Local Matters

Community Sponsors


July 10, 2020 - 3:01pm

Press release:

Starting next week, the Adult Educational Opportunity Center (AEOC) located at Genesee Community College is hosting a series of six FREE Zoom meetings on Mondays and Tuesdays to provide information to any adult thinking about college enrollment, financial aid, the college application process, and/or a wide range of different career path options.

Specifically, Monday sessions will cover the financial literacy and the FAFSA (Free Application for Federal Student Aid) form, loan options and college affordability; while the Tuesday sessions will cover the Common App for college application, obtaining a GED high school diploma equivalent, and a multitude of career path opportunities.

  • What: AEOC Office Offers FREE Virtual Information Sessions in July
  • When: Three Mondays: July 13, 20 and 27 at 1 p.m. / Three Tuesdays: July 14, 21 and 28 at 1 p.m.
  • Where: Zoom Meetings Accessible from any Computer with Internet Access
  • Who: GCC Adult Education Opportunity Center and any Adults Seeking College and/or Career Information

To sign up for any of the six sessions, email Staci Williams, AEOC director, at:   [email protected] or call (585) 345-6836.

For further information about the AEOC go to www.genesee.edu/AEOC.

July 7, 2020 - 4:36pm
posted by Billie Owens in steve hawley, covid-19, news, reopening schools, education.

Press release: 

Assemblyman Steve Hawley has signed on with Assembly colleagues to present a reopening plan for schools this upcoming fall.

The plan, signed on by nearly all Minority members of the State Assembly, explores potential solutions for each level of education, as well as special education needs, and re-emphasizes that in-person education and social interactions are critical for the developing youth, according to child development experts.

“We’ve all been struggling with the new realities that the COVID-19 outbreak has given us, and our kids are no exception,” Hawley said. “They’ve been asked to completely adjust the way they go about learning, and in the process have lost many opportunities that are fundamental to youth development.

"The brilliant educators across our state are doing the best they can, and we couldn’t be prouder of them, but we need to give them and their students a fighting chance to not fall drastically behind.”

The question of schools reopening in New York has been up in the air since they were closed in mid-March. Gov. Cuomo’s administration has stressed public health comes first, but several advocates and prolific education specialists have been pushing for schools to return in the fall with appropriate safeguards in place.

Not only are many students and teachers struggling with this particular change in lifestyle, but the lack of students being in the school physically has left many teachers unable to reach them at home.

Many students across the state still struggle to get internet-accessible devices to do their work, or do not have another trusted adult figure to work with consistently. Additionally, many homes have a parent or parents working without adequate child care.

July 7, 2020 - 3:28pm

Press release:

Officials at Genesee Community College were to delighted to learn this month that the Council for Advancement and Support of Education (CASE) has named GCC among the first-time honorees in the association's Educational Fundraising Awards.

The annual awards recognize exemplary development programs in public, private and independent colleges, universities and schools. 

The winners in the following four categories were determined through a blind review of data submitted by member institutions over three years to the CASE AMAtlas Voluntary Support of Education (VSE) survey:

  • Overall Performance: For colleges and universities that show solid program growth, breadth in the base of support, and other indications of a mature, well-maintained program. 
  • Overall Improvement: For colleges and universities that demonstrate significant program growth across the three years of data. 
  • Award of Excellence: For independent schools that demonstrate solid program growth, breadth in the base of support, and other indicators of an exemplary fundraising program.
  • Sustained Excellence: Recognize institutions that have demonstrated consistent fundraising success over a five-year period. Institutions that have been recognized with an overall performance, overall improvement or award for excellence in three out of the past five years also receive this award designation. 

GCC was among 32 institutions to be a first-time honoree in the Overall Performance Category, and also one of just seven community colleges recognized.

Winners are not selected solely on total funds raised. Rather, a committee of experienced fundraisers review hundreds of pages of data from the VSE survey and consider a number of factors and variables, including: 

  • Patterns of growth in total support;
  • Evaluation of what contributed to the total support figure; 
  • Overall breadth of fundraising; 
  • Patterns of growth in gifts from sources including alumni and other individuals, corporations and foundations; 
  • Impact of the 12 largest gifts on total support; 
  • Giving to areas such as current operations, endowment and property/buildings; 
  • Amount raised per student; 
  • Amount raised relative to expenditures; 
  • Alumni participation. 

