Rippowam Cisqua School

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  • Ninth Graders Experience the Institute of Culinary Education

    An Unexpected Surprise

    On Thursday morning, September 18th, as the ninth graders began to settle into Mrs. Stern’s history class, Mr. Barrett came in wearing a serious expression on his face. The ninth graders thought they were in trouble for something but then he asked a student to read a note that said “You are all going to NYC for a surprise.” The students looked confused. Then Mrs. Stern shouted "surprise!" and everyone started to cheer and smile.

    Mr. Barrett said "The bus is waiting for you next to the swings. Let's go!" Like honeybees to the hive, students ran out the door toward the bus. After a quick ride to NYC and a screening of Dead Poets Society, we arrived at ICE (the Institute of Culinary Education). Students wore smiles from ear to ear as they entered the lobby of ICE. Almost immediately the discussion turned to food and they began chattering about what they might eat.

    Our mouths watered as we were greeted by the scrumptious fragrance of fresh basil, tomatoes, and parmesan cheese that teased our taste buds. Black and white uniformed waiters greeted us with trays decorated with picturesque butler-style Italian hors d'oeuvres such as arrancini and bruschetta. Students were divided into three groups and each cooked one course under the direction of a chef. The appetizer group prepared fresh ricotta, spinach, and herb ravioli with parmesan and lemon broth; the main course group prepared hanger steak with salsa verde, chanterelle mushrooms, bacon, and creamy potatoes; and the dessert group prepared molten chocolate cake with cinnamon crème anglaise. After much hard work, many giggles, and numerous tastes of delicious ingredients in the kitchen, the students had worked up an appetite.

    It was time to sit and break bread for lunch. We feasted our eyes and our taste buds on the plates that were placed before us on elegant tables set for a fine dining experience. Students scarfed down the ravioli and devoured the steak and delicate chanterelle mushrooms, which the chef had told them cost $40 per pound. The finale was the chocolate cake as each student had his or her own small individual cake. Plates looked as though they had been licked clean as dessert was the clear winner. Afterwards, the ninth graders quickly fell into a blissful “food coma” as we boarded the bus back home and watched the movie “Freaky Friday.” Toward the end of the ride, the students happily erupted into song. It was truly a day none of us would ever forget.

    "Surprise days" such as this one are part of the larger program provided in Rippowam Cisqua's ninth grade Capstone Year.
  • School is Back in Session at RCS!

    On a beautiful, sunny September morning, students, families, and teachers across both campuses celebrated the start of a new school year. With the "shorts clause" in full effect (that welcome wrinkle in the School uniform policy that kicks in when the weather forecast calls for temperatures of 75 degrees or more), both campuses came to life this morning as friends reconnected with each other and teachers welcomed their eager and excited new students. Parents gathered on the Lower Campus for a Welcome Back Coffee and Parents Association meeting, where they were welcomed by Head of School Matthew Nespole and other members of the School community. It was an exciting day for the entire RCS community! The 97th year of teaching and learning at Rippowam Cisqua School has officially begun!
  • Congratulations to the Class of 2014!!

    Congratulations to the ninth grade graduates (class of 2014) and to the departing eighth graders (class of 2015).  Have a wonderful summer!!
  • RCS Receives Green Award

    On Tuesday, June 3rd, the Town of Bedford Conservation Board presented their annual Green Awards, and Rippowam Cisqua School was honored to be among the recipients. The Green Awards were presented to those organizations that work to protect and preserve the Town of Bedford's environment, and RCS was highlighted for its commitment to environmental sustainability in all aspects of school life. The Conservation Board particularly highlighted Rippowam Cisqua School's use of the Rocket Composter, the community garden on the Upper Campus, the School's water conservation efforts, and the School's energy conservation efforts--including the installation and use of solar panels.

    The award was presented to Head of School Matthew Nespole at Bedford Town Hall and, in his acceptance remarks, Matthew thanked the Town of Bedford, the Conservation Board, and all of the members of the RCS community--the faculty, staff, parents, students, and parents of alumni--who implement and support the School's sustainability efforts each and every day. Matthew also thanked and acknowledged Director of Buildings and Grounds John Della Vecchia and the entire Buildings and Grounds team for all that they do each day to advance the School's sustainability initiatives.

    Congratulations to the entire RCS community on this award! Sustainability is a community-wide effort at Rippowam Cisqua School, and this award is shared by all who work each day to advance the School's mission. Special thanks to the Town of Bedford and the Conservation Board for supporting and acknowledging these efforts through this wonderful awards program! For more on Rippowam Cisqua School's commitment to sustainability, please click HERE.
  • Kindling the Torches of a New Generation of Activists
    “To whom will you pass the torch that you have carried for years?” When this question was posed in the past, Gloria Steinem’s answer was, “We all have our own torches to carry through life. All I can do is help spark your torch so you can light the way for others.” On Thursday, May 22nd, the RCS ninth grade class, along with faculty chaperones Kate Daly and Mike Kober, had the opportunity to meet Ms. Steinem at her apartment in New York City. Arrangements for this meeting were made through RCS parent Greg Fleming.

