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May 21, 2015 - 4:06pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in Batavia Kiwanis Club, batavia, Batavia HS, schools, education.


The Kiwanis Club of Batavia honored the Top 10 students at their weekly lunch today.

In addition to the Top 10 honorees, Bryce Rogers received the Outstanding Citizenship Award, and Music awards were given to Chelsea Mountain, Mason Battaglia and Lauren Dunn.

Here's bio information on each of the Top 10 students:

Samir Jain is the son of Dr. Lalit and Abha Jain of Batavia. Samir will be attending Cornell University at the School of Industrial and Labor Relations. Samir is one of 25 seniors out of 20,000 in Western New York to be recognized with First Team honors on Business First’s 2015 All-Western New York Academic Team. He is captain of the varsity soccer and tennis teams, a member of the champion scholastic bowl and math teams, and an attorney for the regional-finalist mock trial team. Samir participates in community service as a volunteer for Hugh O’Brian Youth Leadership.

Katie Kesler is the daughter of Paul and Jana Kesler of Batavia. Katie will be attending Boston University in the fall to major in both Behavior and Health and Hispanic Language and Literature. She plans to attend graduate school to become an occupational therapist. Katie has been involved in Mr. Batavia, mock trial, student government, National Honor Society, Youth Court and jazz band. She was a scholar athlete on the varsity soccer team. She attends Grace Baptist Church where she helps out in the nursery and in a preschool class. Katie especially enjoys volunteering at YMCA Challenger Sports.

Dylan Beckman is the son of Anthony and Jolene Beckman. He is attending the University of Rochester with an intended major of Optical Engineering. He plans to get some experience in the field, and then return to school to obtain a graduate degree in the field and eventually become an Optical Engineer at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Labs. Dylan is vice president of his class, he is a member of National Honor Society, Science Olympiad, Link Crew, mock trial, and participated in this year’s Mr. Batavia Pageant, securing third place.

Brandon Smart is the son of Doug and Bernadette Smart of Batavia. Brandon received the Dean’s Scholarship to the University of Rochester and will be majoring in computer science to one day become a researcher on the quantum computer team at Google. He is a member of National Honor Society, treasurer of the senior class, regional finalist in the 2015 Science Olympiad competition and seven-year veteran of the championship math team.

Andrew Maniace is the son of Rick and Kathy Maniace of Batavia. Andrew received the Rensselaer Medal Scholarship, and will be attending Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute in Troy in the fall majoring in nuclear engineering. He is in National Honor Society, math team, Science Olympiad, a contributor to "Blue Canon," and was a contestant in Mr. Batavia. Andrew has been a three-season scholar athlete on varsity cross-country, indoor and outdoor track teams for the last four years.

Bryce Rogers is the son of Paula and Durin Rogers. Bryce will attend American University participating in their prestigious Scholars Program having received the Dean’s Scholarship. Bryce intends to dual-major in International Relations and Economics while concentrating in Foreign Policy and National Security. At BHS, Bryce is an active member of the mock trial team, National Honor Society, is the managing editor of BHS’ Literary Magazine, and band president. Bryce is active in his community serving on the Genesee County Youth Court and the County Youth Board as secretary. Bryce is also the AmeriCorps Program coordinator for the Batavia Summer Recreation program.

Emily DiBacco is the daughter of Michael and Mary Beth DiBacco of Batavia. Emily is president of National Honor Society, Student Ex-Officio to the Board of Education, an editor for the "Blue Canon" literary magazine, a Link Crew leader, and a committee head for the Mr. Batavia Pageant. She has also been a scholar athlete on the varsity swimming and diving team, as well as a member of the Board of Education’s Code of Conduct Committee. Emily will be attending the University of Pittsburgh with a double major in Business Administration and English, to pursue a career in publishing.

