Six Byram Hills High School Students Selected as Regeneron Science Talent Search Semifinalists

Byram Hills is proud to announce that six members of the class of 2021 have been recognized as top scholars in the 80th Regeneron Science Talent Search, one of the most prestigious science and math competitions in the nation.  These students were chosen from a pool of 1,760 students. To date, Byram Hills has 123 semi-finalists, of which 20 went on to become finalists.
Regeneron awards each semifinalist and their school $2,000 to support ongoing research. On January 21st, these students will have the opportunity to become one of 40 finalists of the Regeneron Science Talent Search. During these challenging times, their determination and resilience should serve as an inspiration to us all.

Congratulations to Olivia Canter, Mia Dittrich, Bailey Goldstein, Ali Hafez, Jared Ilan, and Raquel Kanner.

Byram Hills Regeneron Science Talent Search Semifinalists Project Titles

Olivia Canter: Birds of a feather age together: Telomere dynamics and social behavior predict lifespan in female Japanese Quail.

Mia Dittrich: Epigenetic editing of Cdk5 leads to sexually dimorphic stress responses.
Bailey Goldstein: Investigating differences in the relaxation of non-photochemical quenching and its implications for crop photosynthetic efficiency.

Ali Hafez: Using artificial neural networks to accurately simulate carbon nanotube field-effect transistors.

Jared Ilan: Modulus of elasticity of the ideal decellularized plant material scaffold for the production of cultured meat.

Raquel Kanner: How do others perceive me? An exploration of the influence of self-disclosure statements on viewer perceptions of emerging adults who stutter.



Byram Hills High School Presents - “A Night On Broadway” - From Your Home

On Tuesday, December 1, 2020, The Varley Players of Byram Hills High School will be debuting “A Night On Broadway” in a truly unique way - Virtually. No stage. No sets. No costumes. No lighting. No cast party. But these talented students are counting on a vast audience - online.

Byram Hills did not miss a beat in keeping these students engaged during the pandemic. Sophomore Matthew Giovannetti said, “I miss the camaraderie we normally share when rehearsing a show, but it was great that we could perform songs from a wider range of musical styles and periods.” Matthew has previously appeared on the Byram Hills stage in Peter and the Starcatcher and Guys and Dolls.

“We had to do a show, both for ourselves and the community,” said Theatre Director John Lopez.  “What could be possible to produce even if we were unable to attend school for the semester?”  He told students to focus on learning to connect to a song’s text, perform it in their living room with heart, and record on a phone if needed. 

Auditions were remote, and students chose songs to fit the general theme of their journeys, remembrances, and new beginnings - the result - a highly entertaining and memorable mix of Broadway songs. A stunning musical cabaret!
“A virtual performance can be just as fun and exciting as a live show,” said Christine Parisi, a Byram Hills junior. “We worked so hard, practicing every day until it was time to film our songs, and it all paid off.”  Christine will be performing in four pieces for this production, including a solo of  “Send in the Clowns” from A Little Night Music.

Students did the bulk of the work during virtual meetings and even some carefully distanced ensemble rehearsals. Each performer, wearing an earbud to hear an accompaniment track, recorded practice versions and ultimately final recordings of all the songs from a quiet location in their own homes.

“The students have made us all proud,” said Mr. Lopez. “They managed to balance their stressful lives with the demands and responsibilities of rehearsing and recording their performances and pouring passion and joy into the entire process.”

Mr. Melso and Ms. Medrano from the Byram Hills Media Center (Producer & Editors), Mr. Gulick (Assistant Director), Mrs. Pieratti (Production Assistant), Mrs. Smith (Music Director), and Mrs. Brooks (Scenic Designer) all played a significant role in this production.

Global Scholars Students Take Action

The Global Scholars Program is a three-year interdisciplinary course that focuses on global awareness, critical thinking, and leadership skills for the 21st century. Each year centers around project-based learning with relevant topics drawn from the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals. Students develop global competency skills and work toward understanding growth mindsets, dispositions, and design thinking skills by investigating the world and taking action through research and authentic tasks.

The requirements to enter the program are an interest in global issues, a desire to engage in authentic learning, and a willingness to take action to make a difference. Year 1 of the program focuses on an introduction to the most significant issues facing our world today including poverty, human rights, and the environment. This seminar-style class, taught by an interdisciplinary team of teachers, helps students recognize multiple perspectives on both local and global issues, and helps develop skills needed to take action.

During Year 2, students continue to expand their global understanding through group and independent projects and develop an individual learning plan to investigate a global issue of their choosing. Through the utilization of design thinking, they cultivate empathy, conduct in-depth research, and take action to address their chosen universal challenge.

