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Fall/Winter 2013-14

The View from Soundview 370 Underhill Avenue, Yorktown Heights, NY 10598. Tel: 914-962-2780. Website:


Inside this newsletter: Focus on Faculty: Diana Videla


Math Teachers Attend Workshop 2 In Memoriam: Caroline Corley


From the Head of School


Soundview Offers New AP Courses


Update: Music at Soundview


An Integrated Music Program 4 Shop at School Store!


Students Perform at Cocoa and Coffee Houses


Pursuing Activities Outside School 5 Alumni News


Soundview on the Go


Clubs & Activities


Thank You!


Sports Corner


Archdukes and Emperors: Soundview Goes Abroad On April 10, 2014,, a group of Soundview students and chaperones will embark on a 10-day trip that will take them from Germany through Central Europe to the Czech Republic, Hungary and Austria. Organized by Mrs. Circosta, Chair of the Language Dept., the “Archdukes and Emperors” trip will be run by ACIS, one the America’s foremost educational travel companies. Following are some of the highlights of the itinerary: • Munich, the beautiful capital of Bavaria, including the famous Glockenspiel in the Marienplatz and (continued on page 7)

It’s Soundview’s 25th Anniversary this year! The School will mark this important milestone with a special celebration planned for Sunday afternoon, April 27, 2014. Current and alumni students and their families and relatives, current and former Trustees, Soundview friends and the surrounding community are cordially invited to join our festivities. We will be contacting you with more information in the early spring! Soundview Prep came into being in March 1989, when a small group of families seeking a more personal educational experience for their students approached W. Glyn Hearn and asked him to start a new school and serve as Headmaster. The School opened its doors at St. John’s Church in Pleasantville, NY, with an initial faculty of

five full-time teachers for grades 7-12. In June of that year, Soundview graduated its first class of 6 seniors. In the fall of 1989, Soundview moved into the education wing of the Union Church of Pocantico Hills, NY, where the School would spend the next 9 years. By the spring of 1998, having outgrown its quarters, we moved to a new location at a former newspaper building in Mount Kisco, NY. Where formerly large presses had hummed, 3 floors of 17 classrooms housed Soundview’s growing student body. Parents and friends of the School donated a science lab, art room, library and technology center, and a 6th grade was added at parent demand. On June 30, 2007, Soundview Prep realized a long-held dream, and purchased its first permanent home,: the beautiful 13.8-acre former Underhill farm in York(Continued on page x)

Soundview gives Back to Community At Soundview, community service is

taken seriously. Friday, October 18 was a day of service for the entire school. Students and teachers travelled to the Food Bank of Westchester in Elmsford for a morning of work, packaging food for needy families. With a large load of apples just delivered from local farms, the Soundview crew was put to work filling bags of

apples to be distributed to local food pantries around the county. “It was a really interesting experience, and it was nice to do something as a whole group,” said senior Kamri Clarke. In addition, students in the Community Service Club, under the guidance of Dr. Romano, have have spent the fall semester raising money and collecting goods in support of Hope’s Door, an organization devoted to helping (Continued on page 4)

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Fall/Winter 2013

Focus on Faculty: Diana Videla

Students taking Spanish at Soundview this year are benefitting from the unique qualities of the School’s new Spanish teacher: Diana Videla brings the perspective of someone with roots in two cultures. She was born in the USA to an Argentinian family, political refugees during the dark period of military rule in Argentina known for the disappearance of hundreds of people suspected of being opposed to military rule. Moving back to Argentina at the age of two, she and her family returned to the US for good when she was eight. Growing up in Yonkers, the young Ms. Videla attended second grade studying English as a second language. “That is when I became truly not just bilingual but also bi-cultural as well,” she said. She has kept her Argentinian heritage, passing on traditions to her two sons, now aged 19 and 26. Like others at Soundview, Ms. Videla has had two careers: beginning as a bookkeeper after studying business at Iona College, she moved upstate to the small town of Oxford, where she worked for an aerospace company doing business with the government. Leaving the business world as government work shrank, she decided to train for a new career – education. “As I was one of only about three Latinas in the area, people encouraged me to become a Spanish teacher,”she recalled. Going back to school at SUNY Oneonta, she obtained a Bachelor of Science in Secondary Education, with a concentration in Spanish, afterwards earning a Master’s Degree in Spanish from the online Phoenix University. For the next ten years, she taught Spanish at Oxford’s public high school. Then fate intervened: a long bout with a debilitating back condition landed her in a wheelchair for two years, though this did not deter her from teaching. But as she

