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Elba Central School

Voters in Elba approve $14.8 million capital improvement project

By Staff Writer

Voters in Elba, by a 95-22 margin, approved a $14.8 million capital improvement project on Thursday.

The proposition read:

Authorize the Board of Education of the Elba Central School District be authorized to undertake certain capital improvements consisting of construction and reconstruction of the K-12 Main Campus school building and facilities, site improvements and the acquisition of certain original furnishings, equipment, and apparatus and other incidental improvements required in connection therewith for such construction and school use, all at an estimated maximum aggregate cost of $14,875,000; and to appropriate and expend from the existing capital reserve fund $900,000 for such costs, and that the balance of such cost, or so much thereof as may be necessary, shall be raised by the levy of a tax to be collected in annual installments, with such tax to be offset by state aid available therefor; and, in anticipation of such tax, debt obligations of the school district as may be necessary not to exceed $13,975,000 shall be issued.

Elba plays host to Rochester City Ballet, gets sneak peek before 'Nutcracker' debut this weekend

By Joanne Beck
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2019 File Photo of Elba Central's production of Beauty and the Beast. The stage is to be transformed this weekend by Rochester City Ballet during a performance of "The Nutcracker Suite" on Friday, Saturday and Sunday.
Photo by Howard Owens

Not only will the Elba community be hosting Rochester City Ballet for a seasonal treat of “The Nutcracker Suite” this weekend, but the students have already been able to nibble on portions of the professional troupe’s theatrics while preparing for its debut at Elba High School’s auditorium, Superintendent Gretchen Rosales says.

After GO Art! Executive Director Gregory Hallock found out that his other venue option was booked for the show earlier this year, he reached out to Elba because of its beautiful stage and venue at the school, Rosales said. When she was asked whether she’d consider hosting Rochester City Ballet, it was a most definite yes.

“The arts are a wonderful addition to any community, and I’m very proud of our school, and so, to be able to host them here was an easy decision. And it’s been so fun for our own kids to see how a big production like this takes place. So it’s been great, and it’s been super fun,” Rosales said. “They’ve been here all week (rehearsing) and been in and out the past month or so. Their technical director met with our technical director. (Dancers Shannon Rodriguez and Megan Kamler) did a presentation to our student body, they showed them snippets of the dance but also read the Nutcracker story to them. It was super, it was interactive and a lot of participation from the audience.”

For anyone unfamiliar with that story, it features Clara, a young girl who ventures from her bedroom into the wondrous realm of The Land of Sweets. In this magical wonderland, there are graceful waltzing flowers, twirling snowflakes, and a captivating transformation of enchanted toys.

The Nutcracker and Tchaikovsky’s hypnotic score go hand in hand for a timeless piece of choreography and a classic tale told through leaps and bounds in a mesmerizingly colorful, and graceful, yet athletic, performance.

There are no Elba Central students in the performance itself, but some of them will be supporting the tech people, and about a handful will be ushers during the shows, Rosales said.

“For me, it was important to be able to say yes, we would host them. We’re not charging for rehearsal space, we’re not charging them for the time in which they’ve been in the building, because this is a big opportunity for the community to be able to support in that way and just say yes, we have this ability," she said. "And they loved it. They said, you really have the most beautiful school, you have such a beautiful auditorium. And it's really breathtaking to see the backdrops that they've put up for their presentation and to see how our space was transformed for something of this professional capacity, so it's been great, a great experience.

“There’s been a lot of excitement for it. Students were able to see a part of the presentation ahead of time and said to their parents, get me tickets!" 

All students, from universal pre-kindergarten through 12th grade, were invited to participate in the presentation, and learn how props are brought in and managed, and how backdrops and sets are put up, she said. Other lessons have included make-up and costumes, which might just come in handy for Elba’s own upcoming spring show, “The Little Mermaid,” in March.

It has been a special opportunity for “those that have been bitten by the acting and performing bug,” to be watching in the wings, excited to see what a different kind of production looks like, she said. 

Elba students met students involved in ballet who are in the show, and they have talked to one another about the different elements involved in such a production and asked questions about how they got involved in dance, she said. 

“So it’s been a neat cultural experience,” she said. “It’s just been a great experience overall.”

This event was funded in part by the Oliver G. And Sarah Sloan Bauman Fund for the Arts through the Community Foundation for Greater Buffalo, facilitated by GO Art!  Performances are at 6 p.m. Friday, 2 and 6 p.m. Saturday and 2 p.m. Sunday at the school auditorium, 57 S. Main St., Elba. 

Tickets are $10 to $20 and may be purchased HERE.

Fielding tasty lessons at Elba Central School

By Joanne Beck
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Elba Central School has been bringing a farm-to-school program to life, from local farms to the school district campus cafeteria, as a "real-world scenario" in which school leaders are hopefully teaching their kids to make healthy choices as they learn and grow, Superintendent Gretchen Rosales says.
Submitted photo.

It may be summertime, but there’s no break from working on Elba Central School’s farm-to-school program, Superintendent Gretchen Rosales says.

In fact, much of the program’s produce is planted, harvested, and sold — via a farmers market added onto the campus this year — right now. Thanks to state and federal grants from the Department of Agriculture and Governor Hochul's office, Elba students have been able to plant, harvest, learn about, prepare, cook, and most deliciously, enjoy their own healthy foods.

“Agriculture is the backbone of Elba, of Genesee County, our state, and the nation.  This is a great way to see our interconnectedness as a community and as a whole,” Rosales said to The Batavian.  “Elba is a culturally rich community, and I am certain that as we embark upon this project, we will learn so much more from each other.”

Elba first began working with Katie Metzler and Kathy Allen from Porter's Farm last year, when students visited the Elba farm weekly to harvest, wash and prep items for the school's salad bar.

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Elba Central students get hands-on lessons about selecting, planting and harvesting their own produce at Porter Farms.
Submitted photo

“Some items they picked included tomatoes, peppers, onions, melons, lettuce, and spinach. We also sent them with apples, pears, and green beans. At Thanksgiving, we donated some winter squashes and other seasonal items for their Thanksgiving feast,” Metzler said Monday. “We’re not sure of specifics yet for this year, but we are planning on doing something equivalent to meet their needs. Our hope is to have the students get as much hands-on time at the farm as possible. We are happy to collaborate with faculty and admin at Elba to provide such a hands-on experience for these students. Hopefully, our partnership will continue to grow each year and potentially with other districts in the area as well.” 

After their selections were made, the students would work with Elba’s agriculture teacher, Tracey Dahlhaus, to wash and prep the produce.  They also brought their own egg-laying chickens onto campus so that students could collect the eggs and sell them.  

