School Notes


Elementary Schools 

In a real-life plot twist, middle school girls in the mother and daughter book club at The Ursuline School in New Rochelle walked into their inaugural meeting and saw Martin Ganda, one of the authors of “I Will Always Write Back-How One Letter Changed Two Lives,” standing before them. The other author is Caitlin Alifirenka. 

The book shares the personal journey of Ganda, who is from Zimbabwe, and Ms. Alifirenka, who is from Pennsylvania. Ms. Alifirenka enjoyed a comfortable middle-class life while Ganda’s family lived in one of Zimbabwe’s worst slums. Their pen pal exchange as middle-school students led to a lifelong friendship. 

Carol Killebrew, principal of the school, hosted the book club. The 35 students met in the Gabelli Library to discuss the book, where they were joined by Ganda, who read an excerpt. Amanda Dolis, a seventh-grader, said, “It was cool meeting him.” She explained, saying that it was interesting  “to know what he did, because I read the book, and then to hear his point of view now.” Classmate Tanner McIntyre said, “It was unreal, and he was really inspiring.”  

High Schools 

During Black History Month, 24 high school seniors in the economics and government classes from Mount St. Michael Academy in the Bronx attended a tribute to the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. at CUNY-Lehman College. The keynote speaker was Adam Clayton Powell IV, a former member of the New York State Assembly and New York City Council.

 The event, “Legacy of African American Leadership for The Present and The Future,” was presented by the college’s The Urban Male Leadership Program and the Department of African and African American Studies. Board member Cleveland Beckett Jr., a member of Mount’s class of 1988 and the assistant director of the Leadership Program, coordinated the program.

History teacher Chad Robinson, who chaperoned the trip, said, “The experience of visiting a college campus along with the opportunity to hear Adam Clayton Powell IV speak about his father during Black History Month was a transformative experience for our students.”

Harshal Shet and Patrick Magliocchino, seniors at Archbishop Stepinac High School in White Plains, are participating in independent research with medical institutions based in Manhattan this spring. 

Harshal is assigned to Mount Sinai Hospital’s Departments of Neuroscience and Psychiatry, Friedman Brain Institute and the Laboratory of Molecular Neuropsychopharmacology under the direction of Dr. Yasmin Hurd. The laboratory is working on research projects to understand the nerve and brain function of drug addiction. 

Patrick is a member of a research team at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center that is exploring the best way to treat bowel obstructions associated with ovarian cancer in women. The team is led by Randy Gross, an advanced oncology nurse.

Send school-related news to Juliann DosSantos at 


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