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March 12, 2018 - 12:41pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in byron-bergen, schools, education, news.

Press release:

image002.jpg“The growth mindset of this district was what really attracted me to Byron-Bergen,” said Byron-Bergen Elementary School’s new Assistant Principal Betsy Brown. “The approach to education is innovative and forward-thinking. I’m so impressed with the opportunities our students have here.”

“We’re fortunate to have an administrator with Betsy’s depth and experience,” said Elementary School Principal Brian Meister. “She is a great addition to our team, and I think she will bring a wonderful combination of commitment, caring, innovation, and humor to her role.”

Brown has 15 years of experience in elementary education. She came to the district from Avon Central Schools, where she supported students and staff as a literacy coach for three years. Prior to that, she taught third and fourth grade, and kindergarten.

Brown holds a Bachelor of Science degree in elementary education and a Master of Education degree in literacy, earned at the State University of New York at Geneseo. Her administrative coursework was completed at the University of Rochester.

Getting to know the students has been Brown’s first priority. She has been meeting them all, one classroom at a time.

“I don’t want them to be nervous around me,” she said. “It’s important that students know that I am always here to help them.”

“I’m particularly excited about the Character Education program here,” she said "I love the enthusiasm our students have for supporting one another and keeping their school safe. From classroom visits, I can see that the teachers do an amazing job of teaching students in ways that are fun and engaging."

“I really am passionate about English Language Arts (ELA),” she said, “and Byron-Bergen has a great Reading Recovery program for early intervention. I’m looking forward to supporting our teachers with that and helping them continue to build a strong ELA program that incorporates the latest standards."

Brown was an active member of the video coaching professional development team at Avon, and will continue her activity as a coach at Byron-Bergen.

“Byron-Bergen has been the regional leader in offering video coaching as a way for teachers to grow and to improve their teaching methods,” she said. “Teachers here have embraced the technology, and students are benefitting from the results.”

Open communication, Brown believes, is an essential part of any school. She is looking forward to meeting families and parents and working with them to ensure an exceptional school experience for their students. She encourages parents to call or stop in.

“We have an active social media presence on Twitter and Facebook, too,” she said. “They provide a window into all the activities students are doing in the classroom.”

The community can follow the assistant principal on Twitter @MrsBetsyMBrown.

March 9, 2018 - 12:57pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in byron-bergen, schools, education, news, arts.


Press release:

Renowned ballerina Aesha Ash encourages Byron-Bergen students to dream bigger.

Ballet star Aesha Ash told the hundreds of students at Byron-Bergen Elementary School that when she was growing up in Rochester, “there were no princesses or fairies that looked like me. There were no magical creatures, unicorns or swans that looked like me.”

When she dreamed of being a ballerina, she was told that there were no black ballerinas and that she would never succeed. She dreamed anyway, and she did succeed. She was accepted to the legendary School of American Ballet where she was chosen to join the New York City Ballet when she was 18 — one of the first black dancers in the corps.

How did this world-famous dancer and winner of the National Women’s History Museum's 2016 Women Making History Award, come to be in Byron-Bergen? Fourth-grade teacher Alyson Tardy heard about Ash’s Swan Dreams Project, which was founded in 2011. This project uses powerful imagery to counter negative stereotypes of race and socio-economic background and inspire children to dream bigger.

Tardy thought that Ash’s message would be a great tie-in to the school’s character education program. She invited Ash and coordinated the special visit. Students surprised their visitor with a hallway lined with artwork featuring swans of many shapes and colors.

“The art is so beautiful,” Ash said. “I’m honored that the kids welcomed me this way.”

At the crowded assembly, Ash shared her story with attentive students, beginning with her passion for dance and her determination to become a ballerina.

She explained how she was part of Rochester’s Urban Suburban program, and constantly faced questions and misunderstanding from peers about her background and city neighborhood. Her family was not rich; she told the story of borrowing toe shoes for her first tryout. Even when Ash became a professional ballet dancer, she felt a sense of not belonging, of being different.

“All my life, I’ve fought to change perceptions and dispel myths — for myself, my family and my Rochester community,” she said. “The more that people told me that I couldn’t do something, the more I wanted to do it.”

