Wonderful Wunderkinds

Meet the local residents who have conducted groundbreaking scientific research, performed in front of standing-ovation crowds, and brought home a slew of awards and trophies—all before their 19th birthdays.


(page 2 of 3)

➜ Elyse Blueglass, Morgan Blueglass, and Tyler Lipperman

Photo by M. Blueglass

Ages: 16, 16, and 17, respectively Town: Somers, Somers, and Yorktown Excel in: Science

CV: These three budding researchers noticed that, when a family has a child with special needs, often the majority of their focus is on that child—and they wanted to find out how this might impact the siblings of special-needs children. They devised a survey, sent it around—and were surprised to find it caught steam, leading to an overwhelming number of responses. The results of their research, titled “A Nationwide Study of Trends in the Attitude and Views of ‘Typically Developing’ Children That Have a Sibling with ‘Special Needs,’” brought home the top prize at the Westchester Science and Engineering Fair. They then presented their research at the Intel International Science and Engineering Fair and received the a third-place award in the team category.

How did you get started doing this science research? Elyse: Our dad is a science research teacher at a neighboring school, Yorktown, so we got into it through him.
Tyler: I actually got cut from honors classes my freshman year. I was a point away from getting in on my grade point average. I figured science research was voluntary and I could decide my success in the program, which was perfect for me. I could join it not by how I scored on my English essay, but on my character and how hard I wanted to work.

What’s been your biggest surprise so far? Elyse: We never expected our project to get this big—our survey went nationwide, and we got more than two hundred responses back. We presented at Westchester Science and Engineering Fair and won, so we got a spot in the International Science and Engineering Fair in San Jose, California, in May coming in third place.
Morgan: It’s really our biggest achievement. It blew us away when we won.

How do you become successful in the field of science research? Tyler: You really have to dedicate time. You’re going to have to give up some Friday and Saturday nights. And you have to have a passion for it. I know it sounds corny, but I think if you’re passionate about your research, it really comes across to the judges and helps you in the long run.

Luke Celenza

Age: 18 Town: Bedford Excels in: Jazz Piano

CV: Luke Celenza has been a jazz pianist for 12 years, studying both privately and as a student at the Manhattan School of Music’s pre-college program. In that time, the number of awards he’s received and ensembles he’s joined has been impressive: He’s won the Jazz Band Classic Director’s Award and the DownBeat Student Music Award, was a participant in the 2009 and 2010 Grammy Jazz Ensemble, and has attended the Berklee School of Music Summer Performance Program, the Stanford Jazz Residency, the Jazz in July Piano Master Class, and the Dave Brubeck Summer Jazz Colony.

How did you get started playing the piano? I started around age four because we had an electric one in the house. My dad played drums, and my brother played guitar, so I had to do something. My parents decided to get me formal lessons when I turned five.

What should people know about jazz? Jazz is a language. Think of each song as if it’s a discussion topic and then listen to what the musicians have to say about it. Listen for the snare drum and the pianist’s left hand to be talking to each other. Listen for the ride cymbal and the bass player to be locked in to each other. Listen for solo development and consider each improvisation as a speech about the topic with some comments from the other players. It’s really cool to listen in on a conversation and it will be evident that the more you do, the more you will find is going on between the musicians.

What’s the most memorable thing that has happened in your jazz career? There are too many great moments. You’ll just have to experience some for yourself. If you can’t wait, I’d say go buy some records and start listening to the pros. I’d start with Cool Struttin’ by Sonny Clark.

Jeremy Jordan-Jones, aka “Triple J,” in The Band Eclypse

Photo by Charles Clay

Age: 18 Town: Scarsdale Excels in: Hip-hop

CV: The Band Eclypse, an eight-piece ensemble made up of best friends from Scarsdale and Yonkers, has picked up some local steam because of the band’s gigs at places such as the Thirsty Turtle, Don Hill’s in New York City, and Westchester County’s Battle of the Bands. But these guys have their eyes on bigger stages, earning an invitation to play Connecticut’s B.O.M.B. Fest 2010 with Lupe Fiasco, 30 Seconds to Mars, and Of Montreal, and making it to the finals to win a spot at the Bamboozle festival with Paramore and MGMT. No doubt, though, their biggest moment in the spotlight is when two of the band’s members, including Jeremy Jordon-Jones (who we got to speak for the band; pictured third from left in Eclypse photo on page 95), were featured at the famous Apollo Amateur Night—and won.

How would you describe your style? It’s hip-hop influenced by pop-rock.

Tell us about playing Amateur Night at the Apollo Theater. After waiting on line for eight hours, Daniel Lonner (aka L.E.D.) and I auditioned at amateur night, thinking we had no chance of getting it. We auditioned for thirty seconds and were then told we were playing amateur night. We didn’t know how seriously people would take us—two rappers from Scarsdale. At first, everyone was booing, but at the end we got a standing ovation. When we were announced winners, we jumped up and down like schoolgirls. It was amazing.

Who is your idol? I would have to say Notorious B.I.G. as far as rap, but we’re into Sublime and The Roots. A lot of times we’re told we have a Roots or Black-Eyed Peas feel.

Who’s helped you the most? Definitely our parents—the fact they’ve been able to tolerate and fund everything we do.




What To Read Next

Edit ModuleShow Tags
Edit Module