Hyde Juniors Win First Place at City-Wide American Debate Tournament

On Saturday, April 24th, Fatoumata Cisse and Adama Bah, two 11th graders at Hyde, won first place at the American Debate League 2021 Spring Classic Tournament! Fatoumata and Adama teamed up to debate if the benefits of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) outweigh the harms. Adama describes the IMF as being “a financial support team for any countries that need money.” They argued primarily for the cons of the IMF, citing that their main points aimed to expose the apparent corruption and ulterior agendas of the institution. They competed against ten other schools, including Riverdale Country School and Garden City High School, and took their arguments all the way to gold.
Upon being asked what the most exciting moment of the tournament was, Fatoumata notes, “When you’re in the debate and you realize the other team messed up and you know we can really jump on them in this argument, we can really beat them right now, that’s the most exciting part.” Adama echoes Fatoumata by adding, “It’s so exciting when, on the spot, you find a different way to attack the other team’s argument.” When reflecting on their biggest supporters, Fatoumata shouts out her father who helped them find strong pieces of evidence for their arguments. Additionally, Adama attributes much of her passion for debate to Mr. Fusco, Hyde’s debate team leader, and Ms. Hunsinger, who developed Hyde’s debate team. Fatoumata and Adama also attribute their accomplishments to their teamwork and friendship, “I think the main reason for our success at the tournament was because the both of us really get along together,” Fatoumata points out. “I got my best friend, Fatou to compete with!” exclaims Adama.
When considering potential career paths, Fatoumata describes, “Most of the career paths I want to go towards have to do with public speaking, and debate is a really good tool for that.” Adama reflects on her goals by adding, “I was always interested in law. I think I’d want to do criminal law and be a prosecutor… If I become a prosecutor I could have the power to change the system, and then hopefully over time I’ll become a senator or a mayor.” We can’t wait to see what these two first place debaters will do to change the world with their skills in public speaking, research, and argumentation.

Second Graders Practice their Financial Literacy with Ally Bank

On Friday, April 16th, our second grade students attended an exciting introductory lesson on finances which was hosted by Ms. Dana Sanker, the Chief Financial Officer at Ally Financial. Through this presentation, our students learned about the importance of beginning a savings account, collecting interest, and being able to differentiate between wants and needs. Ms. Sanker taught students about these concepts through a virtual picture book as well as an engaging game of jeopardy.

Ms. Sanker shared her screen to read aloud from a picture book titled Adventures with Money: Emma and the Cosmophone. This book shared the story of a young girl named Emma who learns about hard work, starting a bank account, earning interest, and spending her money wisely in order to eventually afford a “Cosmophone”. After reading the story, students were divided into two different groups for a game of jeopardy which included questions about important topics from the book. Our students were eager to answer questions about the story in order to put their knowledge to the test. Some of the questions were “What helped Emma decide to start working and save money?”, “What is the difference between a need and a want?”, and “What is interest?”

Mrs. Shirley-Clarke, a Hyde elementary teacher who facilitated this event, reflected on the valuable lessons our students learned when stating, “Events like these are super important to our scholars’ growth. It is not just building wise minds, but character…. Scholars got a chance to understand that being financially aware can start at a young age.” Ms. Sanker’s storybook and interactive game encouraged our students to listen to, learn about, and engage with important financial topics. Events like these help to teach our students necessary life skills from a young age which they can hone as they grow. Special thanks to Ms. Dana Sanker from Ally Financial for showing us that students of all ages can begin to practice financial literacy in unique and playful ways!

Hyde’s Elementary Students Celebrate Earth Day


Happy Earth Day! To celebrate our planet, Hyde’s elementary students enjoyed this week’s sunny weather and planted seeds outside during recess. Through this activity, students learned more about the importance of Earth’s natural processes and resources. By carefully potting their seeds, nourishing them with water, and personalizing their plant’s cups with hand-drawn decorations, students were able to foster a more personal connection with nature. One of our 3rd graders, Denisse Urbina Diaz, expressed excitement about her seeds when saying, “I’m having fun because now I get a flower friend!… I’ll name it Flowie!” Another student, Leysha Suarez, explained that Earth Day is a day for us to “make a team so that everyone can gather up and help the Earth.” By taking the time out of their weeks to plant seeds, our elementary schoolers were able to learn more about Earth Day, honor our planet, make new “flower friends”, and reflect on the ways that we can all team up to better our environment.

Middle School Parent Discovery Night Spotlight

On Tuesday, April 13th, Hyde’s parents/guardians joined K-12 faculty members for a virtual Parent Discovery Night filled with exploration of personal identity and discussions of the pandemic’s effects on daily life. Below is a glimpse into the way our middle school partnered with parents/ guardians during the event.

Led by our Director of Home and School Partnerships, Ms. Yvonnia Wise, the night began with introductions and opening remarks which congratulated both faculty and parents for their hard work and outstanding dedication to Hyde’s students throughout this challenging school year. Ms. Wise then facilitated a full group activity titled “Look at Me Now!” during which parents and faculty members were instructed to draw a self-portrait that reflected aspects of their identities that they are proud of as well as goals that they have for the future. This exercise served to highlight the mission of the night which was to designate time for both parents and faculty to focus on themselves in a safe and inviting environment.

After drawing their self-portraits, parents and faculty members split into small breakout rooms where teachers facilitated open and honest seminar discussions about how the pandemic has affected them. By asking self-reflective questions about how COVID-19 has changed their lives, teachers and parents were able to learn more about each other, connect with one another, and share their triumphs as well as their struggles. After these conversations, the faculty members in each breakout room facilitated short games in their small groups. Together, parents and teachers played games like Two Truths and a Lie, Would You Rather, and Zoom scavenger hunts. Upon reflecting on the event’s successes, one parent described, “Preparation and presentation were what made playing the games so enjoyable, fun and relaxing.”

By taking the time out of their busy schedules to have some fun and self-reflect, Hyde’s parents and faculty members were able to connect and bond with one another in an open and engaging environment. One of our participating parents explained that they “feel such a stronger connection to the community of Hyde parents” after the night’s events. This positive feedback shows that events like Parent Discovery Night uphold Hyde’s mission to always provide a safe space for self-exploration, not only for our students but also for their parents and guardians who are crucial members of our community.