The 2019-2020 school year included three projects for Year 2 students.  The first was to study Hurricane Dorian's effect on the Bahamas and was used primarily to practice empathy interviews.  “Although students could not conduct interviews themselves, they viewed interviews conducted by others. They began to understand that if you want to help people, you first must learn from the people you are looking to help,” said Ms. Jen Laden, Byram Hills Social Studies Chair.  “They researched charities and made a recommendation of an appropriate one to raise donations for.”

For their second project, students had to develop a plan to encourage Westchester residents to complete the 2020 Census. They were required to conduct research, interview stakeholders, collect data, identify problem areas, and develop a realistic action plan.

Student groups wrote emails, made calls, and scheduled appointments for interviews with various local organizations. “This was one of the best elements of the process,” said Mr. Duane Smith, Byram Hills English Chair.  “Rather than viewing their teachers as the sole purveyors of knowledge, the students used interviews to learn from various individuals in the field.”

One successful outcome of the project came from a student group that created a public service announcement video targeting an immigrant community in Mount Kisco. The five group members collaborated with the Advanced Via Individual Determination (AVID) class at Fox Lane High School to identify and reach out to trusted community members. Neighbors Link, an organization that provides services and education for the immigrant community, helped make the decision to produce the video in Spanish with English subtitles to effectively reach their intended market.

“What I got most out of this project was how impactful design thinking can be. This is a fool-proof way to be successful,” said Lindsey Noel, a Global Scholars student. “I will take these skills with me through the rest of my education and into the workforce.”

Students chose their own topics for the third project. “They started with research on their problem, conducted empathy interviews, developed action plans, and right in the middle of that great work, the pandemic hit,” Ms. Laden said.  “Students then altered their ideas and many developed social media campaigns to raise awareness about their issue.

Skylar Silverstein, Byram Hills senior, focused on the increase of current adolescent mental health issues. “The most important thing I learned was how to be flexible and professional while working virtually,” expressed Skylar. She is currently creating activities and workshops about youth mental health and socialization.

Alexa Tusiani, Byram Hills senior, chose the topic of how factory farming impacts various systems within our society and government.  “Many people are not aware that this system involves raising livestock under harsh and confining conditions or the negative stigma surrounding becoming vegan,” said Alexa. “I wanted to change that perception and demonstrate the many positive aspects of a plant-based lifestyle.”  Alexa learned the importance of researching various perspectives of an issue, and how valuable it is to listen to others.

“Seniors explore their leadership abilities and hone their skills using the leadership practices of Kouzes and Posner as a framework,” said Ms. Melissa Stahl, World Languages Chair. “Year 3 students culminate the year by synthesizing all of their learned mindsets, design thinking, and leadership skills and develop a global summit for the freshmen class.”  

The Global Scholars Program has just completed its first three-year cycle and continues to draw approximately 50 new students each year with over 100 students in the program.

Inside Fall Induction Ceremonies

On October 22nd, nineteen seniors were inducted into the Byram Hills Chapter of the Cum Laude Society, the high school’s academic honor society. Cum Laude was started in 1906, and today, there are over 350 chapters in the United States. 
“This ceremony allows us to recognize the students whose GPA’s are within the top ten percent of their class,” said Principal Christopher Walsh. “They arrived there through hard work, perseverance, grit, and the support of their families.” 
“I urge you to reflect on the positives these unprecedented educational experiences have given you,” said Lisa Squadron, English teacher and 2019 faculty Cum Laude inductee, said.
Byram Hills Superintendent and 2019 inductee, Dr. Jen Lamia shared, “Think about others, learn how to talk to people by being a better listener, take another’s perspective, stop complaining, and learn how to express yourself.”

Dr. Sandra Abt, Byram Hills Cum Laude Chapter President, said.  “If you respect perspective, you will be happier, more successful, and make better decisions.” The 2020 faculty inductee was Byram Hills High School Social Studies teacher, Mr. Thomas Andriello.

On October 8th, 71 Byram Hills High School students were inducted into the World Languages Honor Society through a virtual ceremony. These students were recognized by faculty, staff, and family members for their hard work and dedication in studying another language. 
Three students delivered the induction pledges in their respective languages of study: Ariel Sheinberg - French, John D’Avanzo - Italian, and Illeana Baquero - Spanish. 

“Language helped families reconnect during the pandemic,” said Ms. Stahl.  “It helped us learn, heal, and share feelings.” She concluded by saying, “Use your love of language to expand and challenge your thinking, to help others, and to make our world a better place.”


Designing for Change

On November 12th, The Manhattanville College Center for Design Thinking will be hosting an online discussion to highlight how high schools use design thinking in their programs.  Two Byram Hills seniors, Lindsey Noel and Ariel Sheinberg, will be participating on the panel along with our three Global Scholars Teachers, Jennifer Laden, Byram Hills Social Studies Chairperson, Duane Smith, Byram Hills English Chairperson, and Melissa Stahl, Byram Hills World Languages Chairperson. 
In addition to Global Scholars, the STEAM program from Scarsdale High School will be sharing how their programs are utilizing design thinking as a process for students to research and take action on local and global issues.  Hear how they integrate design thinking to understand multiple perspectives, collaboration, problem definition, problem-solving, and leadership.

