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June 8, 2020 - 1:58pm

rosschuagwmea.pngGenesee Wyoming Music Educators Association honors its 1016 John Mikalski scholarship winner, Ross Chua, a graduate of Batavia High School.

Chua has earned a bachelor's degree in Music Composition from Syracuse University and is working on his master's degree in Audio Sound. 

His primary instrument is voice. Secondary instruments are trumpet, piano and guitar.

When asked for his favorite high school/college music memory he responded: I have come to know such a vast array of humans throughout my time both in Batavia and Syracuse, and I am blessed to have spent time with so many wonderful friends and colleagues. One of my favorite musical experiences was my first tour with SU's university singers. Setnor School of Music has a wonderful choral program full of amazing and dedicated vocalists, and singers have always been a particularly enriching experience for me. In the fall of my sophomore year, the first semester I joined, we went to perform for the National Collegiate Choral Organization (NCCO) conference in New Orleans, Louisiana. It was incredibly exciting to tour the city and take in the rich musical culture of the area, and this was made even better by being able to share the experience with some of my closest friends. Perhaps the most impactful part of the trip, though, was our final performance at the conference. We had prepared some intense repertoire, including Francis Poulenc's "Sept Chansons," ("Seven Songs") which was especially difficult. As mentioned, though, the work ethic of the choir was palpable, and the culmination of our work performing for the NCCO is something that still fills me with immense pride. It was a powerful reminder of how satisfying singing can be, especially when: a. You challenge yourself and work to meet that challenge; and b.You collaborate with people you respect and admire.

When asked what ensembles/ performance opportunities do you aspire to be a part of: I've participated in several choirs while in college and was music director of my tenor/bass a cappella group, orange appeal. I'd like to continue being involved with vocal groups because there's something magical about creating music using nothing but what God gave you.

Where is your favorite performance venue you have performed at?: Last fall, I brought my a cappella group orange appeal to Batavia to sing at Richmond Memorial Library. It was really fun to have my college life and my home life cross paths.

Who are your main musical influences and/or role models? Andrew Huang is a producer/YouTuber who has an insanely massive body of work, both in variety and sheer quantity of releases. He also has been a part of many collaborations, small scale and large scale, with other musicians and YouTubers. I aspire to have his commitment on his mission statement, which is simply "make music everywhere."

What is your ultimate music goal or music dream? My favorite aspect of music is the way it naturally vitalizes a community experience. I am constantly seeking opportunities to connect with people, and often those overlap with musical opportunities. I'd like to continue collaborating with other musicians as much as possible, and the career paths I think are most conducive to that are working at a recording studio and managing a performance venue. Both career paths seem like promising sources of social interaction!

Do you have any music side projects that you enjoy? I try to create regular content for my Instagram (@ross_chua) and my YouTube channel (Ross Chua music). Be sure to follow if you're interested in seeing my content!

June 6, 2020 - 3:32pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in livestream, video, news, Notre Dame, schools, education.
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Notre Dame High School will honor its Class of 2020 graduates today in a socially distanced ceremony on its football field.

The school asked me to livestream it for them and, although I've never livestreamed an event remotely before, I'm giving it a try.

June 6, 2020 - 3:07pm
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Teachers at Batavia Middle School volunteered to hand deliver end-of-the-year academic awards to their fifth-, sixth-, and seventh-grade students.

May 10, 2020 - 7:05pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in schools, education, news, covid-19, coronavirus.
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More than three weeks ago, I asked a few of our local school districts to shoot their own videos about their cafeteria workers and to send me the clips to put together in a single video. For various reasons, it's taken me some time to complete but here it is.

May 6, 2020 - 12:12pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in Batavia HS, batavia, news, music, arts, education, schools.

Lydia Geiger is the second winner of a 2020 John Mikulski Scholarship announced by the Genesee Wyoming Music Educators Association. 

Geiger is a senior at Batavia High School. Her primary interest is flute.

Press release:

When asked what her greatest HS memory was Lydia responded: 
College visits and auditions, masterclasses, lessons, and playing in orchestras.

Lydia's goal is to become a music educator and performer.

