Slichta places third in competition

Photo contributed Cornwall Middle School social studies teacher Jeff Danzer helped mentor eighth grader Zach Slichta, who took bronze in the state National History Day competition.

Photo contributed
Cornwall Middle School social studies teacher Jeff Danzer helped mentor eighth grader Zach Slichta, who took bronze in the state National History Day competition.

Zach Slichta was one of 12 Cornwall Middle School students to represent the district in the state National History Day competition on April 24, but he was the only one to walk away with a medal. Slichta placed third in the Junior Division, taking home a bronze medal.

“It feels great,” Slichta said. “I was actually really surprised. I am disappointed I didn’t get first or second but I was so surprised at the moment and so happy that I did place.”

Slichta entered the competition, first regionals then states, with his web site on the stand for black power Tommie Smith and John Carlos took during the 1968 Olympics.

“The revolt of Tommie Smith and John Carlos in the 1968 Mexico City Olympics was a stand in history that shook the world,” Slichta wrote. “In a time of unrest in the U.S. and after the recent assassination of Martin Luther King Jr., these two men protested at the perfect time. With millions watching the Olympics across the world, this protest was in a perfect place as well.”

To come up with the idea, Slichta took particular interest in one of the historical photos his social studies teacher, Jeff Danzer, has hanging in the eighth grade wing of the school.

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High school French class dedicates peace pole

On April 25, Amanda Greenblatt’s French Class dedicated a peace pole it received from the Rotary Club. The pole will be part of the high school’s organic garden.

On April 25, Amanda Greenblatt’s French Class dedicated a peace pole it received from the Rotary Club. The pole will be part of the high school’s organic garden.

Students in Amanda Greenblatt’s French class took part in a colorful ceremony on an otherwise gloomy Tuesday morning. They gathered on the dirt in the organic garden and stood in a circle that was marked by small flags from many nations. In the center, three students held up a large pole with the words “Let there be peace on Earth” in many languages.

The pole was a gift from the local Rotary Club. But why was a high school French class involved and not a math, science or history class? The answer dates back to the terrorist attacks in Paris on Nov. 13, 2015.

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Work begins on new organic garden

Charles Quinn and Nina Creta were among the two dozen volunteers who assisted in breaking down the garden at the high school. June 10 has been set as the target date for the completion of a new organic garden.

Charles Quinn and Nina Creta were among the two dozen volunteers who assisted in breaking down the garden at the high school. June 10 has been set as the target date for the completion of a new organic garden.

A light rain fell, but that didn’t deter the two dozen volunteers from tearing down the Cornwall High School garden in preparation for a new organic garden.

On Earth Day, students in the Environmental Club teamed up with the senior French students to begin dismantling the beds and removing mulch and weeds. The wood is going to be recycled and repurposed through a local recycling center. The mulch was composted at the school.

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Cornwall Cares Committee addresses student needs

File photo Assistant Superintendent Gail Duffy is a member of the Cornwall Cares Committee.

File photo
Assistant Superintendent Gail Duffy is a member of the Cornwall Cares Committee.

A committee of school board members, teachers, administrators, and community members began meeting this school year. The Cornwall Cares Committee was formed to support social and emotional needs, as well as the character development of district students.

The committee has only met a handful of times since October, but has accomplished much in a short time.

The committee kicked off with an anti-bullying poster contest where students promoted friendship, character education, and anti-bullying methods.

The first few meetings were dedicated to establishing goals. Those included:  strengthening communication between the schools and the parents and community at large; providing parent training and resources on social and emotional topics; and reducing student suspension and discipline incidents.

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Teacher of the Year caught by surprise

File photo CELEBRITIES: Teacher of the Year Lori O’Neill is shown in 2011 with Christian Lopez, who became famous after he returned Derek Jeter’s home run ball.

File photo
CELEBRITIES: Teacher of the Year Lori O’Neill is shown in 2011 with Christian Lopez, who became famous after he returned Derek Jeter’s home run ball.

When the president of the Teachers Association came to see her, Miss O’Neill assumed that he wanted to talk about one of her ballplayers. Maybe someone needed encouragement to do better in the classroom. But that wasn’t the case.

The visitor, Danny Zayas, kept mentioning the Teacher of the Year Award. The coach listened politely, but didn’t make the connection — even when Mr. Zayas told her that she had been nominated.