"GCC is excited and thankful to receive this wonderful honor from CASE," said Justin M. Johnston, GCC's vice president of Development and External Affairs and the executive director of the GCC Foundation. This award is a testament to all of our donors who make our work possible through their generous support of our students and programs.

"Our staff, our college leadership and our foundation leadership sincerely appreciate this recognition. Adding another level of importance for us, this honor was made possible as well by the leadership of our late colleague, Rick Ensman. Rick was a seasoned fundraiser who had nearly thirty years of experience at GCC when he passed away last year.

"I am thankful for the opportunity to spotlight the contributions of so many devoted donors, staff members, and volunteers of the College and the Foundation, who work to collectively support our students."

CASE member institutions that have participated in the VSE for the past three years are considered for the honor.

To learn more or to see the full list of CASE winners, click here.


It is a global nonprofit membership association of educational institutions with a mission to help develop communities of professional practice that build institutional resilience and success in challenging times.

The communities include staff engaged in alumni relations, advancement services, communications, fundraising, government relations, marketing and student recruitment. CASE is volunteer-led and uses the intellectual capital of senior practitioners to build capacity and capability across the world.

It has offices in Washington, D.C., London, Singapore and Mexico City. Member institutions include more than 3,600 colleges and universities, primary and secondary independent and international schools, and nonprofit organizations in 82 countries and serves more than 90,000 practitioners. For more information about CASE, visit www.case.org.

July 6, 2020 - 3:36pm
posted by Billie Owens in education, news, batavia, GCC, covid-19, Fall 2020, Reopening Plan.

Photo taken today at GCC Batavia by Howard Owens.

Press release:

Genesee Community College unveiled a series of plans for the Fall 2020 semester to bring students back to campus in a limited capacity, while operating numerous courses through remote delivery.

The Fall 2020 plans include a blend of learning modalities featuring a robust number of online, hybrid and HyFlex classes, and all in-person instruction will follow the College's COVID-19 safety measures such as:

  • All classrooms and labs have been assessed to determine the maximum capacity while adhering to social distancing guidelines.
  • Maximizing GCC's hybrid and HyFlex learning environments that strategically combine in-person and online instruction.
  • Labs requiring face-to-face, hands-on learning will be separated in multiple sections as needed to reduce classroom density.
  • All College Village residence bedrooms will be converted to singles with one student per private room.
  • The services that students rely on, such as the Library and Tutoring and Testing Centers as well as campus study spaces will be available for use following social distancing rules.
  • Dining services will open but will focus on single-serve items and takeout items.
  • While some programs and activities will look different in the Fall semester, GCC is committed to providing a vibrant student engagement experience for all students.

"We will remain vigilant throughout the duration of this pandemic, continuously monitoring health conditions and working to mitigate the spread of the virus," James M. Sunser, Ed.D., president of GCC said. "The hard work and cooperation of everyone today helps ensure we remain healthy and safe tomorrow and can have a successful academic year."

Some Employees Return to Batavia Campus this Week

College officials are currently gearing up to welcome back staff and faculty on a reduced capacity as well, beginning today (July 6).

"The past four months have been an extraordinarily challenging time. There are so many moving parts in a college campus that I must commend our campus community who have teamed up to maintain as many critical services as possible, allowing us to be prepared for this fall," Sunser said. "This included modifying workflows, teaching and working remotely, learning and introducing new technologies, and sometimes discovering new efficiencies or new opportunities, such as our Virtual Commencement Ceremony. It is no accident that GCC continues to have no documented positive cases of COVID-19, a true testament to our collective commitment to strategically tackle this crisis."

Employees received a five-page "Welcome Back" guideline outlining all the new facets of working on campus that includes social distancing, mask wearing and multiple steps to reduce the density of the campus population. The most salient features of the Reopening Plan include but are not limited to:

  • Only employees with a valid ID are allowed on campus at this time.
  • All persons will be given a brief verbal screening about their physical health and an infrared, touch-free temperature reading by a member of the College's Health or Campus Safety Office, who will have the authority to deny access to anyone deemed at risk for the COVID-19 virus.
  • Many departments are staggering summer staffing to reduce GCC population density.
  • Maintain a six-foot distance from other people at all times, avoid physical contact such as handshakes, and wear a face mask in all shared spaces.
  • Most meetings will continue to be held remotely and many areas of the College will remain closed this summer, such as dining services, as they are prepared for fall configuration.
  • GCC's Buildings and Grounds Department will be cleaning and disinfecting common areas and frequently touched surfaces throughout each day, and each department and individual will be asked to clean and disinfect individual workstations and equipment using College provided supplies.

