Student Grants Awarded

In the second year of the Mamaroneck Schools Foundation (MSF)  student-led grant program – geared toward introducing student-motivated, innovative learning experiences for students of the Mamaroneck School District – seven new grants were awarded. Students in grades 10-12 were invited to apply for grants to be implemented at MHS, Hommocks, or any of the district elementary schools.  

Mamaroneck Schools Foundation
2019-2020 Slate of Student Grants 

The Portrait Project
Grantees: Anna Robarts, Grade 10
Faculty Co-Sponsor:  Gwynne Bettencourt

The Portrait Project will provide no-cost family portraits to low-income families in our community and will provide MHS photography students in the Photo & Design Club with the opportunity to give back to their community and learn valuable skills related to portraiture.  Through the grant, MHS student photographers will conduct portrait sessions with 25 local families, identified and invited to participate in this activity in consultation with District social workers.  Each family will receive two prints framed in 8”x11” and 5”x7” frames, with the goal of implementing this project and providing the photos in time for the holiday season 2019.  The grant will provide the photo paper, ink and frames necessary, as well as a camera that will be used for this project and for other community/school projects undertaken by the more than 250 students in the Photo & Design Club.

Meet the Elected Officials
Grantees: Tess Lepelstat, Grade 11
Faculty Co-Sponsor:  Carol Scheffler

Now in its second year, the Meet the Elected Officials Club continues to be made up of student activists from the Young Democrats, Young Republicans, Young Socialists of America Clubs, Model Congress and the Original Civic Research and Action (OCRA) who are interested in learning about local politics in a bipartisan manner.  This grant provides four opportunities for the club to host prominent elected officials during lunctime and provide lunch for the students and speakers, as well as funds to promote the club and its events.  Through these meetings, students will hear firsthand specifics from the elected representatives about their positions, the platforms they wish to achieve, as well as have a chance to as questions and discuss local issues.  The Meet the Elected Officials Club lunch meetings directly support rising youth activism throughout the country, as well as the efforts of MHS’s many political organizations and the AP Government class.

OCRA Communication Initiative
Grantees: Sydney Grodin, Halle Myers, Calie Harwin, Kate Coughlin, Jacobi Kandel, Samantha Murabito, Grade 11
Faculty Co-Sponsor:  Joseph Liberti

After 4 years of fostering civic engagement, the OCRA group at MHS has turned its attention to improving information flow between local government and the Larchmont community. With funding from MSF, the group will purchase software to build an app to increase residents’ awareness of village events, and to foster an enhanced sense of community by improving communication between the municipality and its residents. Development of the app will begin early in 2020 in preparation to launch the app in spring, 2020. The grant will cover two years of funding, but the app will remain available to continue benefiting the community for years to come. This is a pilot project that can be scaled up to include other municipalities in the future. 

Mamaroneck Aeronautics and Rocketry Society
Grantees: Francisco Ferrisi,Nishan Grandhi, Grade 12
Faculty Co-Sponsor:  Craig Romanek

“M.A.R.S.” is a group of MHS students that use math, physics, computer programs, problem solving and hands on model building to design and launch rockets.  This grant will supply components and motors so M.A.R.S. can design and build a rocket and a back-up copy to be used to compete in the 2020 Team America Rocketry Challenge. Last year M.A.R.S. made it to the state level, but are hoping to clench nationals this year!

Reader’s Rise!
Grantees: Sophie Bulova, Grade 11
Faculty Co-Sponsor:  Hannah Krafchick

This grant aims to foster a lifelong passion for reading among 4th grade students throughout the district. Each 4th grade classroom will receive several copies of a book to be chosen by the grantee and her faculty sponsor. In classrooms that opt in, the grantee will visit to read and discuss the book, reflect on the importance of reading, and offer strategies to optimize students’ enjoyment while they read.  

Behind the Scenes Communication
Grantees: Jerry Orans, Grade 10
Faculty Co-Sponsor:  Elise Gellert

This grant will provide the theater department at MHS with a 6-unit, fully portable single ear headset and microphone system to facilitate smooth and close communication among the key players behind the scenes. Seamless communication during a show among the stage managers, director, lighting/sound operators, and the pit directors is critical to a show’s success. This grant will give our MHS theater students experience with state of the art, professional equipment that is used in theaters all over the world. The portability of the equipment allows it to be easily shared between the mainstage theater productions and the PACE program.

Display FBLA
Grantee: Dana Cohen, Grade 11
Faculty Co-Sponsor:  Maria Siciliano

The mission of the Future Business Leaders of America (FBLA) is to inspire and prepare students to become community-minded business leaders through relevant career preparation and leadership experiences.  Throughout its years, MHS’s FBLA members have participated in leadership development programs at the state, regional and national levels where members participate in workshops, seminars and academic competitions, demonstrating their business knowledge and skills.  The FBLA Club at MHS has been recognized for its outstanding accomplishments through its receipt of countless awards.  This grant allows FBLA members to promote the club and showcase the students’ hard work by featuring their well-earned awards in a display case outside of the FBLA classroom.  One of FBLA’s goals is to strengthen students’ confidence in themselves and their work; placing the awards in a more visible and aesthetically pleasing space will both remind students of their great efforts and encourage them to continue developing worthwhile projects that improve the community and help make the world a better place for all - another FBLA goal.


Mamaroneck Schools Foundation

2018-2019 Student-Initiated Grants Awarded:


New for 2018, the Mamaroneck Schools Foundation (MSF)  launched a pilot, student-led grant initiative that invites students to apply for grant funding for inventive, leading-edge proposals that will complement District-sponsored programs.

