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Monday, March 2, 2015 at 4:20 pm

GCC president joins peers in calling for lawmakers to create SUNY investment fund

post by Billie Owens in education, GCC

Press release:

Leaders from State University of New York (SUNY) campuses in the Finger Lakes region today called on local elected officials to continue supporting public higher education by creating a new investment fund and extending NYSUNY 2020, including the successful rational tuition policy, in the 2015-16 New York State Budget.

At Monroe Community College today, five SUNY presidents, including Genesee Community College President James Sunser, Ed.D., were joined by students and faculty members to present a unified voice advocating for all 64 SUNY colleges and universities.

The key component of SUNY’s budget request is an investment fund that will enable SUNY to graduate 150,000 students annually by 2020 through the system-wide scale up of evidence-based programs known to support student success, including Finish in Four completion promises, applied learning, Educational Opportunity Programs (EOP), and expanded advisement services.

“Community colleges have become key economic drivers within our local communities,” Sunser said. “The academic programs and workforce training we offer brings competitive salaries and wages to our graduates, and increased productivity and profitability to our business community.

"Community colleges produce a very positive net economic return to our communities, and without question, increased New York state investment in our 30 community colleges goes hand in hand with economic growth.”

SUNY continues to be a huge economic driver for the state, serving 3 million New Yorkers every year — including students, faculty, staff, and others — and an economic powerhouse that generates $21 billion annually for New York.

Since NYSUNY 2020 was first enacted, SUNY campuses have used additional revenue generated by rational tuition to grow and expand student services, including the hiring of 520 instructional staff, 270 of whom are full-time faculty, and the implementation of 100 new degree programs reflecting high-demand areas in New York’s workforce.

Saturday, February 28, 2015 at 1:11 pm

Joe Scanlan plans to retire from Notre Dame at end of the school year

post by Howard B. Owens in batavia, education, Le Roy, Notre Dame, schools

Dr. Joe Scanlan, a man with the steady, gentle temperament of a parish priest, is stepping away from a job he loves in a few months.

Appropriately enough, for the past 11 years, Scanlan has been principal of Notre Dame High School, the private Catholic school on Union Street in Batavia.

"It takes a lot of energy to do this job," Scanlan said. "I pretty much do everything here except business. And you wouldn't want me to be the business manager. Tommy Rapone does a nice job. In addition to being principal, you're talking admissions, recruitment, pubic relations, newsletter and all the rest of the stuff. It's time to give somebody else a chance."

Scanlan's tenure at Notre Dame caps a 47-year career in education, which includes 15 at Byron-Bergen as a history teacher, assistant principal and principal, and 11 years as principal at York Central School.

Scanlan has found it particularly rewarding to shepherd area teens through their preparatory education at his own alma mater.

"I love it here, especially the kids," Scanlan said. "It's a great group of kids here. There's great kids in every school, so it's not just Notre Dame, but the students here are special group. They're pretty gritty. They're competitive, but they're respectful."

There are 170 students in grades 9-12 at Notre Dame. When the seniors graduate this spring, it will be Scanlan's final graduation with the school, it will also be the 50th anniversary year of his own class's graduation.

It's tradition for classes to be invited back for the graduation ceremony on their 50th anniversary, so Scanlan is hoping he'll see a lot of his former classmates.

Scanlan said the school board already has a number of qualified candidates who have expressed interest in the job.

There is also a $5 million capital campaign under way at the school, so the next principal will have plenty to do from the first day on the job.

As for Scanlan's own plans he says, "right now the plan is to have no plan."

He has a son and granddaughter living in Cleveland and more time to travel will mean more time with his family.

He plans to continue living in Le Roy.

Friday, February 27, 2015 at 1:02 pm

Ninth-grader with BHS attending National Young Leaders Conference

post by Howard B. Owens in batavia, Batavia HS, education, schools

Press release:

Jay Lewis might be only 14 years old but he is full of ambition and has many aspirations. Jay, a ninth-grader who attends Batavia High School, was recently selected to attend the National Young Leaders State Conference. This conference will take place in Boston in April.

During this four-day conference, Jay will come together with students from schools located all throughout the Northeastern United States. These students will focus on a curriculum that is specially designed to develop essential leadership, communication, networking, decision-making, conflict resolution and critical thinking skills.

“I’m looking forward to meeting new people and I hope to learn how work with people in order to become a better leader. These are skills that you need throughout your whole life,” Jay explained.

Eric R. Knapp, an eighth-grade school counselor at Batavia Middle School, nominated Jay.

“Jay is a young person with exceptional character and values,” Knapp said. "During his years at the Middle School he was polite, respectful and was a fantastic role model for other students. He had a quiet demeanor about him yet, according to his teachers, in the classroom, he showed great enthusiasm for education and consistently showed outstanding effort. In addition to his exceptional character and leadership potential, his overall average his eighth-grade year was 96.296 percent."

