Rockefeller University Trip

Seven students from AP Chemistry class and their teacher, Mr.Tharian from Leonia High School attended the 59th Annual Rockefeller University Science Lecture for High School Students on Saturday, Jan 12th, 2019. The lecture series was established in 1959 by Alfred Mirsky, a biochemist and Rockefeller University librarian. Dr.Mirsky modeled these lectures on a popular series of science lectures for children pioneered in London in 1826 by Michael Farday- known as one of the greatest experiments in the history of science.

Dr. Daniel Kronauer, Ph.D., a Professor and Head of the Laboratory of Social Evolution and Behavior at the Rockefeller University, delivered the lecture on the topic “The Social Lives of Ants”. Through exciting illustrations, the professor explained the behavior and social lives of ants. Dr. Kronauer combines genomics and transcriptomics, population genetics, molecular phylogenetics, neuroscience, laboratory-based behavioral experiments, and extensive field work to explore how natural selection has shaped these social systems at different hierarchical levels.   The Professor emphasized the need for scientific research through different techniques to understand the behavior of insect societies. Interactive demonstrations were also conducted during the lunch break. Students enthusiastically participated in these events and asked questions related to the lecture. The experience made them aware of research in higher education and different career opportunities in science.


Lions Pride: Meet the County’s Champion Athletes
of Leonia High School

Reana Radu, Tennis

Leonia freshman, Reana Radu, introduced herself to the Bergen County tournament last fall by winning the small-schools third-singles crown. The Lions’ unseeded freshman beat three seeded players in straight sets to win the crown.

“I had no idea I was going to win,” Radu said. “I never played high school tennis before so I didn’t know what the competition would be like.”

Radu, who has been playing tennis since age 7 when her dad first got her interested in the sport, says “there have definitely been times where I had to sacrifice time with friends to either go to practice or play a tournament. However, I learned how to manage my time.” Tennis has taught Radu a lot about “patience and dedication” and how to “apply these skills in all aspects of my life.”

Elle Morse, Swimming

Elle Morse, a junior at LHS, started swimming around age 5, and has been nonstop ever since. Morse holds nine school records, four league records, and just recently broke the county record by nearly half a second in the 50 freestyle at the Bergen County tournament.  Morse, who also won the breaststroke, is believed to be the first champion in program history.

"I’m just proud to represent Leonia like that," Morse said. "I was on the verge of tears when I looked at the clock. It still hasn’t sunken in. I don’t know what to think about it."

“Sometimes I do feel like I am missing out on things my friends might be doing”, she says, but “it does not upset me. Swimming is my passion.”

Morse claims, that “although swimming is often labeled as an individual sport, what makes school swimming special is the team aspect of it.” When looking back and reflecting on a particularly close, challenging meet, she added, “It did not matter how fast I could swim, what mattered was the depth of our team. The Leonia swim team is unique because of the talent our depth has.”

Gabrielle Capalad, Bowling

In this season’s Bergen bowling tournament, junior Gabrielle Capalad, the lone entry from her team, became the first Bergen County girls bowling champion from Leonia.

The junior right-hander opened with a 196 game and followed with a 206. In the third game, she began a string of six consecutive strikes in the fifth frame and wound up with a 248, giving her the high game award as well as high series (623).

Capalad claims that her “proudest moment in the sport is being the first girl in the school history to obtain the title of county champion” because not only did she make herself, her coach, and athletic director proud, she made her parents proud. “These tournaments, when I’m by myself and just my coach, are one of my biggest challenges because I’m not with my other teammates and they are one of the biggest mental supports for me.”

Capalad has only been bowling since approximately age 13, only bowling recreationally when her parents joined a league. Once she started coming at least once a week, she took the sport more seriously and dedicated her time to making herself better.


DECA Shines Again in States
We Are Atlanta Bound For The Nationals

Fifty-six Leonia DECA members have returned from the recent DECA State Leadership Conference with wonderful results. There were 3200 students from the entire state competing for opportunities to represent New Jersey at the next level. Twenty-four of our students have qualified to attend the International Career Development Conference in Atlanta, Georgia from April 20-25. Those who are not competing will be attending leadership workshops during the conference.

The following students achieved overall outstanding results placing 1st through 3rd place in the state, or were recognized as State Finalists. JiJung Lim and Taylor Molina qualified in two different events! In addition, 20 of the 24 students of the following are members of the Marketing and Business Leadership Academy. Two of the 24 students are Leonia Academy of Science students.