This year, nine new grants, totaling $10,000, were awarded to students at Mamaroneck High School; students in grades 10-12 were invited to apply for grants to be implemented at MHS, Hommocks, or any of the district elementary schools.  

Adaptive Culinary Equipment

Grantees: Jack Lambert, Debbie Margolis, Lorena Paras, Grade 12

Faculty Co-Sponsor:  Bryan Luff

This grant will provide adaptive equipment for the Culinary Arts program so that students with special needs are able to prepare food independently. With this equipment, students will become more competent and comfortable, with the eventual goal of working with non-adaptive equipment. In applying for the grant, one of the grantees’ goals is to encourage more students with limitations who are concerned about safety to enroll in the Culinary Arts elective.


Diversity Today: Starting Conversations, Building Understanding

Grantees: Yasmine Arnwine, Brianna Cisneros, Leah Richard, Grade 12

Faculty Co-Sponsor:  Shannon Porter

The Multicultural Club has initiated a three-part program entitled, “This is America: Race Today” with the goal of starting conversations about race and diversity within the MHS community. This grant will include a performance at the MLK Day Assembly by Epic Theater, an ensemble of youth performers who use theater as a platform to promote social justice. The second step will occur over Winter Break, when the club will host a retreat for students and members of Epic to explore topics of diversity further and create a small theatrical vignette. Finally, the students will perform the vignette in a variety of settings throughout the District with the intention of heightening understanding and promoting honest conversations about race.

Community Outreach Through Lacrosse

Grantees: Cole Lovejoy, Robby Lundberg, Grade 11

Faculty Co-Sponsor:  Robert Rainaldi

After learning that some kids do not have access to after-school sports, MHS students came together to provide this opportunity by offering 8 week lacrosse clinics— including supplies, equipment, field space and coaches (MHS students).  Each Saturday morning, 3rd-6th grade boys and girls in East Harlem meet with MHS students to learn the game of lacrosse, build self-confidence and be part of a team.  In turn, MHS students gain leadership experience through organizing, coaching and mentoring. This grant supplements the field space and supply needs to provide this opportunity to a larger number of kids participating in the clinics during the 2018-19 school year.


Expanding Access to Beekeeping

Grantees: Leonardo Ferris, Grade 12, and Jacqueline Chiu, Grade 10

Faculty Co-Sponsor:  Cathy O’Reilly

This grant expands last year’s successful beekeeping project by introducing surveillance equipment and hive health monitors for observing and tracking the bees more closely.  Buzzboxes will be used to monitor the overall health of the bees and hive and will provide humidity, temperature, and audio readings. These monitors will allow students to make sure the hives are doing well without having to go into the hive. Additionally, the camera will provide an interior view of one hive, with the view fed to a screen display in a public area of MHS. This grant also includes the purchase of three additional bee suits so that more students can participate in beekeeping activities.

Physics Club Initiative

Grantees: Thomas Wiesenberg, Grade 12

Faculty Co-Sponsor:  Elena Filippova

This grant supports the development and work of a new Physics Club at Mamaroneck High School, designed to foster the interests of young physicists and other students interested in science.  The Physics Club plans to start a tradition of competing annually in the United States Invitational Young Physicists Tournament (USIYPT), competing against high schools from across the country in a physics debate based on research questions assigned in advance.  This year, the Club will research and work on three problems, including building a working prototype of a pneumatic tube mail system and researching physics behind extraterrestrial rainbows.  The grant funds will be used to purchase supplies for this work, as well as to host a one-day visit from Mr. Greg Jacobs, the founder and president of the USIYPT tournament. 


Enhancing Photography Experience: A New Photo Studio

Grantees: Anna Epstein, Grade 11

Faculty Co-Sponsor:  Michelle Meier

This grant will fund the development of a Photography Studio at MHS, providing a new environment for learning and experimentation and expanding the opportunity for controlled setting photography by students.  Grant funds will be used to purchase a camera, softboxes, tripods, strobe lighting, and seamless paper, with the studio being set up in repurposed space.

Performing Arts Audition Master Classes

Grantees: Eliana Kraut, Grade 11

Faculty Co-Sponsor:  Zachary Moore

This grant will bring professional performing artists and college professors to MHS to run a series of three Master Classes teaching students how to craft a professional audition. Broadway performers, casting directors, and college professors from NYU and Yale are among the guest instructors. This grant links students with professionals in their field of interest to enable a fuller understanding of a career in the entertainment industry while providing them with the necessary tools to better prepare for auditions.


Technology Enhancement for Calliope Literary and Art Magazine

Grantees: Kate Mason, Grade 12

Faculty Co-Sponsor:  James Short

This grant will provide the funds to buy a dedicated computer with software to create the Calliope Literary and Art Magazine, Mamaroneck High School’s oldest club. The computer and software will increase the efficiency of Calliope team members, including those who do writing, editing, formatting, and provide other forms of creativity and inspiration for this MHS publication.


Mamaroneck Aeronautics and Rocketry Society

Grantees: Leonardo Ferrisi, Grade 12

Faculty Co-Sponsor:  Craig Romanek

Participating in hobby and sport rocketry encourages problem solving skills and an understanding of physics, although it is challenging for students to find a safe outlet for this unique extracurricular activity. This grant provides funds for the support of the Mamaroneck Aeronautics and Rocketry Society. “M.A.R.S.” is a group of MHS students that will build and launch model rockets and participate in team competitions, including the Team America Rocketry Challenge. MSF will supply model rocket engines and key components to enable M.A.R.S. to take off!


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