As a freshman, Jay has earned 11 college credits through the Genesee Community College Math Science Preparation Program. He plans to attend college to earn a degree as an electrical or mechanical engineer and hopes to someday own his own business. Jay has many interests in and outside of school. He serves on the Genesee County Youth Court. He’s a member of the Ski Club, Batavia Middle School Modified Tennis Team, is an avid fisherman and hunter and a Greenwing Member of Ducks Unlimited.

Jay lives in Batavia with his parents, Jennifer and Jim Lewis.

Thursday, February 26, 2015 at 5:28 pm

Hawley encourages participation in business plan competition

post by Howard B. Owens in business, education, steve hawley

Press release:

Assemblyman Steve Hawley (R,C,I-Batavia) today encouraged college students to participate in New York’s annual business plan competition. Hawley praised the competition for allowing bright students across the state to present new ideas consistent with New York’s focus on nanotechnology, entrepreneurship and advanced technology. More than 600 students are expected to participate and compete for a top cash prize of $100,000.  

“As the owner and operator of a small business, I know the hard work and ingenuity it takes to succeed as a business owner in New York,” Hawley said. “This competition highlights principles that make our state great – determined and visionary entrepreneurs and businesspeople. I am thrilled that we are allowing the next generation of business- and technology-minded students to fulfill their passions right here in New York State and generate ideas that will allow our economy to grow and thrive. I encourage all college students interested in this competition to participate.”

The competition’s regional semifinals, held at St. John Fisher College in Rochester for students from Hawley’s district, will be held in March and early April with the finals being held on April 24 at SUNY Polytechnic Institute. Since the first competition in 2010, more than 1,130 students have competed with cash prizes being awarded in excess of $1,300,000. More information about the competition can be found at http://www.sunycnse.com/NewYorkBusinessPlanCompetition/2015Program.aspx.

Tuesday, February 24, 2015 at 5:24 pm

Pictures: Community art displays from Jackson School students

post by Howard B. Owens in batavia, education, Jackson School, schools

Ella, Mrs. Shuknecht’s First Grade
My Snowman
My snowman’s name is Krystal. She is fancy and happy.  She likes to wear bows and a hat. Her favorite food is ice cream cake. When it is cold outside she likes to have snowball fights and go snowboarding. 

Parris, Mrs. Bigsby’s First Grade
My Grandma’s House
I went to my grandma’s house. It was a special place. First, I ate dinner with my grandpa and grandma. It was good. I had turkey and mashed potatoes with them. Next, I played at the park with my friend, Emma. We played on the monkey bars. Last, I went to feed the ducks. I fed them bread.  I had a great time at my grandma’s. I hope I can visit them again soon. 

Martha, Mrs. Bigsby’s First Grade
My Papa’s House
I went to my papa’s house and it was a special place. First, I ate dinner with my papa and my grandma. It was delicious. Next, we watched the Croods. It was a funny movie. Last, they took me to the park. I went on the swings. I had fun at the park. I had a great time at my papa’s house. I hope I can visit him again soon. 

Jay’lee, Mrs. Mattice’s Kindergarten
Penguins
Penguins can swim. 
Penguins have blubber. 
They have claws. 
They have beaks. 

Trey, Mrs. Wolff’s Kindergarten
Seasons
My favorite season is summer because I play baseball with my brother, mom and my dad.

Brandon, Mrs. Colvin’s First Grade
How to Build a Snowman
To make a snowman I would first roll three snowballs. One big, one medium and one small. Then, I would stack them. The biggest on the bottom, then the medium and finally the smallest on the top.  I would decorate. My arms would be sticks. My nose would be a carrot. My eyes would be coal.  My mouth would be rocks. I would do a scarf with a zigzag design. I would name my snowman Snowy and give him a hug. 

More after the jump:

Thursday, February 19, 2015 at 1:40 pm

GC Mental Health Association offers two scholarships, deadline to apply is April 1

post by Billie Owens in announcements, education, mental health

The Mental Health Association in Genesee County awards two scholarships annually to deserving students who are pursuing their education at an institution of higher learning in the fields of human or social services.

The mission of the MHA is to meet the needs of the community by promoting mental wellness through education, advocacy and support, thereby improving the quality of life and instilling hope.

The two scholarships to be presented at the MHA’s annual meeting in May are:

  • Constance E. Miller Scholarship Award in the amount of $2,000 (She founded the MHA in Genesee County in 1993.)
  • MHA Board of Directors Scholarship Award in the amount of $500.

Applicants must have their primary residence in Genesee County.

A copy of the application is available online at www.gcmha.com

Applications are due to the MHA no later than April 1.

Applicants must provide: Name, mailing address, e-mail address, phone number, name of college or university accepted at, course of study or program enrolled in; and it asks if you are a relative of a current MHA employee or board member.

These are the requirements:

  • Applicant must be accepted at an accredited college or university and enrolled in an eligible program by the time the scholarship is awarded.
  • Eligible programs include: Social Work, Mental Health Counseling, Psychology or Human Services.
  • Current MHA employees and board members are not eligible. Relatives of MHA employees and board members are also not eligible.
  • Applicants must provide: (1) Academic history such as high school or college transcripts. (2) Resume or personal biography including work history, volunteer experiences, extra-curricular activities. (3) Essay that addresses educational and employment objectives. (4) Two letters of recommendation in sealed envelopes from people who know your academic and work/volunteer history. Letters from relatives will not be accepted. 
  • Financial need, volunteerism, employment history and civic involvement will be given careful consideration.