Ash’s professional dance career lasted 13 years. It included eight years with the NYC Ballet along with performing in the Bejart Ballet in Switzerland and Alonzo King’s Lines Ballet, and with many other companies as a freelance artist.

She and her family currently live in California where she is working to make the Swan Dreams Project an afterschool program. She hopes to open a studio where she can teach ballet to children who are not able to afford lessons.

The Swan Dreams Project video she shared with Byron-Bergen students can be found here.




February 8, 2018 - 3:15pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in byron-bergen, byron, bergen, schools, education, arts, news.


Students from Byron-Bergen Jr./Sr. High School who are participating in Sandy Auer's pottery classes traveled to Rochester today for the class's annual visit to the Flower City Arts Center, where they could experience throwing pottery for a first time on a pottery wheel. The students then work with Mrs. Auer one-on-one in class throwing their own pottery pieces. 

"It's a great experience for the students," Mrs. Auer said.

Photos and info provided by Byron-Bergen High School.






February 1, 2018 - 11:20am
posted by Howard B. Owens in byron-bergen, sports, basketball, alexander, byron, bergen.

The Byron-Bergen Lady Bees came back from a sluggish first half to beat Alexander 55-53 in girls basketball Wednesday night.

VanValkenburg scored 22 points, with 17 in the second half, to lead B-B.

For Alexander, Macie Riggs scored 15 points.

January 20, 2018 - 1:41pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in elba, sports, basketball, byron-bergen.


Nicholas Conley, Earl Roth, and Charlie O’Geen, Elba's 2018 Hall of Fame inductees, were introduced during halftime at the Elba vs. Byron-Bergen basketball game Friday night.

The trio will be inducted tonight during a dinner at Batavia Downs.

Following the introduction, some of Elba's basketball alumni played a four-minute basketball game.

In the boys game, the Lancers beat the Bees 50-42.

For Elba, Colton Dillon scored 22 points, hitting four three-pointers, and Jonathan Boyce scored 14.

For Byron-Bergen, Cameron Shank scored 13. Joshua Hohn and Lucas Stucchio scored seven apiece.











January 19, 2018 - 12:10pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in basketball, sports, byron-bergen, elba.


Elba improved to 10-1 on the season with a decisive victory over Byron-Bergen in girls basketball by a score of 48-18.

The loss drops the Lady Bees to 7-4 and ends a seven-game winning streak.

Emily Reynolds scored 14 points for Elba. Leah Bezon added 13 and Brynn Walczak scored eight, with two three-pointers.

For B-B, Dana VanValkenburg scored six points.







January 19, 2018 - 11:10am
posted by Howard B. Owens in Sean Madden, byron-bergen, art, news, GO ART!.


An opening reception was held at GO Art! last night for a show by artist Sean Madden.

Madden's work is recognized throughout Western New York. He is a teacher at Byron-Bergen High School.

Madden's early influences were Ernst Fuchs and Salvador Dali. He as also influenced by the psychedelic-era work of Robert Crumb, Robert Williams, and S. Clay Wilson.

In the paintings on display, Madden mixes well-executed realism with surrealism and his wild imagination and love of color.

The show runs through March 2.




January 17, 2018 - 11:51am
posted by Howard B. Owens in byron-bergen, byron, bergen, sports, basketball.

Dana VanValkenburg hit five three-pointers to help lead Byron-Bergen to a 53-31 win over Lyndonville on Tuesday night. 

It was the seventh-straight win for the Lady Bees, who are now 7-3.

VanValkenburg finished with 23 points.

Julianna Amesbury scored 14.

Byron-Bergen hosts Elba on Thursday and then faces Le Roy and Notre Dame on the road next week.

December 29, 2017 - 9:59am
posted by Howard B. Owens in byron-bergen, sports, basketball, byron, bergen.


The Byron-Bergen Lady Bees beat Greece Odyssey on Thursday night to capture, for the second year in a row, the Sports Boosters Tournament championship.

The Bees came back from a 29-23 half-time deficit to win 56-48.  

After starting the season with three losses, Byron-Bergen has won five in a row.

