“Schools are about people,” said Superintendent Dr. Paul Fried at the final school board meeting of the academic year – and his final meeting in Mamaroneck before his retirement. The evening celebrated students and staff, including the winners of the Rockefeller Award for excellence in the arts, and high school principal Dr. Mark Orfinger, who retires after 13 years in the district.
Student council liaisons Megan McEvily and Ryan McNally also said their farewells, having provided the school board and the community with updates about high school activities for the past year. Megan began by offering their goodbye to Dr. Orfinger. “It truly is the end of an era,” she said “and he will be missed.”
In addition to the retirements of Dr. Fried and Dr. Orfinger, six teachers and five civil service employees were honored upon their retirements, and ten continuing employees were honored for 25 years of service. Trustee Janet Buchbinder also retires after two three-year terms on the board.
Rockefeller Award Recipients: Annetta Urmey and Wednesday Derrico
In 1982, the Rockefeller Brothers Fund presented Mamaroneck High School with a $10,000 award for excellence in arts education, citing the school’s fine arts department and PACE program for “outstanding instruction, significant students achievement, and broad administrative and community understanding and support.” Interest from the funds is used to award two scholarships each year for outstanding arts achievement. The winners were announced by the district in a press release last week, but attendees at the June 15 meeting were treated to a taste of the artists’ work.
“Slow Art” for Artist and Viewer
AP art teacher Kevin Kline presented the award for excellence in the visual arts to senior Annetta Urmey. He began by noting that a placeholder sign usually marks the location for Annetta’s pieces until an hour or two before each art show. “We’ve found a spot where Annetta’s work works, but Annetta is still working on the work.”
“Annetta’s place holder lingers on the wall because Annetta is taking time to think,” said Mr. Kline. “She is also taking time to look, to plan and consider what she sees and draws. She does this with a rare thoroughness.”
Annetta’s process of slow design – her own slow art — “demands that we invest the requisite time for a meaningful encounter with it,” and careful inspection and dissection uncovers “a wealth of hidden details and delightfully elusive ideas,” said Mr. Kline.
He admitted that although nobody would “point to Annetta’s exacting slowness as a practical model for other art students to follow . . . it is awfully difficult to argue with the results of the work.”
Nevertheless, Annetta chose to focus her last piece on a process that “would address one of the biggest barriers she had encountered in her artwork – speed and efficiency.” She set up a still life of seafood and decided to divide the scene into three panels, a triptych. She allowed herself four hours to paint the left panel, two hours to paint the middle panel, and one hour to paint the right panel.
Her work was not only successful – none of the panels appear to have been painted hurriedly – but also “precisely the sort of thing one would hope a senior would do in her final days of school,” remarked Mr. Kline. “She looked back over her career, zeroed in on an important issue for herself and set up a project that would help her come to grips with it.”
As art department chair Jon Murry observed, “We’ve taught her to teach herself, and that’s about as much as we can hope to achieve in school.”
Performing Artist in Multiple Disciplines
The Rockefeller Award for performing arts was presented to senior Wednesday Derrico by fellow PACE senior Stephanie Corsetti. Stephanie first saw Wednesday perform as Mrs. Paroo in the Mamaroneck Avenue School production of The Music Man.
And so their joint performing careers were launched. Through the school’s Performing Arts Curricular Experience (PACE) program, Wednesday explored dance, theatre and music. She also participated in the district’s choral programs and the Semi-Royal Shakespeare Company.
Just this year, Wednesday performed roles as varied as Lady Macbeth and a woman with three noses in Ianesco’s absurdist play Jack or the Submission. She choreographed an original dance for the PACE Senior Recital and wrote an original song, “Background Noises,” for the PACE Soundscapes production.
Wednesday performed “Background Noises” for the school board and community on June 15.
Wednesday sees “the beauty in any art, the beauty in any artist,” said Stephanie in her remarks.
Other Student & Staff Honors
- Hommocks student Stephen Sollod captured the grand prize in Microsoft Bing’s Earth Day Photo Contest. As a result, Microsoft donated a prize package to the Hommocks which includes 12 HP Pavilion desktops, 12 monitors, three PhotoSmart printers, 10 paper and ink value packs and three Canon Rebel EOS cameras.
- Four groups from the MHS music department were rated “Superior” in the High Note Music Festival: Jazz Band A; Percussion Ensemble; In Treble and Swing Choir.
- Hommocks Orchestra teacher Janine de Nigris performed a solo piano recital at the prestigious Steinway Hall last month in NYC with a one-hour program that included works by Bach, Shubert and Chopin.
- Senior Hayden Novikoff finished fifth in Golf Sectionals this year and went on with eight others to States. He finished the year making All League, All Conference, and All Section.
- Sophomore Emma Hjarne also recently qualified for States in golf. She finished ninth overall in the section and made All League and All Section.
- The NY State Public High School Athletic Association recognized seven Mamaroneck athletic teams with Scholar Athlete Awards for having a combined team grade point average of 90% or higher: the Boys/Girls Track & Field team; Baseball; Softball; Boys Lacrosse; Girls Lacrosse; Boys Tennis and Boys Golf.
- Honored for 25 Years of Service: John Fredricksen, Carol Carbone, Lucille Defrancesco, Maria Ellin, Joan Chess, Michael Sacerdote, Patricia Harris, Lisa Kmetz, Helen Marble, Keith Yizar
|Administrators||Paul Fried, Superintendent
Mark Orfinger, MHS Principal
|Teachers||Lisa Currey, Central School
Janice Foley, MHS Home Economics
Janice Landrum, MHS English & Department Chair
Eileen Multari, MHS Business & FBLA advisor
Eileen Wiesenfeld, Hommocks Library/Media Specialist
Ruth Weiss, Mamaroneck Avenue School
|Civil Service||Julia Gacio, Hommocks duplicating machine operator
Phyllis Goodfriend, MHS stenographer
Elissa Maccrone, Hommocks library clerk
Helen Mastrangelo, MHS stenographer
Deborah Scales, MHS head custodian