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Seven APW students inducted into National Honor Society

Seven students at Altmar-Parish-Williamstown Junior/Senior High School were recently inducted into the National Honor Society, an honor reflecting their outstanding accomplishments in the areas of academics, character, leadership and service.

The Altmar-Parish-Williamstown Central School District recently held an induction ceremony welcoming seven students into the National Honor Society. From left students Sage Bartlett, Sabrina Fields, Allayna Frank, Megan Grondin, Emberlin Leja and Karigan Shawcross light candles signifying their membership.

The Altmar-Parish-Williamstown Central School District recently held an induction ceremony welcoming seven students into the National Honor Society. From left students Sage Bartlett, Sabrina Fields, Allayna Frank, Megan Grondin, Emberlin Leja and Karigan Shawcross light candles signifying their membership.

In front of dozens of family members, friends and school staff, the inductees took the NHS membership pledge, formally inducting them into the nation’s premier organization established to recognize outstanding high school students.

The students inducted into the Altmar-Parish-Williamstown Central School District Chapter of the National Honor Society were:

Sage Bartlett, Elias Eckert, Sabrina Fields, Allayna Frank, Megan Grondin, Emberlin Leja and Karigan Shawcross.

In an informative and powerful speech, guest speaker Rahama Wright, a 1998 graduate of APW High School and successful businesswoman, explained the need for the honorees to utilize their membership to help others throughout the community and beyond.

“It’s about cultivating a commitment to helping the community,” Wright said. “And not just throughout APW, but throughout the country and the world … this is just one piece of a very large puzzle.”

NHS Chapter President Maggie Cooper also addressed the new inductees, congratulating them on their accomplishments and encouraging them to continue to strive for excellence.

Following the speeches, Assistant Superintendent of Schools Rose Darby presented each student with a certificate for their achievement.

The National Honor Society was established in 1921 to recognize outstanding high school students who have demonstrated excellence in the areas of scholarship, leadership, service and character.

The APW Chapter of NHS was established in 1971.

Judith Ann (Drake) Porter, 77

FULTON – Judith Ann (Drake) Porter, 77, died after a long illness on Wednesday November 26, 2014, with her husband, David, by her side, in their Venice, Florida, home.

Judith Ann (Drake) Porter

Judith Ann Porter

She grew up in Orwell NY, where she, along with her brother, Phil, helped her father, Francis, on the farm, and her mother, Mildred Drake, run the Olmstead General Store.

She met her husband-to-be while showing cows at the Sandy Creek Fair.

Judy attended Watertown School of Commerce and Alfred State Technical Institute where she is a member of Pi Nu Epsilon. After just one year of attending Alfred, she married David G. Porter on June 17, 1956, and worked for General Electric in Ithaca NY, as he finished college at Cornell University.

They returned to the Porter family farm; Porterdale Farms Inc. in Adams Center, where she was the secretary/treasurer until retiring after many years.

Judy was also a 4-H Leader for the Dry Hill Hustlers, a member of the American Baptist Association and Honeyville Baptist Church.

Her main goals in life were to serve her Lord and be a good mother and wife. Her greatest accomplishments and love were for her family and church.

Besides her husband of 58 years, she is survived by a daughter, Jill and husband Jim Gratch of Carthage; a son, Gregory and wife, Lisa (Phillips) Porter of Watertown; a son, Ronald and wife, Mary (Burnash) Porter of Adams; a daughter, Jody and husband, Patrick Frawley of Fulton; a brother, Phillip Drake of Pulaski; and many nieces and nephews.

Judy was especially proud of and loved her grandchildren, in birth order: Ryan Weise, Jessica Brimmer, Joshua Weise, David Porter, Jamison Porter, Casey Porter, Daniel Frawley and Andrew Porter; and her great-grandchildren: Lucas Brimmer, Harrison Porter and Eli Brimmer.

She was predeceased by her parents, Francis and Mildred Drake; and sister-in-law, Janet Drake.

A church service to celebrate her life will be scheduled in the spring of 2015.

In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to: Honeyville Baptist Church: 13210 Fuller Road Adams Center, NY, 13606, Fellowship of Christian Farmers: PO Box 15, Lexington, Illinois 61753 or Salvation Army of Venice, Fla., 1051 Albee Farm Road, Venice, Fla. 34285.

Elk Club Teams Up with ARISE to Build Three Ramps

OSWEGO – ARISE would like to thank the Elks Lodge members for their support of the Oswego County Ramp Program. The Elks Lodge not only covered the cost of three recent ramps, they also volunteered to help install them.

ARISE staff and the Oswego Elks Lodge members worked together to build a ramp in the city of Oswego.

ARISE staff and the Oswego Elks Lodge members worked together to build a ramp in the city of Oswego.

