Flash Features: news from around the school

First Senior Sunrise kicks off school year for Class of 2017

On September 7, at 6:40 a.m., students gathered on the turf to watch the sunrise in the overcast morning. Around 100 members from the Class of 2017 and a few staff members were present for this event called Senior Sunrise, a newly founded tradition to celebrate the start of senior year. There were light refreshments and, at the end, students assembled for a group photo to commemorate the occasion before heading back to the high school for their last year.

Organized by PHS Guidance Counselor Nipurna Shah and College Advisor Patti Lieberman, with the help of the Parent Teacher Organization (PTO) and Senior Student Council, the idea stems from a similar event at Montgomery High School.
“It came together quickly. We just started talking about this two weeks ago, and it really all came together,” Shah said. “It’s such a symbolic way to start the new year.”

Staff members spread news of the event by email and word of mouth, and senior StuCo members contacted students via social media.

In general, students enjoyed the opportunity to congregate with classmates in the morning.
“I thought it was a creative idea … It’s nice to have an impact on our school, you know, a lasting impact,” said Hannah Davies ’17. “I particularly liked meeting my friends early in the morning and then talking about how excited we were for getting to school and everything we’d done during the summer.”

The Senior Sunrise will be complemented by a Senior Sunset, when the seniors will gather as a class to symbolically end their high school careers.

Princeton Human Services Department hosts Annual Book Bag and School Supplies Drive

This August, Princeton Human Services Department hosted its Annual Book Bag and School Supplies Drive. Backpacks and other common school supplies were distributed to nearly 100 low-income students entering kindergarten through sixth grade. Supplies included backpacks, as well as binders, book covers, markers, pencil cases, and scissors.
The program represented a collective effort of community members, including the Princeton Human Services Commission, the Princeton Police Department, municipal employees, and individual donors. Local businesses donors including Alex and Ani, Otsuka Pharmaceuticals, the Police Benevolent Association, and Stone Hill Church also made contributions. In order to qualify for the program, students must attend a school in the Princeton School District for the 2016–2017 school year. Students who have already received school supplies from another organization did not participate in this drive.
Summer Youth Employment program staff members, such as PHS students Luis Estrada ’17 and Leah Williamson ’18, actively volunteered at the supplies distribution.
“I originally starting working in Princeton Human Services during the summer of 2015–2016, and my boss hired me … to a program called Summer Youth Employment Program,” Williamson said. “From my involvement with that program, I was able to be part of the supplies drive.”
Duties include filing paperwork, organizing data into spreadsheets, and confirming the receipt of supplies.
Throughout late August, dates for distribution were established based on the student’s grade level. If parents were not available to pick up the items on that date, then they set up a separate appointment to receive their supplies. This year, the turnout was less than expected.
“There were less kids than there usually was this year,” Williamson said. “But we had a lot of donors come in so we definitely had a lot of extra supplies to give to other kids that may have needed them.” The school supplies drive occurs annually, and this year was the seventh consecutive drive.

Flooding in the PAC leaves destruction to repair

On July 30, the Princeton High School orchestra pit and boiler room area were flooded following heavy storms. This is the third time such an incident has occurred, with Hurricane Bill and Hurricane Irene previously causing similar damage. The PHS tech crew is currently in the process of cleaning the theater floor.
“Water came in through the loading dock door and seeped under the stage … It also rose in the pit, but there were pumps that quickly got rid of it,” said PAC Technical Director Jeffrey Van Veslor. Although a private restoration company arrived to begin the clean up process, there is still damage in the orchestra pit and underneath the floor.
“Damage was minimal in the pit, where the majority of the water was … [The building and grounds crew] just had to replace some of the sheetrock, but none of the electronics were damaged at all,” Van Velsor said.
The flooding had become an issue due to a design flaw in the drainage system. The stormwater pipes underneath Walnut Street protect the high school in the event of flooding. However, unusually heavy rainfall caused the shallow drain system to overflow and water eventually reached the stairs to the PAC and the boiler room area.
The wooden paneling near the stage as well as the stage floor itself will have to be replaced as well.
“The flooding got underneath [the floor], and when the water dried it started to bubble up,” Van Veslor said.
Superintendent Stephen Cochrane announced that school staff are working with township officials to redesign the drainage system and retention basin, making them deeper and better able to accommodate flooding.

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