    Ms. Steinem graciously opened her home to the class and discussed her experiences; more importantly, she carefully listened to the thoughtful questions our students had about justice and freedom of expression in society. Ms. Steinem’s livingroom was alive with insightful dialogue between her and the students, and she pointed out that the ninth graders were now part of the history of the room where she and others had created Ms. Magazine, as well as the Women’s Action Alliance and the National Women’s Political Caucus.

    Some of the discussion centered on women who inspired Ms. Steinem, many of whom are not recognized for their achievements. Among those women are Radia Perlman, whose work made the Internet possible, and Inez Jessie Baskin, who inspired a young Baptist minister by the name of Martin Luther King, Jr. to support the Montgomery Bus Boycott in 1955. These women contributed to American history, but they are never mentioned in our history books.

    Many poignant questions were raised, including those that dealt with rules and regulations in society. Ms. Steinem’s responses were focused on respect and equality. Rules that are directed against a specific group, and not equally applied to all members of a society, are oppressive for the targeted group and are therefore unjust. Ms. Steinem’s responses to the questions about the future of people who are marginalized by society were hopeful. She pointed out the progress that has been made with respect to the Marriage Equality Act in New York and other states.

    Ms. Steinem spoke about how a single gender college was very beneficial to her. At the time she was in college (in the 1950s), women in coeducational institutions were pushed to the side but, at Smith College, she felt important and had equal opportunities.

    There were quite a few lessons that the ninth graders learned, including: be true to yourself and strive for equality and respect in the world. Although the struggle may be difficult, and protests seem unproductive, it is worth the effort if it brings about meaningful change for all people; understand the importance of empathizing with people who struggle and face obstacles every day.

    Ms. Steinem sparked something within all of the students, and she taught them a great deal about justice and equality in a short amount of time. Truly, Gloria Steinem has kindled the torches of a new generation to take action for social equality and respect.
  • Fun Run 2014

    The weather was perfect and the day only got better from there. The atmosphere was electric, the energy was abundant, and the sense of community was warmer than the sun. The Fourth Annual RCS Fun Run was held on the Upper Campus track on Sunday, May 4th. The run was a collaborative effort of the RCS Physical Education Departments, The Office of Institutional Advancement, and the Parent Association. It was designed to bring the RCS community from both the Upper and Lower campuses together and to help promote family fitness by providing a venue for parents and children to exercise together, cheer for each other, and celebrate each other’s accomplishments in an enjoyable atmosphere. Children and parents ran in races ranging from 100 yards for JPKers, to an open 3K race down Clinton Road and back for adults and children alike. The day was a memorable one for the approximately 100 participants. Organizers are already working to build on this year's success and make next year's 5th Annual RCS Fun Run even better.
  • Peg Tyre to Speak at RCS
    Peg Tyre, a nationally renowned writer and thinker about education, will visit RCS on Wednesday, May 28th, as part of the School's Foundations of Education Lecture Series. Ms. Tyre is the bestselling author of The Trouble With Boys: A Surprising Report Card on Our Sons, Their Problems at School and What Parents & Educators Must Do. She will speak at RCS about "The Underachievement of Boys in School: How Do We Help Them and Still Support Our Terrific Girls?"

    The lecture will begin at 7:00 p.m. and will take place on the Upper Campus (439 Cantitoe Street, Bedford, NY).

    Ms. Tyre spent two decades in journalism, writing cover stories for Newsweek and features and analysis for the New York Times. At the start of her career, as a newspaper reporter, she was part of a group of reporters who won a Pulitzer Prize. She was twice nominated for a National Magazine Award (the magazine industry equivalent of the Pulitzer Prize). She has discussed her ideas on The Today ShowGood Morning AmericaFox & FriendsAnderson Cooper and NPR. She has lectured at Harvard, Yale, Columbia and Emory and the Googleplex in Mountain View, California. For more information on Ms. Tyre, please click HERE

    The lecture on May 28th is the School's first annual Stephen Sanger '60 Memorial Lecture

    Stephen Sanger ’60, alumnus and brother of fellow RCS alums Michael ’57, Alexander ’61, Morgan ’65, and Anne ’67 was killed in action during the Vietnam War at age 19.  To honor his brother’s memory, Alexander Sanger ’61, together with the Sanger family, worked with Rippowam Cisqua School to establish The Stephen Sanger Memorial Lecture Program at RCS.  This fund was established through the generosity of the Sanger family and close friends and classmates of Alex and Stephen.  It will provide material support for Rippowam Cisqua’s existing Foundations of Education Lecture Series--and, each year, one of the School's Foundations of Education lectures will bear Stephen Sanger's name. The purpose of the lecture program is two-fold: To invite outside experts to speak with members of the School community and the larger Bedford community about parenting, child development, and lifelong learning; and to identify alumni who have followed career paths of note, and invite them to speak with the School community. 