Rebecca Canale is the daughter of John and Cindy Canale of Batavia. Rebecca will be attending the University of Rochester in the fall majoring in Biology with a minor in Business in hopes of attending medical school to become a pediatrician. She is very involved in the school community, participating in varsity soccer, indoor and outdoor track, mock trial, student government, Tri-M Honor Society, National Honor Society, National Technical Honor Society, beauty shop quartet, chorus, Link Crew, and Mr. Batavia. Rebecca also participated in the Roswell Park Summer Research Program as an intern in the Cell Stress Biology department.

Brooke Leddon is the daughter of Shane and Crystal Leddon of Batavia. Brooke is attending SUNY Brockport and majoring in Political Science with a double minor in International Relations and pre-Law. Brooke has been a part of the varsity swimming and diving team since she was in seventh grade.  She has been the team captain for the past two years.  Brooke plans on continuing her diving career at Brockport in the fall.

Kristyn Mott is the daughter of Amy and Jamie Mott.  Kristyn received the Dean’s Scholarship along with the Horizon Scholarship and will be attending Ringling College of Art and Design in Sarasota, Florida. She will be majoring in business of Art and Design. She plans to work in the advertising and marketing community. Kristyn was a three-season scholar athlete for varsity soccer and indoor and outdoor track. She plans to continue pole vaulting with different local clubs while in college.

May 20, 2015 - 3:57pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in schools, education, St. Joe's, batavia.


Info and photo submitted by Lauren Humphrey.

St. Joseph Catholic School students walked to meet sponsor pledges they raised in an effort to promote exercise and supplement funding for technology improvements.  The students have raised more than $3,000 to date and are still accepting donations. Visit our Web site,  if you would like to make a donation online!

May 20, 2015 - 10:20am
posted by Howard B. Owens in oakfield-alabama, schools, education.

Results from Tuesday's school budget vote for the Oakfield-Alabama Central School District:

Proposition #1:  School Budget   Yes 205, No 43
Proposition #2:  Acquisition of School Buses and Related Equipment    Yes 194, No 41  
May 20, 2015 - 10:16am
posted by Howard B. Owens in City Schools, batavia, schools, education.

Results from Tuesday's vote in the Batavia City School District vote:

I.  Budget - $43,108,373 (increase of $122,011 or 0.28%: $0.00 increase in tax levy)
   Yes   - 426 (85.03%)
   No    - 75  (14.97%)

II.  Capital Reserve - $7,500,000, ten years
   Yes -  391  (81.12%)
   No -    91   (18.88%)

III.  Transportation Mileage Change - Grades 2-4 > 0.50 miles and Grades 9-12 >1.50 miles within the city limits (all outside city limits are eligible already)
  Yes -  405  (83.16%)
  No -   82   (16.84%)

May 19, 2015 - 6:00am
posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia, schools, education, City Schools.

It's budget vote day in the Batavia City School District.

Polls open at 7 a.m. and close at 9 p.m.

Besides the proposed 2015-16 budget, residents are asked to vote on establishing a capital reserve fund, a mileage change in transportation, and three board of education seats.

A summary of the public proposal is available on the district Web site, as well as all the budget documents.

If you live north of Route 5/Main Street, vote at Robert Morris. If you live south of Route 5/Main Street, vote at Batavia High School.

May 18, 2015 - 12:52pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in schools, education, byron-bergen.


Press release:

The Byron-Bergen Central School District’s emphasis on educating the whole student recently earned it a place on’s annual list of State Schools and Districts of Character. These 80 schools and four districts from around the United States demonstrate a dedicated focus on character development that has a true positive impact on academic achievement, student behavior, and school climate.

“This is a great honor for everyone in our district — from the students and parents to the teachers and administrators. They have all been united in their efforts to make our schools places where students can learn to be both intelligent and good citizens,” said BBCSD Superintendent Casey Kosiorek. “I am so proud to see our school community recognized for their dedication and hard work.”