Past design thinking challenges for Global Scholars students have included: increasing the participation rate in the 2020 Census in Westchester County, increasing voter turnout in the 2020 Election, fostering BHHS community during the COVID-19 pandemic, and many individual action plans related to the environment, poverty, hunger, and other social issues.

Design thinking programs develop students who can make a difference in the world.

Support our Byram Hills students and teachers, and join them in this upcoming event: 

Designing For Change
Date: Thursday November 12th, 2020
Time: 5:00 pm - 6:30 pm
Zoom Meeting Link:


Town of North Castle and Byram Hills Recognized NYS Champions

On Saturday, October 17th, the Byram Hills 2007 soccer and 2015 baseball state championship teams were honored at a sign unveiling near downtown Armonk.  Alumni, community members, the Board of Education, and members of the North Castle Town Board attended.

“Our children going to school right now need role models to know what success and achievement look like," said Dr. Jen Lamia, Byram Hills Superintendent. “Every day that they drive into this town, they can see what you have done and aspire to achieve. When you come home, you can see that your town and your school district stand behind you and take intense pride in you."

Michael Schiliro, North Castle Town Supervisor, was pleased to see the students get the recognition they deserve. “This sign will be here forever to show your families that you were state champs,” said Mr. Schiliro. “We can’t wait to add more teams to the sign.”  

Ira Schulman, Byram Hills Board of Education President, addressed the crowd and said, “The most important message I’d like to convey is that we are not training athletes to be students but student-athletes.  At Byram Hills, academics will always come first.”

Rob Castagna, Byram Hills Athletic Director, thanked the parents for their trust and support and congratulated the athletes and coaches. “It is such an honor to work with Coach Allen and Coach Saunders,” Mr. Castagna said. “What they bring to the athletic program is off the charts and hard to measure.”

Before unveiling the sign, both coaches spoke. “The 2007 soccer team played 24 games and gave up nine goals,” said Byram Hills Soccer Coach Matt Allen.  “A great team’s mark is that since the state championship, no Byram Hills soccer team has lost more than three games.”  Mr. Allen paid special thanks to Michael Gulino, retired Byram Hills Athletic Director, and mentioned his joy in sharing the honor with friend, Coach Saunders.  

“Matt, you paved the way for future teams to win the state championships and showed Byram Hills that it was not a fantasy; it was a reality,” Scott Saunders, Byram Hills Baseball Coach said. “For my 2015 team, seeing the men you have become has been one of the coolest experiences of my career.”  

The two coaches tore down the paper to cheers from the crowd, revealing the sign, a joint donation from the Byram Hills School District, and the Town of North Castle.  The ceremony exhibited Bobcat pride at its finest.

To watch the full unveiling ceremony, CLICK HERE.


19 Byram Hills Seniors Inducted into the Cum Laude Society

Cum Laude Inductees 2020-2021Nineteen Byram Hills High School seniors were honored for their academic achievement as they were inducted into the Byram Hills Chapter of the Cum Laude Society during a virtual ceremony on Thursday, October 22, 2020.

“This ceremony allows us to recognize the students whose GPA’s are within the top ten percent of their class,” said Byram Hills High School Principal, Mr. Christopher Walsh. “They arrived there through hard work, perseverance, grit, and the support of their families.” 
The faculty addresses were given by high school English teacher Mrs. Lisa Squadron and Byram Hills Superintendent Dr. Jen Lamia, who were inducted into the Cum Laude Society in 2019.   
“I urge you to reflect on the positives these unprecedented educational experiences have given you,” said Mrs. Squadron. “Focus on what you have gained and what you might want to retain.”  
Dr. Lamia offered a personal prescription for how to find and develop oneself in uncertain times.  She said, “Think about other people, learn how to talk to people by being a better listener, take another’s perspective, stop complaining, and learn how to express yourself.  You have given Byram Hills your best - and should be very proud.”  Dr. Lamia continued, “Start to build your own personal prescription, so that someday you can feel good knowing you found your passion, your purpose, your people, and yourself.”

Dr. Sandra Abt, Byram Hills Cum Laude Chapter President, said, “Perspective should shape how you look at things.   If you respect perspective, you will be happier, more successful, and make better decisions.”

The 2020 faculty inductee was Byram Hills High School Social Studies teacher, Mr. Thomas Andriello. 
The students inducted into Cum Laude were: Lauren Amico, Jordyn Bernard, Zachary Binder, Luke Briody, Olivia Canter, John D’Avanzo, Talia Dinstein, Mia Dittrich, Kristin Eickelbeck, Calvin Fontaine, Paul Lestz, Elizabeth Manowitz, Noam Molloy, Kathryn Petlyuk, Tessa Schwartz, Ariel Sheinberg, Drew Siskin, Chloe Weissman, and Alison Zeng.

