    “This is one of the highlight days,” School Librarian Lisa Watson, who helped organize the day, said.

    This is the third year the school hosted Career Day.

    “I hope students either see a career they know they are interested in or will be guided to something they think they will like or discover a new career that can send them in a certain direction,” Rob Jacoby, music teacher and service committee chair, said.

    Guests were escorted to a classroom by Peer Leaders, and students rotated to different classrooms where they had an opportunity to learn more about a specific field.
    The guests spoke to students about their personal experience in their field, their education, the work they do and what motivates them.

    Like Ms. Wolin’s appreciation for numbers, many guests said they fell in love with a certain component of a field when they were young. For others, they found a second career when they were older.

    Meteorologist Jonathan Cubit

    “I just loved the weather growing up,” Jonathan Cubit, weekend meteorologist at Verizon Fios1 News said. “I was a big thunderstorm kid.”weather man

    Mr. Cubit said he earned a four-year degree to become a meteorologist. His job consists of building weather maps and providing the forecast live on-air. He explained how while viewers see a map of the region during his forecast, he is actually standing in front of a green screen and does not see the map the same way viewers do.

    “It’s most busy during the winter,” he said. “We are trying to relay information.

    Animator Jony Chandra

    For animator Jony Chandra, success began with him working for free as a way to simply get some experience and get his foot in the door. He knew some people working at Pixar and told them he’d work for free if they had any work for him.

    “I first wanted the experience,” he said.

    Early in his career he would tape dialogue from different movies and create a cartoon using new characters that he drew speaking the dialogue he taped. For example, he would change human characters into chickens.

    “It was practice,” he said.

    He told students he would also study live-action films in an attempt to learn more about how movies were made. He wanted to know where the camera was, how to set up the lights and more.

    “It is so much fun,” he said of his work. “It’s still inspiring to see — I  drew that scene, that was my decision.”

    The one drawback, Mr. Chandra said, is when he goes to the movies now he often ends up analyzing how it was made.

    “I know it’s a good movie when I don’t do that,” he said.

    Dr. Mahjabeen Hassan

    From the time she was a child Dr. Mahjabeen Hassan knew she wanted to be a doctor. Getting good grades, however, proved to not be enough. However, she was determined. A native of Pakistan, Dr. Hassan faced gender discrimination when she first applied to medical school. She was told no, she would not be accepted.

    “I was crushed,” she said. “I thought my life was finished.”

    She did not let that early defeat deter her from her goal. She applied to school in a different area of her native country and was accepted there. She eventually immigrated to America to continue her education. She would face adversity here too.

    During her emergency room rotation her hand became caught in a door and her fingers were crushed, a sure end to a career as a surgeon.

    After the accident she was called to assist in the emergency room where a nurse helped to cut gloves that would fit on her hand with the fractured fingers. Under her mask she was crying from the pain. Her fingers did heal and she was able to continue with her work.
    It was an incident with a patient that piqued her interest in plastic surgery. The patient’s ear had been cutoff. Dr. Hassan had no idea how to reattach it and the doctor she asked for assistance was not helpful.

    “Now I know it can be done,” she said.

    Today Dr. Hassan is a plastic surgeon at Phelps Memorial Hospital in Sleepy Hollow where she not only knows how ears can be reattached, but is also informed on the advances being made using 3-D printing to make fake organs.

    “In order to reach your goal, hardships will come your way,” Dr. Hassan told students.


    Architect Roniece Bridge

    Math is also what helped Roniece Bridge become an architectural designer for HZM Architects and Engineers in Purchase.

    “I took as many math courses as I could,” Ms. Bridge said. “My favorite subjects were math and art.”architect

    “It’s hard, but totally worth it,” she said.

    In addition to contributing to designs for future projects, Ms. Bridge is actively involved in the ACE Mentor Program of Westchester where she works with high school-aged students.


    Veterinarian Dr. Joseph D’Agnese

    Dr. Joseph D’Agnese referred to his patients as “difficult and weird,” a comment that would certainly scare patients away. His patients, however, consist of dogs and cats, who may not be as particular as their human counterparts.

    Veterinary medicine is a second career for Dr. D’Agnese who initially went to law school and then into education where he taught and served as an assistant principal.

    “I realized at a certain point this is what I wanted to do, I realized I needed to do something that would make me happy,” he told students.

    He attended veterinary school in Tennessee and began his career assisting large farm animals.

    “It is a very rewarding profession but also very intense,” he said. “You have to have something in you that says I want to work with animals for all my life.”

    vet He said too that veterinary medicine does not always have all the answer in a medical textbook, and in many instances,  he has to figure out an animal’s health issue on his own.

    Joining Dr. Agnese was Dawn Schursky, President and Founder of FurBridge, an animal rescue organization in Ardsley. She brought along Quay, a lovely dog who had been treated for mange by Dr. D’Agnese.


    Licensed Real Estate Agent Douglas Tricarico

    Douglas Tricarico assured students he is not a salesperson. Rather, as a licensed real estate agent, he refers to Realtors with a common saying in the industry: a real estate agent is a “matchmaker, until they fall in love with a house, then we are a wedding planner.”

    His job is to guide clients to houses they feel will make a perfect home for them and to walk them through the home-buying process.

    “My loyalty is owed to my client,” he said.

    There are three categories of agents, those who help a client sell their home, buy a home or a dual agent, which helps with both situations.

    The job, Mr. Tricarico, told students, does require patience. He had one client he worked with for two years trying to find them the perfect home.

    “But, they were loyal to me,” he said.


    Judge Alexander Hunter, Jr.

    The Honorable Alexander Hunter, Jr., currently serves as a Justice, Supreme Court, Appellate Term, First Department, a position he has held since 2009.

