June 21, 2016 For 24 years, Chris Borsari has had a “tall” presence in our school district. He first began teaching at the district in his early twenties, first as an Earth Science teacher and then as an English and Social Studies teacher alongside Mrs. Berner and Mrs. Braverman. After ten years, he became assistant principal, and in 2008, he became the principal we all know him as today. I had the opportunity to sit down with this funny, out-going, and friendly principal, who has dedicated his life to helping people in our community. In his own words, “everything I do is about people. Faculty, staff, and students are at the forefront of all my issues.”
Mr. Borsari has left quite a legacy at the Hills. When he first became principal, his main objective was understanding “why kids may struggle at Byram Hills High School.” By asking this fundamental question, Mr. Borsari has implemented many important programs over the years. He explains that “we have created a bunch of support programs such as the chemistry lab and teaching assistant program, a math workshop, and a flexible support program.” Mr. Borsari adds that “one of the things I am most proud of is our work to reduce the stigma around mental health issues and opening up the dialogue.” In his eight years as principal, Mr. Borsari has successfully created an open environment where kids feel comfortable approaching faculty, asking questions, and being themselves. This environment truly differentiates Byram Hills from other high schools. His advice for teachers and Mr. Walsh is simple, but powerful: “Laugh a lot. Keep kids at the forefront of decisions. Be honest and be helpful.”
Mr. Borsari has had an active role at the Hills by interacting with the students on a daily basis, working with the faculty, and communicating with the parents. When asked about his observations of the student body he notes that Byram Hills is comprised of a “good student and also a good athlete; a good student involved in a play; or a good student taking part in many charities. The common theme to all of that is being a good student who works hard.” Mr. Borsari adds that throughout his time at the Hills, “the students are generally pretty kind to one another.” He has felt lucky to have been a principal in such a special community that has always supported him.
When Mr. Borsari leaves Byram, he will leave many great memories behind. For Mr. Borsari, the main thing he is going to miss is the students. He adds that “if I’m having a bad day, I'll go out and talk to the kids and laugh and mess around. Then I forget about it.” It’s the relationships with students at Byram that have truly allowed Mr. Borsari to play such a crucial role in creating a kind and closely knit community. For this reason, it’s not surprising that Mr. Borsari believes that “education is not all about the content… but is really about developing relationships. Almost everything that we do in our life is about relationships.” He adds that without developing relationships with students, teachers will have a difficult time “pushing them to challenge themselves in a supportive way.” With this mindset, Mr. Borsari has been able to develop strong relationships with students and faculty. Emily Cooper, a sophomore at Byram Hills, believes “Mr. Borsari makes an immense effort to involve himself in students’ affairs daily. He is always supportive at assemblies, at one-on-one meetings, or on the athletic fields.”
Mr. Borsari will be the first one to tell you that “it was easy to give advice when I didn’t have kids who were in high school.” However, now that he has children in high school (an 11th grade daughter, a 9th grade daughter and a 7th grade son) he can articulate the most important lesson for students: “remember that you only go through this experience once. You need to enjoy it, work hard and play hard. Be interested in today.” A large belief of Mr. Borsari is to live in the moment and follow a passion. In his own words, “live for the present” and be open to “not having only one path.” By living life in each moment and not getting caught up in the next test or grade, students will experience more happiness and less stress.
After discussing all of these valuable lessons learned with Mr. Borsari, one comment really stuck with me. When asked about how he works with other faculty members, Mr. Borsari notes, “I don’t have to be right, but we [as a faculty] have to get it right.” This quote exemplifies the type of person Mr. Borsari embodies. Mr. Borsari doesn’t care if his idea is ultimately adopted. As long as he can successfully help the students by collaborating with other colleagues, he is happy. Mr. Borsari’s selflessness and constant motivation to help students has allowed the Byram Hills school district to succeed.
Even when Mr. Borsari is gone, he will always have a “special place in [his] heart for Byram Hills.” Mr. Borsari “loves Byram Hills High School and the whole community.” We will all miss his bubbly attitude, approachability, and charismatic leadership. We wish him good luck and a smooth transition in his tremendous new role as Superintendent of Tarrytown Public Schools!
This article appeared in The Oracle, Byram Hills High School's newspaper, earlier in the school year.
