Welcome! I am Michael Tedesco. I joined the Westchester family eight years ago, after working as a College Guidance Counselor at New Rochelle High School. It is my privilege to serve as the Director of College Guidance here at WHHS. Westchester students have a major advantage---they are part of a learning environment which provides tailored programming based upon their academic needs and professional goals, and its size provides unlimited opportunities for co-curricular and athletic participation and leadership. Our EDGE Program means that students have already explored their interests and passions, culminating in a Project that can be emphasized on their college applications. These, together with a rigorous Judaic Studies and Secular course load, have a marked impact on their college admissions.
Guidance at Westchester is a four year program of support and growth that begins in 9th grade and changes according to a student’s needs up to graduation. I meet with freshman and encourage them to challenge themselves from the start and to explore new areas of growth, helping them to consider their academic and professional futures.
9th and 10th graders meet in small groups and on a one-to-one basis as needed. Tenth and eleventh graders are given presentations on PSAT/SAT/ACT exams and their significance to the college process. Students are instructed to aim for the best and be the best, play a sport, organize a club, plan a chessed project and more.
11th grade is pre-college preparation. Meetings are held to explore careers and a college that is “the right fit”. Parents are invited to participate in the process, so that everyone is on the same page throughout, lessening the stress and anxiety students may feel as they embark on this major stage of their lives.
12th grade is all about continued education after graduation, whether it is a year at a yeshiva in Israel or a university anywhere in the United States. Applications are completed, recommendations are sought, college visits are made, and where appropriate, financial aid forms are filed. Once admitted to a yeshiva and a college, seniors are prepared for final and/or AP exams, and in May, victory is achieved. Graduation takes place and readiness is achieved in the process of becoming good, caring, “on the ball”, young women and men who will someday take their place as leaders in our complex 21st century world.
Throughout the year, visits from college admissions representatives are scheduled. The same is done with representatives from various Israel yeshivot and seminaries; they give presentations and conduct interviews right here on campus. I run a formal College Night program for all students and parents, where representatives come to discuss their schools and are available for questions. I intentionally select a diverse group of colleges to serve the varied needs of our student population. These include the Ivy League and top tier universities, colleges specializing in the fine arts, programs offering academic support, SUNY and CUNY schools, as well other state universities outside of New York State, always cognizant of the fact that our families are searching for placement that will be an easy transition for observant Jewish students. I also conduct a financial aid seminar to help families plan ahead for the cost of attending colleges and universities and an understanding the FAFSA need-based award system is reviewed.
I wholeheartedly endorse WHHS as a school where learning is achieved, life-long friendships are created, and “mensches’” are made. I look forward to working with all of you in the coming years.