required four operations, she eventually needed to take time off to heal. Moving back to Westchester about a year ago, Ms. Videla completed the long road to recovery with characteristic pluck and energy. “I thought I would be disabled for the rest of my life,” she said, saying she was so much recovered that she has just been skiing in the newly fallen snow. Learning of the teaching position at Soundview last summer, she found it was love at first sight. “I fell in love with the School, I was just in awe of it! When I heard about the small classes, I knew it would be a good fit for me. The opportunity to be able to teach again was phenomenal!” She loves the School’s personal approach to teaching, and its emphasis on enhancing the educational experience. “The intimacy of the environment, with a lot of one-on-one, is very different from the typical classes of at least 25 students I taught upstate,” she said. Speaking of her philosophy of teaching, Ms. Videla said, “I believe it is important to teach not only the grammar and vocabulary of a language, but also an acceptance of diversity. I try to instill in my students an appreciation of different cultures, and to teach them to be open-minded – a very important life lesson.” Ms. Videla is responsible for all levels of Spanish at Soundview, from Spanish 1 to 5… and is thinking that an AP class might be in order next year. Students will be reading various levels of literature, with Spanish IV and V classes reading from such works as Don Quixote and El Cid. Ms. Videla lives in Carmel. In addition to having two sons, she is also the proud grandmother of a 4-year old grandson.

Math Teachers Attend Workshop

In Memoriam: Caroline Corley

Soundview’s math department recently attended a professional development workshop for math teachers offered by the New York Association of Independent Schools (NYSAIS). The one-day workshop, attended by Mrs. Skidmore, Mrs. Healy and Ms. Kellas, offered an assortment of new and creative methods for teaching math to students with a variety of learning styles.

Soundview mourns the passing of Caroline Corley, radio show host on Peak Radio 107.1 FM. Ms. Corley came to Soundview this fall for a “Coffee with Caroline”, speaking with students and staff in the Meeting Hall for a show that she later broadcast on air. Photos of the coffee hour are posted on Soundview’s website at, in the Media Gallery under “Student Life.”

The View from Soundview

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From the Head of School

Soundview Offers New AP Courses

Three new AP courses are on the syllabus this year: AP Psychology, AP Computer Science and AP English Language and Composition. AP Psychology AP Psychology is a rigorous year-long course designed to teach students the basic concepts and experimental methodology of human behavior and mental processes. “This course is designed to teach students to think deeply and critically, at the college level,” said Dr. Romano, who attended an intensive week-long course at Fordham University’s AP Institute last summer in order to prepare the course.  The syllabus covers areas that range from the biological bases of behavior to cognition, memory and language to developmental psychology. Teaching tools include printed materials, visual media, Internet sources and outside speakers Students engage in such activities as a mock trial on an insanity defense plea, “the Myers Briggs Personality Test (which students will take and report on), and video tool kits on such subjects as stress response studies, living without memory, .. and “Do Adolescents Lack Empathy?” The program will include a trip to NY Medical College to

observe dissection of a human cadaveric brain, research papers and labs dissecting a sheep’s brain and cow’s eye. The course meets for an 86- minute period four times per week and for a 43 minute period once weekly. “There is tons of information, but it’s doable,” said senior Maddy Lawder. “AP Psychology is applicable to real life. You start seeing it everywhere!” senior Christy Bottomley said, For instance, she is applying what she has learned to her job as a ski instructor. AP Computer Science The AP Computer Science A course, taught by Soundview’s Director of Technology, Rich Skidmore, emphasizes object-oriented programming methodology with a concentration on problem solving and algorithm development, and includes the study of data structures, design, and abstraction. Students are expected to learn to code fluently using the programming language Java. AP Computer Science student Jason Robins ‘14, a serious musician who hopes to attend music conservatory next year, said he has used “computer concepts in music, like hexadecimal numbering.” This does not surprise Mr. Skidmore, who remarked, “Computer science is closer to music than math.” (Continued on page 4)

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Fall/Winter 2013

Update: Music at Soundview, Year Two

The second year of Soundview’s music program is off to a resounding start. The music department teaching schedules have changed, with Mr. Lewis in four days a week, and Ms. Calvosa one day. “The students are doing a really great job, and we are holding them to high expectations,” said Mr. Lewis. Middle Schoolers have music daily and, like Upper school students, are studying music theory and history while also playing music in small bands. “For the bands to work, you have to have some theoretical knowledge of what makes music work,” he said. Using money raised last year at the special “Music Notes” fundraiser at the Spring Gala, the teachers have purchased music equipment such as a PA system, micro-

Photo of music class

phones and cables, and are planning to purchase at least one new keyboard. See Mr. Lewis’s article below for a description of the music curriculum that he and Ms. Calvosa have developed for Soundview.