“We would like to use them in our food options in the cafeteria as well,” Rosales said. “Planning focused around growing our own food. Building a greenhouse is part of this plan.”

Next came the funding. The district applied for a USDA Farm to School grant and was awarded $100,000 this year to "support planning, developing, and implementing farm-to-school programs that connect students to the sources of their food through education, taste tests, school gardens, field trips, and local food sourcing for school meals,” Rosales said.

The school district plans to use the funds to continue the work that it began last year in its food science course.  Applying for the grant was the chance to look at what a true farm-to-school could  look like if there were no limitations on funding,” she said.  “Our agriculture students and Mrs. Dahlhaus have talked about wanting a greenhouse since our program started four years ago.  Personally, I have always valued the community connection that naturally comes from harvesting one's own produce.  The shared responsibility of a community garden came to mind.”

And community it is. Students, staff, faculty, local farmers and customers have come together to plant fruits and vegetables, grow their own produce, harvest, cook, support local businesses, supply healthy food sources, and come together to actually “break bread” as a community, Rosales said.

Elba kids in cafeteria
Submitted photo

The nice part about the grant, she said, is that lessons are for all students — in grades UPK through 12.  Little ones will be learning how to make their own healthy snack choices and then how to cut foods safely to make those snacks, while older kids will learn more advanced skills and nutritional components of meals, plant science and international cooking.

One facet seems to springboard onto another, and they're evolving the offerings all the time, Rosales said.

“We would like to produce our own maple syrup. Our students can expect to try many new foods in the cafeteria,” she said.  “Mrs. Walcazk (the new nutrition coordinator who just took over for retiring Lisa Crnkovich) has been busy working on new recipe ideas for the students, including hot breakfast choices, expanded salad buffet options, soups, and pasta.”  

Future goals are to build the school district’s own greenhouse and to have cooking classes and shared meals in the evenings, she said. Another grant, this time for $150,000 from a Healthy Eating initiative, will go toward those expenses. 

Another big component of this effort has been the use of surveys, asking students about their food preferences to determine which fruits and veggies to incorporate. Berries and watermelon? A big yay. Cauliflower? Not so much, she said. Kids definitely preferred fresh raw vegetables more so than cooked. The response rate over the summer has been about 60 percent so far. 

Elba boy with apple
Submitted photo

And what would an agriculture program be without a farmers market? It seemed a natural fit, and one that fits nicely onto the school campus once a week throughout summer and into fall. 

“The school is the center of the community, so holding it at ECS just makes sense.  We have invited all of our farming students and entrepreneurs to sell their goods.  Students have expressed an interest in selling flowers, eggs, potatoes, cucumbers, tomatoes, squash, maple syrup, and honey.  We are starting small and will see how it goes,” Rosales said.  “It is important for Elba to have a farmers market, and we hope to provide a great service to our community.  Mrs. William's civic readiness class and Lauryn Hawkins (middle schooler) Full Hearts Club have started an Elba food pantry. So again, more connections are being made. I am hopeful that we can include fresh produce in the pantry as well.”

The Elba Betterment Committee will also be involved with the pantry, so that's yet another community member participating, she said. 

The district’s agriculture program, with Dalhaus and the Future Farmers of America students, has accomplished a great deal the last four years from the farming perspective, Rosales said, plus new hire Hanna Erion as a Family and Consumer Science teacher to further expand programming. 

“Food production and food science is a booming industry in our area, which is natural considering that so much food is sourced right here,” Rosales said.  “Schools have an obligation to teach students about these industries and to prepare them for the future.  Although agriculture plays an important part, there are so many facets involved.  There is a production component, but also a business and finance part, as well as a culinary perspective.  It is also about showing our students the process of seeing something through from start to finish, about trial and error and looking at how to best solve a problem from different sides.

“Farming and production are collaborative in nature: our students have to learn to communicate and problem solve as a team.  That is why this grant is so important to us; it is not just the funding. The funding provides critical learning opportunities.”

All-County Festival returns with sounds of music at Elba Central School

By Joanne Beck

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Elba Central School was alive with the sound of music late Friday afternoon.

No, not Julie Andrews and the captain in the Sound of Music, but vocals and instrumentals from elementary, junior and senior high school students mostly from Genesee County and Attica.

And, after an unwelcome four-year interruption due to pandemic-related snafus, students and organizers were happy to get the show back on the road. The Genesee-Wyoming County Music Association All-County Festival will be performing this weekend.

The all-county elementary chorus, junior high band and senior high chorus was rehearsing Friday, to be continuing on Saturday and capping off all of that musical talent and energy with a concert at 2 p.m. in the school’s auditorium. Tickets are $5 at the door.

Pembroke sixth-grader Brynlee Amend (second photo) plays saxophone and sings, though she’s at the festival with the chorus. She’s been singing “all my life,” the 11-year-old said.

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“I got into chorus as soon as I could,” she said with a big grin. “It just brings joy, I believe I have a good voice. I just enjoy it.”

She has put her voice to the test before all-county, including at Genesee County’s Fair talent contest. Brynlee took home two first-place prizes, one for her rendition of Taylor Swift’s “Our Song.” She has a piece of advice for making a song work.

“Sing things you enjoy singing,” she said.

There are four or five songs in the concert, and two of them are in different languages, French and Chinese, she said. The chorus director will help students with the words, Brynlee said, and overall, she’s good at remembering songs.

“I learn music words pretty fast, so hopefully, I’ll memorize them by tomorrow,” she said. “I think it’s going to go really well. My mom, dad, sisters and stepmom are coming, they’re my biggest supporters. It makes me feel happy that they came to see me.”

Stephanie Gietler, president of the G-W Music Association, said the event is "a great learning opportunity" that's outside of the kids' typical school district music program. And gathering them together has been a great experience.

"Oh, it's so nice to hear the kids making music and being with others," Gietler said. "All-county is a great opportunity because it gets the kids to push their limits of learning and gives them another opportunity. A lot of these kids in the instrumental world go audition on a solo. So they work hard, and it's an honor to be selected into All-County."

There are 11 schools and about 250 students involved in the event, she said. 

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Musician Sean Pietrzykowski’s (third photo) reasons for choosing tuba might not have been so noble in the beginning — “my sister picked sax, and I wanted to be a little louder” — but he’s glad that he did. The Alexander eighth-grader has excelled with the brass instrument, playing in jazz and concert bands, qualifying for all-state and all-county.

“I really enjoy it, I enjoy the atmosphere,” he said. “It opened a lot for me, it’s one thing I can fall back to.”

A country music fan — George Strait and Riley Green top the list — Sean, 14, has also made solid connections through music with students and his teacher, Dan Klinczar, who’s also vice president of the G-W Music Educators Association.

