Not everyone can say that they have been part of a community for three generations.
My family has though. My parents moved to Briarcliff and raised me and my brother and sister here. My siblings and I attended Briarcliff schools all the way through Briarcliff High School. My father Carmino Ravosa was a composer and songwriter. The elementary school delighted in producing his musicals and including his songs in their holiday concerts.
One of my father’s heroes was Walter William Law, the founder of our village, and as Law said, “Only the best is good enough for Briarcliff”, which my father later put to music. That song was incorporated into the village’s 2002 centennial celebration titled Briarcliff Manor: The First 100 Years–The Centennial Variety Show. My father was the show’s musical director and composer. It was a massive collaboration of the residents and was a wonderful production. Check it out on YouTube at tiny.cc/briarcliffcentennial.
Because of my connection to the people of Briarcliff, and because I wanted my children to be close to my parents, my husband Arnold Feist and I bought a house in Briarcliff and our children, Nathan, Elissa and Michael, attended Briarcliff public schools. The schools provided an excellent education and they each attended the college of their choice.
My family has found Briarcliff to be a caring community–helping each other during difficult times and sharing many wonderful memories. In return, we have done all we can to contribute to the village and give back to the community through volunteering for the Briarcliff Manor Scarborough Historical Society, Boy Scout Troop 18 and the local Girl Scout troop.
Our involvement with the high school’s exemplary three-year science research program while our sons were in the program not only helped shape their college plans, but as a result, my career trajectory pivoted to science research.
I now work in the Medical Student Research Department at the Albert Einstein College of Medicine. I am also a fundraiser and judge for the Westchester Science and Engineering Fair (WESEF). The Briarcliff High School science research program faculty helped inspire me to participate in WESEF and I find the role so rewarding.
Giving Back to the Community: A Family Affair
Our children have always felt a sense of pride in being part of the community. My father was a board member at the Briarcliff Manor Scarborough Historical Society (BMSHS). Carrying on this tradition has been a family affair–in addition to my husband and I taking leadership roles with BMSHS, our sons have been active too. During an internship, Michael wrote and published a book, titled Briarcliff Manor/Then and Now contrasting photos taken over the past century with photos taken in the present. In addition, he became a BMSHS trustee and his work on local history resulted in an award from the Westchester County Historical Society. Our son Nathan has also been an active BMSHS member including a stint as secretary of the board at monthly meetings.
Michael also wrote numerous articles, published on Wikipedia, regarding Briarcliff Manor, including the village’s history, Walter Law–the village founder, The Briarcliff Lodge, Scarborough, Beechwood Hall, Sleepy Hollow Country Club (which is actually in Briarcliff), Briarcliff Farms, the Briarcliff Fire Department, the library and the school district. (Check out the Wikipedia articles! Great reading and photography, although I may be slightly biased.)
I have magnificent memories of being a scout here myself and sharing special scouting events with our daughter Elissa. My mother, Claire, and I were both girl scout leaders. Both sons were scouts in Briarcliff Troop 18 and some of our best memories were my years as an assistant scout leader camping with the troop.
The Perks of Living Here
What I’ve shared with you so far is a slice of what our family personally has been thankful for in our village–the excellent educational system, the opportunities for our children in sports and the arts, and the many options for interesting courses available in the school district for students who want to be challenged. We are also blessed with a wonderful park/swimming pool complex, a beautiful library and community center which offers unique programs for town residents. We are especially thankful for the caring and competent police, fire, and ambulance crews who are there in a heartbeat whenever we need assistance. My family is so grateful to be living in this small, but very special village along the banks of the majestic Hudson and I feel fortunate that my parents put down roots here.