GCC posts the latest updates and information on the College's COVID-19 webpage that is available from the College's homepage on its main website, www.genesee.edu.

July 6, 2020 - 3:06pm

Above, a Byron-Bergen senior from the Class of 2020 wears his pride on his cap and with good reason.

Press release:

Bergen -- On Sunday, June 28, the Byron-Bergen Central School District's Class of 2020 crossed the stage on the high school track and received their diplomas.

Their senior year had not turned out as anticipated because of the coronavirus pandemic but, despite the necessary accommodations for social distancing and crowd size, the ceremony marked the end of high school with traditional pomp and circumstance.

“I’m really excited,” said senior Amaya Gunther. “I’m glad we could have an actual ceremony because I know a lot of schools couldn’t. We’re thankful.”

In order to meet New York State requirements on graduation ceremonies, the event took place outside, socially distanced, and in two groups. The first half of the alphabet graduated at 10 a.m. and the second half at noon.

“It’s important for our parents to see us walk across the stage,” said senior Megan Bogue.

“As teachers, one of things we always talk about wanting our students to have is perseverance,” said teacher and Senior Class advisor Nick Muhlenkamp. “This group has definitely persevered and it’s really great that we are able to honor them with a graduation ceremony.”

The ceremonies included speeches from Valedictorian Siomara Caballero, Salutatorian Justine Bloom, and a song, “The Class of 2020,” written and performed by Chloe Shuskey.

High School Principal Pat McGee, Superintendent Mickey Edwards, and Board of Education President Debra List also addressed the congregations.

In her speech, Siomara thanked community members for their support in everyday life as well as during the pandemic. She went on to discuss working toward solutions for environmental issues and social injustice.

“The nature of progress is that we build upon the work of those who came before us,” Siomara said. “We must climb to stand on the shoulders of giants in terms of racial inequalities in this country...I am excited to see how we will become the giants of tomorrow.”

Justine also touched on themes of social injustice.

“We have countless individuals who have passionately worked to improve themselves, those around them, and this community," Justine said. "Making this school and local community more active, more inclusive, and a better learning environment for impending generations.

"I see you, especially as we continue our efforts to uplift and empower minority voices...Your crucial work is the foundation of what is to come for this school.”

“This is a special group of students,” Principal McGee said. “They care about this community andthey are not shying away from big issues. I admire their courage and am inspired by their bravery.”

In his speech, he thanked the seniors. “Thank you for influencing my life. I hope I played a small part in influencing your life for the better.”

The seniors then received their diplomas, which were conferred by Board President List as they faced their community as high school graduates.

“I know that you are not the same students who walked the halls of the High School mere months ago,” Superintendent Edwards said. “You’ve changed. In the spring of your senior year, you were handed an adult burden and found yourselves equal to it. You are the Class of 2020, and you are survivors. There is nothing you can’t do. So get out there, and do it!”

“Our last year of high school was so different from what we expected it to be,” Siomara said. “Despite this era of change we’re in, we’ve adapted and rose to the challenges the world has thrown at us. I have full confidence that we will go out into the world prepared for anything, and ready to work for our goals.”

In closing her speech, Justine brought one more school tradition to the ceremony; a morning announcements' “bee” joke. “How do bees get to school? They take the school BUZZ!”

Photos by Gretchen Spittler.

Below, Valedictorian Siomara Caballero.

Below, Wyatt Sando receives diploma.

Below, Principal Pat McGee addresses the graduates.

Below, Chloe Shuskey performs her original song “The Class of 2020.”

June 30, 2020 - 3:38pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in Pavilion, pavilion hs, news, schools, education, covid-19, coronavirus.
Video Sponsor

At the end of the school year of pandemic, Pavilion High School graduated 29 seniors at the Silver Lake Drive-in Perry on Sunday.