Rehearsal was going well, and Sean was feeling confident about the final outcome.

“We’re sounding good,” he said.

It was hard to miss Evan Williams (fourth photo) on stage, both from his 6-foot-4-inch stature and tenor vocals. He said that sometimes he wishes he wasn’t quite so tall, as people expect him to have more baritone quality, though it hasn’t seemed to hurt him any.

The Le Roy High School senior has performed in many school musicals, being cast in a lead role as Jean Valjean for this year’s “Les Miserables,” and going to college with a Regents music scholarship.

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Evan, 17, hasn’t yet nailed down which college he’ll go to, but his aspirations are concrete: musical theater. Given his upbringing, he really has no other choice. As a toddler, Evan would sit on the sidelines while his parents rehearsed with their band, Exit 27.

“I always saw the performance aspect of it,” Evan said. “In grades seven through 12, I joined the music department, It felt like home.”

He sang a lot in choir, in and out of school, and plays percussion in band. Music is about more than notes on a page, he said. Especially when it comes to his family.

“My dad (Justin Williams) still gigs out on his own solo. He has such an eclectic style, like performing country. And then he'll do some Aerosmith. And then he's just all over the place. But it's really cool. And it's cool to sort of have grown up in that because everyone in Le Roy is like, Le Roy is so small, and they're always like, Oh, I've seen your parents perform,” Evan said. “And then they'll come to see me. Which theater is completely different than what they perform. Choir is completely different from what they perform. And it's like, it's cool that we've got a little melting pot of voices in our family.”

Asking Evan for a favorite music genre wasn’t as easy as it seemed. Even the ones he thought he could rule out were reeled back in when he thought more about it. He would’ve cast away country, but then again, he likes Sam Smith.

“I feel like Sam Smith is not only an incredible performer in the pop industry realm, but I also think the way that they hold themselves as a person and just have always been true to themselves. And I think that's really important to have an industry. Because I think no matter where you end up, people are going to try to put you in a spot that isn't you, and I think it's always very important to just be who you are,” Evan said. “And if it's not working for you, do what's best for you. And I think that that's something that Sam Smith has really grown to do over the years.”

Evan is drawn to New York City and can see himself working there someday, hopefully on Broadway or filming a movie. He and his classmates have enjoyed being able to resume life after COVID and entertain an audience.

“I feel like we're finally coming back to full things after the pandemic, and it's sort of cool to see people fall in love with performance again,” he said. “And I think that that's really cool to be a part of.”

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Top Photo of band rehearsal during the All-County Festival Friday at Elba Central School; Brynlee Amend, Sean Pietrzykowski, and Evan Williams,  rehearsal and choir and band groups being led by their music directors. Photos by Howard Owens.

Elba team takes home the win as 32nd annual Scholastic Bowl champs

By Joanne Beck

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For some students, it might just be a game, but for Elba senior Cameron Havens, Scholastic Bowl meant a whole lot more.

An avid fan of “Jeopardy,” first with Alex Trebeck and more currently familiar with host Ken Jennings, Havens was ready to take down the competition. The Bowl finals Thursday evening put Elba Central in the ring with contenders Batavia City and Pavilion Central schools.

“I thought that Pavilion had taken the lead, and so, when I saw one of our teammates, he put his hand over his mouth like, surprise, wait, hold up,” Havens said after the conclusion of the series at the BOCES Batavia campus. “And then I saw them draw the 300 there, then my heart just, I just relaxed. I’m a senior, it’s a nice way to go out.”

Elba took first place with 300, followed by Pavilion with 290, and Batavia in third with 240.

This was the 32nd year of Scholastic Bowl, and it began in January. Student teams verbally battle for that top position by answering a variety of questions about geography, history, music, literature, science, arts, current events and other assorted topics.

Aerianna Cintorino, an Elba sophomore and newcomer to the game, said that she learned a good piece of advice to use in these situations.

“I also do masterminds, so learning that it's okay to answer because you won't get points taken off. So even if you think it's incorrect, you might be correct. So just say it. Don't be afraid to push your buzzer,” she said. “You may get trigger-heavy at some point in time, but it's fine. There were a few times that I kind of shocked myself that I was right.”

Ian Keberle, a senior at Elba who plans to pursue agribusiness in college, admitted that his team had one major strategy. It began during practice sessions of questions with other school districts.

“Our strategy is to not answer any of them to kind of subvert expectations for the other team. And then we come into the actual competition, and we just hammer it,” Keberle said. “So that's probably our main strategy.”

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You know the lightning round? That’s when a team gets to answer a series of questions all at once to pick up several points. That wasn’t Batavia’s strongest moment, senior Jack Pickard said.

“Definitely the lightning round, where it was all the bays and sounds like I don’t even know what the sound was. So that was definitely difficult. Sounds, like it’s like a body of water or something. So yeah, that definitely stumped us,” he said.

He and his fellow teammates wore black shirts and pants, topped off with black sunglasses.

“Really, our goal was to be as intimidating as we could be,” senior Noah Pickard said. “Obviously, that didn’t work. But now we had a lot of fun doing it. We did it last year, and I walked out, and it’s just a thing that we decided to do again. It’s a tradition, and hopefully, it carries on.”

Like many of his fellow students, Noah participates in other extracurriculars, including track and cross country, which he plans to continue at Oneonta State College this fall.

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Each team of students is guided by at least one coach that works with them throughout the year to prepare for and get through the annual Bowl. Elba's coach was Aaron Balko, Andy Kiebala was coach for Batavia, and Timothy Mapes was coach at Pavilion. Mapes said he looks forward to seeing the progress of future teams.

“We had practice each week, varying students would show up. We actually have quite a few students who are part of the program. And then we kind of bring our top four, top three competitors to each of the competitions,” he said. “But overall, throughout the school year, I think, you know, I'm really proud of how we performed in each of the events, sometimes coming from behind to win, sometimes dealing with adversity from not winning, and then just, you look at the championship round, and it came down to the final question, only losing by one point.

“This is also the second year that we've come in second place. So we're going to try to keep building off of this momentum going forward,” Mapes said. “I think it's a great opportunity for them to show off their knowledge, show off the things that they have learned throughout the school year, both the school year and in previous school years, and also have a chance to interact with other students from other schools who have a common interest that they have.”

Steve Cole, coordinator of enrichment services, presented the first, second and third place plaques and emphasized to students that “you really do a great service by representing your school so well, so you should be proud of yourself.”

Organizers for Scholastic Bowl include Cathy Preston, Kathleen Jursted and Stephanie Groff.