An Integrated Music Program

by Jesse Lewis, Soundview Music Dept.

The music program at Soundview offers a unique and exciting opportunity for students to learn music by integrating music theory, history and ensemble experience together in a way not found in traditional music education settings. Typically, all these elements are taught independently; as a result, students often miss the real way music is played, understood and appreciated. In contrast, the Soundview program emphasizes lots of performance, which is fully informed by the theory, historical understanding and critical listening skills that are needed to develop intelligent and creative musicians. For instance, what the students learn

through listening and discussing in music history class and what they learn in theory class are immediately applied in their ensembles. In this way, each musical element is no longer separated and disjointed, but rather learned in conjunction with how music actually works. Students in music class learn a variety of instruments including electric guitar, bass, piano, drum set, percussion and voice, and each class forms a “band” that performs throughout the year at school events. Through this integrated learning of all the elements of music, a strong sense of understanding, patience and teamwork is cultivated in all students, so that all students can reach their full potential.

(Soundview Offers six AP Courses,: cont’d from

AP English Language and Composition In another first, Mr. Mentz is offering AP English Language and Literature this year. “The course is quite different from AP English Literature,” said Mr. Mentz. “It focuses on the rhetoric of a piece of writing, why it was written, who the audience was, and why the author was using this particular means of communication.” The AP students read Hawthorne’s Scarlet Letter and work by the surrealist artist Salvatore Dali before turning their attention recently

to speeches by Nelson Mandela. Mr. Mentz is enjoying his class of six students, saying, “The class is sharp!” What do students think of the different, languagebased approach of the course? “Really interesting!” said Senior Misha Damsky. Other AP courses offered for the 2013 - 2014 school year are AP Studio Art, a two-year course taught by Mrs. Franzese; and AP European and AP U.S. History, taught by Ms. Panos.

Shop at Soundview’s School Store!

Art News

Send your child to school in a handsome Soundview sweatshirt, or relax at home in Soundview flannel pants! “Soundview spirit” ware is available for purchase at Soundview’s website at – just click on “School Store” under “Community”. Recently, the parent-run store opened for an afternoon in Ms. Baron’s room – thank you to Mr. Pell for creating a genuine boutique at School!

Soundview’s art department has acquired a kiln! Ms. Franzese is setting up a ceramics studio in the former apartment under the former chapel and current music conservatory. Students are looking forward to shaping clay into pots and other objects and firing them in the new kiln!... On January 31, Mrs. Franzese will take her art students to the Katonah museum for the exhibit, “Eye to I,” 3,000 years of portraits.

The View from Soundview

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Students Perform at Cocoa & Coffee Houses

December 19 brought the Hot Cocoa House, which drew universal acclaim as the one of the best ever held at Soundview. It was an opportunity for Soundview students to perform music and drama in an informal setting for fellow students, faculty and staff. The performance was the second this year, following the Halloween Coffee House. Bands from all three of Mr. Lewis’ and Ms. Calvosa’s music classes – the Sweaters, The Beatnix and Middle School Rock - each performed both an original and Beatles song. The Drama Club recited an original Christmas poem that had the audience in stitches and Josh Kapan ‘15, Soundview’ resident magician, stumped the audience with a card trick. Seniors Misha Damsky and Lizzie Houston sang two songs and and Ilias Fourati played a Beethoven sonata. During the performance, the audience sipped hot cocoa, provided by Mrs. Healy.

Pursuing Activities Outside School For some Soundview students, the end of the school day means it’s time to start pursuing a passion outside of school. For one 9th grader, Bryce Edwards, this passion has led him to an acting career that is keeping him very busy. On December 16 and 17, Bryce appeared with an all-star Broadway cast in the performance of Mother Jones and the Children’s Crusade the Ripley Grier Studios in New York City, a show that required two weeks of rehearsals. “Mother Jones is the most exciting thing I’ve done so far,” Bryce said. “I got to act with very experienced actors

The Halloween Coffee House included included piano and guitar recitals, poems, songs, magic tricks and dramatizations by students in all grades.

from shows like Wicked and Mathilda.” In November, Bryce appeared in How to Eat Like a Child, the 4th Wall Productions musical at the Beacon Theater in Beacon, NY. He also won the starring role in the Random Farms Kids Theater production of The New Kid, the anti-bullying show on tour in the tri-state area until June 14. This winter, Bryce will be going on tour with the show to the Bahamas. And he has just been cast in the lead role in The Music Man at Random Farms’ Mainstage. The show will be featured at Tarrytown Music Hall in January and February 1014.