When asked what her favorite performance venue she had performed at she responded: 
The Musical Arts Center at The Jacobs School of Music in 2018 with the Indiana University Summer Music Clinic Orchestra. We performed Tchaikovsky Symphony No. 5.

Lydia's main influences are her music teachers.

Lydia is undecided as to where she will be attending school for Music however she has these amazing colleges to choose from: 
Schulich School of Music at McGill University, Ithaca College, Baldwin Wallace Conservatory, or SUNY Potsdam.

Lydia is very excited to be performing at the Wiener Musikverein in Vienna, Austria with the Honors Performance Series in 2021.

May 5, 2020 - 11:17am
posted by Howard B. Owens in St. Joe's School, news, batavia, schools, education.

Students at St. Joseph Regional School helped produced this video for their teachers as part of Teacher Appreciation Week. 

May 1, 2020 - 5:29pm

Alexander High School senior Lowell Chamberlain is John Mikulski Scholarship winner, presented by the Genesee Wyoming Music Educators Association.

His primary instrument is guitar. He also plays tenor sax, trombone and bass guitar.

Press release:

WHEN ASKED WHAT HIS GREATEST HS MUSICAL MEMORY IS, LOWELL RESPONDED:

"Being a part of the Alexander Jazz Experience was not only the most wholesome and fulfilling introduction to Jazz, but it also left me with a gratitude and sense of preparedness for performing in ensembles."

Lowell's goal is to work in the music industry as a composer/arranger, and songwriter. He currently enjoys spending time composing and producing using Abelton Live.

WHEN ASKED WHAT HIS FAVORITE PERFORMANCE AND VENUE WAS HE RESPONDED:

"The Riviera Theater in Buffalo in 2017 for the Music is Arts Festival with the Alexander Jazz Experience. We played a combination of jazz standards such as Cold Duck Time and St. Thomas as well as some Funk/Fusion jams such as Chameleon and Watermelon Man."

Lowell's main influences are: His teacher Dan Klinczar, Michael League of Snarky Puppy, John Coltrane, Miles Davis, and Stephen Sondheim.

Lowell will be attending SUNY Purchase in the fall where he will be studying Studio Composition! We wish him luck and are so proud of all of his accomplishments.

April 26, 2020 - 2:03pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in Le Roy, le roy hs, news, schools, education, covid-19, coronavirus.

Submitted by Principal Tim McArdle.

March 17, 2020 - 1:09pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in live stream, Le Roy, schools, education, corvid-19, coronavirus, news.
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We interviewed Merritt Holly, superintendent of the Le Roy Central School District, live and this video is a replay of that stream.

We'll get an update on how the district is dealing with the closure, what's available for students, and families, and how things are going in Le Roy.

If you're unable to view the stream on our home page, click here.  Also, if you follow that link, there is a live chat on YouTube where you can ask questions that I will try to incorporate into the interview.

UPDATE: Unfortunately, and I don't know why, the interview cuts off a minute or so early, a problem on YouTube's end I imagine.

March 14, 2020 - 8:01pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in covid-19, coronavirus, schools, education, news, notify.

Press release:

“Over the past week, COVID-19 has evolved rapidly. While Genesee County has no confirmed cases, there are confirmed cases in neighboring counties and increased local testing. I believe it is inevitable we will see cases here in Genesee County,” said Rochelle Stein, chair of the Genesee County Legislature.

“With this in mind and after discussion with Paul Pettit, director of the Genesee and Orleans County Health Departments, I am declaring a state of emergency for Genesee County. This declaration allows us to procure goods and services as well as required and available assistance to municipalities and school districts. I am recommending that all schools in Genesee County close to students effective immediately for an undetermined amount of time.”

“We want to remind people the risk in our community still remains relatively low and these decisions are based on the need to slow transmission in our communities,” Pettit said. “Through ongoing discussions with all 10 school districts and county administration, this unified decision is based on the increased activity in our county and has led to these preventive measures.”