On Thursday, Juliana Amesbury had 19 points, Kelsey Fuller 14 and Miriam Tardy with 12. Odyssey Shyasia McCullough had 16 points.

Byron-Bergen's Kelsey Fuller was named tournament MVP. The rest of the all-tournament team is Lydia Borrelli from Le Roy, Shyasia McCullough and Abby Wilson from Odyssey and Juliana Amesbury.

Information submitted by Kathryn Krzewinski. Photos by Tammy Fuller.








December 27, 2017 - 5:18pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in basketball, sports, Le Roy, byron-bergen, bergen, byron.


Byron-Bergen's Lady Bees beat Le Roy in a girls basketball game Tuesday night at Byron-Bergen, 58-34.

The two teams were tied at the half, but the Bees outscored the Knights in the third and fourth quarter, 21-11 and 16-2.

For Byron-Bergen, Kelsey Fuller scored 16 points, Miriam Tardy, 14, Juliana Amesburg, 12, and Emily Kaczmarek, 8.

For Le Roy, Erin Cappotelli had 12 points, Bryn Luckey, 7, and Ava Horgan, 6.







November 29, 2017 - 11:31am
posted by Howard B. Owens in byron-bergen, schools, education, news.


Press release:

Students at Byron-Bergen Elementary School gathered on Nov. 27 to honor the school’s Students of the Month and to learn about giving back and making a difference.

Guest speaker Holly Paramjit Sembhi, a 2014 Byron-Bergen graduate, joined in with her personal story of how one person, who was just like each of them, has found the power to help change the world.

Sembhi, now in her final year of working toward a bachelor’s degree in Biomedical Science from RIT, began her education and her love for helping people in kindergarten at Byron-Bergen Elementary. She currently works part time at Rochester General Hospital and plans to get her master’s degree as a Physician’s Assistant in Neurosurgery. She also volunteers with Global Brigades, a medical relief organization operating in Honduras.

She urged students to believe that they can each make the world more awesome, starting right now.

“It is exciting for me to come back to a place I love,” she said. “I hope that I can inspire these kids, to make them really want to help others. Maybe they will look back someday and remember this moment. I’d like to think that this might start them on their own paths to making the world a better place.”

The monthly Character Assembly also included musical numbers performed by talented students and staff members, and a discussion of what students can do in the community, from supporting homeless children and families to remembering our seniors and the elderly. Throughout the month of December, classes will participate in a range of service-learning projects that will have an impact our local and global communities.

The Students of the Month were: Peyton Alejandro, Jake Carlson, Tyler Chapman, Kendall Chase, Leah Cramer, Daniels Dawson, Robert Dix, Nixon-Riley Eichenberger, Chesney Fregoe, Harlow Galves, Lila Graff, Stella Hassett, Hunter Jarosinki, Carter Kuipers, James Lamb, Taylor Lundfelt, Amelia Meier, Parker Moore, Bradley Pocock, Colin Rea, Ava Smith, James Starowtiz, Travis Thomas, Mariah Williams and Rena Wilson.

Top photo: Principal Brian Meister congratulates one of the Students of the Month, kindergartener Nixon-Riley Eichenberger.


Visiting speaker Holly Paramjit Sembhi (2014 Byron-Bergen graduate) tells students that they don’t need to wait until they are older—every one of them can do awesome things right now.


November 11, 2017 - 9:15pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in byron-bergen, elba, sports, soccer.


Four second-half goals propelled the Byron-Bergen/Elba Bees boys soccer team into the state finals as they beat Lake Placid in the Class C semifinals today, 4-0.

The #1 ranked Bees play for the state championship tomorrow at 10:30 a.m. in Middleton.

Photos and the following write-up by Rob Swapceinski:

The Byron-Bergen/Elba Bees took on the Lake Placid Bombers for the NYS Class C Semi-Finals in Middletown, NY. The BB/Elba team got off to a strong start with multiple scoring opportunities in the first half.

The Bombers withstood the BB/Elba attackers and the first half remained deadlocked at 0-0. The BB/Elba team continued putting pressure on the Lake Placid defenders early in the second half. The Bees broke through the Bombers defense when Adam Swapceinski fed Kyle Foeller for the games first goal.

