Monday, February 29, 2016

New York State Champions!

I experienced MANY things last week that I want to share with you, but I also understand that this is a blog and not a dissertation. I will do my best to cover everything AND respect your time.

Academic State Champions! First and foremost, congratulations to our New York State champion Academic Decathlon team. I am very proud of them and you should be as well.

Academic Decathlon is an extracurricular team that competes locally, statewide, and nationally. There are thousands of Academic Decathlon teams across the country. It is highly competitive.

To make our team, there are tryouts like any sport, and members are expected to "practice" by reading and studying volumes of materials as well as paying close attention to their studies (the strength of our everyday curriculum takes the place of official Academic Decathlon classes that some schools need to have in order to be competitive).

The advisor, Mr. Duda, selects starters for each competition. He must select three "A" students, three "B" students, and three "C" students to compete. Winning locally is quite a feat; to be the best academic team in all of New York State is simply outstanding. They have won the state title for the third year. The first year they competed nationally in Charlotte, North Carolina, last year they competed in Los Angeles, California, and this year they will compete for the national title in Alaska. Yes, Alaska.

As an extracurricular activity (like Marching Band for example), the team must raise the money necessary to pay for travel, hotel, and food. Team members will be canvassing the community to try and raise enough money to go. Unlike Marching Band, the team does not have many alumni yet (Marching Band is celebrating its fiftieth anniversary this year, Academic Decathlon its fifth) to draw funds from. Their hope is to raise enough for this trip AND begin building for the future.

We are now nationally known for fine arts, athletics, AND most importantly, academics. Congratulations to all, we are very proud of you!

Athletics Update:

  • Boys Hockey team won the Section III championship over the weekend and will move on to state competition  
  • Cheerleading finished second in Section III and will move on to state competition as well
  • Girls Basketball team fought as hard as they could against goliath CNS for the Section III championship but came up just short  
Plenty of positives to build on though! Once we are all finished for the season, our Athletic Director, Mr. Burns, will provide a great wrap up. We have had a tremendous winter season.

March is "Music in Our Schools" Month: If you had a chance to see the Chorus last week as well as the art show, you know just how many students are involved in our programs. There were so many students in the finale that we could not move back far enough to grab a full picture in one frame of all the students! We have more concerts this week, including the Festival of Bands where I plan to thank Assemblyman  Magnarelli for a $150,000 grant for us to replace nearly all of our musical instruments. He appreciates what the arts have done for the community, and he wants to show his continued appreciation by providing resources for students.

Mini-Forum on Substance Abuse: Mark your calendar for March 29 from 7:00-8:30 p.m. in the West Genesee High School Auditorium. We will be holding the first of five mini-forums and this first forum will feature everything you need to know about substance abuse and our school. I will be leading the discussion and will show attendees our history, artifacts, current resources, and future plans. I will be very respectful of your time and if you truly want the FACTS about substance use and abuse in YOUR school, this is the event to attend.

A Memorial for Baby Maddox: Lastly, I ran Creekwalk at 4:50 a.m. on Saturday morning (long story). I was the only one on the trail. It was very still and crisp. As I ran I began to hear a very unusual sound. I slowed down and looked around. Suddenly I came upon the memorial for baby Maddox. The sound was balloons lightly scraping against each other. There were battery operated candles still lit.

The circumstances surrounding the memorial are what they are. The bottom line is that one day a mom had her child and the next she didn't. In that quiet moment I reminded myself of a lot of things that I need to be thankful for. Later that morning I texted both boys just to check in. They had no idea what I had experienced. It didn't matter. They are still here. I am lucky and fortunate.

8th Annual Culture Fair: The 8th Annual Culture Fair will be held at the high school next Saturday, March 5, from 12:00 p.m. -3:00 p.m. in the upper gym. This is a fantastic family event for all ages that is free and open to the public, and is designed to help promote understanding of the various social, ethnic, and cultural influences in our very own community and beyond. I hope to see you there!

Thanks for your support, enjoy the week, and see you soon.