Top Photo: Elba Central School was the champion team in this year's Scholastic Bowl, featuring students Aidan McClurg, Ian Keberle, Aerianna Cintorino, Tim Kilner and Cameron Havens; Batavia came in third place, with Elijah Abdella, Jack Pickard, Ian Harmon, and Noah Pickard; and photo above, second place team of Pavilion, with Coach Sydney Pelton, students Jordan Eggleston, Evan Sidhu, and Grace Slocum, and Coach Timothy Mapes. Photos by Joanne Beck.

Lancers community pulls together to shelter 50 travelers

By Joanne Beck

Editor’s Note: At the risk of seeming redundant, The Batavian believes that Winter Storm Elliott easily became the biggest story of 2022, and there are many people, groups, businesses, and municipalities that are deserving of the spotlight for their contributions to assist the hundreds stranded in Genesee County during the Christmas weekend. This is another of those stories.

There have been stories of rescue involving fire halls, a community center, hotels, a church, and now, one of the schools that stepped up to help people during Winter Storm Elliott.

As the storm invaded portions of Genesee County on Dec. 23, Elba Volunteer Fire Department member Mandy Esten contacted Elba Central School Superintendent Gretchen Rosales about using the school as a warming shelter.

“As the superintendent of Elba Central, I've firmly stood behind my belief that the school is the center of our small community and that it belongs to all of the people of Elba,” Rosales said to The Batavian Saturday. “If it can be used as a source of shelter and comfort during a treacherous storm, all the better. The systems that a school already has in place are a natural fit for dealing with a crisis; we already provide food, shelter, warmth, and comfort to our students.

“This was an easy decision,” she said. "I reached out to my leadership team, as well as the Board of Education, to inform them that the school would be used as a warming shelter for those who were stranded or in need of a warm place to stay due to loss of power.”

From that moment on, Rosales witnessed a barrage of generosity and leadership from school staff about the clothing closet, a collection of personal hygiene items, and blankets and wheelchairs in the school nurse’s station; from the Elba Betterment Committee which made food for the stranded travelers; and a tech-savvy student who streamed cartoons for children on a screen in the cafeteria.

“The Elba community is incredible, and I'm so thankful for the great relationship we have with the Elba Fire Department. Mandy is a rockstar and coordinated things inside the school,” Rosales said. “My phone was ringing non-stop with offers for help and supplies. Initially, the onset of the storm provided us with a challenge as we were unable to mobilize a big response.  But via phone messages, texts, and picture messages, I was able to help Mandy get the coffee going and to tell her where they could find additional coats and warm clothing.”

Kim Walczak, who is the district’s acting cafeteria manager, arrived the next morning and made breakfast while yet another student shared that the yoga mats in Mrs. Morgan's classroom would make great sleeping mats, Rosales said. 

“Teachers and other staff members, as well as parents, were texting and emailing constantly, asking how to help from afar,” she said. “It was really a collective effort, which is what our school and community is all about.”

City of Batavia Police staff brought more cots and blankets for the community by that Saturday, Christmas eve.  They also dropped off food “from so many businesses that wanted to help out,” she said.   

Rosales estimated that at least 50 travelers were hosted at the school. And as she, and many others, learned, it evolved into more than a place for education.

“A school is not just about the building where the learning happens; they offer comfort and care,” she said. “Even though the storm was a scary experience for so many, I'm glad that Elba Central was able to be a shelter for those who needed it.”

Although this storm has been cited as being worse than the dreaded blizzard of ’77, at least one online poster sees a positive difference.

“Wow, they never did that when I went to school in the 60s and 70s! Glad they are now!” he wrote on the district’s social media page.

Elba students represent district at FFA competition and bring home the silver

By Press Release

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Press Release

In October, the Elba FFA (Future Farmers of America) Chapter competed in the
National FFA Dairy Evaluation and Management Competition in Indianapolis, Indiana. The team put in many hours of hard work and effort to compete at the national level.

The competition consisted of an online multiple-choice test that tested their dairy knowledge at the end of September, then at the end of October, they traveled to the National FFA Convention to compete in multiple days of events which included a team activity as well as judging multiple classes of dairy cattle.

The Elba FFA Chapter was awarded the National Silver Award for Dairy Evaluation and Management. Ian Keberle and Bing Zuber were awarded national gold individually, and Amelia and Jillian Brewer
were awarded national silver individually.

Other members of the FFA that attended the national convention were Addison Keberle and Maggie Winspear. They participated in general convention sessions hosted at Lucas Oil Stadium, were inspired by their peers as they were recognized for their accomplishments, and heard from keynote speakers.

Those members that attended also explored various career paths at the National FFA Expo, participated in career success tours, and more. The FFA chapter is advised by Tracy Dahlhaus, Elba Central School’s
agriculture science teacher.

The National FFA Organization is a school-based national youth leadership development organization of more than 850,000 student members as part of 8,995 local FFA chapters in all 50 states, Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands. The FFA mission is to make a positive difference in the lives of students by developing their potential for premier leadership, personal growth and career success through agricultural education.

More than 69,500 FFA members and supporters from across the country celebrated agriculture and agricultural education during the 95th National FFA Convention Expo in Indianapolis. This time-honored tradition, hosted by the city of Indianapolis, was held Oct. 26-29.

Photo submitted by Elba Central School of Bing Zuber, left, Ian Keberle, Amelia Brewer, and Jillian Brewer.

Elba hires school resource officer as part of overall safety process

By Joanne Beck

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Elba Central School may be the last district in Genesee County to bring a school resource officer on board, but it has been part of a post-pandemic plan for the district, Superintendent Gretchen Rosales says.

With an eye on priorities, Rosales felt this was the right time to add an officer as part of a deliberate process once she became superintendent in 2021. The district’s additional personnel — a social worker, school resource officer and prevention educator — are to not only ensure physical safety, but also that “our mental health needs were being met,” she said.

“All schools have to carefully watch spending, but small rural schools often carry an extra burden.  There are many mandates we need to cover, along with making sure that we have top-notch academic programs and well-rounded extracurricular activities. Elba has steadily built this strong foundation,” Rosales said in response to The Batavian’s questions about hiring a SRO. “When we began to come out on the other side of the pandemic, we first wanted our focus to be on a comprehensive mental health program. COVID really opened our eyes to the unique struggles that our students and their families were facing.  This became my focus in my first year as superintendent, and my first step was to hire a full-time social worker. 

"We have also contracted with GCASA to have a prevention educator on staff on a weekly basis," Rosales said. "Once we had these pieces in place, we were ready to consider moving toward hiring a school resource officer.”

Ally Terranova was hired for the social worker position this year, and she “has already made great strides in supporting the students and families,” Rosales said. Deputy Ryan Young was more recently hired through Genesee County Sheriff’s Office. Adding the extra supports began in late spring of this year, and the process included communicating with the community, teachers, staff, and students as “an important part of determining the need.”