Thanks to Elks Lodge members, one individual with chronic health conditions has regained access to the community, another family will no longer have to lift their young child’s wheelchair on and off the front porch every day, and a third young child was able to have her aluminum ramp replaced with a permanent wood ramp.

The weather did not always cooperate but the group carried on.

“It rained the entire time during the first ramp but it didn’t stop them. They are such a great group – they have such phenomenal attitudes,” said Jim Karasek, ARISE manager of Independent Living for Oswego County.

The ARISE Oswego County Ramp Program provides ramps for families in need all across Oswego County.

Without any government support in Oswego County, this program is funded completely through donations from individuals, businesses, and community partners. Donations can be made online at ariseinc.org.

If you would like to volunteer for the Ramp Program, contact Kris Rabideau at 342-4088 ext 207 or krabideau@ariseinc.org.

About ARISE

ARISE is a non-profit Independent Living Center run by and for people with disabilities. The organization has been providing advocacy and services since 1979, and each year ARISE works with approximately 4,000 people of all ages who have all types of disabilities. ARISE has offices in Onondaga, Oswego, Madison, Cayuga, and Seneca counties and operates ARISE at the Farm, a 77-acre recreational facility in Chittenango and ARISE & Ski at Toggenburg Winter Sports Center in Fabius.

Mexico Hosts First LEGO competition

Mexico Academy and Central School hosted the FIRST (For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology) LEGO League qualifying event for their first time at the Mexico middle school.

Mexico fourth grade student dances in celebration of a tournament victory at the FIRST LEGO League qualifying event.

A Mexico fourth grade student dances in celebration of a tournament victory at the FIRST LEGO League qualifying event.

The recently renovated gymnasium was packed with smiling learners, coaches and parents.

Onlookers cheered as student groups used technology, robotics and teamwork to perform tasks in a table arena.

Each competition could easily be viewed on the new gymnasium projector screens.

At that start of each challenge, audiences shouted, “3, 2, 1 LEGO!”

According to www3.usfirst.org:

“[First LEGO League] introduces younger students to real-world engineering challenges by building LEGO-based robots to complete tasks on a thematic playing surface. FLL teams, guided by their imaginations and adult coaches, discover exciting career possibilities and, through the process, learn to make positive contributions to society.”

Teams were judged on three categories: core values (discovery, integration and team spirit), robot design (durability, mechanical efficiency and mechanization) and a culminating project (research, innovative solution and presentation).

Mexico fourth grade team practices its robotics skills before the FIRST LEGO LEAGUE qualifying tournament.

Mexico fourth grade team practices its robotics skills before the FIRST LEGO LEAGUE qualifying tournament.

Mexico Academy had four fourth grade teams compete, starting practices two nights a week a few months before the event.

267,620 children participate in the qualifying tournaments worldwide.

The top 11 teams from Mexico’s competition will continue on to the championship tournament at SUNY Polytechnic Institute.

School Business Administrator Alicia Koster and New Haven Elementary Principal Richard Chapman played a large role in making FIRST LEGO League a reality for Mexico.

“As a district, we recognize that providing opportunities to develop critical-thinking and problem-solving skills through the use of technology and robotics are skills that students need to be college and career ready at graduation,” said Koster. “My hope is that we can encourage more kids of all ages to explore opportunities with STEM.”

Crowds cheer in anticipation for the start of the FIRST LEGO League qualifying tournament hosted at Mexico Middle School.

Crowds cheer in anticipation for the start of the FIRST LEGO League qualifying tournament hosted at Mexico Middle School.

Mexico Academy hopes to host this event again in years to come and hopefully expand to other grades as student interest rises.

“As an administrative team, we are looking to expand our STEM program for next year,” stated Koster. “As educators, if we have a passion for this type of learning, hopefully that passion encourages students to get involved and learn valuable skills necessary for the globally competitive environment they will be entering at graduation.”

More than 100 students, staff and community members volunteered for FIRST LEGO League.

Mexico Academy and Central School extends a huge thank you for contributing to the event’s success.

St. Luke Health Services Employees Make Donations In Support of Catholic Charities

OSWEGO – Staff at St. Luke Health Services held a food drive recently to benefit Catholic Charities of Oswego County.

Employees of St. Luke Health Services in Oswego recently held a food drive in support Catholic Charities of Oswego County. From left are: St. Luke’s Betsy Nesbitt, RN; Jackie Winterhalt, RN, with Tim Archer, program supervisor with Catholic Charities of Oswego County receiving the donation; and Wendy Heretyk, of St. Luke’s Social Services Department.

Employees of St. Luke Health Services in Oswego recently held a food drive in support Catholic Charities of Oswego County. From left are: St. Luke’s Betsy Nesbitt, RN; Jackie Winterhalt, RN, with Tim Archer, program supervisor with Catholic Charities of Oswego County receiving the donation; and Wendy Heretyk, of St. Luke’s Social Services Department.

