Friday, April 20, 2012


West Genesee experienced two fantastic success stories this week. For starters our Fine Arts Department received word that West Genesee has received the distinction of being one of the Best Music Communities in the Nation for 2012. This is the fourth year in a row (seventh time overall) that we have been given this honor. To receive it this year is significant as the Fine Arts program went through some difficult changes due to the budget. It is good to know that even through change we have remained on top at a national level.

If you are involved with our Fine Arts Department, you know that everything we do is of the highest caliber possible. This is only possible through the dedication of our staff, student performers, and their families who help keep everything glued together. The rock of the department and our Director of Fine Arts, Bill Davern, deserves a special thanks. He has worked tirelessly to keep our programs relevant, fresh, and competitive. I am very proud of their success and look forward to our end of the year concerts, including our flagship program, Kaleidoscope, held on Thursday, May 24 at the Civic Center.

West Genesee is also home to another great distinction, our varsity lacrosse coach, Mike Messere, who has achieved the most wins in NYS (believed to be the highest ever in the nation). On Thursday night he captured his 748th win. (Pictured at left are senior boys lacrosse captains Tim Barber and Matt Schattner as they present a Native American Great Lakes lacrosse stick to Coach Messere as Director of Athletics Mike Burns looks on. The stick is engraved with the date that he won his 748th game.)

In my opinion, Coach Messere's greatest successes are not found in the "win" column. They are found in his practices, team meetings, and in his office. Coach Messere turns young men into adults by teaching them how to be organized, how to be a functioning part of something larger than themselves, and he is one of the very few people I have met that can actually teach character.

Although it is never broadcast, he helps his players choose colleges, jobs, or positions in the military.  He will tell his players that no matter how good they are as lacrosse players, they will not be able to eat lacrosse balls for dinner. He then sits down with each player, their high school transcript, and stacks of college catalogues. The player and the coach discuss academic strengths and Coach Messere finds potential colleges for them that work best for their academics AND give them the opportunity to play lacrosse. This combination has been a driving factor to the thousands of Coach Messere's lacrosse student athletes that have found success in life. To me that is MUCH more important than wins.

In traditional Coach Messere fashion, when I spoke to him about the win he was much more focused on the overall program and bringing another State Championship to his student athletes and the District. A true class act. Congratulations. (To view an article with links to other news coverage about the event, click here.)

Wildcat pride is alive and well. Have a wonderful weekend.