District News

District News

Seven seniors at Byram Hills High School have been named semifinalists in the 2019 National Merit Scholarship Program.

The students are Alan Chang, Joshua Freedman, Elyse Kanner, Emma Lucchino, David McDaniels, Jonah Schwam and Nicole Tissot.

“We are very proud of these students for this accomplishment,” Principal Christopher Walsh said. “It’s always great to have our students highlighted on a national level, and to have seven of our students ranked nationally speaks to the tremendous quality of education and support that we have here at Byram Hills.”

The Byram Hills students are among approximately 16,000 semifinalists, academically talented students who represent less than 1 percent of all high school seniors in the country and include the highest-scoring entrants from each state, the National Merit Scholarship Corporation said in a release.

They were chosen from more than 1.6 million high school juniors in about 22,000 schools across the country who took the 2017 Preliminary SAT/National Merit Scholarship Qualifying Test.

More than 90 percent of the semifinalists are expected to earn finalist standing, and about half of those will win a scholarship and the Merit Scholar title. The students are competing for 7,500 National Merit Scholarships worth more than $31 million, awards that will be announced in the spring and summer.

“We’re all very proud of you,” Dr. Michael McGrath, chairperson of the Guidance Department, told the Byram Hills semifinalists. “It’s a phenomenal honor.”

2018 National Merit Semi-FInalists


Seven Byram Hills High School seniors have been named National Merit Scholarship Program semifinalists. Pictured here are, in front from left: Nicole Tissot, Emma Lucchino and Elyse Kanner, and in back from left: Alan Chang, Jonah Schwam, David McDaniels and Joshua Freedman



Byram Hills Student-Musicians Earn Prestigious NYSSMA All-State Designation

Six Byram Hills High School students have been selected as participants or alternates in the 2018 New York State School Music Association All-State conference, the highest statewide honor for high school musicians.

The Byram Hills students were among thousands who auditioned in the spring at solo and ensemble festivals throughout New York. They are among nearly 900 students accepted into All-State ensembles that will perform later this year at NYSSMA’s winter conference.

The students chosen for the Mixed Chorus ensemble were soprano Charlie Cohen, alto Megan Hwang and tenor Jake Wild. Trombonist Brent Perlman was selected for the Symphonic Orchestra. Soprano Isabelle Ilan and bass Shea Gordon were selected as alternates.

“The Music Department is supremely proud of these accomplishments,” said Deepak Marwah, the Byram Hills Director of Fine Arts. “We’re sending students who have worked really hard in their ensembles and in preparing their solos. They’re going to represent Byram Hills among so many other excellent musicians in their age group. They’re leaders in our music program.”

The students will attend the NYSSMA winter conference in Rochester, New York in November and early December, and will perform at the Kodak Hall at the Eastman School of Music.

“Congratulations to all of our music educators throughout the entire district for helping to prepare our students for this great honor,” Mr. Marwah said.

2018 NYSSMA Musicians

Six student-musicians at Byram Hills High School were selected as participants or alternates in the 2018 New York State School Music Association All-State conference in Rochester, New York. From left, they are: Megan Hwang, Charlie Cohen, Brent Perlman, Shea Gordon, Jake Wild and Isabelle Ilan.


Vox Summit Encourages BHHS Freshmen to Use Their Voice for Positive Change in the World

You’re a 14-year-old fleeing your country and you’re given less than a minute to pick the sole item you’ll take from your home into a new land. Or, you must read a passage, but with flashing lights, clapping hands and stomping feet all around, you can’t comprehend the words on the page.

These powerful, eye-opening simulations of what it can be like to be a refugee or a person with autism came to Byram Hills High School as part of the second annual Vox Summit, which introduced students to a variety of societal issues at home and abroad. The special event for freshmen was aimed at promoting increased engagement by students and encouraging them to speak up for positive change in the world.

The May 2 event began with a panel of students discussing their service-learning trips, followed by breakout sessions where students met with members of organizations that help others. The day wrapped up with a World Cafe, where students reflected on what they heard and learned.

“By exposing them to different service projects around the world, different groups that handle different human experiences around the world, or even in our own backyard, we want to expose our students to people who are different than they are and highlight the importance of bringing dignity to everybody’s experience,” Principal Christopher Walsh said.