For a donation of a canned or boxed food item, St. Luke staff “dressed casually” for the day in support of Catholic Charities and their annual holiday food drive.

“Last year, Catholic Charities distributed nearly 800 food baskets to needy families throughout the county during the holiday season and the need is expected to grow this year,” said Elizabeth Nesbitt, RN, one of the organizers of the event. “We have a great staff that is always willing to step up and help others, and their generous donation made to benefit those served by Catholic Charities is a good example.”

American Red Cross Blood Drive Set In Fulton

FULTON – Give the gift of life this Christmas time and donate a pint of blood.

The American Red Cross will host a Fulton Community Blood Drive on December 6 at the First United Methodist Church at 1408 State Route 176, across from Fulton Junior High School from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m.

Please call the church office at 592-7347 or the American Red Cross 1-800-RED CROSS to schedule an appointment.

Openings are available for whole blood donations and Double Reds.

St. Francis Commons Assisted Living Residence Marks One Year Anniversary

OSWEGO – St. Francis Commons Assisted Living Residence in Oswego celebrated its first anniversary to the sound of “popping” champagne corks during a special luncheon for residents acknowledging the milestone.

St. Francis Commons marked the one year anniversary for Oswego County’s only assisted living residence. During a special luncheon for resident to mark the occasion a toast was offered by Helen Yonkers, the very first resident to call St. Francis Commons home. From left are: Karen Murray, executive director; Julie Chetney, director; resident Helen Yonkers; Michelle Smith, health services director; and Peggy LiVoti, activities director.

St. Francis Commons marked the one year anniversary for Oswego County’s only assisted living residence. During a special luncheon for resident to mark the occasion a toast was offered by Helen Yonkers, the very first resident to call St. Francis Commons home. From left are: Karen Murray, executive director; Julie Chetney, director; resident Helen Yonkers; Michelle Smith, health services director; and Peggy LiVoti, activities director.

Helen Yonkers, who was the very first to call St. Francis Commons home, took the occasion to say a few words about her experience moving to the area’s first licensed assisted living program residence and then led her 59 fellow residents in a celebratory toast to commemorate the occasion.

“I was a little nervous when moving from my home to St. Francis a year ago,” said Yonkers. “But the experience has been wonderful for me and the staff here are exceptional caregivers. If I had to, I would do it all over again!”

Julie Chetney, director at St. Francis Commons said that it has been a very exciting year for her and the staff.

“It’s been a pleasure to be part of this first year as we welcomed so many into a new facility that has become a home for all,” she said. “This year has brought so many individuals to a place where they have the assistance they need, supervision to be safe, while still having freedom and independence each day. All this along with new friends, an active social life, and a place that feels like home has made our first year a success.”

St. Francis Commons is the only senior care residence in Oswego County offering New York State licensed Assisted Living Program services and amenities. The residence provides supportive housing and care at a level that is less than a nursing home but more than may be found in an independent setting.

Services at St. Francis Commons include three meals a day, housekeeping with linen and personal laundry services, scheduled transportation, social programs, assistance with personal care and medication management.

Amenities range from a hair salon, gift shop with cable television and telephone connections available in each room.

St. Francis Commons is also the only residence that offers Memory Care; a safe and secure neighborhood within the residence serving individuals diagnosed with mild to moderate dementia-related illnesses like Alzheimer’s disease, who benefit from a community-based living environment with supportive services unique to the assisted living setting.

Private payment, Medicaid, private insurance reimbursement and Supplemental Security Income is accepted.

St. Francis Commons is located at 12 Burkle St., on the St. Luke healthcare campus in the city of Oswego; easily accessible from East River Road (State Route 481), behind Little Lukes Childcare Center and immediately adjacent to Charles E. Riley Elementary School.

For more information about St. Francis Commons, call (315) 326-0870 or visit www.stfranciscommons.com

Fulton Junior High School Takes Lead On Project-Based Learning Efforts

As project-based learning becomes an increasingly popular initiative in education, teachers and administrators in the Fulton City School District are on the forefront of this movement.

At the Fulton Junior High School, Principal Ryan Lanigan and teachers Eric Kaproski and Laura Lizotte are leading the charge to bring more project-based learning offerings to their students.

According to Lanigan, a committee was formed and discussions began last year to determine ways to get students more on-task time.

“We started discussing attendance issues and what we need to do to engage our students,” Lanigan said. “Our students need to be really engrossed in what’s going on. Project-based learning is a great way for students to be active participants in their own learning.”

While cross-curricular teaching and project-based learning are not new concepts, Lanigan said there is a stronger focus on these teaching styles as a way of instilling essential life skills.

“To be successful in the 21st century, you need to have soft skills: collaboration, citizenship, people interactions, problem solving and teamwork,” Lanigan said. “Those are things that projects can do for you. What we’re really trying to do is find a balanced approach and get our students a more viable curriculum.”

