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Irvington Middle School Students a Step Ahead


Irvington Middle School students

Thanks to the generosity of the Irvington Middle School community, members of the Spanish Club donated more than 1,119 pairs of shoes to Soles4Souls, a charity that distributes new and used shoes to people in need. Club members, who organized toy drives in previous years, said they were inspired to do something differently this year after watching a video in their Spanish classes about the different lengthy and often dangerous routes that children around the world take to school.

“There are extreme ways – walking through glaciers or up mountains for six hours – and we noticed a lot of people didn’t have shoes,” eighth grader Emmaline Lebuhn said. “We chose shoes [for our drive] because it was different from things we’ve done. The shoes are shipped out all over the world to people who need them so it’s helping people globally.”

“I hope we can make a difference, giving a lot of shoes to those in need who have to walk to school with no shoes or do job interviews without shoes,” eighth grader Hanna Reish said.

“They have to walk barefoot across sand, snow, stone. Just walking across the pavement without shoes hurts your feet. I can’t imagine what pain they go through.”

Irvington High Sophomore Wins MIT’s 2020 THINK competition

Brooke Dunefsky
Brooke Dunefsky

Brooke Dunefsky, an Irvington High School sophomore and a budding scientist, won the Massachusetts Institute of Technology’s 2020 THINK competition for her paper and project, “A Self-Adapting Device that Utilizes Neuroplasticity for Rehabilitation of Stroke Victims.”

As one of six national winners, Dunefsky will receive a scholarship to fund the development of her device. According to the MIT website, the program is a science, research and innovation competition for motivated high school students who wish to implement new ideas and make a significant contribution to science and technology.

Dunefsky, who likes to find creative solutions to real-world problems, said her project involved creating a new device for upper limb stroke rehabilitation that is easy to use and provides feedback on the patient’s progress. Using 3D printing at a research lab over the summer, she created and tested an ergonomic handle and apparatus that trains stroke patients in performing supination and pronation.

“This affordable device, paired with videogame systems to keep patients engaged, will hopefully significantly speed up recovery time for stroke victims,” she said. “The goal of my project is to enhance the device in several key ways. First, I intend to embed sensors in the handle that will detect the patient’s range of motion while using the device. This will then prompt a microcontroller guided by an algorithm to adjust the resistance the device creates. Resistance will be created by a motor pushing against the base of the handle, and the amount of resistance applied will depend upon the patient’s previous performance. The device, which can be brought home by the patient, will then send feedback to the patient’s physician who can remotely track the progress over time.”

As a finalist in the competition, Dunefsky was invited to a four-day, all-expenses-paid trip to MIT’s campus from Feb. 2-6. She presented her research, toured labs and met with professors to receive guidance on her project. Upon completion of her project in June, Dunefsky will be awarded up to a $1,000 scholarship to fund her device.

Hackley Students Standout in Debate

Hackley U.S. Debate had an outstanding showing at the University of Pennsylvania’s 45th annual Liberty Bell Classic.

Three two-person teams reached elimination rounds at the prestigious national circuit tournament, with junior Ben Kirsch and sophomore Zach Yusaf reaching Varsity quarterfinals in a highly competitive field of 154 teams from all over the country.

In speaker point rankings, Zach was 12th out of 308 competitors, and freshman talent Zara Yusaf came in at 19th debating Varsity with sophomore Michael Lee. Kevin Kim and Aidan Aybar enjoyed a great run into double-octofinals, in the novice division.

Masters School Students Fundraising

A group of sixth graders at The Masters School has found a way to use memes for good by creating Time for Memes, a publication that celebrates and analyzes the internet cultural phenomena.

The group, consisting of Jimmy Fabian, Alex Kritzer, Jackson Schuchard, John Thorn and Milo Wallach, has created two editions of the magazine this year. They sell copies of Time for Memes for $1 each, and proceeds go to charity.

Kritzer explained that the concept grew out of a simple idea: to parody the news magazine TIME. To enact this creative idea, “We started a Google doc, and Time for Memes was born,” he said. Once the idea went from a Google doc to hard copy, it took on a new life as a vehicle to support worthy causes.

The first edition in December raised $71 for Team Trees, which aims to fight deforestation by planting 20 million trees. The second edition raised $86 for St. Jude’s Children’s Research Hospital, a pediatric treatment and research facility that focuses primarily on childhood cancer.

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