But Swapceinski didn’t stop there and, within minutes, scored two goals of his own. Late in the game, Wade Thompson beat multiple defenders before blasting a shot past the Lake Placid goalkeeper to put the Class C Semi-Final game out of reach. Bee’s goalkeeper, Brandon Kropf recorded his sixth shutout, in a row, in postseason play.

The Byron-Bergen/Elba Bees play for the Class C State Championship on Sunday, Nov. 12, at 10:30 a.m. in Middletown, NY.




November 6, 2017 - 10:11am
posted by Howard B. Owens in sports, soccer, byron-bergen, elba, news.


The Byron-Bergen/Elba boys soccer team is 19-1-1, ranked #1 in the state and on the verge of playing for a Class C state championship.

The captured a Section V title by beating Bishop Kearney in a second overtime period and then went on to win the Far West Regional title.

The Final Four begins at 1:30 p.m., Saturday in Middletown with B-B/Elba taking on Lake Placid. The finals will be played the following day in Middletown at 10:30 a.m.

Info and photos submitted by Robert Swapceinski.

Top photo: Celebration after the sectional title. Adam Swapceinski, Greyson Huntington, Wade Thompson, Adam Drake, Kylar Chambry and Kyle Foeller.


Captain Kylar Chambry, left, Captain Adam Swapceinski and Coach Ken Rogoyski.

November 5, 2017 - 11:12am
posted by Howard B. Owens in football, sports, byron-bergen, news.


Cal-Mum/Byron-Bergen beat East Rochester/Ganada yesterday 27-26 at Alfred Univerisity to take the Class C Section V championship.

It's the first championship for the Red Raiders since the two programs consolidated last year.

For the Red Raiders, Bryce Yockel gained 148 yards on 19 carries, scoring a TD. Anthony Maye was 7-13 passing for 104 yards and a TD and two interceptions. Robert Stevens had four catches for 98 yards and a TD. He also gained 51 yards on the ground on 11 carries. Joe Butler had 105 yards on kickoff returns, including one for a touchdown. Josh Platt had nine tackles and Konnor Smith added five.

Top photo: Robert Stevens hauls in a 35-yard pass and converts it into a touchdown (photo below).




Two photos above: Bryce Yockel breaks free and runs for a 95-yard touchdown for the first score of the game.


Joe Butler blocks a Bombers' point-after attempt.


QB Anthony Maye on a run.


Paul McDermott snags the leg on the Bomber's QB to disrupt a run play. McDermott did this on successive plays in the second half. He was named defensive player of the game.

To purchase prints of photos, click here.

November 1, 2017 - 9:42am
posted by Howard B. Owens in STOP-DWI, byron-bergen, schools, education, news.


Press release:

Byron-Bergen Jr./Sr. High School seventh-grader Zoey Shepard surpassed the competition and was named Grand Prize winner in Genesee County’s annual STOP-DWI Poster Contest. Her sister, eighth-grader Grace Shepard, took First Place in the category for grades 6-8, and classmate Kendall Phillips won Third Place honors in that same group.

All three designers will be recognized at the STOP-DWI Awards Luncheon on Nov. 28 at Terry Hills Restaurant and Banquet Facility in Batavia.

The contest is sponsored by the county’s STOP-DWI Advisory Board. This year’s theme was “You can hand over your keys or your life. Make the right choice.”

Zoey Shepard’s Grand-Prize-winning poster design will be applied to T-shirts and a prominent county billboard to help raise awareness for the dangers of drinking and driving.

When the competition was announced in September, Grace Shepard, a 2016 STOP-DWI contest winner, enthusiastically promoted it to the other girls. All three designed their entries on their own time, outside of class. Art teacher Sandy Auer worked with them, guiding their discussions about what makes a great design.

“They were very serious about creating good compositions with compelling imagery and readability,” Auer said. “All three have a passion for art that is awesome to see. I really enjoy teaching them.”

Photo: Byron-Bergen Jr./Sr. High School’s STOP-DWI award-winners (l-r) Kendall Phillips, Grace Shepard and Zoey Shepard.

October 29, 2017 - 9:01am
posted by Howard B. Owens in byron-bergen, Le Roy, football, sports.