The district sent out bilingual surveys to ensure the “considerable Spanish-speaking population” was included and able to respond. Interested parties were asked to join a related committee and there was “a lot of listening involved, and engaging in rich dialog about what our district really needed,” Rosales said. 

“We took our time with this process because we wanted to make the right decision and hire someone who would best support the Elba community,” she said. “My school community has been incredibly supportive.  I have had a steady stream of communication via phone, email, and in-person by family and community members who have expressed appreciation that the District has a fully dedicated law enforcement officer on staff.  To have a person with their eyes on security and safety is a critical part to ensuring that students can focus on learning.”

“Deputy Young has already fully integrated himself into the school community; he's visited all of the elementary classrooms as well as the secondary social studies classes,” she said. “He has lunch with the students, attends leadership meetings, chaperoned the homecoming dance, and has met the community at games. It is safe to say that our school resource officer is a full-fledged Lancer already.”

Elba now joins Alexander, Batavia, Byron-Bergen, Le Roy, Oakfield-Alabama, Pavilion and Pembroke school districts in having at least one school resource officer at the district. Batavia City Schools added a second officer this year. The positions add about $80,000 to $100,000 in salary and benefits each to a district budget.

Photo of Deputy Ryan Young, Elba's new school resource officer, submitted by Elba Central School.

Elba Central School receives state's Seal of Civic Readiness

By Press Release

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Press release:

The students in the junior and senior high school at Elba Central have engaged in a rigorous program designed to qualify them for a 4+1 graduation pathway or a special stand-alone designation on their diploma upon graduation. 

The Elba Central School District was selected to be a pilot school for the Seal of Civic Readiness program, which is a new initiative designed by the New York State Department of Education. 

NYSED had already established the Seal of Biliteracy, which is awarded to students who demonstrate fluency in a second language, as determined by a series of benchmarks.  Similarly, the Seal of Civic Readiness was designed to provide recognition to students who go above and beyond the standard graduation requirements in social studies, history, and service-learning. 

Acceptance into the pilot program was granted to schools that demonstrated academic and civic learning opportunities robust enough to meet the program criteria. 

Elba Central was selected as a pilot school in the fall after completing the application and selection process.  Throughout the pilot period, the committee of educators met frequently to revise capstone projects, review the curriculum, design project-based learning, and refine teaching practices to align with the program.  Additionally, the Elba committee met with other pilot schools in the Monroe 2 BOCES region to collaborate on promising practices in alignment with the goals of the Seal of Civic Readiness. 

Members of the Elba Central School committee are Sean Bryant (ELA teacher); Mike Cintorino (social studies teacher); Laura Williams (social studies teacher and service-learning coordinator); Alison Riner (HS counselor), and Gretchen Rosales (Superintendent). 

Rosales led the application process and credits the teachers for their willingness to critically evaluate their own teaching and to provide robust opportunities for students to engage in project-based learning, both inside and outside of the classroom. 

“Our teachers have put in countless hours analyzing, revising, and reconceptualizing what they do in the classroom to reimagine education for today’s world," she said. "Students at Elba can critically apply social studies, history, and research skills to the issues that need to be addressed in their own communities.  This is what education should look like.”

Working with Mrs. Williams, students in the middle school have engaged in the planning and implementation of projects designed to improve their school and community. 

Students administered surveys to determine needs and then researched, planned, and implemented project-based learning activities to meet those needs. 

Projects have included campus-wide clean-up activities; determining a need for community seating areas at the school (which included designing and building picnic tables), researching pet abandonment and securing donations to a local shelter; and implementing a composting program at the school in conjunction with Porter Farms, a local and organically managed farm in Elba. 

The middle school students have even connected with the youngest children in the building; noting a need for some positivity, the 8th graders record kindergarteners reading happy messages. 

Throughout the week, anyone can call in to hear the happy pre-recorded communications. 

According to Laura Williams, service learning coordinator, “it became obvious that the skills needed to become civically engaged at all levels of adulthood have to be fostered and practiced at an earlier age. More important than executing a perfect service-learning project is their own reflection of what worked well, what didn’t work well, what obstacles were overcome, and what could be improved upon the next time. Watching these young adults practice reaching out to community members and following through with their plans is something they rarely get to practice in a traditional classroom setting.”

Christine Radez, an associate at the New York State Office of Curriculum and Instruction at the New York State Department of Education in Albany, congratulated Elba Central and stated, “On behalf of our Civic Readiness Task Force members, I extend gratitude for your efforts to support this important initiative. Our vision is that the Seal of Civic Readiness is available for all students across New York State in the future. The steps you have taken towards the development of a civic readiness program and student credential are advancing that goal.”

Submitted photos.

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Elba Central battles inflation, proposes 2.5 percent budget increase

By Joanne Beck

As Genesee County school districts provide details about their 2022-23 budgets, there seems no escaping inflation, and Elba Central Superintendent Gretchen Rosales isn’t afraid to admit she’s looking to cut corners.

Rosales, with the assistance of her district treasurer, Lisa Penna, has joined the list of district administrators who have pointed to the problem of rising prices for everything from electric and gasoline to wood.

“Some of the issues that we face include the sharp increase in utilities and other expenses. We have found that materials we need to operate have doubled in price. For example, the lumber for the high school construction class has nearly doubled,” Rosales said to The Batavian this week. “In order for our students to have the same experiences they have always had, we need to figure out where to cut corners in other areas. Everything from the cost of food to the topsoil we purchase has increased dramatically.”

Rosales and Penna have been working closely to create a budget that is “both fiscally responsible and also maximizes our expenditures to best serve the needs” of Elba Central School students, the superintendent said. 

The district has proposed a budget of $11,215,950, which is a 2.5 percent increase from the current budget. Rosales doesn’t expect any related tax rate increase, as the rate has decreased over the last year due to the estimated average assessed property values, she said. 

The financial plan includes a $100,000 Capital Outlay Project for enhancements to district security (re-keying the building, installing reinforced doors) and improving the heating/ventilation and air conditioning system and the boilers. 

A 65-passenger bus is also in the budget,  and that should be reimbursed by the state for up to 90 percent of the cost, she said. 

While the 2.5 percent increase is partially due to contractual obligations, instructional programs and BOCES services (occupational and special education), there are other reasons for this year’s proposed extra spending, she said.

Those rising prices, coupled with a steep increase in health insurance for employees, have prompted a focus on making cuts of any unnecessary expenses while “still providing top-notch instruction,” she said. 

“Being good stewards of the public's investment in education is not something that we take lightly; schools are not the only organizations feeling the pain of supply chain issues and rising costs,” Rosales said. “The families in the Elba community are feeling it just like everyone else.   Being cognizant of that reality is our primary focus right now.” 

