Byram Hills High School
|This article needs additional citations for verification. (August 2010)|
|Byram Hills High School|
|12 Tripp Lane
Armonk, New York, 10504
|Type||Public, co-educational 9–12|
|Color(s)||Blue and red|
Byram Hills High School (BHHS) is a four-year co-educational public secondary school located in Armonk, New York. Its principal is Mr. Chris Borsari and its vice principals are Chris Walsh and Ken Cotrone. It is the only secondary school within the Byram Hills Central School District and serves students from the towns of North Castle, Bedford, Mount Pleasant, and New Castle. The school currently enrolls over 800 students in grades 9–12. The school operates on the semester system, with two quarters (referred to as marking periods) per semester. Byram Hills does not rank its graduating classes nor does it additionally weight the GPAs of its students. In addition, Byram Hills is a "closed campus", meaning students may not leave campus during the schoolday without proper notification.
Byram Hills consistently sends its graduates to top universities and Ivy League schools and has a high graduation rate. In addition, the school has renowned academic, performing arts, and athletic programs. Byram Hills also features myriad clubs and extracurricular activities for its students.
Students at Byram Hills are required to pursue a broad based curriculum, involving all areas of high school learning. During their four years, students are required to take four years of English, four years of social sciences, four years of mathematics, four years of physical education, three years of physical science, two years of foreign language, two years of visual or performing arts, one semester of health, one semester of economics, and one semester of mentor. In addition, students also have the option of taking many different elective classes which they can use towards their core requirements. Typically, a student will register for anywhere between 6–8 courses a semester.
To counter the heavy academic schedule, the school follows the "drop-day" cycle pattern. Each day, students "drop" one of their classes for that day's cycle (for example, if it is drop-day 1, then students skip their first period class), except for drop-day A, in which students must attend all of their classes (however, classes are then shortened to accommodate this). The drop-day schedule also guarantees each student to have at least one study (or "free") period every nine days. While freshmen cannot add additional free periods, upperclassmen may opt for more free periods if they choose to do so.
In addition to the core curriculum, Byram Hills also offers many Advanced Placement courses for those seeking college credit. The school currently offers 15 AP courses in all areas of study. In addition, the school offers various honors courses in mathematics and science. Moreover, Byram Hills also features several unique courses of study
Peer Leaders assist in teaching health to sophomores and upperclassmen. The role of the Peer Leader is very similar to that of a college-level teaching assistant in that Peer Leaders will often teach more than one class and work with the teacher to grade exams and teach lessons. Students completing their junior year are eligible to apply to become Peer Leaders for the following year. Peer leaders make a year-long commitment to abstain from drug and alcohol use.
Students entering their sophomore year have the option to involve themselves in Science Research, a three-year-long program founded by the late Dr. Robert Pavlica. In this program, students individually research a topic of their choosing and present their studies and research at the end of their senior year. Students also choose mentors (usually scientists, college professors, or professional researchers) to aide them in their process. In the fall of their senior year, students submit their findings and projects to enter the Intel Science Talent Search. Byram Hills consistently produces several students who go on to become Intel semi-finalists and usually about one or two who become finalists. Byram Hills has had 82 semi-finalists and 18 finalists. In 2004, Jayne Wolfson '04 placed 6th nationally for her study examining the cognitive behavior of toddlers using pretend play. In 2014, Byram Hills had eight Intel semi finalists, the most in Westchester County.
Perspectives in Literature
Offered exclusively to seniors, this two-period year-long course satisfies English, visual art, and history requirements. While not an official AP class, students who complete this class are generally prepared to take the AP English Literature exam. While the class does not administer any graded exams, grades are determined almost exclusively by portfolios which the students are required to compile at the end of every marking period, based upon the material studied and personal experiences of that quarter. Previously taught by Jock Montgomery (now retired), the course is run by Duane Smith.
Freshmen Mentoring is a one-semester program that all freshmen are required to take during their first semester. The program is a non-academic course led by a nine faculty members and nine highly selected pairs of seniors. The class is designed to introduce freshmen to the world high school and young adult decision making by integrating lessons about teen issues, study habits, drugs, peer pressure, and related topics. The lessons are taught through a variety of different media some of which might include: group discussions, films, games, and activities. Students completing their junior year are eligible to apply to become Senior Mentors for the following year and are chosen through a rigorous and competitive process.