    Rippowam Cisqua School honors the memory of Stephen Sanger and extends its sincerest thanks to Alexander Sanger, the Sanger family, and all those who helped to endow this lecture program. To read more about Stephen Sanger and the lecture program, we invite you to read this article from the Spring 2013 Rippowam Cisqua Bulletin. 
  • Walk to Cisqua Day

    On the first Friday of May each year, the entire Upper Campus walks the three miles over dirt roads to arrive at the Lower Campus. The students at the Lower Campus eagerly await the arrival of the "big kids" who spend the rest of the morning with them on the swings, on the playground, and in the classrooms. This year's walk was graced by beautiful blue skies and cool weather. For those of you who don't already know why the Upper Campus walks to the Lower Campus, here are some of the reasons for the traditional Walk to Cisqua:

    • To remind the older children that slides and swings are not so distant a memory.
    • To give the younger children a glimpse of what lies ahead.
    • To enjoy a walk together on a sunny morning.
    • To provide an opportunity for all RCS children to enjoy each other’s company.
    • To make connections so that the transition from the Lower Campus to the Upper Campus is a little less scary.
    • To show, in this day and age of technological advancements, that the oldest form of transportation can easily bridge the gap that separates us.
    • To allow us to see, even for a day, that we are one community.
  • Poet Douglas Florian Visits RCS!
    In celebration of National Poetry Month, Rippowam Cisqua School welcomed poet/artist Douglas Florian to the Lower Campus on Tuesday, April 29th. Mr. Florian has written and illustrated numerous award-winning children's books, including Poetrees (2010); Dinothesaurus (2009), a Kirkus Reviews Best Book of the Year, a Horn Book Fanfare List selection and a Junior Library Guild selection; Lizards, Frogs and Polliwogs (2005), a Bulletin Blue Ribbon Book; and Gryphon Award-winner and Parents Magazine Best Book of the Year Bow Wow Meow Meow (2003).

    In preparation for Mr. Florian's visit to RCS, Lower Campus students read and discussed many of his books in Library classes throughout the month. During his visit, Mr. Florian spent the day with students in grades K-4, and he read poems to the students and accompanied his readings with examples of many of his beautiful and whimsical illustrations. He invited audience participation at every turn, and he taught the students about rhyme, rhythm, symmetry, internal rhyme, alliteration, onomatopoeia, personification, and other elements of poetry through examples in his own writing. Joyful learning at its best!
  • Pass It On!

    Final book deposit date is April 17th!
  • Spring Open House on the Lower Campus
    Wednesday, April 9th, from 9:30 - 11:00 a.m.
  • Rippwriters Earn Writing Awards

    Guided by a relevant and engaging curriculum, and a mission to educate students to become independent thinkers, confident in their abilities and themselves, Rippowam Cisqua students develop and refine their creative and expository writing skills throughout their time on the Lower and Upper Campuses--and, once again this year, several "Rippwriters" earned numerous awards at the regional level.

    115 Gold Keys were awarded to the most accomplished works in the region. All Gold Key writing has been forwarded to the national level of The Scholastic Writing Awards, where works from throughout the United States are considered for national awards.
    178 Silver Keys were awarded to distinguished works in the region.
    277 Honorable Mentions were awarded to promising works in the region.

    From RCS, of the 115 Gold keys, the following seven students were recognized:
    Chloe Barshay, 8th grade, THREE gold keys, all in poetry
    Blair Clayton, 7th grade, gold key in poetry
    Blake Cote, 7th grade, gold key in poetry
    Mairead Kilgallon, 8th grade, gold key in science fiction/fantasy
    Sara Mendoza, 9th grade, gold key in poetry
    Andrew Pittman, 9th grade, gold key in poetry

    Of the 178 Silver Keys, the following seven RCS students were recognized:
    Grant Corso, 9th grade, silver key in poetry
    Sahra Denner, 9th grade, TWO silver keys, one in poetry, and one in flash fiction
    Paige Gilbert, 7th grade, silver key in poetry
    Daniel Hernandez, 8th grade, silver key in persuasive writing
    Jack Kaitz, 8th grade, silver key in personal essay/memoir
    Carrie Kinui, 9th grade, silver key in flash fiction
    John Schreiber, 7th grade, silver key in personal essay/memoir

    Of the 277 Honorable mentions, the following sixteen RCS students were recognized:
    Thomas Falci, 8th grade, honorable mention in poetry
    Blaire Fauser, 9th grade, honorable mention in journalism
    Jack Fife, 8th grade, TWO honorable mentions, one in flash fiction and one in poetry
    Brian Fridie, 7th grade, honorable mention in personal essay/memoir
    Julia Gastone, 7th grade, honorable mention in poetry
    Homer Gere, 8th grade, honorable mention in persuasive writing
    Riley Goldstein, 9th grade, honorable mention in poetry
    Anjali Goyal, 9th grade, honorable mention in poetry
    Henry Knoblauch, 8th grade, honorable mention in science fiction/fantasy
    George Lawrence, 7th grade, honorable poetry in poetry
    Sara Mendoza, 9th grade, honorable mention, poetry
    Koku Millett-Barrett, 7th grade, honorable mention in personal essay/memoir
    Collette Offermann, 7th grade, honorable mention, poetry
    Ryan Seller, 7th grade, honorable mention poetry
    Sarah Speegle, 8th grade, honorable mention personal essay/memoir
    Dorothy Walker, 7th grade, honorable mention personal essay/memoir
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