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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Jordan Bell the youngest Republican honoree

Jordan Bel

Jordan Bel

You would expect the Orange County Young Republican of the Year to be young. But Jordan Bell would surprise you. He’s being honored at Temple Hill Tavern on Feb. 22.

Jordan’s foray into politics began last summer when he called Sen. Larkin’s office and said he’d love to get involved. “Where do you go to school?” he was asked. When Jordan said “Cornwall” the person on the other end was surprised. He assumed he was talking to a college student.

That’s what’s newsworthy about Jordan’s selection. He’s the youngest person to ever receive the award. His interest in politics started with the 2008 Presidential election. By middle school, he was reading the news every day. In high school, he was elected class president four years in a row.

A few weeks after his phone call, Jordan met Sen. Larkin and other members of his staff. “They made me feel like one of them,” Jordan recalled. “I was a volunteer but I felt like someone who was getting paid.”

Jordan became the Director of Outreach for the re-election campaign. Using a computer system, he dialed thousands of potential voters. Some hung up. But others had positive things to say about the candidate.

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Cornwall’s choruses all come together

File photo Tony Ravinsky led  the finale of the 2013 workshop. Many of the younger students from 2013 are back for another performance.

File photo
Tony Ravinsky led the finale of the 2013 workshop. Many of the younger students from 2013 are back for another performance.

On Wednesday, over 700 students in grades 4-12 gathered for the sixth biennial choral workshop held in the Cornwall High School auditorium. After each vocal group met with the other music teachers in the district, ensembles performed individual pieces for each other, then partnered for one final musical number.

The program was started in 2007 by high school choral director Anthony Ravinsky as a learning experience for the students, and it quickly grew in terms of the number of participants. Over the years, the program has allowed students to grow artistically while it serves as professional development for the teachers.

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Fund raising efforts under way to replace garden

File photo The Cornwall High School Environmental Club is raising money to design a new garden.

File photo
The Cornwall High School Environmental Club is raising money to design a new garden.

The Cornwall High School garden is in dire need of a rebuild, but the endeavor will be expensive. The Environmental Club has come up with a way to raise money for the project while the architecture students will be designing a new garden.

Eva Whorley, teacher and head of the club, said the last few storms nearly wiped out the garden. She said about $7,000 to $10,000 needs to be raised with the fence being the most expensive part of the project.

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High school duo makes return to regional poetry contest

Kristen Henry and Jessica Wu will represent Cornwall in the regional finals of the Poetry Out Loud Competition.

Kristen Henry and Jessica Wu will represent Cornwall in the regional finals of the Poetry Out Loud Competition.

Cornwall High School students Kristen Henry and Jessica Wu are no strangers to the Poetry out Loud competition. Both will be making returns, on Feb. 3, to the regional portion of the competition after finishing second and first respectively in the in-school competition last week.

“I’m excited we’re both going,” Henry said. “I think we both have a good chance to do very well.”

Henry, a senior, qualified for the regional competition as a freshman and sophomore, but never made it to states. Last year she failed to qualify as the high school’s winner or runner-up, losing points for accuracy when she read “To a Mouse” by Robert Burns.

Wu, a sophomore, is two-for-two when it comes to being one of Cornwall’s representatives at regionals. Last year she moved past the round before bowing out in the state finals.

“I feel it gets easier the more you get up and recite poems,” Wu said. “The more I do it, the more I like it.”

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Lee Roaders like “dogging it” on stage

Photo by Ken Cashman During a break in Saturday’s rehearsal, cast members gathered around Nana the Dog. From left to right are Hannah Bartley (Mrs. Darling), Greta Frossman (Wendy), Jacob Carter (Michael Darling), Keaton Vernachick (dog), Rikhil Meisuria (John Darling) and Nate Parsons (Mr. Darling).

Photo by Ken Cashman
During a break in Saturday’s rehearsal, cast members gathered around Nana the Dog. From left to right are Hannah Bartley (Mrs. Darling), Greta Frossman (Wendy), Jacob Carter (Michael Darling), Keaton Vernachick (dog), Rikhil Meisuria (John Darling) and Nate Parsons (Mr. Darling).

The cast of “Peter Pan Jr.” was at Cornwall High School on Saturday morning. There were kids in the aisles, waiting to march down to the front of the auditorium. On stage, a few performers were listening to the director. The kids were attentive. But as they listened, one reached down to pet the dog. Another messed with the animal’s fur.

The dog curled up in delight, but didn’t bark. Of course, he didn’t bark, because he was a student in a canine outfit.

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School science expo attracts a diverse crowd

Photo by Ken Cashman Cassidy Cubito (foreground) and Olivia Weir (far right) attracted a crowd with their “Dancing Ooblick” demonstration at the Nov. 29 Science Expo. The event for third and fourth-graders took place at the middle school.

Photo by Ken Cashman
Cassidy Cubito (foreground) and Olivia Weir (far right) attracted a crowd with their “Dancing Ooblick” demonstration at the Nov. 29 Science Expo. The event for third and fourth-graders took place at the middle school.

There was a diverse group at the middle school on Tuesday night, Nov. 29. And that was part of the event’s appeal.

Third and fourth-graders were there for the Elementary Science Expo. A group of middle school students sold baked goods at the door. And a bunch of high school volunteers served as judges.

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Wall of Fame honors students

Photo contributed Each month Cornwall Middle School teacher, Steve Kessler, recognizes students in his class by placing their photos on his wall.

Photo contributed
Each month Cornwall Middle School teacher, Steve Kessler, recognizes students in his class by placing their photos on his wall.

A wall of fame usually recognizes the best of the best in a certain field. Steve Kessler, music teacher at Cornwall Middle School, believes that honor should be extended to those who try to be the best they can be. When he came to the district 14  years ago, Kessler created his own Music Wall of Fame.

“I just wanted to recognize the kids who are not the top musicians but who have a great attitude and are trying their best and just give it their all,” he said. “They may not be the ones who are always recognized. Sometimes it’s not your first chair player. It could be the kid who’s trying, giving it his all, but he’s never going to be there. Sometimes it is the star kids. It’s a way to recognize a variety of kids.”

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