The Irving Times

  The Washington Irving Times

The Student Newspaper of Washington Irving High School

“Renewing the spirit of our students through inquiry and collaboration” 

Vol. 3, Issue 2                        Bernardo Ascona, Executive Principal                              December, 2008


By Xerez Bridglall

   It was two years ago that the Morris Senior's Center food pantry had enough food to feed everyone who waited in line.  Now food stamps are being handed out to the first 100 and others are being sent home hungry.  The food that is sent, says the pantry manager Linda Hill, does not match; we receive sauce but no spaghetti.  In 2007, the Food Bank received 17 million pounds of food through the Emergency Food Assistance Program, less than half of the 35 million pounds it received in 2002.  And donations from individuals and corporations are also down by about 50%.  With the upcoming Thanksgiving holidays and Christmas boarding the horizon, this food shortage claws at the food bank employees and volunteers.
    This is where you Washington Irving stepped up to the plate and contributed to the cause.  The physical education teachers at Washington Irving decided that in the spirit of Thanksgiving they would organize a can drive.  Each gym class was to bring in a can or two to donate.  "Not only do we care about our own students, but we also want to teach them to always care for others," says Ms. Lee, coordinator of the food drive.  The outcome was overwhelming and eventually 400 students had donated cans.
    Every morning from 7:15 to 9:15 am, Ms. Lee and Ms. Wagman stood at the entrance of the school and encouraged students to bring in their cans.  As the students that brought in a can dropped it into the food box, with a lighter heart knowing that they were doing a good deed, they were handed a brightly colored index card.  The student was responsible for filling the card out and handing it to their gym teacher.  As a token of appreciation and kindness, the students were granted one extra credit for every he or she can brought in.
    As the cans began to come in the teachers needed a way to track who was bringing in how many cans.  At this point it had become somewhat of a friendly competition between the gym classes.  The "Turkey Posters," designed by Ms. Dixon, were hung in the gymnasium.  A colored feather was added to the turkey when a student brought in a can.  On the feathers were, the student's name, how many cans they brought in, and their gym period.  The students were able to acknowledge their classmates contributions via these posters.  This may have turned into a friendly competition between the classes but the PE teachers stressed to their students, "It is about giving, not winning."  However, the winning class was Ms. Kalogiannis period 5 with 142 cans.
    The original goal for this collection was to collect the minimum of five hundred cans.  As the weeks progressed and more kids began to participate, we eventually collected and donated 1,207 cans.
    Congratulations Washington Irving, you made a difference in the world.  You took one step towards making the world a happier place, and another towards ending hunger.  It just goes to show how one person can make a difference, eventually every student adds up and we make an unstoppable force.
    A special thank you to all of the Physical Education Teachers.  We would also like to acknowledge our amazing assistant principal, Ms Wagman.  Lastly, a huge thank you to the students of Washington Irving, keep up the great work!

Ms. Kalogiannis and students collected more cans than any other group.


By Natasha Pearson

   Fresh water, a luxury that many of us in the developed world take for granted, is scarce elsewhere. Being that fresh water is essential to life; all living organisms must have adequate access to fresh water reserves. We must address this issue promptly and we can do so with the assistance of Barry Weinbrom. A retired    science teacher, Weinbrom has partnered with Washington Irving after we received a federal grant to bring technology and water together.

   The central question that we are trying to answer over the course of the 2008-09 school year is, "Where does the water go?" Students at Washington Irving have already been proactive in answering this question with field trips and suggestions as to what they could do to conserve the water that they already have access to.  Ms. Jen Smith's 8th period chemistry class recently gone on a trip where they researched issues related to the health of the Hudson River through the use of technology. This topic is particularly relevant to us. As New York City residents, we are dependent on the river as part of our clean water source. Ultimately, to ensure that the water coming out of our tap is as safe and pure as possible, it is our job to respect the environment and throw the trash in the can. This is just one of the many projects that Weinbrom has planned for the Irving community.

   Weinbrom has many affiliations with members of the international community fighting to conserve clean water. He is also conducting another project entitled "WaterGame" a board game which teaches young people to alter their daily habits in such a way that they are becoming a part of the solution to the world's worsening shortage of clean water. This game is distributed by Adventerra games which is an international company dedicated to invent ways to get youths engaged in taking action against impending environmental issues. Mrs. Abrigo's first period class had the opportunity to interview the CEO and creator of Adventerra Games, Bryan Mundell, via Skype (software that allows users to make telephone calls over the Internet).  Not only has Mundell donated several copies of WaterGame to support Weinborm's projects he has also agreed to donate money to the cause.

   The Water/Green Team is full of students committed to giving back to the environment and  raising awareness about environmental epidemics. We encourage you to get involved, if you have not already done so, because this is our world and we all have a responsibility to protect it. Weinbrom can be found at Washington Irving on Tuesdays where he is meeting with students and teachers alike to gain support for this cause. For more information on the Water/Green Team feel free to meet with Mrs. Abrigo in room 646 where she will gladly answer any questions you may have.

Members of the  Green Team working on a global problem right here at WIHS.

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