Monday, May 19, 2014

Remember to Vote!

Olympics are Special:  Last week was an absolute blast!  For starters, our Athletic Director, Mike Burns and I had the opportunity to attend the Special Olympics. It was a beautiful day and there were dozens of schools represented. National women's basketball player and North Syracuse High School graduate, Breanna Stewart was the master of ceremonies.

West Genesee had about fifty athletes on hand to compete in a variety of events including: running, wheeling, bowling, throwing, and rolling. It was hard to keep a dry eye when watching these outstanding performers compete. I was able to stay for about two hours and was fortunate to see our champions return to school with medals, ribbons, and smiling with pride.

I highly encourage everyone to take an hour out of their day to attend the Special Olympics. You will find that inner strength, courage, drive, compassion, and determination are all present, as well as the loving hearts of all of the teachers, health care workers, and volunteers who work with these remarkable boys and girls. I am looking forward to next year already! Click here to view a short video of pictures taken at the event of our athletes.

State Education Department Visits: When I arrived back at school, I met with the Deputy Commissioner of Education, Mr. Ken Slentz and OCM BOCES District Superintendent, Mr. Jody Manning. They came to the District to see excellent teaching and learning taking place. We had time to visit two buildings before he had to be at another appointment, so we spent time at Split Rock Elementary and Onondaga Road Elementary Schools.

I cannot speak for him, but his body language said it all. He was very impressed at how we do business. He ran into teachers, support staff, and students in each location and spoke about what they thought was going well and asked what we thought the State Education Department could do better. He listened intently as he was given some constructive criticism as well as some positive remarks about how education today is impacting teaching and learning. I think all would agree that his short visit was time well spent. That was all last Thursday, believe it or not.

Senior Ball Plus Festivities: Friday came along as well as inches of rain, so we assembled our seniors in the gym to talk about the dangers of drinking and driving. Our DWI simulation is very impactful and although we were forced to bring it indoors, we did keep the two smashed cars in the front circle over the weekend as a reminder. 

Our community emergency services, Buranich Funeral Home, the county coroner, the district attorney's office as well as student and adult volunteers showed students what it would look and sound like to be involved in a car accident that was caused by alcohol. It is always an eye opening event. My thanks to all who were involved. To view photos of the event, click here.

Later Friday night was the Senior Ball. If my wife and I have counted correctly this was our 20th year chaperoning such an event, and it was elegant as always. The event was held at the OnCenter downtown, and the staff did a great job serving food, desserts, and making the atmosphere very "adult like" for our students. They had a great time. I was able to get some good pictures until my phone ran out of battery life!

Later that night I was able to charge my phone and head to the Senior Ball All-Night Party that was held back at the high school. Dozens of parents and community partners help to support and staff the event. Students can hula-hoop, sing Karaoke, take part in some games of chance (with play money of course), play Bingo, get sketches of themselves, and then watch a hypnotist put on an amazing performance.

I apologize if you follow me on Twitter and your phone was buzzing at 2:00 a.m., but I wanted to capture what I could while things were happening. The next morning came quickly as the party ends at about 5:00 a.m.!  Thanks again to all who made the event a success!

Vote this Week: This week is really just as buy but for different reasons. Tuesday is our annual school budget vote. Please remember to vote. Not only are you voting on the spending plan for next year, but you are also voting for three Board of Education members. There are five candidates to fill three slots. You can vote from 6:00 a.m. - 9:00 p.m. at the auditorium lobby of the high school. Click here for information about the vote and election.

If our budget vote is successful, taxpayers in the West Genesee community will receive rebate checks from New York State that will be the difference between what they paid this year in school tax minus what they will pay next year.  In other words, no tax increase as long as the budget vote is successful. Please spread the word!

Have a wonderful week. It looks like we might actually see a few days in a row of nicer weather and we should all try to take advantage if it!

Take care,