Le Roy dominated archrival Cal-Mum/Byron-Bergen in Saturday's Class C semifinal except in the one stat that mattered: Final score.

Despite holding onto the ball longer, for more plays and more yards total offense, the Oatkan Knights ended their season with a 16-7.

Cal-Mum/BB advances to the championship game against East Rochester/Gananda next Saturday at 3 p.m.

Kyler LaCarte wrapped up his season with 27 carries for 112 yards and a TD. Jake Hill was 8-18 passing for 111 yards. Reece Tresco had three catches for 63 yards. Cole Biggins, three catches for 42 yards. T.Y. Williams led the defense with five tackles.

Photos by George Henry. Top photo, Luke Stella.







September 22, 2017 - 8:16am
posted by Howard B. Owens in byron-bergen, schools, education, news.

A plan for upgrades and renovations at the Byron-Bergen schools that lost by only six votes in March was approved by a wide margin in a districtwide vote yesterday, with 338 citizens voting yes to 112 no votes.

The $18.4 million project is very similar to the $20 million capital improvement project voters rejected March 31. The new plan eliminates some parking lot work at the bus garage and some work in the elementary school gymnasium, Superintendent Mickey Edwards said.

Edwards said the plan will not increase local taxes.

The capital improvement project involves district-wide energy savings, which include installing energy-efficient lighting and improving/replacing heat, boiler, HVAC, and dehumidification systems, along with other improvements.

September 21, 2017 - 3:29pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in schools, education, news, Pavilion, batavia, bergen, byron-bergen.

Press release:

State Senator Michael H. Ranzenhofer today has announced $167,000 in state funding for student programs throughout Genesee County.  

“As a State Senator, I am committed to delivering state dollars to ensure our students are successful inside and outside the classroom,” Ranzenhofer said. “As another academic year begins, this funding will help to support existing tools and create new tools for students across Genesee County. Each one of these programs will help to develop student achievement in high school and beyond.”

School districts and organizations receiving funding are as follows:

Byron-Bergen School District: $85,000 to Expand Existing STEM Program
The funding will be used to further develop the District’s Inquiry-Based STEM Program to include a STEM Robotics and Programming Career Exploration Lab. The program utilizes engineering, robotics and coding to develop solutions to real-world science problems and exposes students to skills and careers in the STEM fields.

“It is projected that 65% of today’s students will be employed in jobs that don’t yet exist, and STEM programs will help our youth to become future innovative creators of programs, apps and inventions,” said Byron-Bergen Superintendent Mickey Edwards. “On behalf of the children of Byron-Bergen Central School District, I am overjoyed to express our thanks to Senator Ranzenhofer for obtaining state funding to expand our STEM program.” 

Pavilion Central School District: $55,000 for a New Ag Education Program
The funding will be used to purchase equipment and supplies for a new Ag education program being offered to students for the first time this academic year. The program consists of classroom instruction, supervised work experiences, and integrated student leadership development activities through FFA.

“The Pavilion Central School District and Board of Education deeply appreciate Senator Ranzenhofer's strong support of our Ag program. This state-of-the-art program will benefit Pavilion students in many areas of college and career readiness,” said Pavilion Superintendent Kenneth Ellison. 

Agriculture and its related industries are the number one economic driver for Genesee County and New York State.

Genesee County Youth Bureau: $17,000 for Afterschool Programs
The funding will be used to support programs throughout the county to provide safe, structured and healthy afterschool programming for youth.

“The Youth Bureau’s main mission is to support programs in Genesee County for the betterment of our children, youth, and families. We appreciate the additional funds to help us achieve our goals,” said Genesee-Orleans & City of Batavia Youth Bureaus Executive Director Jocelyn Sikorski. 

Learning Center at Gillam-Grant: $10,000 to Support Afterschool Enrichment Programs
The funding will be used to support tutoring services, afterschool homework help, and educational enhancement classes for students in kindergarten through 12th grade.

“With the support of Senator Ranzenhofer, there are so many benefits for students at the Learning Center. Students can get involved in new interests– art, computer classes, robotics– and receive additional support to help them excel in their studies,” said Gillam-Grant Community Center Executive Director Peggy Swapceinski. 