BBCSD adopted a district-wide framework for character education in 2012 that teaches students about leadership, ethics, decision making, and respect. It centered on the district’s core values, "Challenge, Engage, Nurture." The Olweus Bullying Prevention Program ( has since become an integral part of the education experience at all grade levels. “The Leader in Me” (, a whole-school transformational model that uses Steven Covey’s Seven Habits and gives students self-confidence and life skills, was also adopted in 2012.

The extensive School of Character application process was navigated by Amanda Cook and Patrick McGee, assistant principals at the elementary and Jr./Sr. high schools. “The process offered us the chance to reflect on our character education initiatives and identify areas of strength as well as opportunity,” Cook said. “Their reviewers gave us feedback that will help us strengthen current practices using the 11 Principles of Character Education framed by”

The character education movement is a proactive effort to help students recognize, and then do, what’s right. In schools of character, teachers work together as professionals, with parents and community members as partners. They positively shape the social, emotional, and character development of their students. Children in these schools feel safe, respected, and connected to those around them, allowing them to thrive academically and socially and be motivated to give back to their communities. (, is a national nonprofit based in Washington, D.C., that works with schools to inspire, educate, and empower young people to be ethical and engaged citizens.

Caption: Character education is built into daily life at all grade levels at Byron-Bergen Schools. (l-r) Students Clare Fraser and Grace Pulcini; assistant principals Patrick McGee and Amanda Cook; students Pearl Jolliff and Rayna Brew.

May 18, 2015 - 9:56am
posted by Howard B. Owens in GCC, schools, education.


Genesee Community College held is 47th commencement ceremony Sunday in the Anthony Zambito Gymnasium.

Kristin Skarie, a Fairport resident and author of “A Year of Nothing New—Tools for Living Lean and Green,” was the keynote speaker.

Le Roy's Bob Bennett was honored for his years of dedicated service to the college.











May 17, 2015 - 2:47pm
posted by Billie Owens in education, Announcements.

Press release:

International Experience -- USA (iE-USA), a high school student exchange organization, announced that it plans to welcome a record number of students to U.S. communities in the Fall, mirroring a national trend. According to CSIET (Council on Standards for International Education Travel), 200,000+ exchange students are expected this year.

As the leading English-speaking host country of foreign exchange students, our nation as a whole has seen an increase in high school exchange participants of about 13 percent in the past decade (CSIET 2013; 2014). This upward trend is expected to continue as a growing number of international students seek both English fluency and cultural competency to prepare for the increasingly global marketplace.

When U.S. communities engage with a growing number of international students, local schools and families benefit from the cultural interactions they inherently provide.

"Every year our state plays host to many talented, top-of-their-class students with the lifelong dream of studying in America," says Emily Rolin, iE-USA's regional director, “and our communities reap the rewards.”

Rolin, who boasts 10 years of work in student exchange, says that each student who visits her community brings with them a unique perspective.

“We have the opportunity to see through their eyes: to explore another culture not through travel, but through relationships,” she said.

Though many high schools once viewed exchange participants as “extra” students requiring the attention of teachers and staff, the popular opinion among administrators is shifting to favor exchange student enrollment as a natural way to integrate differing worldviews into the classroom. The U.S. Department of Education has stressed the importance of building the global competencies of U.S. students to make them internationally competitive, and many believe that welcoming exchange students into the high school setting can help toward that end.

“As a principal, I truly appreciate the opportunity to host foreign exchange students on a yearly basis,” says Principal Kevin O’Neill of Vicksburg, Mich. “The infusion of a variety of cultures into our high school has been an invaluable experience for our students.”

Families who host an exchange student often benefit on a more personal level, forming family ties that last far beyond the boundaries of the exchange. Hosting an international student offers these local families a realistic way to explore a new culture right at home.

“My wife and I wanted to travel the world, but we both worked full time, so we brought the world to us!” remembers Dave Long, a retired Vietnam veteran who has been hosting exchange students since 1982.