Owen Kane Sidhu was the Salutatorian and Brett Lubberts was the Valedictorian. The commencement address was delivered by Superintendent Kenneth Ellison, who will retire in the fall.

Country music artist Brew Baldridge sang "Senior Year" and "Middle of Nowhere Kids."

June 27, 2020 - 2:42pm

Press release:

The Attica Lions Club, located in Darien Center, has announced the recipients of their club scholarship for the 2019-2020 school year. Two of the eight recipients live in Genesee County.

The purpose of his scholarship is to provide financial assistance to a senior boy or girl from Alexander Central School or Attica Central School who has a genuine desire to further their education and needs financial assistance.

Applicants must be academically qualified to the extent that they meet the entrance requirements of the institution to which they seek admission. Coordinator of this program, Lion Ron Cole, announces the following recipients:

  • Hailee Lowe, of Alexander Central, who will study Physical Education at Roberts Wesleyan;
  • Skylar Rossi, of Alexander Central, who will study Nursing at SUNY Brockport;
  • Cooper Gadd, of Attica Central, who will study Computer Science at Monroe CC;
  • Andrea Halsey, of Attica Central, who will study Nursing at Daemen College
  • Claudia Jo Hardie, of Attica Central, who will study Nursing at Monroe CC;
  • Jacqueline Kibler, of Attica Central, who will study at either Mercyhurst of St. Bonaventure;
  • Dylan Kipfer, of Attica Central, who will study Business at Genesee CC.
  • Simon Rudolph of Attica Central, who will study General Studies at Genesee CC.
June 27, 2020 - 2:32pm
posted by Billie Owens in batavia, coronavirus pandemic, education, research, milestone.

WORCESTER, Mass. -- James Zickl, of Batavia, a member of the Class of 2021 majoring in Mechanical Engineering at Worcester Polytechnic Institute (WPI), was a member of a student team that recently completed an intense research project titled FTS Pandemic. 

At WPI, all undergraduates are required to complete a research-driven, professional-level project that applies science and technology to addresses an important societal need or issue. Nearly 90 percent of students typically complete a project in collaboration with partners in communities across the country and around the world, through the university's 50-plus project centers.

Students usually travel to the project center for seven-week terms; this spring, however, due to the global coronavirus pandemic, they worked remotely, using video conferencing and other technology to complete their projects.

A signature element of the innovative undergraduate experience at WPI, the project-based curriculum offers students the opportunity to apply their scientific and technical knowledge to develop thoughtful solutions to real problems that affect the quality of people's lives -- and make a difference before they graduate.

"The WPI project-based curriculum's focus on global studies brings students out of their comfort zones to apply their knowledge to solve real problems for people in communities around the globe," said Professor Kent Rissmiller, interim dean of the WPI Interdisciplinary and Global Studies Division.

"Students have the opportunity to learn about a different culture, from the way people live and work to the values they hold to the foods they eat -- all valuable perspectives for surviving and thriving in today's global marketplace.

"They also learn the meaning and magic of teamwork; make a real and meaningful difference; and gain a competitive edge for any resume, or graduate or professional school application."

June 26, 2020 - 10:52am
posted by Howard B. Owens in Le Roy, le roy hs, news, schools, education.

Video by Le Roy High School Principal Tim McArdle.

June 22, 2020 - 6:05pm
posted by Billie Owens in education, news, GCC, Online Courses, Guide to Online Schools.

Press release:

New York is home to 23 community colleges that provide opportunities to earn an online associate degree or certificate.

Of the schools on this list, 16 cost less than $5,000 per year.

According to the June 9 edition of the Guide to Online Schools' "2020 Best Online Community Colleges in New York," Genesee Community College ranks #16 and its annual tuition is listed as $4,350;

Online Associate Degrees (nine)

  • Associate in Applied Science in Business Administration
  • Associate in Applied Science in Business Administration: Supply Chain Management
  • Associate in Applied Science in Computer Systems and Network Technologies
  • Associate in Applied Science in Criminal Justice
  • Associate in Applied Science in Individualized Studies
  • Associate in Arts in Liberal Arts and Science: Humanities and Social Science
  • Associate in Science in Business Administration
  • Associate in Science in Criminal Justice
  • Associate in Science in Liberal Arts and Science: General Studies
  • Certificate in Computer Repair
  • Certificate in Criminal Justice
  • Certificate in General Education
  • Certificate in Teaching Assistant

GCC is accredited by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education, the regional accreditation agency. Credits will transfer more reliably from regionally accredited schools than any others. Accreditation agencies as reported by the Department of Education.

