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Calhoun Student Leaders Offer Peer Mentorship

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Following last year’s Challenge Day event at Calhoun High School, teacher and adviser Kathryn Alexander wanted to recognize several students who went above and beyond during that time to support their peers.

Challenge Day is a team building and sharing program where sophomores break into groups to participate in exercises designed to form bonds and encourage students who they have the power to be a change in their community.

Alexander invited these students to meet with her and brainstorm on how they could support their classmates on a consistent basis. It was then that a Student Leader team was created.  

“I vetted the students by asking them to attend meetings and complete different tasks; the result was a group of students who were serious about peer mentorship,” Alexander explained. “Last year, the students created Student Lounge Days in the library classroom where during an off period their peers could de-stress by relaxing, watching television, enjoying a snack, coloring, playing cards, etc.”

“At the beginning of this year, the Student Leaders presented to all of the entering students at ninth grade orientation,” explained Mike Gavalas, assistant principal. “They shared their experiences at Calhoun with their younger peers and welcomed the ninth grade students to the school community.”

In early October, the Student Leaders met with representative from Northwell to discuss their experiences and receive more formal peer mentorship training. Following that meeting, the six Student Leaders created a PowerPoint to share in freshman classes.

“For the past several days, the Student Leaders have paired up and go into the classes to present, answer questions and offer their assistance as listeners, mediators and support,” added Alexander. 

The Team Leaders serve as a peer-to-peer extension to the Counseling and Wellness Center staff.

“We are proud of the Calhoun students for coming up with creative ways to help support their peers,” said Gavalas. 


Skyler Basco Accepted Into NY Junior Academy of Sciences

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Calhoun High School junior Skyler Basco has been accepted into the prestigious New York Academy of Sciences Junior Academy. 

As a member of the Junior Academy, Basco will have the opportunity to collaborate with nearly 3,000 students from 94 countries on virtual challenges sponsored by industry leading companies and hosted on the innovation platform, Launchpad. 

“I will get to spend approximately eight hours per week working with a team, completing research and building models on computer aided design programs,” Basco explained. “Additionally, we will work with a mentor to create solutions to real-world problems and then present our projects at the Global STEM Summit.”

These challenges are designed by the academy’s education experts to help students develop 21st-century skills as they prepare for the jobs of the future.

“It was my passions of biotechnology and genome-edited technology side of things that fueled my interest to apply for the academy,” Basco added. “I’m excited to be able to collaborate with so many people from around the world.”

Biology teacher Kimberlie Lascarides called Basco exceptional.

“She has an inquisitive mind and her questions in class demonstrate that her level of mastery runs deeper than the textbook,” she said. “Her pursuit of learning biology drives her to look beyond the classroom, to the Science Olympiad and now, to the New York Academy of Sciences.”

The mission of the New York Academy of Sciences is to drive innovative solutions to society's challenges by advancing scientific research, education and policy. Only the top 10% of nearly 17,000 applicants are accepted.

Calhoun Displays Colt Pride at Homecoming

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Colt pride was mounting at the Oct. 18 homecoming festivities at Calhoun High School as the football team came out against Sewanhaka High School.

The school colors of blue and grey filled the air – and halls all week long and culminated with a community supported festival. A DJ, local food trucks, bounce houses and more filled the school lawn. School clubs also set up booths to spread cheer and fundraise.

“It had a terrific family fun atmosphere,” said Principal Nicole Hollings. “The pep rally was spirited and featured performances by our cheer and kickline teams along with some teams doing some dances. The rock band was incredible, led by Ed Tumminelli. They performed after the pep rally and played throughout the game. Their halftime set was outrageous. Our cheer and kickline squads also had fantastic routines.”

Anthony Chiong and Lindsay Brown, who according to Hollings, “exhibit what it means to be a Colt every day,” were crowned homecoming king and queen respectively.

Even though the team fell short on the scoreboard, the crowd was energized with school spirit.



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