“Our family has been blessed in so many ways by student exchange,” says Sara Lee, whose family has hosted 3 iE-USA students in the past five years. “We consider our students to be a part of our extended ‘international’ family!' ”

The Lees recently returned from Colombia, where they visited their previous exchange students’ families and toured the local countryside.

iE-USA’s exchange student participants are between the ages of 15-18 and come from many countries including Germany, Spain, Italy, Switzerland, Thailand, Montenegro, and Argentina. Each student undergoes an extensive application process and is responsible for his/her own spending money and health insurance coverage. A list of current students can be found online at <>

Host families (traditional families, singles, empty nesters, etc.) provide a supportive home base for their student for a semester or full academic year. Visiting students participate as active members of the family, integrating into their daily routines and traditions just like any other family member.

iE-USA is a non-profit 501(c)3 organization dedicated to promoting education and understanding through intercultural and academic exchange. iE-USA is certified by the Council on Standards for International Educational Travel (CSIET) and strictly adheres to all U.S. Department of State Student Exchange Program regulations and guidelines.

To learn more about how you can experience and support cultural exchange in your own home, contact iE-USA representative, Joe Bissell-Maynard at [email protected], (517) 455-7518.

May 15, 2015 - 1:54pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in byron-bergen, Casey Kosiorek, schools, education.


Casey Kosiorek, third from left, superintendent of schools for Byron-Bergen, was honored last night in Rochester by the Genesee Valley ASCD with a Supervision Award.

The award recognizes Kosiorek's outstanding leadership of the school district from an organization with a mission to highlight exceptional curriculum and supervision practices.

Also honored were J. Kenneth Graham Jr., of Rush-Henrietta, Renee Williams, of Honeoye Falls-Lima, with a Curriculum Award, and Mark Kokanovich, president of the Brighton Board of Education, with a Service Award.

May 14, 2015 - 6:13pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in landmark society, batavia, schools, education, art.


All of the entries in the Landmark Society's annual architectural drawing contest have all been hung in the children's room at the Richmond Memorial Library.

Local artist Brandi Bruggman is the contest judge this year. There will be winners announced in a ceremony at the library Tuesday night for first, second and third place, along with 20 honorable mentions.

Five schools are participating this year: John Kennedy, Pavilion, Oakfield-Alabama, Elba, and Byron-Bergen. Every year, the fourth-grade students from each school in the county are invited to submit entries.

Landmark Society Board Member Barb Miller is coordinating the contest with Elba Art teacher Stephanie Rudman and B-B Art teacher Melissa Condidorio.
May 14, 2015 - 6:06pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in Batavia Middle School, batavia, schools, education, Girls on the Run.


Molly Barker, who founded Girls on the Run in 1996 in her hometown of Charlotte, N.C., visited Batavia Middle School today to meet with the local members of the after-school girls activity and charity group.  

The girls won the visit after beating out 87 other schools in a contest to collect the most donated used shoes for people in need.



May 13, 2015 - 8:20am
posted by Howard B. Owens in schools, education, St. Joe's.


Submitted by Lauren Humphrey:

St. Joseph Catholic School student Kate Ricupito has been named a “State Grand-Level Winner” in this year’s Zaner-Bloser National Handwriting Contest! Approximately 300,000 entries were submitted and Kate’s submission will now advance to the Grand National Championship. Kate was awarded an engraved Zaner-Bloser State Winner Medallion. Her teacher, Mrs. Clattenburg, was awarded an engraved Glass Diamond Award, and the school has been recognized with a $200 Zaner-Bloser gift certificate!

Now in its 24th year, the National Handwriting Contest is an annual event sponsored by Zaner-Bloser to promote legible handwriting. The contest is free to enter and open to all students in Grades K–8. Students can win many great prizes, including cash and trophies. Zaner-Bloser estimates that more than 4 million students have participated in the contest over its 23-year history.