Applications should be mailed to:

Scholarship Program

Mental Health Association in Genesee County

25 Liberty St., Batavia, NY 14020

Or send e-mail to:

[email protected]

Wednesday, February 18, 2015 at 8:57 am

GCC professor shares his father's own 'Unbroken' story as Japanese POW

post by Howard B. Owens in education, GCC, schools

Press release:

Although the film "Unbroken" was not nominated for Best Picture for this year's Academy Awards Ceremony scheduled on Feb. 22, the story of an American soldier surviving a World War II Japanese prisoner of war camp resonated with Edward Grabowski. He teaches Introduction to Criminal Justice to students at Genesee Community College.

The Hollywood film captures the extraordinary life and survival of bombardier and world-class runner Louis Zamperini. Like "Louie," Grabowski's father survived the horrors of a Japanese POW camp, and experienced his own hellish encounters with some of the guards. They included the notorious Mutsuhiro Watanabe, the brutal guard known as "The Bird" who tortured and killed many prisoners.

When Grabowski happened to mention this coincidence to his students, they wanted to know more. And when he told them he had a photograph of his father standing behind two Japanese guards, one likely "The Bird" -- his students wanted to see it.

"They found it interesting so I brought in some of the historic materials about my father to share," Grabowski said.

The photograph taken by a French photographer shows Leo Grabowski standing in a doorway unnoticed by the two prison guards who are in the foreground holding their rifles.

"I am 99 percent sure that the guard standing is Watanabe," Grabowski stated. "My father said he would have been brutally beaten by those guards if they had known he was in the photograph."

Sergeant Leo J. Grabowski served in the Army from 1932 through 1945, and was one of the defenders of Bataan and Corregidor as part of the 31st Infantry at Fort Santiago in Manila.

Captured by the Japanese, Grabowski survived the 60-mile Bataan Death March through the Philippine jungles to Camp O'Donnell. From there he was among the thousands transferred in overloaded freight cars, and he was eventually shipped to Mitsushima, a prisoner of war camp northwest of Tokyo where prisoners provided slave labor to construct the Hiraoka Dam.

Like Zamperini in "Unbroken," Grabowski senior made it home bearing the scars of a POW, but he put together a meaningful post-war life with a career and family, including three children. His youngest son, Edward, spent 27 years teaching Criminal Justice at BOCES, and is now adjunct faculty member at GCC.

Upon request, he reflects on his father's military distinctions with quiet pride, sharing a little of that tortured past through books, photos and clippings from decades-old newspapers. In doing so, he is giving his students a sense of world history, not from the Silver Screen or a textbook, but from the connection of family and the bond of father and son.

Sunday, January 25, 2015 at 2:26 pm

Photo: Solo singers at Batavia Middle School

post by Howard B. Owens in arts, batavia, education, music, schools

Jules Hoepting, a student at Oakfield-Alabama, warms up before her graded soloist performance at Batavia Middle School on Saturday.

Vocal soloists from throughout Genesee County converged on the school for a series of performances that could be part of their grade (depending on the school) and used to determine who will be part of an all-county music recital in March.

The program is organized by the Genesee-Wyoming Music Educators Association.

Sarah Wether, from Batavia, warms up with her instructor David Grillo.

The hallways were filled with students waiting their turn to perform, and parents.

Sunday, January 18, 2015 at 7:02 pm

Photo: Le Roy hangs anti-Yik Yak posters

post by Howard B. Owens in education, le roy hs, schools, social media, yik yak

School officials in Le Roy have put up these posters in the hallways of the high school.

On Thursday, Principal Tim McArdle sent a message to parents about Yik Yak and said administrators were talking with students about use of the social media network, which is designed for anonymous posts that can only be read by people in the immediate area.

While the apps developers say it was designed for college students, there have been issues nationwide with high school students getting on the app and using it for bullying.

Previously:

Sunday, January 18, 2015 at 6:32 pm

Photos: Area student musicians evaluated for solo performances at Le Roy HS

post by Howard B. Owens in arts, education, music, schools

Young musicians from throughout Genesee County traveled to Le Roy High School throughout the day Saturday to show off their chops as soloists for area music instructors.

Some schools use the soloist evaluation as part of the students' grades, but the primary purpose is to help select the musicians who will play in the all-county music festival in March (performances at Attica and Batavia middle schools).

The event is organized by the Genesee-Wyoming Music Educators Association.

Above, Ashley Carli, from Pavilion, practices in the Le Roy gym prior to her solo session.

Katelyn Brown, from Pembroke, plays her solo in the gym prior to her audition.

Dylan Fisher warms up in the bleachers while waiting for his turn to play.

The Le Roy gym served as a rehearsal hall.

Taylor Schofield, from Pavilion, in one of the classrooms where students played their solo for a teacher who evaluated the performance.

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