As part of this effort, representatives from the junior high school and G. Ray Bodley High School are working to develop specific projects for their students. These projects will follow specific guidelines created by a committee that helps define the process for launching a classroom project.

“The project should tie in and must be relevant to the curriculum with an overlap of skills,” Lanigan said. “Projects must have writing embedded … and ensure that rigorous text is being used. We need to spend the same amount of time on engagement and perplexing the students when developing a project.”

With a solid foundation for project-based learning, teachers at the FJHS are preparing to launch course-specific projects in the coming months.

In December, students will create a massive timeline (complete with key dates, old photos and artifacts about Fulton’s history) as part of a unit about the Industrial Revolution.

Another project, slated for the spring, will incorporate the Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics fields.

According to Lanigan, this project will incorporate robotics into a lesson about natural disasters.

“My staff is getting some great ideas,” Lanigan said. “The teachers will become more of the guide on the side rather than the sage on the stage.”

As for the future of the project-based learning model, Lanigan believes the FCSD is poised to be a trendsetter in education.

“Our problem is that we’re trying to prepare 21st-century learners in a 20th century model, and somebody’s got to be willing to step outside of that box,” he said. “We’re looking to do that systematically while taking a balanced approach. We’re testing the waters to see how different we want to be.”

Star Students Get Space Lesson

It wasn’t an average science lecture when Commander Peter Robson recently stopped by Granby Elementary School to deliver an out-of-this-world lesson aeronautics.

Granby Elementary School third graders were treated to a two-hour mission to outer space, thanks to a collaboration with the Challenger Learning Center. The lesson, led by Commander Peter Robson, detailed the life of an astronaut, current space explorations and past discoveries. Robson and third grader Chris LaLone demonstrate how a space shuttle’s heat tiles work.

Granby Elementary School third graders were treated to a two-hour mission to outer space, thanks to a collaboration with the Challenger Learning Center. The lesson, led by Commander Peter Robson, detailed the life of an astronaut, current space explorations and past discoveries. Robson and third grader Chris LaLone demonstrate how a space shuttle’s heat tiles work.

The guest speaker is an educator with the Challenger Learning Center in Rochester and provided an energetic, high-flying experience to the third grade students.

Using hands-on demonstrations, educational videos and other props, Robson provided the students with a memorable experience.

He discussed topics such as microgravity, space explorations, life as an astronaut and how to do everyday tasks like sleep, use the bathroom and eat aboard a space shuttle.

“We are able to select the meals and foods we want to eat in outer space,” Robson said. “For some reason our taste buds change when we go to space, so you may not like brussel sprouts on Earth, but that could be your favorite food in space.”

Although the thought of brussel sprouts was off-putting to many of the third graders, the youngsters were happy to learn that Skittles was among the top food choices for astronauts.

Robson showed a video of astronauts eating the fruity candy on the shuttle, where the microgravity made it possible to open the packet of Skittles and eat them right out of the air.

To get a real “taste” of life as an astronaut, each student received a packet of vacuum-sealed space food.

Menu items included fruit, ice cream, vegetables and an assortment of other foods.

In addition to food, students also saw a video of astronauts consuming water.

“Because of the surface tension, the water sticks together,” Robson said. “That’s what happens in the microgravity. You can see it looks like the astronauts are almost eating the water.”

Following a nearly two-hour presentation, students peppered Robson with questions as they begged to learn more about current space missions, rovers, and the potential of life on Mars.

“This gets back to the root of the joy and happiness of learning,” he said. “We trying to bring a real world component to everything we teach. We want them to know what they’re doing in school really does matter and can impact your future career choice.”

Sandy Creek Elementary School Students Enjoy Thanksgiving Feast

A decades-long tradition continued at Sandy Creek Elementary School recently, as students sat down for a Thanksgiving feast.

Sandy Creek second graders Joshua Davis and Elizabeth Hobbs are all smiles as they prepare for a Thanksgiving feast in the school cafeteria.

Sandy Creek second graders Joshua Davis and Elizabeth Hobbs are all smiles as they prepare for a Thanksgiving feast in the school cafeteria.

The school cafeteria was bustling with excitement as family members welcomed Pilgrims (second graders) and Native Americans (first graders) to the table.

The students’ creativity was on display as they showed off their handcrafted outfits, complete with paper hats for the Pilgrims and headdresses for the Native Americans.

In addition to indulging in the Thanksgiving feast, the students also entertained their family members with several songs related to the holiday.

Nevaah Brown, a Sandy Creek first grade student, is dressed as a Native American during the school’s annual Thanksgiving feast held recently.

Nevaah Brown, a Sandy Creek first grade student, is dressed as a Native American during the school’s annual Thanksgiving feast held recently.

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