Haldane’s Paper: The Blue Print

Five times each year, the members of Jenna Isabella and Ashley Linda’s journalism class at Haldane High School publish a school newspaper, The Blue Print. With support from the Haldane School Foundation, reporters and editors from The Current are working with the students to craft their stories and share their reporting with the community. Selections from the most recent issue appear below.

Reporters: Riley Bissinger, Katrine Buslovich, Arden Conybear, Alden Dobosz, Catriona Fee, Riley Johanson, Liam Marinan, Ada McBride, Elizabeth Nelson, Katelyn Pidala, Julia Rotando, Natalie Sandick, Sophia Scanga, Damian Vladimiroff

Haldane Welcomes New Superintendent
By Arden Conybear

The new Haldane superintendent, Philip Benante, is focused on setting a new path for Haldane that includes input from the community, especially students.

“That’s really important to me, that whatever actions I take here as superintendent are grounded in understanding of what the student perspective is here at Haldane,” said Benante.


After spending 16 years in the Arlington School District as an elementary teacher, high school assistant principal, elementary school principal and deputy superintendent, Benante decided to take on the challenge of being Haldane’s superintendent. His first task was to spend time listening and examining the strengths and values of our school system.

In order to understand the perspective of students at Haldane, Benante prioritized creating a student advisory council, “It is important to me that students feel they have a connection with me.”

When asked to point out an area of focus for Haldane, Benante commented, “One area where we need to focus is a review of our literacy program K-12.” He believes students need a strong balance between reading and writing and he feels that can be created at Haldane. He also explained that at Arlington each staff member, or a team, had one specific role and responsibility — made possible by the size of the staff.

At Haldane, the smaller size makes it necessary for everybody to tackle multiple tasks. This involves a strong level of teamwork, which he believes will accomplish great things.

Benante and his wife, Kerri, have two boys, Cole, 10, and Luke, 7. He enjoys Crossfit when he is not working, as well as hiking, and is training his dog, Scout. His boys play baseball and soccer, and he loves to join them on the field.

Benante is excited about his new position at Haldane. “It’s a good change, both professionally and personally.” One important thing he wants students to know is that should they “have a thought, perspective, or an issue, that they not hesitate to reach out to me if they feel I can be of help to them.”

On behalf of The Blue Print staff, good luck and welcome to Haldane!

Seniors Kayak the Hudson
By Riley Bissinger, Katelyn Pidala and Julia Rotando

Sept. 14 was a humid and cloudy Friday, but that didn’t stop the senior class of 2019 from going on the school’s annual kayak trip. The grade was split into two groups, with each group spending one half of the day kayaking up and down the Hudson River, and the other half hiking up Mount Beacon.

Brad Dowd

The kayak trip was run through Mountain Tops Outfitters, whose employees were extremely kind to the students, patiently helping them into their boats and later instructing them clearly while they were kayaking on the Hudson. Students traveled for about two hours, starting at Long Dock Park and looping around Dennings Point. They also drifted underneath a pair of tracks that had trains actively racing across.

The hike up Mount Beacon was a much more strenuous journey. The 40-minute hike was done in the morning for the first group and in the afternoon after lunch for the other.

For each group, there were a few members who opted out of the hike for several reasons. One of those students was Jamie Calimano, who said, “after getting about halfway, we decided to take our trip back down the mountain. Mr. Sassano decided to join us and come down; he too was exhausted. Although we didn’t get to the top it still was one of the best class trips I’ve been on and I’m very glad I went.”

“I didn’t know a grade could bond so much over students tipping kayaks and nearly falling off of mountains until I went on this trip,” says senior class President Katie Langer.

Seniors Prepare for College
By Alden Dobosz

As the fall continues to progress, high school seniors gather up what they need to prepare to apply to colleges and meet the upcoming deadlines.