(“Soundview gives Back to Community,” cont’d from page 1)

victims of domestic abuse. The Club raised over $400 at a festive Thanksgiving luncheon of turkey laid on by parents headed by Ms. Nichols, Alex Visnius’ mother. At the request of Hope’s Door, the Club is purchasing gift cards

at such stores as Targetsand K-Mart to give to victims of abuse to help them start new lives. The students also collected items to help victims of domestic abuse set up house afresh.

(“Soundview turns 25,” cont’d from page 1)

town Heights that we call home today. In January 2008, the entire school moved to its new home. Last year, the School completed a major renovation of Arts & Science building, the former 19th century dairy barn that houses the arts and science program and Assembly Hall.

For 25 years, whether in church space, a former printing press facility or dairy farm, Soundview Prep has been delivering a non-competitive and personalized education for 25 years. Come to our 25th Anniversary event and help us celebrate 25 years of nurturing and educating young

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Alumni News Congratulations to Tom Vitale ’98, who won his first Emmy Awards last fall for his new CNN show, Anthony Bourdain: Parts Unknown (for Outstanding Informational Series and also for Outstanding Cinematography). The show, for which Tom serves as producer, is in its second season on CNN. “I’ve been to Burma, Libya, the Congo and Spain, so it hasn’t been a dull year,” Tom writes, adding, “It wasn’t lost on me that if it weren’t for Mr. Hearn and caption SPS, none of this would have been possible.” We hope Tom will join us in April for our 25th Anniversary celebration! Congratulations also to Alex Weprin ’02! Alex and his wife Lauren live in New York, where Alex is Senior Media Reporter for the web-based Capital New York, a news outlet “devoted to high-impact fast reporting on key issues in city and state politics and the media industry”. On the academic front, Josh Raskin ’03 is in medical school studying podiatry… Michelle Bylicky ’06 is in the 2nd year of a neuroscience PhD program at the Uniformed

Soundview on the Go: The Middle School Takes a Trip Old Sturbridge Village, where history comes alive, was the destination for this year’s Middle School overnight trip. Early on October 21, the middle schoolers, Ms. Kellas, Ms. Tantillo and senior Tiffany Martin boarded a van and drove to the living museum, where students attended a workshop to make “jumble” cookies the traditional way, grinding the nutmeg and baking the dough in a tin baking stove. Commanding their attention next were an old sawmill, a covered bridge and old schoolhouse, where students tried out the kind of playground equipment in use between 1790 and 1840 – jump ropes, stilts and yo yos! Some students dipped candles (the old fashioned way) while others carded wool. The group returned to the 21st century with dinner at Friendly’s and an evening in the pool at the Sturbridge Post Hotel and Conference Center. The next morning brought

Fall/Winter 2013

Services University in Washington, DC… Diana Gershman is studying pre-nursing in Texas. On the career front, Andy Laub ’08 is working for U.S. Representative Eliot Engel in the Mt. Vernon District Office as Westchester District rep… Dan Kramer ’08 is a film editor and camera operator at Psyched About Sports Productions… caption Jordan Kratter ’08 works at United Technologies and lives in Connecticut… Visiting Soundview recently were Alex Solomon ’12, who is at Muhlenberg College… Jared Kahn ‘13 who is studying at WCC, and Juliette Carey ’13, who is taking a year off working on her music in New Mexico, before heading off to Clark University next year… and two more graduates of the Class of 2013, both enrolled in maritime colleges: Derek Bottomley, who is at Maine Maritime Academy, and Storm Lipton, who is at SUNY Maritime, where he reports that to get breakfast, he has to get up at 6:00 am! Caption

more hands-on and interactive learning at Old Sturbridge, including a stint at the Farm Museum, followed by a parting boat ride. “”It was quite an experience. It was interesting seeing the blacksmith shop in action,” said 7th grader Duncan Pell, who admitted that his favorite part of the trip was swimming at the hotel pool. “”It felt like we were living in colonial times – there were even bugs in the kitchen, which was normal,” said 7th grader Ethan Baer. Middle School Trip Photo