A statement from Kevin MacDonald, district superintendent of the Genesee Valley Educational Partnership: “In collaboration with the New York State and local Departments of Health, the component districts of the Genesee Valley Educational Partnership will be closed to students effective Monday, March 16, 2020 until further notice. Component districts will be sharing messages to their respective communities regarding details of their closures. We ask all our community members to take care of each other as we navigate this public health matter.”

March 14, 2020 - 3:41pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in Batavia Middle School, news, video, schools, education.
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Batavia Middle School hosted a Health and Wellness Day for students at the school yesterday. The event was the brainchild of Assistant Principal Brian Sutton.

If you enjoy community news, please support The Batavian.

January 27, 2020 - 3:32pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in St. Joe's, schools, education, video, batavia.
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As part of Catholic Schools Week on Sunday, St. Joe's held it's third annual "Slime Off."

January 18, 2020 - 1:31pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in Attica, batavia, Scholastic Bowl, schools, education, news.

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In Thursday's Scholastic Bowl matches, Batavia and Attica picked up victories.

Batavia scored 230, while Oakfield-Alabama scored 120 and Elba 50.

In the second match, Attica beat Notre Dame 330 to 220.

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January 16, 2020 - 12:56pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in Scholastic Bowl, news, schools, education, pembroke.

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In Wednesday's Scholastic Bowl matches, Pembroke and Alden came out on top.

In the first match, Alden scored 240 points to 230 for Le Roy and 140 for Pavilion.

In the second match, Pembroke scored 260 points to 160 for Alexander and 110 for Akron.

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January 15, 2020 - 3:32pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in Batavia HS, news, schools, education, batavia.

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Tech is increasingly part of the learning environment in City School classrooms and at Tuesday's Board of Education meeting, two teachers -- Alexander Veltz, Social Studies (photo), and Andrew Kiebala, Math -- shared how they're using Chromebooks and Google classroom tools to aid in their instruction.

Their presentions came as part of the information technology review by Director of Technology Jeff McKinney.

Veltz shared how he can use Google tools to share assignments, worksheets, handouts, and ensure that not only are they available in the classroom, but students (and their guardians) have access to the material at home. The availability of the material is helping him meet the new demands for greater reading comprehension in state exams.

With the tools, students can answer questions and get immediate feedback on their responses. 

Another tool allows students to sort through documents, which is especially helpful for a project that requires them to write an essay based on pre-assigned material that they must study, find a common theme, and then organize in order to write the essay.

"There is a shift in New York State where it's less about retention and more about argumentation based on perspective and point of view," Veltz said. "Retention is a skill New York is moving away from."

Trustee Shawn Murphy, who teaches at Genesee Community College, asked if the use of the tools was taking away from classroom engagement. Veltz said not at all.

McKinney added, "We are not switching over to where kids just sit in front of a computer. That's not the intent at all."

Kiebala shared tools that students can use to study geometric properties. 

He also shared a program that allows students to work on quizzes that he guides from his own computer and see where they need help. He said the program allows students to ask questions and make observations that he can then share with the class. The process allows students who might normally be shy about raising their hands to contribute more readily to classroom learning.

"This is my favorite thing to do," Kiebala said. "It allows them to be independent and also allows me to have control, so it's the best of both worlds for a teacher."

Kiebala shared a study published by NPR that indicated most people in the work world don't spend a lot of time doing trigonometry or geometry but they do spend a lot of time working in Excel, so his statistics class is heavy into spreadsheets.

"I tell the class, 'this is what you're going to spend your time doing because this is what you're going to use,' " Kiebala said. "You don't have to do anything by hand anymore because you either have a calculator or a spreadsheet but you still need to know what the numbers mean."

January 15, 2020 - 12:56pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in City Schools, batavia, news, education, schools.

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David Chua, Stephen Pribek and Ashley Elmore -- Certificate of Appreciation

Sarah Gahagan has nominated David Chua, Stephen Pribek and Ashley Elmore for a board award. Each of these individuals invested a large chunk of time mentoring and modeling the word "commitment" to the B Squad boys. They did what not everyone does....they SHOWED UP. Each week, two days a week for 20 weeks these volunteers modeled follow through and were able to showcase what "doing what you love" looks like.