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Time is right for “Joseph” to return

Photo by Ken Cashman Joseph (played by Josh Sandler, foreground) interprets Pharaoh’s dream in a March 18 rehearsal of “Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dream Coat.”

Photo by Ken Cashman
Joseph (played by Josh Sandler, foreground) interprets Pharaoh’s dream in a March 18 rehearsal of “Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dream Coat.”

Marietta Moulton has happy memories of “Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dream Coat.” It was the first show that she directed at the middle school. It was her last show as “Miss Veglia” (she got married soon after the performance). And she recruited her mother to create Joseph’s coat of many colors. It was her mother’s favorite assignment. And after 10 years, the coat is making another appearance. The show will be presented in the middle school auditorium on March 23 and 24 at 7 p.m., and on March 25 at 6 p.m.

“When are you going to repeat a show?” friends would ask Mrs. Moulton. She was anxious to do “Joseph” again, but she needed a cast with a lot of singers — especially a lot of males who were able to burst into song.

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Nigerian excels in computer programming classes

Tiffany-Louisa Ibok

Tiffany-Louisa Ibok

Tiffany-Louisa Ibok was born in Nigeria where computer access was limited. Three years ago she and her family came to the United States. Now in her second year at Orange-Ulster BOCES, the Cornwall High School senior is excelling in her computer programming classes.

“I’ve always been interested in computers since four of five,” Ibok said. “I wasn’t able to start school at the time, so my mom always took me to the library with her. I picked up an interest in computers there. Once I knew I could do it as a career, computer programming was my obvious choice.”

Even though her family owned desktop and laptop computers, due to frequent power outages, they weren’t easy to use. Ibok found it easier to access children’s programs and sing along with You Tube videos at the library. There she’d practice sketching using the Paint program and her typing with Microsoft Word. Google became her go-to search engine to look up information on the Internet.

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Wishes left out of initial school budget draft

Harvey Sotland stands along side the PowerPoint projection of his school budget draft at a Board of Education meeting on Feb. 27.

Harvey Sotland stands along side the PowerPoint projection of his school budget draft at a Board of Education meeting on Feb. 27.

In discussing next year’s school budget, Harvey Sotland introduced a new term. He called his first set of numbers a “draft” rather than a “preliminary budget.”

“I don’t have a crystal ball,” he said at the Feb. 27 Board of Education meeting. “But there are a lot of open items I’m optimistic about.”

Among the missing pieces of the puzzle are BOCES charges, staff retirements, special education placements and state aid. For his draft, Mr. Sotland based his state aid allowance on Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s proposal. But, traditionally, the legislature has added money to what the governor has recommended.

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Hommel to play in state concert band

For the second year in a row, Zach Hommel will travel up to Syracuse, with trumpet in hand, to perform in the New York State Band Director’s Association Concert Band.

For the second year in a row, Zach Hommel will travel up to Syracuse, with trumpet in hand, to perform in the New York State Band Director’s Association Concert Band.

For the second year in a row, Zach Hommel has been selected to participate in the New York State Band Director’s Association Concert Band. The trumpet player will be traveling to Syracuse on Friday for the Saturday concert.

“I was really glad to go again,” said Hommel, a Cornwall Middle School eighth grader. “It was a fun experience the first time and I was looking forward to doing it a second time.”

Last year’s concert also served as a learning experience as he took home some sage advice from the conductor and got to know some of the other students who share his interest in music.

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Three take first in Hudson Valley contest

Photo contriuted Emma Byrne, Narelle Nailor, and India Braine tied for first in the Writing about Place competition. Their prize will be a class trip to Black Rock Forest.

Photo contriuted
Emma Byrne, Narelle Nailor, and India Braine tied for first in the Writing about Place competition. Their prize will be a class trip to Black Rock Forest.

Back in November, 20 of Patricia Young’s fifth grade students entered the Teaching the Hudson Valley competition, Writing about Place. It wasn’t until the end of last month the winners were announced. Out of the 30 participants in the grade 5-8 category, India Braine, Narelle Nailor, and Emma Byrne tied for first place and all hail from Cornwall Middle School.

“I’m so proud of them,” Young said. “I was surprised. I don’t know why I was surprised. I have some really good writers. I’m proud they accomplished this.”

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