She is thankful for a “great leadership team” that’s willing to be creative with new ideas for the student population. The district wants to hire a part-time social worker to better meet the needs of students in a post-pandemic time period, she said. That’s another common thread amongst county districts: counteract what was lost to students during two years of remote and hybrid learning away from class. The hiring process has just begun for this position, she said.

“We are also looking at enrichment and extension programs to help students bridge the learning gap that happened during COVID.  Schools will certainly need to contend with the COVID pandemic for years to come,” she said. “Elba is lucky in the sense that our small, tight-knit community is nurturing and supportive; we will continue to work through any challenges with this in mind.”

Another part of the upcoming budget vote are board members, both new and long-serving, she said. Current President Mike Augello will be stepping down from his role later this year, while newcomer Mercy Caparco and Travis Torrey run for two open seats.

Collaboration has been key to working on a budget, Rosales said, and she is “very thankful” for the help of Penna as district treasurer, her district clerk Donna Harris, a leadership team composed of department heads and the board.

“Of course, the Board of Education has always had the community's best interests at the forefront of this process; we want to be fiscally responsible while still providing the best education around,” she said. “I think we have a great balance in the 22-23 budget.”

The district’s vote will be from noon to 8 p.m. on May 17. There are four propositions to be on the ballot: The total budget, purchase of a new 65-passenger bus, authorizing a $100,000 Capital Outlay Project, and a vote for two Board of Education seats. 

For more information, go the district’s website at: elbacsd.org

Genesee County central school districts unveil plans for reopening this fall

By Mike Pettinella

Genesee County central school districts have sent their reopening proposals to the Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s office and to the New York State Education Department.

It must be noted that the governor ultimately will determine whether or not schools may reopen. He is expected to announce his decision sometime next week.

Complete reopening plans can be found on the schools’ websites. All plans must comply with guidelines set forth by the state Education Department, Center for Disease Control, Genesee County Health Department and the governor’s executive orders.

The Batavian posted the Batavia City School District’s hybrid reopening plan on Tuesday.

ALEXANDER

Superintendent Catherine Huber said the district is proposing a hybrid reopening plan, based on the building capacity and in alignment with the aforementioned guidelines.

It includes designating Wednesdays as a virtual day for all students “to allow us to engage in scheduled deep cleaning on a weekly basis in addition to our regular daily cleaning routine.”

  • Prekindergarten through fifth grade – Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and Friday in school.
  • BOCES CTE – Monday and Tuesday at BOCES, Thursday and Friday in school.
  • Sixth through eighth grade – Monday and Tuesday in school, Thursday and Friday virtual.
  • Ninth through 12th grade – Monday and Tuesday virtual, Thursday and Friday in school.
  • Special education/English language learning – Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and Friday in school.

BYRON-BERGEN

Superintendent Mickey Edwards released the B-B plan, which (like Alexander’s plan) divides students into five groups – one with 100-percent in-school learning, three with a combination of in-school and remote learning and one with 100-percent remote learning.

  • Universal Prekindergarten through fifth grade (elementary school) – All students in school.
  • Cohort 1, sixth through 12th grade – Students with last name A-L – Monday and Tuesday in school; Wednesday through Friday remote learning.
  • Cohort 2, sixth through 12th grade – Students with last name M-Z, Monday through Wednesday remote learning; Thursday and Friday in school.
  • Cohort 3, sixth through 12th grade students with special considerations – Every day except Wednesday in school.
  • Virtual Cohort, K-12th grade – 100-percent remote learning for students whose parents have opted not to send their children back to school.

ELBA

Superintendent Ned Dale said his committee “collectively agreed that the safest plan would be to have 50 percent of the students come every other day.”

He said the goal is to review the wellness of our students and staff on Oct. 1 and then every two weeks after that to increase capacity.

Two groups of students, Maroon and White, have been established based on last names to “allow them to sit on the bus together, possibly sit at a cafeteria table together, as social distancing is not required with members of the same household.”

Dale said that a 50-percent model will allow students to not wear a mask when they are seated in the classroom. He also noted that districts are required to accommodate students and families that choose to do distance learning and that students with special needs may be required to attend more often.

LE ROY

Superintendent Merritt Holly advised that the district has formulated a hybrid plan model, dividing the students from kindergarten to 12th grade into two groups – Team Jell-O, which will be in school on Monday and Tuesday, and Team Oatka, which will be in school on Thursday and Friday.

Wednesday has been set aside as a full remote or virtual learning day for all students.

  • Team Jell-O – Monday and Tuesday in school; Wednesday through Friday, remote learning.
  • Team Oatka -- Thursday and Friday in school; Monday through Wednesday, remote learning.

“This allows us to have half our student population (in school) on Monday/Tuesday and Thursday/Friday,” he said, adding that if parents don't feel comfortable sending their child back to school, the district is offering remote learning five days a week.

He said parents can choose one option for their child, either in-person instruction on two days, remote three days OR full remote five days.

The reopening plan is divided into the following categories as recommended by the state Education Department and Department of Health -- communications, operations, health & safety, transportation, food service, facilities/building procedures, academics/schedule, social emotional learning, athletics/extracurriculars.

OAKFIELD-ALABAMA

Superintendent John Fisgus said the plan is to have 100-percent in-person learning and teaching for the fall.

The start of classes is delayed until Sept. 11 for extra training and guidance for staff. Fisgus said that this is made possible by utilizing two additional superintendent conference days at the beginning of the year.

“We are in a lucky spot that we can social distance our students while in the classrooms so students can remove their masks during instruction time,” he reported.

The O-A reopening plan is divided into seven categories – communications, operations, health/safety protocols, building procedures, academics, athletics, social/emotional supports.

PAVILION

Superintendent Kenneth Ellison said the school’s reopening committee hasn’t reached a final decision on which of the three options submitted to the state – in-school, remote learning or a mix of the two – will be set into motion at the outset of the school year.

“We will continue to work on what school will look like in September once Governor Cuomo makes his final decision on school reopening on August 7th,” he said. “Despite the scope of the state Education Department document, we still have many logistics to sort out to strike the balance between offering a program that is both educationally strong and meets the numerous health and safety requirements dictated by the state.

Ellison noted that the state Education Department defines these plans as “living documents” so changes will be made as new information becomes available.

PEMBROKE

Superintendent Matthew Calderon reported that the district is giving all K-12 parents the option for 100-percent online/remote learning or in-person learning, with the district set to send parents a summary of the details in an automated message before the plan is posted to its website.

