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In the Hudson Valley, students, programs, and changes on campus create new opportunities.


As the school year wraps up, it is important for families to plan their next educational step.  One way to make a good choice is learning about a school’s success stories.


New programs challenge students

Fusion Academy announces they will be opening a campus in Montclair, New Jersey, this June,” notes Lauren Stickle, Fusion Montclair Head of School. “There are campuses located across the country, including Morristown, Princeton, and Englewood, New Jersey, and Westchester, Woodbury, Brooklyn, and New York City in New York. Fusion Academy is a one-to-one private school where each class is one student and one teacher per classroom. This allows them to personalize learning for each student’s unique strengths, interests, and learning style.”

“At Immaculate Heart Academy, we find that a major key to our success is to remain on the cutting edge of educational programming,” says Jason Schlereth, principal of Immaculate Heart Academy. “This year, we were proud to introduce a College Counseling Department to better serve the needs of our students. This new department allows us to have a more focused, individualized plan for each of our students to ensure they are attending the colleges that will allow them to attain their goals. Our College Counseling Department also works diligently to educate parents about the ever-changing landscape of college admissions.”


Education to empower women

According to Erin Pihlaja, head of communications for Emma Willard School, “For over 200 years Emma Willard School has been a leader in girls-first thinking. At Emma, we empower each girl to serve and shape her world. This year, we became the first high school in the country to engage with Culture of Respect, a NASPA affiliate, to ensure that we are on the forefront of preventing sexual assault and violence — issues that impact women and schools everywhere.”


Academic success on a national scale

At Our Lady of Lourdes High School in Poughkeepsie, two seniors have been named 2017 National Merit Scholarship Competition Finalists. According to the 2017 National Merit® Scholarship Program, Andrew Lam and Emily Mantaro are two of 16,000 semi-finalists across the country. Finalists are selected upon review of their abilities, skills, and accomplishments. “These students are both scholars and incredible role models for all that we strive to achieve each day here at Lourdes,” says Lourdes principal, Catherine Merryman. “In recent years, typically, one of our students reach this milestone, so to have two this year is a notable achievement.”


Students are the priority

“With student success our top priority, Dutchess Community College fosters an engaging environment led by faculty and staff dedicated to providing transformational academic and extracurricular opportunities and comprehensive support services,” says Pamela Edington, EdD, president of Dutchess Community College. “Recent enhancements to the teaching and learning environment — including facilities, technology, and resources — receive high marks from students; nine out of 10 in a SUNY survey said they would choose DCC again.”

Kennedy Catholic High School is Northern Westchester’s premiere college-preparatory high school, serving young people from the surrounding region,” Fred Compton, director of advancement, explains. “Kennedy Catholic follows a rigorous Regents curriculum, while also training students in the sound doctrine of Catholic faith — a combination that makes students well-prepared not only for college, but also for a successful life. Kennedy Catholic offers academics, fine arts, and athletics that equip students with the exceptional strengths colleges value.”


Bringing the world to students and students to the world

How do young people learn about the workings of government and the subtleties of diplomacy? One way is to participate in Model United Nations (MUN). In January, Dutchess Day School sent 22 delegates from the 7th and 8th grades to Boston. “Model UN provides practice with public speaking, research, parliamentary procedure, and writing a position paper,” history teacher and MUN advisor, Donna Fedele, notes. “The students develop global awareness and understand the nuances of their assigned country’s positions. Collaborating with students from all over to accomplish a goal is a huge learning experience.”

At Oakwood Friends School, experiential global education includes service learning in the local community, cultural exchanges, and a course of study that stresses collaborative work and depth over breadth. “It allows an opportunity for ethics to be experienced, which is an emotionally powerful thing,” Anna Bertucci, associate head for academics and student life and head of the upper school. “It is more likely to transform the learner. Students gain a deeper understanding of the complexities of the world when they are challenged to study and understand certain world views that are sometimes vastly different than their own.”

Courtney Gray, ’17, St. Thomas Aquinas College honors student, and Ben Wagner, PhD, assistant professor of psychology, presented their collaborative research “My news is important to share: Connections between narcissism and social media usage” at the Society for Personality and Social Psychology Annual Convention (San Antonio, Texas). “The conference provided me with a wealth of information from the most brilliant scientists in the field and confirmed for me that conducting psychological research is the right career path for me,” says Gray about the experience.


Resource Directory

Dutchess Community College
53 Pendell Rd

Dutchess Day School
415 Rte 343

Emma Willard School
285 Pawling Ave

Fusion Academy
701 Westchester Ave, Suite 200E
White Plains

Immaculate Heart Academy
500 Van Emburgh Ave
Township of Washington, NJ

Kennedy Catholic High School
54 Rte 138

Oakwood Friends School
22 Spackenkill Rd

Our Lady of Lourdes High School
131 Boardman Rd

St. Thomas Aquinas College
125 Rte 340

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Hudson Valley Magazine editorial staff.