View the methodology for more details or learn more about Guide to Online Schools.

June 18, 2020 - 12:06pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in Batavia HS, batavia, news, schools, education.

Music class students, current and former, came together yesterday afternoon under direction of teacher Jane Haggett to honor their fellow music students who are graduating this year.

The musicians visited students at their home or work and played "Pomp and Circumstance" for them.

This video is of Erick Chugg receiving the surprise visit at McDonald's, where he works.

Also honored: Lydia Geiger, Maggie Andersen, Macayla Burke, Gloria Adams, Sarah Adams, Maddie Taggart, and Derrick Fedus.

Not available for a visit: Garrick Havens, Courtnee Yasses, and Charissa Waldmiller.

June 13, 2020 - 10:29am
posted by Howard B. Owens in Jackson School, schools, education, news, video.
Video Sponsor

Parents, students, teachers, and administration at Jackson Primary School in Batavia celebrated the end of the year and promotion day with a parade on Friday.

June 12, 2020 - 5:23pm

Submitted photos and press release:

Seniors from Byron-Bergen, Batavia, Pembroke and Oakfield-Alabama are the recipients of the 2020 Mary Anne Graney Memorial Scholarships administered by the Arc of Genesee Orleans.

The $1,000 scholarship award winners, Jillian Menzie, Macayla Burke, Eve-Lynn Sofia and Karlie Stymus, are all planning to pursue careers related to healthcare working with those with a disability.  

Jillian Menzie (left inset photo) -- Byron-Bergen Central, will be attending SUNY Brockport to major in nursing and hopes to one day also obtain her elementary special education certificate. At BBCS, Jillian was Student Council President, National Honor Society President, and member of band and elite choir. She played Varsity soccer, was the school mascot and member of Varsity Club, Spanish Club and Alliance for Equality Club.

She was also enrolled in the Health Careers Academy through Genesee Valley Educational Partnership (GVEP). Outside of school, Jillian is involved in the “Young Life” youth group and has been a longtime fundraiser for the Arc of Genesee Orleans bowl-a-thon, benefitting programs for individuals with disabilities in Genesee and Orleans Counties.  

Macayla Burke (inset photo, below right) -- Batavia High School Class of 2020, will attend Niagara University’s nursing program and plans to minor in American Sign Language. During her years at BHS, Macayla was co-mayor and vice president of student council and was a member of National Honor Society and the Production Club. A scholar-athlete, Macayla was six-year member of the cross-country team and participated in track & field and the boys lacrosse teams for two years. She is also a certified lifeguard.

Macayla attended the Health Careers Academy through GVEP, and it was because of her shadowing experience in the academy that she has chosen nursing as her major.

She selected American Sign Language as a minor as her Mom is a sign language interpreter and Macayla wants to be able to communicate and help individuals in the deaf community.

Eve-Lynn Sofia (inset photo below, left) -- is looking forward to attending D’Youville College to pursue a career in occupational therapy. A senior at Pembroke Central, Eve-Lynn has volunteered for many school, community and Arc events over the past several years. At PHS, Eve-Lynn participated in JV and varsity volleyball and was vice president of the Photography Club.

She has work experience as a lifeguard, aquatic attendant and the summer recreation team member.

As an occupational therapist, Eve-Lynn is interested in helping people of all ages and abilities live fuller, more independent lives and has enrolled in D’Youville’s five-year occupational therapy program, leading to a master’s degree.

Karlie Stymus (bottom right inset photo) -- Oakfield-Alabama Central School, is going to be attending Genesee Community College in the fall to study nursing and would like to specialize in working with people with disabilities.

She is particularly interested in learning more about autism and Down Syndrome.

Karlie was enrolled in GVEP’s Health Dimensions program, and she has been active in scouting for several years, rising to the rank of Senior Cadet and participated in many community service projects.

She has enjoyed volunteering to help at Arc events including dances, parades and fund raisers and works for Genesee Speedway, her family’s racetrack.