Pictured, from left: Mrs. Mary Zehler, Kate Ricupito, Mrs. Marianne Clattenburg and Mrs. Karen Green. (Photo credit: Mrs. Barbara Paserk)

May 12, 2015 - 3:05pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in Notre Dame, schools, education, batavia.


Press release:

mr._wade_bianco_0.jpgJohn Borrelli, Board of Trustees president, announced that Mr. Wade Bianco has been named the new principal of Notre Dame High School of Batavia effective July 1, 2015. After an extensive search process that included several committees of highly respected faculty, administration, staff, students, parents, board members and community members; three rounds of highly qualified candidate interviews, Mr. Wade Bianco emerged as the overwhelming choice to lead Notre Dame High School.

“We are excited to welcome Wade to our administrative team. His experience in education is extensive and includes instructional leadership at the high school level. He comes with a wealth of knowledge not only in academics, but also in co-curricular activities and athletics,” Borrelli stated. “Wade is a creative and effective communicator and listener and is a very insightful and knowledgeable leader. His high expectations and genuine caring for students, staff, and families will serve the Notre Dame community well,” added Borrelli.

Mr. Bianco demonstrated the attributes the Notre Dame High School family sought for its Catholic co-educational school including outstanding leadership abilities with a dedication to the concept and practice of positive school culture and core values. His understanding of the value parents as partners bring to the educational experience, expertise as an instructional leader and deep understanding of the current standards and assessment processes made him the clear choice for the position.

Wade is replacing long-time, beloved Principal Dr. Joe Scanlan, who is retiring at the end of this school year after 43 years in education, which includes 15 years at Byron-Bergen, 17 years at York and the last 11 years serving at his alma mater as principal of Notre Dame High School.

Opportunities for faculty, staff, parents and members of the community to meet and welcome Mr. Wade Bianco to the Notre Dame family will be announced in the near future. 

May 7, 2015 - 1:54pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in St. Joe's, st. joseph school, schools, education.


With their robot "Big Mistake," the robotics team at St. Joseph Catholic School took home a championship trophy at the VEX IQ Robotics Highrise Funfest, held Saturday at the Buffalo & Erie County Public Library. St. Joe's recently integrated a robotics program into its curriculum for eigth-grade students. Teams from throughout WNY participated in the competition. "Big Mistake" also won the Design Award for being able to move multiple cubes at once. Photo: Maya Rademacker, Matthew Stevens and Paige Johnston.

Photo and info submitted by Lauren Humphrey.

May 6, 2015 - 7:20pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in Batavia Middle School, Girls on the Run, schools, education.


Students at Batavia Middle School beat out 87 schools in a shoe drive as part of the Girls on the Run program.

The girls collected 1,220 donated pairs of shoes.

As a result of the big win, Molly Barker, founder of Girls on the Run, will visit Batavia Middle School at a future date.

"We wanted to put a thank you out there to the community for all of their support," said teacher Sarah Gahagan. "We had over 90 Batavia families donate to this cause. Just goes to show how when a community pitches in great things can happen."

Photos and info submitted by Sarah Gahagan.


May 2, 2015 - 12:39am
posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia, John Kennedy School, schools, education.

Principal Paul Kesler is a man of his word. 

The die-hard Red Sox fan promised the students of John Kennedy School that if they met their fundraising goal to benefit the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society, he would don Yankees garb, get on the roof of the school and sing "Let it Go."

In the "Pennies from Parents" program, the students raised $1,619.89.

On Friday, Kesler followed through on his promise, much to the delight of the JK students.

April 26, 2015 - 12:42pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia, GCC, schools, education, fashion show.

GCC hosted its 34th Annual Fashion Show Saturday. These photos are from the 3 p.m. show.

To purchase prints, click here

April 24, 2015 - 4:29pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in schools, education, pembroke, Pembroke Central School District.