The View from Soundview

CLUBS & ACTIVITIES -- Students in Mock Trial have been meeting with Soundview parent and attorney James Plousadis to prepare for the county-wide legal competition. Sponsored by the NY State Bar Association, the Mock Trial program presents students with a different case each year to research and bring to trial, in a competition with other schools across Westchester. The team will argue the case in a real courtroom in February, with Bar Association lawyers presiding as judges. “We just got our case, which is about fracking!” reported senior Christy Bottomley, who, like several of the dozen members of the Soundview team, has participated in Mock Trial for several years. Senior Misha Damsky, with Christy’s help, will lead the group again this year. -- Students are hard at work on the Yearbook under the guidance of Editor Tiffany Martin ’14 and faculty advisors Mr. Mentz and Ms. Kellas. Staff members are Bryce Sawyer ’15, David Swetz ’15, Steven Randall ’15 and Zach Katz ’14. Students and their advisors attended a Yearbook conference at Pace University this fall to learn new techniques for creating on-line layouts, taking photographs and more. Tiffany, who has been on the Yearbook staff for four years, said her primary challenge this year would be to train the new staffers for after she graduates. --Members of the Outdoors Club, along with their advisor Ms. Panos, have been busy this fall, planting over 1,000 bulbs, cleaning out the fountain that aerates the pond and storing it for the winter, putting up the Christmas tree and restoring garden furniture. --The first issue of the Literary Magazine is out! It features stories, a play, an essay and art work by Soundview

Page 7 Find Photo of one of Clubs

Caption for the pix

students from 7th to 12th grades. Mr. Euchner is advisor to a staff of some 10 students. --The Drama Club, guided by Bryce Sawyer and Julie Weisbrod, has been working on acting techniques while also preparing a dramatic poem to perform at the Hot Cocoa House. Broadway drama coach and parent Mrs. Brandt, mother of 9th grader Adlai Brandt-Ogman, will come in January to work with the students on their drama skills and to critique their original works. --Members of the Foreign Language Club are preparing presentations on how different cultures celebrate holidays at this time of year, including a Greek Christmas, the meaning of Hanukkha and how Saturnalia influenced Christmas customs. --Students in the Multi-Media Club have been editing school videos with their advisor Mr. Skidmore, using a computer video editing program. Currently, they are editing the video taken during the Halloween Coffee House, which will be posted on Soundview’s website on the “Media Gallery Home” under “Student Life.”

(“Archdukes & Emperors,” cont’d from page 1)

Nymphenburg Palace. A visit to Dachau Concentration

Camp, a grim but important reminder of Germany’s Nazi past, is also offered. • Nurenberg, with its quaint old town and historic Palace of Justice. • Prague, one of Europe’s loveliest and best preserved cities, where visitors will see Hradcany Castle and Cathedral, the 14th century Charles Bridge, the Prague Ghetto and a glass blowing studio. • Brno, the second-largest city in the Czech Republic. • Budapest, known as the Paris of Eastern Europe, including Castle Hill, the 14th century Mathias Church and Heroes’ Square. The visitors will also

participate in a strudel making workshop. • Vienna, the lovely and lively capital of Austria and former capital of the Austro-Hungarian empire, where a guided tour will include the Hapsburg’s Schönbrunn Palace Visitors will also take a dance lesson in the Viennese waltz. • Salzburg, the charming and baroque city of music, with a walking tour that will include the Mirabell Gardens, the Getreidegasse, Mozart’s Birthplace and the Hohensalzburg Fortress. Anyone interested in signing up should contact the tour company ACIS as soon as possible at or 1-877-795-0813 and reference the Group ID (#223298) and Group Leader (Josephine Circosta).

Soundview Preparatory School 370 Underhill Avenue Yorktown Heights,NY 10598

Save These Dates! Talent Show


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Sports Corner THANK YOU! Thank you to all the donors who have sent in their contributions to the Annual Fund! Soundview is profoundly grateful for your generosity! The Annual Fund is a crucial cog in the wheel of the School’s operations: gifts to the Fund help to pay for the programs and environment that have distinguished the School over its 25-year history. We urge current and alumni families who have not yet sent in a donation to consider a gift now. You may contribute online at, or by sending a check to the School. All donations make a difference at Soundview every day, and are tremendously

Soundview’s coed soccer team made good use of the fine fall weather, practicing after school twice a week with their coach Reno Masci and assistant coaches Mr. Bottomley and Mr. Skidmore. The 12-member team played three games with Harvey and Woodstock Caption for a sports pix Country Country Day School, Seniors Christy Bottomley and Misha Damsky served as co-captains. The basketball season is now well underway. The 10-student coed team practices twice a week after school and on Fridays during gym with their coach, Mr. McArthur. Ms. Baron, who coordinates the sports program, said that initial plans call for games with Harvey, Montfort and Stamford Academy. In the Soundview spirit, any student is welcome to join any sports team team –there are no tryouts, just a willingness to commit to participating in practices and games!

Fallwinternewsletter12 19 13 b  

Soundview Preparator School Fall 2013 News Letter

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