From Schoolwork to Real Work Ishmael Asad, BHHS Freshman
May 6, 2016 The end of the school year for seniors means that it’s time to begin student internships. All seniors at Byram Hills High School are required to do an internship. The system is very complex. These internships are taken very seriously, for all students are required to write a formal résumé. They are also required to write out their goals and expectations for their internships, as well as complete at least 30 hours of interning for each week. The internships begin in May, and we are fast approaching this time.
Even the students who are not yet seniors are beginning to think about their internships. Ariana Chuback, a junior at the high school, already has some ideas. She said, “I was thinking of… doing it at an editing company… I think it’d be beneficial because… I would get experience with working in that field so I could see if I actually want to do it in the future.” While the younger students at the high school are looking into their internships, the seniors are closer to their internships. Anthony Alexandrou, a senior at the high school, is also ready to be an intern. He said, “I’m probably going to do it in a car dealership… I think it will benefit me being in a work setting... I’m looking forward to being around nice cars and seeing the process of selling them.” Fortunately, the students are interested in being interns. They believe it will give them working experience, and help them choose a career. However, will the school be able to find places for the internships that appeal to the students?
The students will have different desires as to where they would like to intern. Will the internship program be able to find the places the students are interested in? Global studies teacher Mr. Andriello stated, “There’s a whole variety of places… local businesses… kids work as closely as in schools. A lot of it is based on relationships built over the years. We have companies that we go back to again and again.” The school seems to be prepared with a list of places where students will be able to intern. Hopefully, everyone at the high school will be able to find a place for their internship that meets their desires.
This article appeared in The Oracle, Byram Hills High School's newspaper, earlier in the year and the introduction was edited for allaboutarmonk.com.
Wampus Elementary School Participates in “Start With Hello Week” Lily Moss, BHHS Sophomore
April 6, 2016 Have you ever felt alone, invisible, or unwanted? Everyone has experienced this at least once in his or her life, but imagine feeling
this way everyday. Unfortunately, there are many kids who struggle with isolation in social settings on a regular basis.
Sandy Hook Promise is an organization led by family members who lost loved ones in the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting on December 14, 2012. The organization was created to prevent gun violence in communities, educate parents, develop programs on mental health issues, and spread awareness throughout the nation in order to pass safer laws on gun control. “National Start With Hello Week” was started by Sandy Hook Promise, and took place in many schools from February 8th to the 12th. The goal of “Start With Hello Week” was to decrease the social isolation experienced by many children at school.
Wampus Elementary School joined forces with the hundreds of other schools nationwide who participated in “Start With Hello Week.” According to the Byram Hills School District website, “‘Start with Hello Week’ included grade-wide assemblies, a ‘Random Acts of Kindness Day,’ and activities that encouraged students to greet other children by name, learn to say hello in a new language and sit with different people at lunch”. Sitting with different people at lunch allows students to make new friends and meet new people; it also gives kids who may be shy and quiet the opportunity to meet people they may not usually talk to. Starting these activities at a young age teaches kids the importance of including everyone, which will significantly reduce social isolation and prevent it from happening in the future.
Debra Cagliostro, the principal of Wampus Elementary School, says, “It's an elegantly simple idea to start with children saying hello...we want our students to be sensitive and empathetic participants in the Wampus community, and to reach out to kids who may seem lonely.”
Along with Wampus Elementary School, Jordak Elementary School in Middlefield, Ohio took part in “Start With Hello Week”. Students in grades K-4 participated in many different activities and were asked to wear green, which is the color of the “Start With Hello” movement. According to the Jordak Elementary School website, “Students held a ‘No One Eats Alone Day’ where conversation starters were placed on cafeteria tables so students could chat while they ate as a way to help all students feel included. Students also participated in ‘Hey Day’ where they were encouraged to greet other students by their first names in class, the hallway or lunchroom.” These activities proved to be hugely successful; they helped students connect with one another and fostered an accepting attitude within the student body.
“Start With Hello Week” has ensured that students all over the country are aware of the importance of inclusion. Including someone else, or even saying a simple “hello”, can go a long way and really make a difference. Programs that foster inclusivity must implemented into schools early on and continued throughout. Only then will empathy, inclusion, and sensitivity to others feelings become commonplace.
This article will appear in the 2016 publication of The Oracle, Issue 4
The Oracle is Byram Hills High School's newspaper which is dedicated to helping students build skills in journalism and public expression, in addition to helping students establish a sense of community. The Oracle releases several issues a year which pertain to various aspects of global politics, entertainment, and sports (both local and national), all while trying to focus on issues that concern students in Byram Hills and the community at large.