Monday May 21 - A day
Tuesday - May 22 - B Day
Wednesday - May 23 - C Day
Thursday - May 24 - D Day
Friday - May 25 - A Day
There is no better way to learn about a career than by talking to someone working in the field. Students at Mahopac Middle School had that opportunity recently during Career Day, where more than 20 professionals from all walks of life set up booths in the school gym to discuss their careers.
“We have been doing this event for 18 years, and it has grown so much over the years,” said Mahopac Middle School’s Mary Thorne, who coordinates the event. A few of the professionals presenting were former Mahopac students, who returned to give something back to their school.
Representatives from the fields of medicine, law, computer design, engineering, architecture, education, law enforcement, and more, piqued students’ interest in a variety of career choices.
Chiropractor Dr. Chris Perrone has been coming to Career Day at MMS for 15 years. “I love working with students and having the opportunity to help guide them with career choices,” he said.
Student Alexis Leblanc said the day was both fun and informative. “We got to see the different types of work that people do, like psychiatrists and police officers,” she said.
Fellow student Ariana Canariato agreed. “I liked learning about all the jobs people do.”
The Mahopac Central School District rolled out its initiative to provide students in grades five through twelve with their own Chromebook laptops this week. The initiative is in keeping with Mahopac’s commitment to provide students with cutting-edge technology to make them 21st century leaders. Students in the lower grades will share one Chromebook for every two students.
Training sessions were held recently for students, who were excited about using the laptops. John Resanovich, senior facilitator for instructional technology at Southern Westchester BOCES, was one of the experts on hand to help students in the middle school. His demonstration of how they could move apps and use Google Drive for sharing documents was met by cries of “wow” and “awesome” by students, who were fascinated with the technology.
The Chromebooks allow students to easily check homework assignments, film videos for projects, and share information with each other.
The district also hosted an informational evening for parents, to familiarize them with the technology.
“This initiative will really enable our students to be college and career ready,” said Mahopac Superintendent Anthony DiCarlo. “There has been a lot of time and energy put into professional development and technology training, and we are very fortunate to have the community’s support.”
Mahoapc Middle School recently held their Annual School STEAM Fair. The event showcased experiments, machines and displays focused around Science, Technology, Engineering, Art and Mathematics. Hover boards, 3-D printers and chemical reactions were just a few of the things students explored at the fair, where creative innovation was in abundance.
Falcons hunt high up in the open sky, but Mahopac Middle School sixth graders didn’t have to take anyone’s word for that. They saw it for themselves when Brian Bradley released a falcon on the field outside the school and watched as it soared up high beyond view in search of food.
“Unlike owls, who fly low, silently and hunt in the dark, falcons need a wide open space and fly high above other birds, which are their prey,” Bradley, of Skyhunters in Flight in Ulster Park, NY, told students.
Earlier Bradley explained the differences between hawks, which have excellent vision, and owls, which rely on their hearing more than their vision for hunting. Bradley brought a barn owl, spectacled owl, red-tailed hawk and a Harris’s hawk, among other birds, to show the sixth graders.
But it was the falcon, with its fierce velocity, that got to demonstrate the breadth of its flight outdoors. “Falcons continuously flap their wings in order to fly and don’t ever coast the way other birds do,” Bradley said. “This field may seem huge, but to a falcon, with its incredible speed, it is tiny.”
To promote inclusion, kindness, empathy and teamwork, Mahopac Middle School kicked off its Wingman program for the second year this week, with guest speaker and program creator Ian Hockley. Hockley, who lost his son, Dylan, in the Sandy Hook shootings, created the program in his son’s memory to train teachers and student leaders on ways to provide a more inclusive school environment. He brought with him co-speaker Eddie Slowikowski, who motivated students through stories and activities.
Hockley spoke of six-year-old Dylan, who was autistic and who benefited greatly when friends were empathetic to his differences. “Dylan was shy,” he said, “and couldn’t get involved in things easily at school. But when people took the time to explain things to him, he would get it, and he would get involved. Those types of people who step in and help—they are wingmen.”
Currently the program is in the tristate area with plans to expand throughout the country. While Hockley trains teachers in the program, he says it is the students who really are the leaders.
“The program really belongs to the them,” said Hockley. “The student leaders are the ones that set the direction for the program and decide on activities and topics.”
Five MMS teachers trained in the Wingman philosophy. Christine McNeill, Melissa Nyikos, Jenifer Maloney, Ginny Gertling and Carol Polimino are working with a number of student leaders to get the program firmly established in the school.
Slowikowski’s presentation, which motivated students with dance moves, sound effects and music, had a profound message: “Each one of you has something that makes you uniquely who you are,” he said. “And you have the opportunity each day to use those talents to do something good for someone else.”
Though Tom Cozzocrea has spent the past 12 years as a teacher and administrator in New York City public schools, being named the new principal of Mahopac Middle School is a homecoming of sorts.
“I grew up in Carmel,” said Cozzocrea, “and though I received great training in the city, I am really excited to be in Mahopac, where I already feel at home in the school community. Everyone has been so welcoming.”
Cozzocrea has worked as an elementary school teacher at PS 97 in the Bronx; as a principal mentee at PS 25 bilingual school; and as principal of PS/MS 5, a pre-K- grade 8 school also in the Bronx.
“I thought I would be a career New York City educator, but the opportunity to come to a tight-knit community like Mahopac, where technology, music and sports are all in the forefront, was too good to pass up,” Cozzocrea said.
He said he is impressed with the level of teacher involvement with students as well as the collaboration among teachers.
Cozzocrea, who lives in Pawling with his wife and two children, said he plans to continue and expand that level of teamwork. “When all of us work together, it really helps make the best experience for students. I am really looking forward to working with the community, our students and our staff.”
As the long and trying winter comes to an end we have many things to look forward to this spring at MMS. This tends to be the busiest time of year with many great activities for our students and opportunities for them to showcase all of the things they have learned throughout the year.
We will have our State Assessments in ELA on April 11-12 followed by Math May 1-2. This year’s Middle School Musical will take place April 20-21. The students have been working hard to prepare for their production of “The Suessical”. At the end of April our 8th graders will take their trip to our Nation’s Capital to soak in the sites and history of our country.
May will bring our Spring Concerts and the opportunity for our young musicians to showcase their talent and share all they have learned this year. Throughout the month our Chorus, Band, Orchestra and Steel Drums will be performing. May will also be the month where our 8th grade students take the New York Performance Test in Science. We will be making visits down to our elementary schools to begin transitioning our current 5th graders and preparing them to come to Middle School in September. Our 8th graders will continue to visit the High School and meet with counselors who will make sure they are ready for the big jump next year.
June will be filled with moving up ceremonies, dinner dances and many other planned activities. Remember, as the weather gets warmer, please refer to the Student Handbook for appropriate dress. Also, please check your e-mail frequently as we are a “green” school and we will have important information going home in the coming months.
I would like to once again thank you all for the opportunity to work with your children. It is my honor to be the MMS Principal and I look forward to continuing to collaborate with you to create the best learning environment for your children.
Tom Cozzocrea, Principal