Someone who is right in the middle of this strenuous process is Haldane’s guidance counselor, Kristen Mosco. She advised: “At this point in the fall, seniors should have started their Common Application essays, requested their letters of recommendation from teachers and other faculty, have linked their senior questionnaire through Naviance, as well as through the Common App.”

Some of the key parts to a successful application are the essay (Common Application), letters of recommendation (at least two from teachers, up to six total), a resume, and of course, getting good grades throughout the years.

Students should apply to six or so schools, with about two in the “reach” category, meaning you might fall short of their standards; two “target” schools, meaning that you are on par with their criteria; and about two “safety” schools, meaning that you have almost a guarantee you’ll be accepted.

“The most important deadlines to meet are the minimum of two weeks for the letters of recommendation, the deadlines for the application of the colleges of their choice, as well as the financial aid deadlines for those colleges,” said Mosco.

One thing about college that prospective students and their families are suspect about is the cost (tuition). Although it won’t be cheap no matter what, there is help. Colleges and universities give out financial aid to most students every year, to ease the cost. The FAFSA (Free Application for Federal Student Aid) opens Oct. 1 and ends June 30, 2019. It may not be well known that there are several types of application options. They are: Regular Decision (RD), Early Action (EA), Early Decision (ED), and Rolling Admissions (RA). The deadlines for each type all vary by school.

As a senior in the fall, you will have another opportunity to retake the SAT or ACT, to try and improve your score from taking it as a junior. Try to complete your personal essay (Common App) by Nov. 1 or so.

The fall is a great time to visit the schools that prospective students may have an interest in, if this hasn’t been done already. Once you have gathered everything you need, contact the guidance office to send your transcript to your college(s).

“Seniors are more prepared than they think they are, so it’s a good idea to take a deep breath and put things into perspective,” Mosco said. “It’s also important to realize most of the hard work is already done, but take advantage of what Haldane has to offer, like the essay workshop, and Naviance. The essay causes the most stress, but just take it step by step.”

Homecoming Dance
By Sophia Scanga

On Sept. 29, students from Haldane High School tore it up on the dance floor celebrating the annual homecoming dance. With almost 200 students attending, high schoolers took pictures with friends in the photo booth and danced under the gold string lights illuminating the gym.

There was only a break in the dancing to announce the homecoming court. This year’s homecoming queen was Willa Fitzgerald and Sam Curto was crowned king. The runners-up for queen were Helena Alverez, Julia Rotando, Evy Ashburn and Robin Ben Adi. Vlad Siriia, Thomas Percacciolo, Sam Giachinta and Matt Ortiz were the runners-up for king.

Spirit Week
By Riley Bissinger

For the week of Sept. 24 to 29, morale was high at Haldane High School for Spirit Week, a traditional precursor to the annual homecoming football game.

The schoolwide celebration kicked off on Monday with throwback day. Students dressed in fashion from almost every recent decade, from 1960s hippie to 1990s grunge.

The Lynches

Tuesday was teacher-lookalike day, a new day this year. Lynches, Virgadamos and even a few Richters were seen roaming the hallways. “I was Mr. Lynch and I carried around my 20 calculators all day,” says senior Katelyn Pidala. “I chose him because I own a Columbia sweatshirt and several watches.” The faculty seemed to enjoy this day almost as much as the students, and even Principal Julia Sniffen joined in on the fun.

Wednesday was theme day, and each grade was assigned a theme that best fit their class. The themes this year were fire freshmen, summer sophomores, jammin’ juniors and space seniors. Freshmen filled the hallways with red, while sophomores wore leis and sunglasses. Juniors dressed in pajamas and seniors came to school looking like they were from another world.

Thursday was color day, with freshmen wearing green, sophomores purple, and juniors red. Seniors donned their traditional black senior shirts, with “THIS IS OUR K1N9DOM” on the back, a phrase specific to the class of 2019.

Bringing the week to a close was blue-and-white day. The entire high school, students and faculty alike, wore the Haldane colors and cheered during the pep rally. It was a spirit week to remember!

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