New school year brings new staff and old problems for PMHS

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The Pelham Memorial High School academic year started up again, and with it came significant changes. The school added staff, courses and looks to continue its ongoing battle against student use of e-cigarettes.

Dr. Llesh Miraj replaced John LaGreca as computer science teacher. LaGreca left Pelham following the 2017-18 school year. Garrett Johnson, a graduate of PMHS, is the new special education and biology teacher. Kelly-Ann Longeran is the new student assistance counselor. She replaced Kristin Quintano, who is the new school social worker.

“We are always looking to expand choices for students,” said Principal Jeannine Clark. In line with this mission, several new courses have been added this year. There is a new academic writing course sponsored by Syracuse University. A semester-long public speaking course has been replaced by a full-year class, also sponsored by Syracuse. History teacher James Ferreri is teaching a new Syracuse-sponsored, year-long criminal justice course. 

The use of e-cigarettes, particularly those made by Juul, have posed a significant problem for the administration.“Cigarettes used to be a major problem and it almost disappeared entirely, but now (Juuling) is back and unfortunately it is even more harmful,” said Clark. The school will continue to combat Juuling by punishing with suspension anyone caught using the e-cigarettes on school grounds.

Clark said she expects students to be as focused as they have been in the past, teachers to be just as prepared and to continue the relationship with the community that the school has always had.

“We are lucky in education because every September it’s exciting,” she said. “It’s like having a new job every year.”