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October 2013 Archives


Stuyvesant H.S. has been ranked the top public high school in a recent NY Post Poll. The school has close to 3200 students. The teacher to class ratio is 21:1. Ninety-five percent graduate on time; ninety-eight percent plan to enroll in college. Students spend extra time preparing for college prep exams. In fact the Post claimed in a recent article that Stuyvesant H.S. was the "most coveted, specialized school, a perennial top performer whose brainy students shine in the Intel Science Talent Search, as well as writing contests as many move on the Ivy League."

I spoke with some football coaches at a recent game with Bryant H.S. and they said there were more students interested in the math club, debate club, or the handball team. One hundred fifty students tried out for the handball squad.  About 40 students came out for football.  

And, according to Francisco Rivera, the Junior Varsity (JV) head coach, many players had not played organized football before they joined the JV team, which features freshman and sophomores.  The Varsity team is comprised of mostly juniors and seniors and most experienced players play both offense and defense. 

The Peg Legs, the nickname for the football team, are doing just fine and opening some eyes along the way.  They won their fourth straight game, a 30-8 decision over Bryant H.S. that was really never in doubt.  After the game, Mark Strasser, head coach of Stuyvesant said, "We took one more step getting better as a team."  Last year they finished deep in the Public School Athletic League playoffs.  This year, they want to be champs.  Strasser said of his squad: "These kids are really bright.  They just don't have one focus.  They are taking classes, and preparing for SAT's and they play football."  

Cooper Weaver, one of the top players on the Peg Legs has his Mom in his corner. She said," He loves it."  It's his passion. I'm behind him 100 percent."  Weaver, according to Coach Strasser is the "heart & soul" of the team.  Just prior to Saturday's game, Weaver ran up and just exuded excitement and joy at playing on a sunny early fall day.  The other players feed off him.  He scored a touchdown on five tough yards, and he was tenacious as a linebacker on defense. Weaver, is about 5' 7" and plays a foot taller.

Stuyvesant has 5 or 6 coaches on the sidelines reminding the boys to make their plays and watch the snap count.  They are reminded when it is time for a punt, and who should be on the field.  They make adjustments during the game.  It is hard to out-coach a Stuyvesant team.

The Peg Legs got on the board first when Solomon Quinn, Senior quarterback (QB) hit Mike Mazzeo on a three-yard pass for a touchdown (TD).  The extra point was good. And it was 7-0 Stuyvesant.

The next time the Peg Legs had the ball they drove and scored on a 2 yard run by Weaver. The extra point was good and it's now 14-0 over Bryant who had a tough time against a team that was better than they were. A few plays later, Bryant would put a new wrinkle into the game when halfback John Mihalopoulous found a hole in the defense and scampered 55 yards for a nice touchdown run.  The Bryant fans in attendance finally had something to cheer about.  Bryant ran in a two-point conversion and the score was 14-8.  The mood had changed on the Stuyvesant sideline, the players woke up and took care of business.

Stuyvesant kicked a field goal for 32 yards and now had a 17-8 lead.  Bryant special teams busted out a long run for a touchdown that was negated by a clipping penalty.

And, that is extent of the Owls' threat.  QB Quinn found Kyler Chase wide open on the right side of the end zone for another score. Quinn had checked off on the play and found Chase in the clear, something that he has worked on in practice.

Forrest Quinn, Solomon's dad is proud of his son.  "It's been a good experience," said Mr. Quinn. Mr. Quinn said Solomon's doctor is in "favor of him getting good exercise and football has it."

"The coaching staff is great and they try to prepare the kids not to get injured," said Solomon's Dad.  

After the game, coach Strasser noted there were no major injuries on the team. "That's the first goal," he noted.

Weaver, the workhorse, scored on a 5 yard run to end the scoring, 30-8, Stuyvesant.

Solomon was asked about how he handles his schoolwork as he begins his senior year. "You do what you have to do," Quinn said smartly.  "We do well in school as a team." Quinn said he was glad to be undefeated-- but the team's goal is to win the city championship. #



Usdan Center for the Creative and Performing Arts (www.usdan.com), the nationally acclaimed summer arts day camp which has just finished its 46th successful season, announces the first of its Open Houses for the 2014 season. It will take place on Sunday October 27 from 11AM to 2PM. In addition to the Center's frequent Open House dates, Usdan also offers individual weekend guided tours available by appointment. Weekday self-guided walks are also available on the Center's magnificent 200-acre woodland campus at 185 Colonial Springs Road, Wheatley Heights (Huntington), New York 11798 (for directions to the Center, visit www.usdan.com).

There will be many new and expanded programs for 2014, shortly to be announced, in the Jazz, Theater and Fashion Design departments.

OPEN HOUSES: Visitors will be greeted at the Center's Administration Building by Faculty and Staff on October 27th, and at subsequent Open Houses as well. The Staff will introduce prospective students and parents to course options at Usdan, and will also review the application process. These greeting sessions will be followed by self-guided tours. Open House dates are: Sunday, October 27th, and Sunday, December 8th, 2013; Sunday January 26, Wednesday, February 19, Sunday, March 16, Wednesday, April 16, and Sunday May 18t, 2014. Hours are: 11:00 AM until 2:00 PM for all open houses. For an appointment, call 631-643-7900. (Visitors must be 21 years of age or accompanied by a parent.) Families who cannot attend an Open House may make individual appointments for visits on weekends or weekdays throughout the Fall and Winter.
Usdan Center offers more than 40 programs in music, dance, theater, visual arts, creative writing, nature and ecology and chess, annually hosting more than 1,600 students from towns throughout the Tri-State New York area.  No audition is needed for most courses, and transportation is provided in air-conditioned buses that depart from most New York-area neighborhoods. One-third of Usdan's students receive scholarship assistance based on family need.  
Video from many of Usdan's programs and special events, may now be viewed on the Center's website, http://www.usdan.com as well as on YouTube.  Also, families can check out Usdan's Facebook site, where additional information and late-breaking news is featured.
Usdan Center for the Creative and Performing Arts, whose alumni include actors Natalie Portman and Olivia Thirlby and singers Jane Monheit and Mariah Carey, has introduced the arts to more than 60,000 Tri-State Area children since its founding in 1968. The Center is open to all young people from age 6 to 18. Usdan's program features more than 40 four and seven-week programs (as well as new, special three-week sessions) in music, dance, theater, visual arts, writing, nature & ecology, and chess. No audition is needed for most programs - rather, admission is based on an expression of interest in the arts. Each summer, 1,600 students are transported to the Center in air-conditioned buses each day. One-third of Usdan's students attend on scholarship. Although the mission of the Center is for every child to establish a relationship with the arts, the unique stimulation of the Center has caused many to go on to arts careers. Alumni include members of Broadway shows and major music, theater, and dance ensembles such as the Boston Pops and the New York City Ballet.  
In addition to its regular programs, Usdan offers special opportunities for advanced high school- age performing and visual artists. These include Music Staff Internships, a Summer Ballet Intensive.  Usdan Center is an agency of the UJA-Federation of New York. 
Usdan's 47th season begins June 30, 2014. For more information, write to info@usdan.com, Call (212) 772-6060 or (631) 643-7900, or visit www.usdan.com

Joan Jett

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