The Learning Center at Gillam-Grant is the first nonprofit tutoring center in Genesee County. Services are available to students in area school districts in Genesee and Monroe counties.

August 22, 2017 - 9:58am
posted by Howard B. Owens in byron-bergen, sports, track and field.


Press release:

Byron-Bergen Jr./Sr. High School sophomore Siomara Caballero travelled to Toronto in July to compete with more than 5,000 other young athletes from across the United States and Canada at the North American Indigenous Games (NAIG). As part of Team New York, a group of girls and boys representing the state’s Haudensaunee Confederacy, Caballero won Bronze medals in the 1200m, 2000m and the 3K cross-country races in her age group. She took the Silver Medal in the 800m race. Her team collected a total of 13 medals throughout the games.

The NAIG is the largest sporting and cultural gathering of indigenous peoples in North America. It hosts 14 sport competitions, including track and field, lacrosse, archery, baseball, basketball, and soccer, in a variety of world-class venues during the week. It is also a celebration of a rich cultural heritage, featuring indigenous artists, music, foods, and history.

“It felt good to be a part of a movement that is trying to increase awareness for indigenous youth in sports,” Caballero said. “I felt that I learned more about my family's history and culture. I enjoyed getting to know the other kids on my team, and representing the Haudensaunee people.” (Haudensaunee tribes include the Mohawk, Oneida, Onondaga, Cayuga and Seneca.)

Caballero is an enrolled member of the Seneca Nation of Indians, Wolf Clan. She became interested in NAIG in 2014, and qualified for the team in 2016.

“I put in a lot of time preparing for the games and I feel that my hard work payed off,” she said.

At Byron-Bergen, she runs varsity cross-country in the fall, plays JV basketball in the winter, and participates in varsity track and field in the spring. She has been a Genesee Region All-Star in XC and track and field for the past two years.

“My favorite memory from the games was trading pins with other athletes,” she said. “We all started with a set of team pins designed to represent the areas and tribes we were from, and we traded throughout the week. I was able to collect pins from kids from all over the U.S. and Canada. It was a great way to interact with people that I might not have otherwise spoken to. I had a lot of fun!”

She looks forward to a busy year at Byron-Bergen, with athletics and a full academic schedule. She is taking classes at Genesee Community College as part of the STEM accelerated degree program, and is in several clubs, including PageTurners, Spanish Club, and Math League.

“After I graduate from high school,” she said, “I would like to major in math or science in college. I want to be a role model for my younger sister and brother, so they can know that anything is possible with hard work.”

She hopes that her sister will join her at the next NAIG in 2020.

“I would like to thank my parents and family for their support and for spending the week in Toronto cheering me on,” she said.

August 8, 2017 - 10:19am
posted by Howard B. Owens in byron-bergen, schools, education, news.

Press release:

On Sept. 21, the Byron-Bergen Central School District is bringing a capital project proposal to vote. It will enable the district to maintain facility and program standards that are vital for providing students with a meaningful and safe educational experience. The $18.4 million project will be paid for with building state aid, energy savings, and capital reserve funds. There will be no additional increase in local taxes.

“We have carefully examined a recently completed Building Condition Survey,” said BBCSD Superintendent Mickey Edwards. “There is a pressing need to update and refurbish building roofs, dehumidification system, windows, lights, and fire alarm systems, and make other safety improvements. Our elementary school has not seen major updates or renovations since opening in 1969. Some of our classroom space does not meet current state guidelines, and restrooms are not American with Disabilities Act (ADA) compliant.”

“We are very happy to report that this project will be able to utilize State Capital Aid, accounting for almost 86 percent of the costs. The remainder will be paid for with existing district Capital Reserve funds and projected energy savings. As a result, there will be no increase for our taxpayers.”

Pending voter approval, the project is slated to begin during the summer of 2018.

Voters are invited to attend one of the informational meetings scheduled for Aug. 17 and Sept. 7. Both meetings will be held in the elementary school cafetorium at 6 p.m. The final vote is from noon to 9 p.m. Sept. 21 in the elementary school cafetorium, located at 6971 W. Bergen Road, Bergen.

For more information, visit the district website at


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