This is Batavia High School student Ross Chua busting out with his beatboxing talent at the 2014 "Batavia High School Talent Show" last night, which aimed to raise funds for Thomas Ackley, a former student of the Batavia City School District who is fighting cancer (see April 7 article).
Masters of Ceremony Amanda Schelemanow (member, BHS chapter of the Tri-M Music Honor Society) and Spencer Hubbard (Mr. Batavia 2013) introduced 16 entertaining performances by students and faculty. Here they are (all performances are vocal unless otherwise specified):
Tim Martin and Lauren Dunn, piano/vocal performance of "Little Talks"
Steven O'Brien doing yo-yo tricks (which the event's faculty supervisor, BHS chorus teacher Dan Grillo, called the best he has ever seen in person).
Darneisha Thomas, "Bound to You"
Mason Russ, "Boss of Me" (theme from the TV show "Malcolm in the Middle")
Nephy Williams, "Beautiful"
Kesa Janes, "Wishing You Were Somehow Here Again" (from "The Phantom of the Opera")
Justin Baiocco, "My My, Hey Hey" (from the Neil Young album Out of the Blue). Baiocco's talent consisted not only of the vocal performance, but also his ability to play the guitar and the harmonica at the same time.
Laura Guiste, "Hallelujah"
Marissa Carbonell, "Oh! Darlin' "
Andrea Gilebarto, "Nightingale" (vocals and piano)
Hannah Bluhm, "If I Die Young"
Dan Grillo, "Good Bye Yellow Brick Road" (piano and vocals)
Rachel Flint and Ashley Williams, "There You'll Be"
McKenna Dziemian, "Set Me Free" (sung in both English and Korean)
And finally, there was the "Faculty Dixieland Band" playing "Down By the Riverside" and "Five Foot Two, Eyes of Blue"
Dan Grillo (drums), Stuart McLean (bass)...
Sean Krauss (clarinet), Brandon Ricci (trumpet) and Jane Haggett (piano)
On March 19, a distinguished group of 23 students from Byron-Bergen Jr. High School was welcomed into the National Junior Honor Society (NJHS) by its President, Lauren Burke. Ms. Burke addressed the audience with a challenge: Continue to excel in the five qualities that members of National Junior Honor Society must represent – Scholarship, Citizenship, Service, Leadership, and Character. “While the recognition [of being a member of National Junior Honor Society] is great, the true reward is the satisfaction in knowing that you are working to be the best person you can be.”
The induction ceremony featured two guest speakers – English Teacher Diana Walther and Music Teacher Laurence Tallman.
Mrs. Walther focused on the skills needed to be a successful citizen. She shared stories of witnessing the newest members of NJHS exhibiting those skills. “I see perseverance. Each of you has shown me, at one time or another this year that you finish what you start,” she said. “Your character is transparent through your choices. You do what’s necessary to be successful, and are beginning to realize that there is a distinct difference between the ‘easy path’ and the ‘successful path’ in life. Walking down the more challenging path has led you here.”
Mr. Tallman referenced the recent Byron-Bergen musical production “All I Really Need to Know I Learned in Kindergarten,” which is based on the writings of acclaimed author and philosopher, Robert Fulghum. He reminded the audience that some areas of wisdom, often learned at a young age, play a vital role throughout a lifetime. “We must be reminded of them from time to time, because these are the things that remind us to live not just for the self, but for the better of the whole. They remind us to practice civility, good character, kindness, and love. And, like anything, they must be practiced daily in order to become a regular part of your life.”
The National Junior Honor Society Vice President, Margaret Graney, concluded the ceremony by reading descriptions of the five defining qualities of NJHS members and lighting a candle to signify the importance of each quality in our lives.
Congratulations to National Junior Honor Society 2014 Inductees.
At Jackson School today, Christine Bow received her official certificate and recognition for being named 2014 New York Agriculture in the Classroom Teacher of the Year from Cornell Cooperative Extension.
Above, Bow shares her bouquet of flowers with some of her students.
Barb Sturm, Cornell Cooperative Extension, handed out seeds to teachers to give to their students. Above, Bill Calandra collects seed packets for his class.
Fourth-graders at Byron-Bergen Elementary School are on track to making a substantial economic impact on their state and their community. The class has created a well-researched rationale for designating yogurt as the Official New York State Snack, based on job creation and promoting healthy eating.
They sent handwritten letters – over 200 of them – to state legislators, farm owners, and yogurt companies. Their idea is now a bill sponsored by New York State Senators Mike Ranzenhofer, Kathleen Marchione, and James Seward and by Assemblymen William Magee and Steve Hawley. The bill is currently in committee.
The 17 members of the “Snack Pack,” led by fourth-grade teacher Craig Schroth, say yogurt deserves the title of Official New York State Snack. Student Madelyn Pimm says, “New York is now the biggest yogurt producing state in the U.S., with over 30 processing plants. Governor Cuomo refers to us as the ‘Yogurt Capital of the Country.’ We are the fifth largest milk producing state. We have three yogurt companies right here in our own community – Alpina, Müller-Quaker, and O-At-Ka. Many of us have family members who work there.”
“We want to support the yogurt industry and help create more jobs,” says student Alayna Streeter. “If this becomes law, there will be more opportunities for farmers who milk the cows, for drivers who deliver the milk, for people who make it into yogurt and other products, for distributors, and stores – jobs all down the supply chain.”
“Making yogurt the official snack will help New York promote healthy eating,” says student Caleb Calhoun. “Yogurt tastes great and is really good for you.”