    He told students his success stems from his willingness to “use what I had to separate myself.”

    “My goal when I left law school was to become a judge,” he said. He did just that at the age of 36, becoming the youngest judge in New York.

    Law, however, was not really in his plans.

    “When I went to college I had visions of flying jets off of aircraft carriers. I wanted to be in the Navy,” he said.

    In college he joined the ROTC program.

    With the Vietnam War going on Judge Hunter joined the draft counseling board at Temple University, where he was earning his undergraduate degree. In this role he learned about selective service law and counseled students on their rights should they be called up in the draft.

    “I enjoyed doing that,” he said. “I represented some students in hearings in Philadelphia.”

    “By representing these students,” he continued, “I started to learn the law and began to have an appreciation for the law.”

    Rather than join the Navy, as had been his intention, Judge Hunter left the ROTC program and attended the University of Buffalo with the new dream of becoming a trial lawyer.

    Civil Service

    Tina Harper and Monique Gadson, both with the Theodore Young Community Center in Greenburgh, spoke to eighth grade students on the importance of starting early. While they may not be ready or have an idea of what they would like to do for a career, the women said it was never too early to begin to think about possibilities. Including looking into colleges.

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  • 'In the Heights' comes to AHHS

    Posted by Alicia Smith on 3/13/2019 3:00:00 PM

    The stage at Alexander Hamilton High School is in the process of being transformed into Washington Heights, a neighborhood in New York City. The Cast of In the Heights Elmsford community will have an opportunity to visit this area and meet the fictitious characters who live there in an upcoming performance of ‘In the Heights.’

    “We were all really excited to do the show,” Dahlia White, who plays Nina, said. “When we heard, we were really ecstatic.”

    “When the show was announced last year, I spent my whole spring break going crazy,” Jason Bernard, Jr., said. “This show tells a nice story.”

    The play is a contemporary musical with music and lyrics by popular entertainer Lin-Manuel Miranda and incorporates hip-hop, salsa, merengue and soul. It focuses on three days in a Latino neighborhood where residents contemplate their futures and happiness.

    “It’s a big, vibrant show,” director Chris Guzman said. “The characters are very relatable.”

    Mr. Guzman said at the heart of the story is the question of what home is and what it means to different people.

    The leads in the show have found their characters to be ones they can understand and recognize how they change as the story unfolds.

    “First, I thought he was more stoic, but I really see him as more emotional,” said Chris Yeosock, who plays Sunny. “He is concerned about the state in which he lives.”

    Lizbeth Medina’s character, Vanessa, is mostly concerned about herself; however, the actress said as she became more familiar with the character, she realized she is more concerned about those around her than first thought.

    “I feel like I can relate to Benny,” Jason said of his character. “He is an ambitious guy.”

    “I like Usnavi,” said Taiyo Tatara. “He tells a good story and learns about appreciating what he has. In the end, he realizes he is home and where he wants to be.”

    Dahlia said her character struggles with trying to please everyone around her.

    “She feels she is not as successful as she was hoping,” Dahlia said.

    In addition to being able to understand where their characters are coming from, the music from the show, further helps to tell the story and will appeal to a large audience.

    “I love ‘It Won’t Be Long Now,’” Lizbeth said of her favorite number in the show, in which her character reminisces about the elevated train that runs through her neighborhood. While others find the noise disruptive, she hears a sounds from her home.

    “It’s the thing she listens for,” Lizbeth said.

    Jason said he finds the tune “When the Sun Goes Down” to be powerful, serving as a contrast to the first act.

    “He tells Nina he won’t forget her,” he said of his character’s love interest.

    For Dahlia, the song “When you are Home” spoke to her as it contains a confession of how her childhood friend has come to love her.

    “He is her safe place,” Dahlia said.

    ‘In the Heights’ will be performed March 22 at 7 p.m. and on March 23 at 2 and 7 p.m. For tickets, visit musical.eufsd.org.

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  • Grady Drama Club presented 'Mulan, Jr.'

    Posted by Alicia Smith on 3/12/2019 9:30:00 AM

    All the elements for a good story can be found in Disney’s Mulan Jr.’ — honor, adventure, conviction and even love. The Grady Drama Club told the tale Mulan, Junior cast during its performances on March 7.

    The show tells the story of Mulan, a young girl who seemingly dishonors her family by dressing as a boy and joining the army to fight the Huns so her father does not have to. Through her bravery, and with the help of her funny sidekick, Mulan redeems herself, restores her family name and falls in love.

    “We have an amazing show for you,” Principal Doug Doller told the afternoon audience consisting of students from the Carl L. Dixson Primary School.

    “The kids have been working very hard. You are going to love what you are about to see,” he said before the curtain went up.

    “Oh, pretty!” one young audience member exclaimed when the opened curtain revealed the exterior of an ancient Chinese temple, and members of the cast appeared on stage dressed in colorful traditional Chinese dress.

    The audience was informed they were about to witness a story of “destiny and love,” during the show’s opening number, “Written in Stone.”

    The drama club presented two shows. A shortened version matinee performance for the younger students and a full-length evening show for family and friends.

    The cast consisted of almost 50 students and featured Christina Clancy as Mulan, Alana Lewis as her sidekick dragon, Mushu, and Deana Guerra as Captain Shang.

    Cast performs The set reflected a Chinese landscape, the home of Mulan’s ancestors, the Fa family, complete with the exterior of the family temple. The audience was transported from Mulan’s ancestral home to the battlefield and back. They witnessed a disastrous match-making ceremony, an assault by the Huns, an avalanche, and peace finally restored to the Fa family.

    Co-directors for the show were teachers Kim Breen, Christine Budzynski and Mary Potenza.Mulan and her fatehr

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