About the Mary Anne Graney Memorial Scholarship

Now in its 15thyear, the Mary Anne Graney Memorial Scholarship is presented to area high school seniors planning to further their studies in human services, special education or related fields.

It is in honor of Mary Anne Graney, a special education teacher, who died in 2004.

Molly Graney George and the Arc’s Shelley Falitico are chairs of the scholarship committee.

June 12, 2020 - 4:47pm

Submitted photos and press release:

Jillian Menzie (top photo), a senior at Byron-Bergen Jr./Sr. High School, and Ashlyn LeBaron (bottom photo), a senior at Albion’s Charles D' Amico High School were selected as this year’s recipients of $1,000 scholarships from  Genesee/Orleans Council on Alcoholism and Substance Abuse (GCASA) Foundation. 

GCASA Foundation supports the work of GCASA and other nonprofit organizations in Genesee and Orleans Counties. Several organizations have received mini-grants in the past to help sustain the crucial work they do in our community. The Foundation also invests in the future substance use disorder workforce by supporting individuals pursuing a degree in health sciences or human services. 

The Board of Directors of both GCASA and GCASA Foundation are committed to providing quality services. Educated, skilled employees and board members are the necessary for effective service delivery.

“As a member of the selection committee, it was wonderful to read about all the applicants’ academic accomplishments and their commitment to community service," said GCASA Foundation Board Treasurer Virginia Taylor. Our recipients, Ashlyn and Jillian, were exceptionally impressive and we are thrilled to award scholarships to help cover some of their college costs."

GCASA Foundation has been pleased to honor many commendable students over the past several years. Typically, the scholarship award recipients are honored at GCASA’s Annual Membership Meeting and Luncheon. Due to COVID-19, this meeting will be held virtually this year.

“We are disappointed that we are unable to recognize and honor these deserving young women in person with their parents and school representatives present," said Shannon Ford, GCASA director of Communications and Development. "Their scholarship applications were outstanding."

Both young women plan to pursue a degree in Nursing.

June 11, 2020 - 9:37pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in Jackson Primary School, schools, education, news, batavia.

Press release:

Jackson Primary School Parent Teacher Group is hosting a celebration parade for all Jackson families on Friday at noon.

The parade will begin at Ascension Parish / Sacred Heart parking lot, located at 19 Sumner St.

The parade will proceed up Hutchins Street to South Jackson Street and through the front bus loop at Jackson Primary (411 S. Jackson St.) where teachers will line the sidewalk. There will also be a safe walking zone that will be roped off for those who wish to walk the parade.

The parade will be lead by SRO Jason Davis from the Batavia Police Department. Jackson Primary would like to thank the Batavia Police Department, the Batavia Fire Department and the Jackson Primary Parent Teacher Group for support Jackson Primary.

We look forward to seeing everyone there!

If you have any questions, please call Mrs. Notaro, principal of Jackson Primary at (585) 343-2480, ext. 4000.

June 11, 2020 - 1:31pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in Batavia Middle School, schools, education, news, video.
Video Sponsor

Teachers and administrators drove house-to-house in Batavia on Wednesday to deliver awards and presents to the school's 8th graders who are moving onto high school in the fall.

June 11, 2020 - 1:25pm
posted by Jeanne Walton in news, USAF Academy, BHS, education.

The next chapter of Margaret "Maggie" Andersen’s life is clearly a result of a lifetime of hard work and dedication.

Andersen is a 2020 graduate of Batavia High School (BHS) and is the sole senior to have already received her diploma.

The certificate was conferred upon her early, last week, so that she could make it to the United States Air Force (USAF) Academy in Colorado Springs, Colo., by June 25, where she will be preparing to begin six weeks of basic training. The BHS graduation is June 27. 

Andersen was apparently destined for USAF military service from an early age.  

Her grandfather served as a Captain in the USAF Strategic Air Command from 1964-1968. And her brother, Campbell Andersen, is a fourth-year cadet at USAF Academy, who's had a profound influence on her.

“He has shown me how much the Air Force can do for aspiring leaders,” (Maggie) Andersen said.

She's been a member of the Batavia Composite Squadron of the Civil Air Patrol (CAP) since the age of 12. CAP is a congressionally chartered, federally supported nonprofit corporation that serves as the official civilian auxiliary of the USAF. 