The Cum Laude Society is a nonprofit organization founded in 1907 to recognize scholastic achievement in secondary schools. Today it has over 350 chapters.


Byram Hills High School Awarded National Blue Ribbon Title

Byram Hills High School was recognized nationally as a 2020 Blue Ribbon School.  This award was based on student achievement and Byram Hills' commitment to education.  Byram Hills is one of nine public high schools in New York State to receive this award in the "Exemplary High Performing" category.

The United States Secretary of Education recognized 367 schools as National Blue Ribbon Schools for 2020.

“Congratulations to this year’s National Blue Ribbon School awardees,” said Secretary Betsy DeVos. “It’s a privilege to recognize the extraordinary work you do to meet students’ needs and prepare them for successful careers and meaningful lives."

The coveted National Blue Ribbon Schools award affirms the hard work of educators, families, and communities in creating safe and welcoming schools where students master challenging and engaging content. Now in its 38th year, the National Blue Ribbon Schools Program has bestowed almost 10,000 awards to more than 9,000 schools.

“Byram Hills High School is so successful because of the alignment between the expectations of the community, the professionalism of the faculty, and the engagement of the students,” said Byram Hills Principal Mr. Christopher Walsh.  “This is a tremendous honor.”

The 2020 National Blue Ribbon Schools Awards Ceremony will be held virtually on November 12th and 13th.

Byram Hills High School named 2020 National Blue Ribbon School.

Five Byram Hills Students Named National Merit Semifinalists

Five Byram Hills High School Seniors have been named semifinalists in the 66th Annual National Merit Scholarship Program for 2021.

The students are Jordyn Bernard, Luke Briody, Talia Dinstein, Jared Ilan, and Kathryn Petlyuk.  

These students were selected among 16,000 semifinalists, nationwide, based on their skills, accomplishments, and potential for success in rigorous college studies.  They will go on to compete for 7,600 National Merit Scholarships worth more than $30 million. 

Over 1.5 million juniors from approximately 21,000 high schools entered the National Merit Scholarship Program. The nationwide pool of semifinalists represents the top 1.25% of United States high school test-takers.

Kristina Wilson, Byram Hills Guidance Department Chairperson, said, "This accomplishment represents years of both an excellent education and outstanding effort on the part of our students.”

“Our school community congratulates these five seniors for being named National Merit Semifinalists,” said Byram Hills Principal, Christopher Walsh.  “These students took the PSAT last October and so much has changed since that time.  I am very happy that they could still be recognized for this accomplishment and for having such a high achievement.”

These five students will have the chance to be considered as finalists for the National Merit Scholarships to be offered in the spring of 2021.

NMSC, National Merit Scholarship Corporation, is a not-for-profit organization established in 1955 to honor the nation’s scholastic champions and to encourage the pursuit of academic excellence.

Five Byram Hills Students Named National Merit Semifinalists 

Congratulations to the Class of 2020

On June 23rd the Class of 2020 was honored drive-in movie style. This picture-perfect evening, albeit far from traditional, brought together 193 seniors and their families to the west parking lot of SUNY Purchase for a celebration to remember. All eyes were on two 40 foot screens as participants tuned in to the simulcast on their car radios. The presentation contained words of wisdom, pride, and messages about resilience and strength as this class faced a unique set of challenges leading up to graduation.

The audience heard from Salutatorian, Elena Lowe who said, “We can only hope this will be a year of change for the better and we should not be afraid of it.”

Alison Lehman, the Valedictorian, addressed her peers and stated,  “When we look back at this time, remember all that it gave us.  Our sadness, frustration, and anger highlight what we value most and will change our lives for the better.”  

Mr. Walsh referred to the Class of 2020 as the 52nd graduating class from Byram Hills but quite different from all the others.  “You are the only class who had a car procession in your honor, a video tribute on movie screens, and graduation on the turf field,” Mr. Walsh said.  “I will always remember this grade for leading the way into an unknown world.”
Dr. Jen Lamia addressed the seniors by speaking about how much has changed during their journey on the path to graduation.  “Change helps us develop into our true selves.  A part of each of us is developed by the way we think, we act, we relate, we dream, and we exist during change,” said Dr. Lamia.

The eighty-minute program incorporated moving messages from Board of Education President, Mr. Scott Levy, high school teachers, tribute slides from parents and students, a clever diploma hand-off, and a montage of photos and videos starting from when the seniors were in elementary school.  This was truly a magical night filled with well-deserved recognition, great joy, and much hope for the Class of 2020.

The formal Commencement Ceremony will take place on August 4th on the high school campus.