With your approval, these LHS students will be on the NJ national marketing team heading to Atlanta:

1st Place Winners
 Johnathan Perino, Ryan Nakajima (Seniors), Enrique Lopez (Sophomore)
2nd Place Winners
 June Lee (Senior), Molly Lawrence, Kate Morales, Bianka Lieber, Ashley Kwak, Julia Skarimbas, JiJung Lim, Taylor Molina, Sabrina Jeon (Juniors), Allison Nakajima, Lauren Oh, Azra Schorr (Sophomores)
3rd Place Winners
 Alyssa Blake (Sophomore), Begum Taktak (Freshman)
National Qualifier
• Ben Asciutto (Junior)

In addition, the following students will participate in Atlanta in the Emerging Leaders Series: Max Klein, Jenna Khansa, Rachael Park, Jakob Klein, Veer Sawhney, Youssef Mourad

Along with the above national qualifiers, our state finalists include:
Junior: Jenna Khansa, Loryn Williams
Sophomores: Jakob Klein, Max Klein, Sahib Singh
Freshman: Mishelle Goykhberg

We are extremely proud of our students’ accomplishments. Throughout the conference, they represented Leonia High School in a most professional manner and they exhibited strong unity and camaraderie.

Congrats to Mrs. Gianfredi and our DECA students.

 Great News

Four LHS students won chairs at the NJSMA regional orchestra auditions.  

Seniors Kelly Kim, Adam Guo , Sophomore, Hannah Jung - violins
Freshman Seowon Jeong - cello

Kelly Kim placed 4th out of a field of almost 100 entrants.


Leonia Singers Continue Their Record Setting Year!

The following students were selected to participate in the 2018 Northern New Jersey Region One Honor Choir:

Freshmen: Stephanie Hong and Omara Morales.
Sophomores: Samuel Lee and Justin Hong.
Juniors: Ula Goldstein, Gianna Williamson, and Samuel Wilson.
Seniors: Alex Bien, Daryl Castro, Adam Guo, and Chanpyo Kim.

Adam, Gianna, Justin, Samuel Lee, and Daryl all scored in the top ten in their voice category.
These 11 singers represent the most students ever placed in this choir by Leonia High School!


The Arts Thrive at Leonia High School 

Recently there has been discussion amongst Leonia High School personnel to lock the little theatre during the day to protect the new  piano, donated from a NYC benefactor. However, it has remained open due to the influx of students during the day and after school who play freely, spreading beautiful music throughout the school. It is such a rarity and delight for LHS to have its very own “Piano Bar” within its walls, allowing students to express themselves, relieve stress, as well as practice and refine their talent.

Additionally, Leonia High School’s chorus continued its award-wining performances during the two November days off for the NJEA Teacher Convention, November 9th & 10th. The following Leonia High School students were selected by audition from over 1200 applicants to be members of the 2017 NJ All-State Chorus. They performed on Friday, November 10 in Atlantic City as the Final Event of the 2017 NJEA Convention. Then they performed again on Sunday, November 19 at the New Jersey Performing Arts center in Newark New Jersey.

All State Choir:

Ula Goldstein
Gianna Williamson
Adam Guo
Leor Cohen
Paul King
Daryl Castro
Alex Bien
Justin Hong

Sophomore, Justin Hong, was one of only 16 finalists to be nominated for the Governor’s Award.

Congratulations to all students who performed and received accolades for their achievements!

Buddy” Lessons at Leonia High School

Cross-curricular learning is an exceptional trend in breaking down walls between traditional topics of instruction, and this practice—newly implemented at Leonia High School this year—has proven to be no exception. Teachers from different disciplines paired up and were tasked with planning, preparing, and delivering two lessons (one in the fall and one in the spring) that synthesized the two disciplines.

The first year of any new initiative will have its hiccups such as “pacing was off” or needing an “introductory lesson…before joining them together”, but overall LHS’s “buddy lessons” were a success due to the enthusiastic partnerships and collaboration between the pairs to ensure lessons were effective and engaging for students.

The feedback received from teachers was overwhelmingly supportive, as many were “please with my buddy’s efforts” and lessons were “stimulating and challenging” for students. Students “were appreciative to see two teachers in class combining their knowledge,” motivating them to “ask and answer questions.” The students “loved it” and “were interested in the topic and the way it was portrayed.”

Some sample lessons include:

French and English 
Sarah’s Key (novel) regarding the beginning of the Holocaust and the German invasion of France

Web Programming and Finance
Students learned about risk and detailed investment choices in Excel spreadsheets, created a webpage, and bolstered their portfolios. Students will revisit in the spring to see how their investments did.

Science and History
Looked at DNA and its use to identify relatives, leading into analyzing Thomas Jefferson’s lineage, ultimately to prove through primary, historical documents to determine if in fact Jefferson was the father of Sally Hemings’ children (a former slave).

History and Health
Political campaign of Harvey Milk (backdrop of the 1970s and sexual orientation)

English and Physical Education
The Amazing Race (students completed tasks related to physical fitness, reading comprehension, and problem solving skills as well as working in teams)

Marketing and Psychology
How companies position or frame messages in their marketing tactics to appeal to consumer

Leonia High School Pledges to Stop Bullying on #Day1

Leonia High School’s faculty, staff, and students understand the severity of bullying and its consequences. According to senior, Alexis Kim, “It’s important to stop bullying on #Day1 before it leads to larger, more serious issues. Then it cannot develop and become a danger to others.” Junior Isabelle Raskin agreed, saying bullying awareness “prevents bullies from thinking it’s okay before it gets out of hand.”