He issued the following information:

  • Students who participate in 100-percent online/remote learning must commit to do so at least on a quarterly basis, and will use the Google Classroom Suite and ClassTag to participate in lessons and receive information about learning expectations.
  • Students who participate in-person will follow a normal schedule. Teachers will use the Google Classroom Suite and ClassTag to enhance the learning experience for students who attend in person. The district will rearrange classroom spaces and use clear desk shields to maximize social distancing and reduce the need to wear masks.
  • By using the Google Classroom Suite and ClassTag, the district will be prepared to quickly transition to a hybrid/alternating-day schedule and/or 100-percent online/remote learning for all, if needed. In such cases, students with disabilities and students with extenuating circumstances would be prioritized to continue with in-person learning to the fullest extent possible, if permitted.

Elba Central: Budget, vehicle propositions pass; Riner returns to school board

By Mike Pettinella

Voting on Elba Central School's $10,269,322 budget, propositions and board of education election:

Proposition #1 – Budget
Yes – 303
No – 103

Proposition #2 – Vehicle and transportation reserve
Yes – 310
No – 97

Proposition #3 – School bus purchase
Yes – 311
No – 95

School Board (Re-election)
Incumbent Michael Riner – 377

Elba students walked to school on Wednesday

By Billie Owens

Submitted photos and press release:

Elba – The Wellness Committee at Elba Central School sponsored their fourth Annual Walk to School Day this week.

On Oct. 10th, Elba joined schools from around the United States to celebrate Walk to School Day.

Approximately 75 students from Elba Central School walked to school Wednesday along with parents, teachers and community members. They gathered at 7 a.m. at the Town of Elba Highway Department, located at 7 Maple Ave., Elba, and walking started at 7:15.

Upon arrival to the school cafeteria there were special activities associated with the walk. NYS ENCON officer Fay Fuerch and her K9 Handley were the event's special guests. A healthy light snack was served that was donated by Harrington’s Produce, Yancey Fancy New York artisan cheesemaker, and Aldi.

Every student participant was entered into a drawing to win either an Art box, Walkie Talkies or a Bean Bag Toss. Thank you to the above sponsors and the Elba Fire Department!

In the United States, Walk to School Day is expected to include more than 5,000 events across all 50 states. Walk to School Day raises awareness of the need to create safer routes for walking and bicycling. It emphasizes the importance of issues such as increasing physical activity among children, pedestrian safety, traffic congestion and concern for the environment.

This event builds connections between families, schools, and the community.

The Wellness Committee at Elba Central School organizes occasions such as this to promote health and wellness among our staff, students and community through healthy events.

For additional information, please visit these websites:

Walk to School Day in the USA                                    www.walkbiketoschool.org                        

National Center for Safe Routes to School                        www.saferoutesinfo.org

Elba fifth-grader places second in statewide poster contest for Missing Children's Day

By Billie Owens

Above is the poster created by Elba Central School fifth-grader Jason Rowe. It won Second Place in the statewide Missing Children's Day Poster Contest.

Information from Missing Persons Clearinghouse, NYS Division of Criminal Justice Services:

A fifth-grader at Elba Central School named Jason Rowe took Second Place in the statewide Missing Children's Day Poster Contest, sponsored by Missing Persons Clearinghouse, NYS Division of Criminal Justice Services. 

There will be an award ceremony honoring Jason's achievement at 1 p.m. Tuesday, May 22, at the school, located at 57 S. Main St., Elba.

There were a total of 302 entries from 49 school districts throughout New York.

Clearinghouse staff narrowed the entries to the top 60 for review by a panel of three judges, who made their selections independently without knowing the students’ names or schools they attend.

Judging the entries were DCJS Executive Deputy Commissioner Michael C. Green; Ellen DeChiro, an investigator with the special victim’s unit of the New York State Police; and Matt Frear, whose teenage brother Craig disappeared from Schenectady County in 2004.

“This year’s contest, more than any before it, was very difficult to judge due to the thought, creativity and high quality of work these students put into their posters,” Commissioner Green said. “In the end, this was a very difficult choice to make and all of these young students deserve recognition for their effort to raise awareness for missing children.”

The winning New York poster was created by Saranika Chakrabortty of PS 877 51st Avenue Academy in Queens. Hannah Hollenbeck from Howard A. Hanlon Elementary School in the Schuyler County Town of Odessa, was third.

All state entries are being displayed this month at the Empire State Plaza Concourse in Albany to mark this week's National Missing Children’s Day on Friday, May 25.

The winner of the National Missing Children’s Day Poster Contest, sponsored annually by the U.S. Department of Justice, is chosen from among all the states' first-place posters.

The state and national competitions are designed to raise awareness and educate the public about unresolved missing children cases.

History of National Missing Children's Day

May 25 was designated National Missing Children’s Day in 1983. On that date four years earlier, 6-year-old Etan Patz vanished in New York City. The boy’s disappearance gained wide publicity and created a groundswell of attention to the plight of missing children. Last year, a New Jersey man was convicted in connection with the kidnapping and murder of Patz and sentenced to life in prison.

Missing Children in New York

There were 17,114 children reported missing across New York State in 2017, with the vast majority of them reported by police as runaways. The overwhelming majority of these children returned home last year, but more than 2,000 missing children cases remain unresolved.

The Missing Persons Clearinghouse assists law enforcement agencies by providing training, case management guidance and investigative support, such as publicizing missing children cases. It also administers the state’s Missing Child Alerts, which are activated when a case involving a missing child under the age of 21 doesn’t meet AMBER Alert criteria.

The public is encouraged to receive notifications whenever the Clearinghouse or the New York State Police issue an alert about a missing individual. Both agencies partner with NY-ALERT, which sends out an automatic e-mail or text message to subscribers whenever an AMBER, Missing Child, Missing College Student or Missing Vulnerable Adult alert is activated.

To receive these alerts or others, sign up for a NY-ALERT account by visiting www.nyalert.gov. Anyone with an existing NY-ALERT account can add these alerts through their profile.

The New York State Division of Criminal Justice Services (www.criminaljustice.ny.gov) is a multi-function criminal justice support agency with a variety of responsibilities, including: law enforcement training; collection and analysis of statewide crime data; maintenance of criminal history information and fingerprint files; administrative oversight of the state’s DNA databank, in partnership with the New York State Police; funding and oversight of probation and community correction programs; administration of federal and state criminal justice funds; support of criminal justice-related agencies across the state; and administration of the state’s Sex Offender Registry.

The Yellow Brick Road leads to Elba this weekend

By Howard B. Owens

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The Elba Central School Drama Club presents "The Wizard of Oz" this weekend.

Shows are at 7 p.m., Friday, and 2 and 7 p.m., Saturday.

Tickets are available at the ECS district office and Roxy's Music store in Batavia. Advance tickets are $6 for students and seniors, $8 for adults. They are $10 at the door.