Press release:

Pembroke High School has made The Washington Post’s America’s Most Challenging High School List, published online this past Sunday.

Unlike Business First’s rankings, which consider a variety of factors in determining Western New York’s top schools, The Washington Post publishes a list of their top schools based on one factor, healthy Advanced Placement participation. If the number of students taking Advanced Placement tests is greater than the number of graduating seniors, the school makes the list.

Pembroke High School was able to meet the challenge by having 86 test takers last May with graduation for 67 seniors, an accomplishment that places Pembroke in the top 10 percent of all 22,000 high schools across America.

“We continue to embrace high expectations, and we do not shy away from challenging our students to the fullest,” stated Superintendent Matt Calderón. “We believe Pembroke students are fully capable to meet increased rigor in a variety of areas, and we are fortunate to have strong partnerships with parents and a community that also embraces that vision.

"When the NYS Commissioner of Education visited our District, it was our students that told him they wanted more rigorous and demanding coursework because they want to be prepared for life beyond high school; and they know the AP curriculum will give them a good taste of what their future holds in regard to college-level courses and career expectations.”

Ten years ago, Pembroke offered only two AP courses, Biology and Calculus AB, taken advantage of by 17 students. Now Pembroke offers AP English Literature, Psychology, Studio Art, U.S. History, World History, and Environmental Science. Music History and Physics were added for 2014-15 with a handful of students taking AP Computer Science through an online grant. For students who perform well on the AP exams, many colleges and universities offer college credit.

“No doubt, it is a lot of hard work but very rewarding when filling out that college application and vying for your school of choice. It can also be rewarding when entering college with 18 credits under your belt. That $546 investment translates to about $10,000 in savings at many of the colleges our students typically attend,” reported senior high school counselor and AP coordinator Toby Beahan.

According to high school Principal Keith Palmer, “If students want to challenge themselves, we try to provide the opportunities. We regularly work on developing an expectation with our students that a demanding and rigorous course load will be the best route in preparing for both college and career, especially during one’s senior year. And fortunately, we have talented teachers that are able to meet the challenge.”

Add to the mix student course-interest surveys, weighted grading for students who take on the challenge, recognition for students who score well, quality training for teachers, and you end up with healthy student participation in a quality AP program.

For more information about The Washington Post’s best high schools, visit

April 24, 2015 - 9:58am
posted by Howard B. Owens in arts, music, entertainment, schools, education, Notre Dame.

Notre Dame High School hosted its annual spring concert at the school Thursday night with jazz ensemble and concert choir performing such pieces as the "Overture of the Magic Flute," highlights from "Harry Potter," Disney movie tunes and a portion of Pachelbel's "Canon in D." Theresa Kehl is conductor of both the ensemble and the choir.

April 23, 2015 - 5:03pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia, Batavia Middle School, schools, education, Girls on the Run.

Girls on the Run, a group of students at Batavia Middle School, are holding a shoe drive as one of their charitable projects in the community. 

Teacher Sarah Gahagan, along with a friend, introduced Girls on the Run to the middle school and is looking to spread the word about the program. They're looking for a community project that the girls can take on.

"This is solely based on what the girls want to do in order for them to feel a sense of ownership and empowerment as they work toward their goal," Gahagan said.

The 12-week program culminates in a 5K in Buffalo.

"The girls set running goals every week in order to gear up for the final event," Gahagan said. "Each girl will cross the finish line with one of their coaches, a parent or a running buddy that they have asked to run with them from the school."

Gahagan described the program as a physical-activity-based youth-development program designed to inspire girls in the sixth, seventh and eighth grades to be joyful, healthy and confident.

In the photo, starting with the front row on the left: Sarah Gahagan, Breeann Wilcox, Juliana Branche, Tiffany Brown, Courtney Lougheed, Aliza Green, Riley Macdonough, Destiny Griffin, Andrea Merchant, Meghan Houseknect, Madison Dedman and Lindsey Mathis.




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