Seniors are required to complete a six-week job-internship in lieu of taking classes at the end of their graduating year. During this time, students are often encouraged to seek positions in the fields they will most likely study in college, or take jobs in fields that interest them. Students are allowed to work wherever they choose, with many opting to work in nearby New York City. Students are also required to meet with an advisor once a week during the internship to track their progress. At the end of the internship, students prepare presentations to a committee to show what they have learned about their experience.
Byram Hills is truly a district that appreciates and supports its performing arts programs. At the High School, there are currently 6 curricular and 2 extra-curricular ensembles in which students participate. Concert Band, Symphonic Band and Wind Symphony are the band groups in which students are able to participate. Concert Orchestra and String Orchestra are the two string ensembles offered during the day. All vocalists may participate in Concert Choir as part of their high school curriculum. Additionally, the Band program and Choir program offer extra curricular jazz groups. These are both auditioned groups and require an extremely advanced degree of musicianship for entrance. All areas of the music department offer extra coaching for small ensembles desiring additional performance opportunities. The performing arts department also offers electives in Music Theory (for accomplished music students), Electronic Music (for anyone interested in the Music industry) and a Theatre Workshop (an experiential course for students of all levels wishing to improve skills in communication and public speaking)
Byram Hills features various athletic programs for its students. Almost 3/4 of the school participates in at least one sport during the school year. Students may participate in athletics in either the fall, winter, or spring. Students participate at either the freshmen, junior varsity, or varsity level, depending on the sport and student. The mascot of Byram Hills is the Bobcat and its colors are blue and red. The programs compete in Section 1, in Class A for some sports and Class B for others.
To better accommodate the needs of the student athletes, the school underwent massive changes in its athletic grounds beginning in 2004 and ending by the start of the 2006–2007 school year. Among them, they included renovating the tennis courts, moving the football field closer to the main school building, installing an all-purpose turf with a track, upgrading fan seating, creating new baseball and softball diamonds, physically expanding the school's weight and conditioning room, and renovating the school locker rooms.
Many Byram Hills students also participate in a variety of extracurricular groups and clubs, often more than one. There are currently 24 different clubs officially recognized by Byram Hills High School, although more come and go every year. Clubs range in all different activities and interests, engaging the interests of many different students.
Some of the clubs have gone on to achieve local and national fame. In 2006, the Academic Challenge club won the National Academic Championship. In 2003, Youth Against Cancer (YAC) successfully brought Relay For Life to Armonk where it has been an annual event since then. The Student Government at Byram Hills High School is known as the Parliament.
The current roster of clubs includes:
- Academic Challenge
- The Apocalypse Literary Magazine
- The Arch Yearbook
- Astronomy Club
- Autism Speaks
- Blue Crew
- Byram Hills Stage & Crew (produces 3 full-scale productions each year)
- Club Rwanda
- Debate Team
- Film Club
- Food Bank Club
- Game Club
- Gay/Straight Alliance
- Habitat For Humanity
- Harvard Model Congress
- Helping Young People Excel (HYPE)
- Interact Club
- Jazz Ensembles
- Math Team
- Mock Trial
- Model UN
- One Life Club
- The Oracle Student Newspaper
- Outdoor Club
- Peer Tutoring
- Red Ribbon Club
- Robotics Club
- Senior Game Club
- Students Advocating for Gender Equality (SAGE)
- Students Against Drunk Driving (SADD)
- Students Serving Soldiers Club
- Ultimate Frisbee Club
- Youth Against Cancer (YAC)
Parking and transportation
Because of its suburban setting, all students travel to school either by car or school bus. Students may only drive to school if issued a parking permit for that academic year. Parking permits are only issued to seniors. Juniors may drive only during the Senior Internship period and if issued a permit for the forthcoming school year. Sophomores (if any) may drive only during the final exam period.
Over the years, Byram Hills has graduated several students who have gone on to noted acclaim. Included among them are:
- Laura Branigan – Singer
- Eddie Cahill – Actor
- Peter Gallagher – Actor
- David Harbour – Actor
- Bryce Dallas Howard – Actress
- Chance Kelly – Actor
- Tom Kitt – Musician/Composer of Next to Normal
- Sean Maher – Actor
- Glen Meakem – Conservative radio show host
- Eyal Podell – Actor
- Carol Weston – Author
- Mark Weston – Author
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