Each of these volunteers had something special to offer, a love of running and showed just how important it is to continue doing what you love, even into adulthood when you are busy and "life" takes over. Chua was a soft spoken guiding force of optimism and motivation, whereas Pribek could always add a science lesson into our running and truly teach us something new every single practice. His humor was a favorite with the boys. And Elmore is a ray of light. She is positive, fun, and encouraged the boys to always be their best under any circumstance. She is a true leader who shines from the inside out.

This program is only able to be successful because of the volunteers. We need to ensure safety while running and the more adults we have, the safer we are and the more boys we can accept within this program.

Volunteering is something not many do these days and it is valuable and appreciated and for this they all deserve to be recognized.

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Carlos Colon -- Certificate of Appreciation

The English as a New Language faculty nominate Carlos Colon for a Board of Education award because of his dedication to our district and students. Anyone who knows Carlos would use words like friendly, easy going, helpful, and caring to describe him. Colon's official job title is maintenance staff, however he frequently uses his time to help others outside this requirement.

Most notably, Colon has helped countless times this year alone in translating needs, concerns, and important information between teachers or administration, and parents who speak only Spanish. He does this because he knows the parents and teachers struggle to understand each other using only a translation app, and he doesn't want something important to be misconstrued due to a technical error.

He has also been called upon when our Spanish-speaking students needed a familiar face and language to calm them down. He has talked kids down from metaphorical ledges more than once, and helped the students come to a more peaceful place so that teachers could have a conversation with students. One student even shadows him as he works, as an incentive for good behavior.

Other students also look up to Carlos, as a friend, mentor, and a person they can trust. Colon embodies the phrase “above and beyond,” all in the hopes of helping our students be successful and understood. For these reasons, we believe Colon is well deserving of recognition for his work by the Board of Education.

Nominated by the ENL Department Staff.

Jenna Mrzywka (pronounced Majifka), Trina Cox, Addison Marino, Chelsea Cummings, Courtney Turcer and Shawn Chrysler.

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Jim Jacobs -- Certificate of Appreciation

Jacobs recently came back out of retirement to fill in as Interim Director of Facilities. He stepped back in and it was as if he had never left. His knowledge and experience was instrumental in our schools opening smoothly and safely this year as the Capital Project created many changes to the District. Working closely with him, I saw first hand his continued dedication to make our schools the best they can be for our students and staff. It was a pleasure working with him again. Thank you, Jim!

Anonymous nomination.

Information and photos submitted by the school district.

December 20, 2019 - 5:41pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in Batavia Middle School, batavia, schools, news, education.

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More than two dozen Batavia Middle School students visited offices in and around Batavia today for the school's annual "Give Back Day," when students deliver class-made presents to the people and organizations that have supported the school during the school year.

Among the stops pictured above was the State Police Batavia Barracks on West Saile Drive.

Other locations the students visited today included the Sheriff's Office, Batavia PD, the Fire Department, WBTA, DSS, and Family Court. After Family Court, they went to City Court to see Durin Rogers sworn in as the new full-time City Court judge.

December 16, 2019 - 5:39pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in news, Jackson School, batavia, schools, education.

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Each month at Jackson Primary School, students learn about a different character trait and this month they learned about kindness.

The community member who helped them with their kindness lessons this month was Capt. Greg Ireland, Batavia Fire Department. Ireland made a video where he read a book about kindness and gave the children a tour of the fire hall.

Today, he had lunch with several of the students and talked with the children about kindness, especially how firefighters are kind. They all ate pizza. One student from each class was selected to attend the lunch based on a teacher recommendation for exemplifying kindness at school.

All of the students at the lunch received a certificate recognizing their kindness.

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November 20, 2019 - 11:50pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in video, Batavia Middle School, batavia, schools, education.
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November 1, 2019 - 1:14pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in video, schools, education, news, batavia, st. paul lutheran school.
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City of Batavia firefighters gave Gretchen Weicher, a student at St. Paul Luthern School in Batavia, a ride to school in a fire truck as an award for winning the department's annual fire safety poster contest.

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