“The focus is letting them know that they do have a voice and they do have the power to change the world,” he added. “We want them to start thinking outside of our small community and to start thinking globally.”

The summit was based on the Asia Society’s four tenets of global competency, which are to investigate the world, recognize perspectives, take action and communicate ideas, according to summit organizer, Melissa Stahl, Chairperson of the World Languages Department.

“The summit was a chance for freshmen to see that opportunities exist in the local, national and international realm for them to make a positive change for something or someone else in the world and society,” Ms. Stahl said.

Students presenting at the VOX summit

Instead of a single keynote speaker, a panel discussion was held featuring Byram Hills students, including one freshman, discussing service-learning trips they had taken to countries including India and Tanzania. The moderator, social studies teacher Thomas Andriello, led the conversation about their experiences and asked students about the leadership qualities they developed through these projects.

From there, students attended breakout sessions. The sessions featured the work of eight organizations: SHARE the Project, a community service group; Bridges to Community, an international nonprofit group that helps people living in impoverished communities in developing nations; Extraordinary Ventures, which supports people with autism and other developmental disabilities; IRIS, which helps refugees and immigrants; Amigos International, which offers volunteering programs in Central and South America; KEEP: Girls in School, which helps keep at-risk girls in school in Kenya; Neighbors Link, which tries to strengthen the community through the healthy integration of immigrants; and Pleasantville Cottage School, a residential treatment program for boys and girls ages 7 to 16. Another session was led by a teacher and focused on the five key practices of leadership from “The Leadership Challenge: How to Make Extraordinary Things Happen in Organizations.”

Breakout session during the VOX summit

During the World Cafe sessions in the cafeteria, students sat in small groups at tables, where each had a student facilitator who was either a Global Scholars Program student or a member of the Student Leadership Board. “We had a lot of students involved in being leaders and showing the freshmen how it is possible for them to become leaders in one capacity or another,” Ms. Stahl said.

“We hope the kids are inspired to want to engage in making positive change and feel competent they can,” she added. “Small changes can lead to big change, and we want students to know that they can use their voice and have an influence. You’re never too young to start making positive change.”

Mr. Walsh called the summit a success.

“We thought the students were really engaged and the different organizations did a great job of discussing their benefits to society,” he said. “Overall, it was a great day for our freshmen.”

Under the Lights: Byram Hills High School Homecoming Games to Feature Four Night Games

Byram Hills High School is pleased to announce that this year’s homecoming celebration will feature four varsity night games, the first time in school history the Bobcats will play at home under the lights.

“We hope the entire community can come out to cheer on all of our athletic teams during homecoming week,” Byram Hills Principal Christopher Walsh said. “We think it’s a great way to build community spirit and Bobcat pride.”

The varsity homecoming games begin with field hockey on Sept. 26, followed by girls soccer on Sept. 27, football on Sept. 28 and boys soccer on Sept. 29. All games are at Byram Hills High School at 7 p.m.

The Byram Hills School District is renting lights to illuminate the games and add to this year's homecoming festivities. “Thank you to the Board of Education and Superintendent Jen Lamia for supporting us with this event,” Mr. Walsh said.

This year marks 50 years since the first class graduated from Byram Hills High School. Alumni from the class of 1968 will return to Byram Hills to speak to the ninth graders on Sept. 28 and will tour the high school the following day ahead of their 50th reunion that night.

“As the first graduating class of Byram Hills High School, they are responsible for many of the great traditions and symbols that we still have today,” Mr. Walsh said. “Their class came up with the Bobcat as a mascot and they also chose our school colors. They still speak about this school with such pride and I hope that 50 years from now, our current students feel the same way.”

2018 Tenure Awards

2018 Tenure Awards

The five Byram Hills educators who received tenure in 2017-2018 were honored by the Board of Education in June. They are: (from left in the back row) Robert Castagna, director of health education, physical education and athletics; Jessica Shaw, English language arts teacher at Byram Hills High School; Jill Boynton, director of special services; (from left in the front row) Mary Brady, special education teacher at Wampus Elementary School; and Deepak Marwah, director of fine arts. “Tenure means a commitment,” Superintendent Jen Lamia said. “Through extensive observations and extensive collaborations, the District feels confident not only in what you’ve done, but what we think you will continue to do for the children of Byram Hills. Each one of you has exemplified, for me, how collaboration with colleagues supports our kids.”