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Elba hosts 'Meet the Principals' night

By Howard B. Owens

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Article and photo submitted by Drew Muehlig.

President-elect Donald Trump isn’t the only one putting a transition team together. Elba Central School has worked diligently over the last year and a half to get its administrative team together. Friday night, the school hosted a “Meet the Principal’s Night,” giving the community an opportunity to meet the new “team” face-to-face.

First there was new Superintendent Keith Palmer who came over from his post as high school principal at Pembroke Central School. Palmer was hired prior to the 2015-16 school year.

“As a fairly new superintendent, it is fortunate to be in a position to hire your administrative team,” Palmer said.

That team is made up of Elementary Principal Carol Bush and Junior-Senior High School Principal Mike Langridge.

“Both bring unique strengths to the District that will have a direct and immediate impact on learning,” Palmer continued. “Carol’s knowledge and experience with literacy along with her ability to speak Spanish has already benefited our most needy students at the elementary level. As an Elba alumnus, Mike brings established relationships and credibility with the faculty and community. His focus on rigorous and challenging coursework for all students will continue to prepare our high-schoolers for both college and career.”

Bush, former coordinator of the Center for School Improvement and Professional Development at Orleans/Niagara BOCES, boasts 14 years in the field of education with time as a Spanish teacher, literacy specialist and coordinator of student services and curriculum. Providing ECS students with the best possible learning experience is her top priority.

“Creating an environment that is conducive to learning and meets the needs of all students is critical,” Bush explained. Each day, teachers and students enter our school building with an array of personalities, interests, expectations, skills and talents. As the instructional leader, it is my job to recognize these unique attributes and nurture them so they may grow to their full potential.”

Langridge, former principal at the O’Connor Academy at Monroe #1 BOCES, plans to continue that same effort at the high school level.

“We will provide the opportunities and support for all students to be ready to take on their post-secondary life with the skills, abilities and character necessary to find success,” Langridge said.

Those opportunities that Langridge speaks of are far more numerous than they were when he graduated from Elba Central School in 1998.

“Students have greater access to Advanced Placement courses, ACE (Genesee Community) courses, BOCES, small class sizes, a family atmosphere in which we take care of one another, and, thanks to mergers with local districts, extracurricular options my friends and I only dreamt of as students,” Langridge added.

Many of those former students now make up the core community in Elba, fueling the growth and success of the school.

“There is a great sense of pride that exists in Elba, not only as a strong school community but also as a family,” Bush said. “Everyone is truly invested in the academic, social and emotional well-being of our students and provide a remarkable support system for one another. I continue to be amazed by their dedication and commitment.”

It seems that with their respective backgrounds and skills, Palmer, Bush and Langridge are poised to lead Elba Central School into the future.

“Carol and Mike are strong leaders and I look forward to the progress we will make in providing our students with the best education in Western New York,” Palmer said.

Photo: Mike Langridge,Carol Bush and Keith Palmer (photo credit, Michael Augello).

Second annual Elba Hall of Fame Banquet set for Sept. 24 at Batavia Downs

By Billie Owens

Submitted photos.

Press release:

The 2nd annual Elba Hall of Fame Banquet will be held on Sept. 24th at Batavia Downs. Social hour starts at 6 p.m. with dinner at 7.

The 2016 Hall of Fame class inductees are Stan Sherwood, Donald Ames and Robert Norton.

Stan Sherwood:

Sherwood was a Physical Education and Health teacher as well as a coach at Elba Central School for 35 years. He was a great teacher, coach and supporter of all Elba students. He taught young people not only the skills necessary for a particular sport, but more importantly the values required in life to be successful. Sherwood, also an Elba resident, passed away six years after his retirement leading the students of Elba to sign a petition to name the gym after Sherwood, honoring all that he did for the community and student body.  

Donald Ames:

Ames is an alumnus of Elba Central School. He was involved in many school activities while attending Elba such as class officer, student council, athletics and FFA. Ames was Salutatorian of his class and continued on to Alfred State College. He was also a staff sergeant in the National Guard. Ames has helped with Little League, Boy Scouts and sat for numerous years on the Elba Central School Board of Education, as well as serving as president.  

Robert Norton:

Norton is a 1955 graduate of Elba. He has both his master in Education and Ph.D in Agricultural Education from Cornell University. He has been influential in thousands of students’ lives through his additional teaching and curriculum at Ohio State University, where he has served as the curriculum director. Norton has taught seminars all over the world and has trained other teachers as well. He has contributed to the education of Agriculture for thousands.

Last year’s inductees were Dorothy Couglin, Roosevelt Muhammad Brown, Suzi Egeli House, Thomas Nowack and Chester Gabriel.

Tickets are available now through Sept. 21st in the Elba Central School District Office or may be reserved by calling 757-9967. Ticket prices are $30 and include a $10 free play pass to the Batavia Downs Gaming Center.

Elba Central School alumni to hold 50th reunion June 4 at Elba fire hall

By Billie Owens

Members of the Class of 1966 will be celebrating their 50th class reunion on June 4.

Submitted photo and press release:

The third annual Elba Central School Alumni Reunion will be held starting at 5 p.m. Saturday, June 4, at the Elba Fire Department Recreation Hall. Anyone who went to ECS is invited, you need not have graduated to attend.

Tickets should be purchased in advance and are $30 per person. Dinner will be buffet style, preceded by appetizers and punch. A cash bar will be available.

Reservation forms are available at several locations in Elba or may be requested by calling 343-7086.

Winners of architectural drawing contest announced by Landmark Society

By James Burns

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The Landmark Society of Genesee County announced the winners of the 25th annual fourth-grade architectural art contest. The goal of the contest is to promote awareness of Genesee County and highlight the talents of the area's fourth-grade students.

Below is 1st Place winner Zoey Shepard from Byron-Bergen.

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Below is 2nd Place Aidan McClurg from Elba.

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Below is 3rd Place Alyssa Ball from Byron-Bergen.

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There were also 20 Honorable Mentions.

From John Kennedy School: Jasmine Penders, Raydence Stehlar, Avelin Tomidy, Sofia Oltramari, Jakenzi Lee, Shawn Schwartzmeyer, Briana Welsh, Christina Michele Brown, Jenick Baker, Ariana Ddelandi, Katelyn Mance, Olivia Shell, Gavin Fowler.

From Oakfield –Alabama: Brooke Kennedy.

From Pavilion: John Philips, Evelyn Northrup.

From Byron-Bergen: Jason Bleiler, Ava Wagoner, Kendall Phillips.

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Shown with the children is Lucine Kauffman of the Landmark Society of Genesee County. For more information please visit https://www.facebook.com/pages/Landmark-Society-of-Genesee-County/120196221335371

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