Heard Around the Watercooler

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p.9 Watercooler-jacksbookTarrytown resident and multiple Tony Award winner Jack Viertel has just published The Secret Life of the American Musical which hit book stores in March. The Farrar Straus and Giroux text takes musicals apart, puts them back together, sings their praises, marvels at their unflagging inventiveness, and occasionally despairs over their more embarrassing shortcomings, all the while chronicling the ever-changing life of Broadway. Viertel, who has been a Broadway producer for the last three decades, has been involved in musicals that include The Producers, Hairspray, Smokey Joe’s Café and The Book of Mormon; but his book harkens back to the pre-Oklahoma! days and progresses all the way through this year’s likely Tony winner Hamilton. The author will be appearing at the Arc Theatre in Pleasantville in an event co-sponsored by The Village Bookstore on May 6.

On March 9, Parks & Trails New York (PTNY) joined with the New York State Office of Parks, Preservation and Historic Preservation (OPRHP) and Governor Cuomo to announce the first round of NYS Park and Trail Partnership Program grant awardees. At a press event hosted by the Friends of the Old Croton Aqueduct at the park’s newly renovated Keeper’s House, 20 Friends organizations were announced as recipients of $450,000 in Park and Trail Partnership Program grants. The grants, funded through the Environmental Protection Fund and administered by PTNY in partnership with OPRHP, will be matched by nearly $242,000 in private and local funding. These grants will support projects to strengthen Friends groups and enhance public access and recreational opportunities at state parks and historic sites across New York. To learn more about the grant recipients and projects supported, please visit: https://www.governor.ny.gov/news/governor-cuomo-announces-450000-grants-grassroots-organizations-enhance-state-parks-and

Irvington High School seniors Zachary Gallin and Sweta Narayan have been named finalists in the National Merit Scholarship Program. They are among 15,000 students nationwide who remain in the competition for 7,400 prestigious scholarships worth more than $32 million. Gallin and Narayan advanced to the finals after submitting a scholarship application, demonstrating an outstanding academic record, writing an essay and earning SAT scores that confirmed their high performance on the qualifying Preliminary SAT/National Merit Scholarship Qualifying Test. They also needed to earn a recommendation from a high school official. Besides academics, Gallin and Narayan are involved in various aspects of the school. Gallin is a member of the boys’ track team and the recipient of a prestigious scholarship award, given as part of the Experiment in International Living Leadership. He was also awarded an Innovation Fund grant this year to develop the Westchester Youth Gender Equality Conference, which will be held at Irvington High School on April 10. Narayan is a member of the science research and music performance programs at the high school.

Sleepy Hollow resident Joshua L. Pearson has been honored for his work as film editor of the highly acclaimed documentary What Happened Miss Simone? (about legendary American singer and civil rights activist Nina Simone); the film was nominated for a 2016 Academy Award for Best Documentary (as well as a Grammy Award for Best Music Film). Pearson’s previous film editing credits include “Whitey: United States of America v. James J. Bulger” (2014) and “Rent: Filmed Live on Broadway” (2008).

Irvington Middle School students in Deanna Tessler’s French class made a donation of $500 to the Niger School Fund, which was established through the Fund for African Relief and Education. “Our students were excited to raise money for this wonderful initiative to purchase French-language books for schools in Niger and Senegal,” said Tessler, who also advises the French Club. “ We are grateful to Isabel Dillener of RTI International in the Department of Education in Dakar and her family here in Irvington for letting us know about the tremendous need for French-language books and maps.”

Please send submissions about distinctions, honors, and awards given to local community members, students, and organizations to: thewatercooler@thehudsonindependent.com

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