“My involvement with CAP has motivated me to become more and see all of the good parts of serving my country,” Andersen said.

Her excellence in academics, outstanding athleticism and a very strong desire to take advantage of every opportunity presented, positioned her to be an exceptionally desirable candidate for entrance as a cadet into the USAF Academy.  

“It takes a lot of effort to apply and be accepted to the academy,” said Andersen’s USAF liaison officer, Steven Sharpe.  

Candidates must be very involved in their community and athletics, at a leadership level. They must perform community service work, and their academic performance should be superior.

“The Air Force is seeking well-rounded leaders, and Maggie is very well-rounded,” Sharpe said. 

“She has put herself in a position to succeed, it would be hard for the Air Force to refuse her entrance.”

The application process also requires a nomination from a member of Congress, the President or the Vice President of the United States.  

With the resignation of Congressman Chris Collins, the local district did not have a Congressional representative at the time of Andersen’s nomination application. So she was nominated by members of the USAF Academy along with the staff that was left to handle the 27th Congressional District’s business. 

As a cadet, Andersen plans to earn a Bachelor’s of Science in either Physics or Mathematics. She will likely then fulfill her commitment of five years of service to the Air Force doing research.  

Andersen attributes her success to her parents who told their children to “work hard and open every door” as they were growing up. 

“I think they took it to heart," said her mother, Kristine Andersen, adding “I am really proud of Maggie. She’s had a full life of music, sports, art, and school, while she has still been a kid. She’s worked hard to achieve this, and it’s great that she’s having a great life.” 

Little sister proudly admits to following in big brother's footsteps.

“Campbell's example, and success at the Academy, have been especially inspiring,” she said.

The Batavia School District and auxiliary programs like STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) and ACE (Achieving a College Education) have also had a huge impact on her.  

“These programs have given me the drive that the Academy looks for when they are making appointments,” Andersen said.

It is now clear to her how much one can accomplish by simply taking advantage of opportunity.

“I hope that more Batavia students go this route after learning about how they can get a first-class education through this program," said the newly minted cadet. "With tuition payment and a stipend, cadets can focus on their performance across the board.”

“I think anyone can do what my brother and I have done…they should take every chance to open every door and walk through it.”

Top inset photo, from left: Campbell Andersen, Maggie Andersen, and their mother, Kristine Andersen.

Bottom right inset photo: The siblings -- Maggie and Campbell Andersen.

Photos by Steve Ognibene.

June 9, 2020 - 2:09pm

Submitted photo and press release:

Three Genesee County students who work as associates for Tops Friendly Markets were among 840 workers the grocery store chain honored for achieving their goal of earning a high school diploma.

They are Samantha Miller, of Pavillon High School, and twin brothers Ryan and Kyle Sage, of Oakfield-Alabama High School.

Tops decided to honor the hard work and dedication of the Class of 2020 by surprising their graduating associates with Tops gift cards and lawn signs at their homes to congratulate them on their success!

Tops, with stores in New York, Northern Pennsylvania, and Vermont, has been an advocate of supporting formal education of its employees for over two decades.

June 9, 2020 - 9:19am


Amidst the societal and scholastic change that our country has had to adapt to during the current Pandemic of 2020, the Genesee-Wyoming Music Educators Association (GWMEA) had to cancel their annual All-County Festivals that highlight the top 500 musicians from out combined counties.


The 12 schools that makeup GWMEA consist of Alexander, Attica, Batavia City, Byron-Bergen, Elba, Le Roy, Notre Dame, Pembroke, Pavilion, Oakfield-Alabama, St. Joseph, and Wyoming schools.


Students between the grades 5-12 would have been highlighted this year in March during performances at Pembroke and Le Roy High Schools.


In honor of all students who auditioned for the six ensembles who will never get to perform as a group, the GWMEA would like to thank all students who individually put in the time preparing for these great music festivals.


Lastly, we would like to honor all the seniors who will never have the honor of performing again at another GWMEA Festival. Some of our seniors would have been making their first appearance in an all-county ensemble, and some would have been appearing for their ninth year, committing hours and hours to their craft. Regardless of years committed, we would like to honor you one last time. Congratulations.

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