These students are all highly knowledgeable and engaged in the legislative process they started. Letters of support from their representatives line the classroom wall. “Our whole class came up with the idea to promote yogurt,” says student Carly Bergeron. “We’re learning about government in action.” The class is hoping that they may be invited to Albany if their bill becomes law. Follow the progress of the bill at http://open.nysenate.gov/legislation/bill/S6695-2013.
“We want to get the word out and build backing for our bill. It’s important for everyone to support the yogurt industry because they are also supporting our communities with jobs,” says Alayna.
One yogurt company is already grateful for the assistance being drummed up by the Byron-Bergen students. Chobani plans to send a representative to the school to thank the students in person later this spring.
After the Batavia City Schools entry into a NYS Lottery contest was disqualified, a group of parents were sharing their disappointment on Facebook when some suggested maybe there should be a local fundraiser for the music department.
While the page shows no funds raised yet, Chua said she has received $300 in checks and some parents have said they will donate when they get back from Spring Break vacation.
The NYS Lottery contest involved schools making a video of students singing "Thank You for Being a Friend."
Students were very upset, Chua said, when the lottery disqualified their video after it had already been selected as a finalist and was leading, by a slim margin, in votes.
"This is a way for us to show them we do appreciate what they do," Chua said.
The grand prize for the contest was $10,000, but Chua said the parents are setting a modest goal of $2,500 for their fundraiser, which is equivalent to the third place prize in the contest.
To donate, visit the First Giving Web page. To donate by check, mail your check to Batavia City Schools Parent-Teacher Coalition, attention Allison Chua, 260 State St., Batavia, NY 14020. All donations will go to the music programs of the school district.
For the second year in a row, students at Batavia High School are putting on a Mr. Batavia contest aimed at building relationships between the high school and the community, particularly local nonprofits.
There are 10 contestants this year representing 10 different charities. Money raised will go to the winner's charity.
"We weren't sure how it was going to go last year and we raised $1,700, so we're hoping to exceed that this year," said Lisa Robinson, one of the faculty advisers for student government.
Along with the 10 boys competing, 15 girls are putting together the show (not everybody participating was available for a picture late this afternoon).
The contestants begin the show with a group dance, followed by a lip-sync contest, a talent contest, a swimsuit portion and then the boys come out in tuxedos donated by Charle's Mens Shop for a question-and-answer period.
Nine of the 10 charities have committed to having displays set up in the cafeteria for the evening.
The show starts at 7 p.m., Friday, March 21. Tickets are $7, $5 for students.
It's one of the lost gems of GOP talking points -- eliminate the federal Department of Education.
There was a time it was a common theme on the GOP campaign trail, but it hasn't been heard much in recent years.
Rep. Chris Collins made that very point during a telephone press conference with local and regional media (per capita, Genesee County had the best representation with the Daily News, WBTA and The Batavian all on the line).
"I would wipe out the Department of Education tomorrow," Collins said. "That's money that's being squandered and washed away in Washington, D.C. That money should be moved back to the states, where the 10th Amendment says it should be."
What has Collins particularly riled about the Department of Education are the federal mandates flowing from the bureaucracy and piling up on local school districts, particularly Common Core.
Collins offered some advise to President Obama while making his point about the burdensome federal agency.
"I'd like to hear the president admit that Common Core is an abject failure," Collins said. "It's causing stress, strain and angst with our third- and fourth-graders. It's time to admit that the federal government should not have a role to play in the education of our kids under the 10th Amendment. That should be at the local level, letting parents and teachers decide how we educate our kids."
UPDATE: Here's a video response from Collins to the president's State of the Union speech.
Dr. Cornelius V. Robbins, the second president of Genesee Community College, died over the weekend, in Delmar, New York, where he lived with his wife, Janet. He was 82 years old.
Dr. Robbins served as president from 1970 to 1975, succeeding Dr. Alfred C. O'Connell, the College's founding president. Dr. O'Connell died in 2011. Under Dr. Robbins' leadership, the current Batavia Campus opened, replacing the temporary storefront campus on West Main Street Road.
Prior to his arrival at Genesee, Dr. Robbins served as dean of the Community College of Delaware County (Pennsylvania), dean of instruction at Ocean County College (New Jersey), member of the consulting staff of the Washington, D.C.-based McManis Associates, an educational consulting organization, and associate director of the School Study Councils at the University of Pennsylvania. He also served as a secondary school teacher early in his career. He earned undergraduate and graduate degrees from the University of Delaware and his doctorate in education from the University of Pennsylvania in 1964.
While serving at Genesee Community College, Dr. Robbins became actively involved in community life, serving as an office of the Chamber of Commerce, board member of the United Fund (currently Genesee Country United Way), United Fund campaign chair and as a volunteer and member of many other charitable and civic organizations.
Dr. Robbins left Genesee Community College in 1975 to serve as associate chancellor for Community Colleges in the SUNY Central Administration. He later served as president of SUNY Cobleskill and following that, served as a professor of Educational Administration and Policy Studies at the University at Albany.
Genesee's current president, Dr. James M. Sunser, called Dr. Robbins one of the College's pioneers: "Neal Robbins was another of the early pioneers who left an important mark on the history of Genesee Community College. It was under his leadership that the faculty, staff and student body moved from temporary quarters on the west side of Batavia to our beautiful Batavia Campus. He was known for his commitment to academic excellence, and those who knew Neal remember him as an engaging leader. Genesee Community College is a wonderful part of his legacy."