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Kia Darling-Hammond, New Rochelle High School graduate.

“The research, focus, and communication skills I developed that final year of high school were critical to my success in college and as a professional.”

Steven Brown, Chairman of the Board, WISE Services; Woodlands High School graduate.

“For his WISE project my son, Marcus Brown, wrote a short novel in the mystery/detective genre that was popularized by Mickey Spillane and others in the 40’s and 50’s. I was surprised that his project was not film related, since filmmaking is his passion, and the subject he planned to study in college. He claimed that he also loved writing and has an interest in writing as well as directing. There never seemed to be a doubt that he would do a WISE project, given our family history with the program at Woodlands and White Plains, but he was excited about it, and devoted a lot of thought and time to researching the genre and writing the novel.”

Sara McGinty, Rondout Valley High School parent.

“We were not surprised when our daughter, Alice, decided on a WISE project involving cooking … Through WISE, Alice discovered the joy of learning. I guess it … helped her discover (or rediscover) inner strengths and resources that had been dormant during high school. That excitement has fueled both her college experience at the University of Vermont, where she is a history major, and her life as a young adult. The world is Alice’s classroom now, and she takes advantage of every opportunity to explore, inquire and evaluate what she sees and learns. Our joy and pride is unbounded. Thanks, WISE.”

Carl Pezzino, Rondout Valley High School parent.

“As the father of two daughters who experienced WISE at Rondout Valley High School, I can attest to the significance it had for them in charting their first plans for life after high school … Regardless of their respective experience and outcome, each of my daughters became stronger, more dedicated and, especially, more savvy as they entered college and began their adult lives.

Franny Hertz, Rondout Valley High School WISE coordinator; Woodlands High School graduate.

“After eight years coordinating WISE at Rondout Valley High School and being a WISE graduate myself, I had the opportunity to experience my own child’s participation in WISE. As Emilia’s project morphed and evolved, the feelings from a parent perspective were new and eye-opening. I had not realized how nervous parents become as their children approach WISE … Fortunately, we all learned the age-old WISE lesson that if you have faith, offer support when asked and give the students some space, their projects will far exceed anyone’s expectations … As a parent, I am most astonished and proud of the insight Emilia gained from the entire experience.”

Mary Ann Masarech, Woodlands High School graduate, WISE Services Board of Directors member.

“As a WISE board member, I have seen the impact that WISE has on high school seniors in all economic and social situations. Clearly, the program is more relevant than ever. As schools teach increasingly to standards and tests, our youth need an avenue to explore, learn in a different way, pursue their passion, test the career waters, and begin their transition into the adult world. WISE does all of that and more.”

Robert Doss, WISE coordinator, Hunter-Tannersville High School.

“Yes, the responsibilities of a coordinator are many and great. But the rewards are greater–namely, seeing our students engaged in an activity they really want to do and get credit for their fine work … Having spent a good many years in the trade field, I can certainly understand how the WISE experience benefits a young person.”

Lisa Kappler, WISE coordinator, Saugerties High School.

“Watching the students present on subjects they are excited about is always the highlight for me … The WISE concept has proven to be successful at our school and worthwhile for students and faculty.”

Michael Mark, Nyack High School parent and sponsor; WISE Services Board of Directors member; Nyack Board of Education member.

“I was ahead of my children in participation in the WISE program by one year … [A] Nyack High School senior…asked me to participate as one of several supervisors on his project, which dealt with the world of music from both performance and business aspects … It was gratifying to be a part of [his] music-driven world, to enjoy the performance video he put together for his presentation. Even more gratifying was, a couple of years later, receiving a copy of his band’s first CD, SAMSON, from [his] parents … The WISE program asks students to find productive, meaningful uses for their time when they could easily be slowing into the wind-down of senior year.”

Jennifer Marcus, New Rochelle High School graduate.

“At Project Hope we listened to people living with AIDS and HIV … We did hospital visits that were emotionally charged and experienced the death of one of the clients. Eleven years later, I am working at Reuters America. At night I am pursuing my true passion, Massage Therapy. One could say that Project Hope inspired my career choice, a choice that enables me to give back to society, just like our WISE project.”

Christine Faranda, Croton-Harmon High School graduate.

“The final presentation for CHOOSE [WISE] strengthened my educational growth. Although it was intimidating to research, and present an in-depth presentation in the presence of community members who were professionals in this field, it prepared me for college. It also forced me to be responsible, and develop self-confidence and verbal skills.”

Elisa Brotherhood, Nyack High School graduate.

“If there was one thing that the WISE program gave to me after a senior year of life changes, that would be perspective. It helped me to explore my interests and abilities in a way I never imagined possible at such a young age. It allowed me to take control of my future, and helped me to make some of the very important and difficult decisions that I faced.”

Simon McCaffery, Nyack High School graduate.

“I don’t mind speaking in front of large groups of people, perhaps due in part to my WISE presentation.”

Mark Spencer, Woodlands High School graduate.

“The presentation was perhaps the most useful WISE element. In college I had to make several presentations, and my job now requires speaking and presentations. WISE provided the first opportunity I had to do a big presentation, with a time limit, graphics, and a thought out beginning, middle, and conclusion.

David L. Marcus, Woodlands High School graduate.

“Please allow a few words of pride from a Woodlands High School WISE graduate (Class of ’78). It all started there in Greenburgh. Vic Leviatin’s sociology class morphed into a full fledged alternative to senior year apathy and ennui. High school students by the dozens were soon busting out of the confines of Woodlands classrooms in order to apprentice with architects, engineers, advertisers, morticians … you name it. We were scribbling in journals and making presentations to younger kids. We were wired before we knew what ‘wired’ meant.”

Kristina Newland, Woodlands High School graduate.

“My decision to participate in WISE was one of the best I made in high school.”