Congratulations to Emma Farmer and Matty McMahon who were crowned Homecoming Queen and King in front of a full house on Friday night. The football team and cheerleaders also enjoyed their senior nights as well as a win on the field.
Athletics Update: Our teams will be continuing in Section III Competitions as follows:
- Football team will play the first round of sectionals this Friday at home against Christian Brothers Academy at 7:00 p.m.
- Boys Soccer team will play in sectionals on Thursday at Liverpool at 7:00 p.m.
- Girls Soccer team is the third seed and will play the second seed, Fayetteville Manlius (FM), in the semi-final; date and time to be announced.
- The Girls Swim, Girls Volleyball, Cross Country, and Cheerleading teams will compete in Sectionals, but the games start in another week or two. Once we know that information, we will share it with you!
Just before the game, girls tennis players Mikayla Mannara and Katie Viau became Section III Class A Champions in a convincing win over a pair from FM. They will continue to the New York State Regional Competition tomorrow. Best of luck to them!
Our Demographics: Community members often ask me the question, "how poor are we?". I have always been a believer that poverty does NOT and should NOT define a child or a school district. My expectation as a superintendent is that every child can succeed no matter their background, and the school community should always band together. Every child is an equal member of the Wildcat family. Our results show that our employees and students believe in this as well.
Looking at the raw numbers though, some of you may be surprised at the number of families who are living in poverty in our community. Federal guidelines for the 2018-2019 school year tell us that in order for a family to qualify for free and reduced lunch, a family of four must make $25,100 or less before taxes for free lunch and $25,100 to $46,435 for reduced lunch (https://www.federalregister.gov/documents/2018/05/08/2018-09679/child-nutrition-programs-income-eligibility-guidelines). As of today, just under 30% of our students qualify for free or reduced lunch. In raw numbers, that is almost 1,400 of our students in grades K-12. When I arrived in 2008, 8% of our families qualified for free or reduced lunch, which was approximately 440 students.
Next, we need to consider students who are homeless. In 2008 when I arrived, we had no homeless students. As of today, 26 families in our District are homeless by definition. To be homeless by Federal definition, the child must lack fixed, regular, and adequate nighttime residence (https://nche.ed.gov/downloads/briefs/det_elig.pdf).
We have structured our support and leadership styles so that you as community members, and students as a body, see our students as students; not affluent, poor, or homeless. Again, our results show that.
One place where it is important to at least have an understanding of our families is when we do winter clothing or school supply drives. There IS a need, even though you might not see it.
I had a meeting last week with several members of the faith community; multiple denominations. We spoke about how we can work together to help our families in poverty, families experiencing mental illness, and families experiencing substance use disorder. We also spoke about how we can support families that aren't experiencing any of those things, but are just trying to work through raising kids in the very fast paced society that we live in. We are creating some plans to help provide additional support for those who need it.
Our West Side Support Network (formerly known as the Community Coalition) will be having its first meeting on October 23 in the West Genesee High School Library at 2:45 p.m. All are certainly welcome. I will be rolling out our plans to meet the mental health needs of students and will also be giving an update on substance use disorder support in our area.
Thanks for your support and have a great week!