Leonia High School’s Anti-Bullying coordinator, Marlana LaPera, commented that “The Upstander Pledge is a way for our students to take a stand against bullying. It is our hope that students will take responsibility for their actions and encourage others to do the same. We want to encourage students to take actions when they see bullying occur. These steps can be to stop it, report it, or even reach out to some who they know has been bullied. We want our students to have the tools to recognize bullying when it occurs and to take the correct actions in becoming in upstander in their environment.”

As a result, in efforts first begun by the Tyler Clementi Foundation—whose mission is to end online and offline bullying in schools, workplaces and faith communities—members of the school community have pledged to stop bullying on #Day1, working together to educate people on how bullying harms us all. Junior, Benjamin Asciutto’s goal after pledging is to” make everyone feel happy and have strong self-esteem.”

Many students, faculty, and staff have taken the Upstander Pledge, joining thousands of people across the nation who are firmly committed to actively stand against bullying wherever it may be, showing that we can stand up to bullying by expressing how our unique differences and identities make this world a better place. “Everyone should feel welcome and not be afraid to come in every day,” Catalina Castellon, Leonia High School senior, states after pledging. The Tyler Clementi Foundation is an organization created by the Clementi family which seeks to prevent bullying through inclusion, assertion of dignity and acceptance as a way to honor the memory of Tyler Clementi [of Ridgewood, NJ]: a son, a brother and a friend.

In 2010, Tyler’s death became a global news story, highlighting the impact and consequences of bullying while sparking dialogue amongst parents, teachers, and students across the country. The story also linked to broader issues impacting youth and families such as LGBT inequality, safety in schools, youth in crisis, higher education support systems, and cyberbullying.

Bullying can happen anywhere, and today’s youth are especially at risk.

Bullying: Fast Facts

28% of U.S. students in grades 6–12 have experienced bullying.
20% of U.S. students in grades 9–12 have experienced bullying.
9% of students in grades 6–12 experienced cyberbullying.
15% of high school students (grades 9–12) were electronically bullied in the past year.
55.2% of LGBT students experienced cyberbullying.
30% of young people admit to bullying others in surveys.
70.6% of young people say they have seen bullying in their schools.
70.4% of school staff have seen bullying.
62% witnessed bullying two or more times in the last month and 41% witness bullying once a week or more.

You too can take the #Day1 Pledge and become an #Upstander in your community:


L.A.S. - 9th Grade Field Trip

The Leonia Science Academy (freshman class) visited the Meadowlands Environment Center on October 10th. Mrs. Smyth and Miss Shutovsky chaperoned the trip. The class examined many aspects concerning the ecology of an estuary. Chemical field tests were performed and the class took part in a “Fish Murder Mystery”. In this challenging program the students were charged with solving an environmental scenario. The students combined water testing, current events, and map resources to gather and present evidence to support a hypothesis for what caused a massive fish kill.

Dear Parents and Guardians:
Welcome to the 2017-2018 school year. 
I hope that summer gave you and your family time to relax, reconnect, and spend quality family time. 
Here in the district, the administrative team, the supporting staff, the custodians, and the maintenance personnel have worked to prepare the schools for your child’s return.  Thanks to the municipality and a grant, you will find some new sidewalks around ACS.  Classrooms in ACS, LMS and LHS have been spruced up with some newly painted rooms, and rooms with replaced, attractive, and durable flooring.  At LHS, construction on the new addition began in late June and we will be watching the steel frame the building in the next few weeks.  The goal is for enclosure for interior work before the cold weather sets in.  When the project is completed by June 2018, there will be 8 new classrooms, small-group instructional spaces, and a state-of-the-art Culinary Lab.  Next summer, interior work will be completed on a larger cafeteria, new student services rooms and barrier-free access to the Little Theater. 
We continue our goal of Chromebook carts in every classroom with the addition of 15 new Chromebook carts district-wide.  In addition, your child will find more technology (SmartBoards, Hovercams, laptops) than ever in classrooms.
The 2017-2018 school year in Leonia begins with excitement, preparation, eagerness and anticipation.  It is an opportunity for transformation and growth for students and staff alike.
As we begin this new year, let us pause for a moment to think about our family and friends, colleagues and students struggling in the Houston and Galveston, Texas areas as well as those in Louisiana and the Gulf Coast affected by Hurricane Harvey.  Our thoughts are with them as they open their new school year.
Please visit our schools and participate in school events.   Be sure to check the district calendar for these events or visit the three Home & School websites for the latest.
Best wishes for a successful school year,
Joanne Megargee
Leonia Public Schools