OSWEGO, NY – At its last meeting, the Oswego City School District Board of Education congratulated the two Oswego High School U.S. Army All-American musicians who were chosen to perform in San Antonio, Texas.
They were the only two musicians from the entire state to participate in this elite marching band.
Cassandra Hondro and Emily King were presented certificates of recognition during the recent board meeting from Board President Kathleen Allen and Superintendent of Schools Ben Halsey.
“First we want to thank everyone, because we never would have gotten the opportunity without all of you. This school, unlike many other schools, provides great performance opportunities for all of us and we definitely would not be where we are without everyone here,” King told the board and administrators. “Thank you.”
They had just returned from Texas just previous to the board meeting.
The two Marching Buccaneers spent four days “practicing a lot!” King said.
“We practiced a lot – to put on a six-minute show at halftime,” she said.
The best part of the experience for her were the connections she made, King said.
“Connections not only with the soldiers, but with the staff that we worked with. We all had soldier mentors from the Army Field Band. I had two trumpet mentors and they gave me the most information that I have ever gotten in a short period of time,” she said.
She said she has stayed in contact with many of the people she met.
“We’re never going to forget this. The hardest part for me was getting on the plane to go home. It was absolutely miserable, King quipped.
“Especially with the temperature (in Oswego),” a board member noted.
“It was not warm in Texas,” King replied. “People think it’s warm in Texas and it’s not.”
“It was a great opportunity for us and thank you for providing it for us,” King told the board. “We have an awesome music program and I hope that we can keep it like that.”
Hondro echoed King’s sentiments.
“I learned something important. I really, I think, underestimated the importance of teamwork. Because when you go there, you have three days to put on the show. You’re practically running around … and you look around and everyone is supporting each other,” she said. “What I learned is that you can do so much more as a team.”
In regular action, the board approved an amended policy that would allow a non-sitting board member to represent the Oswego City School District on the BOCES Board of Education.
Under the “Instruction” area two field trips were approved. The Oswego girls’ lacrosse team will be traveling to Orlando from April 10-15. The board indicated that it authorized the trip, but that transportation would be provided by the girls’ lacrosse team. The Paradox yearbook staff was approved to attend a conference at Columbia University in New York City from March 18-23. There was some concern over the supervision of students and discussion relating to the permission form that was being used for the trip. Oswego High School Principal Brian Hartwell indicated he would conduct research and report back to the Superintendent of Schools Ben Halsey.
Under “Personnel” Two retirements were accepted by the board as veteran elementary teacher Mary Jane Battista will be retiring effective on March 1 and custodian George Walpole retired on December 28 of 2013. The board expressed their appreciation to both for their service to the students of the district.
A leave of absence was granted for one year to Oswego High School English teacher Isaac Kain while Amy Bonoffski was appointed as a regular substitute for the remainder of the school year at the Fitzhugh Park Elementary School.
Chelsea Jones was approved as a half time Special Education teacher through June 30 while both Amanda Sprague and Elizabeth Heckert were approved as temporary school psychologist interns for the 2014-15 school year.
The support team of the Oswego High School musical was approved as was Paula McKenney-Myers as Frederick Leighton chorus director. Gary Caprin Jr. was approved for a leave of absence. Probationary appointments were made for Katherine Nalle as part-time library clerk and registered professional nurse Deborah Brookes-Bauer.
Permanent appoints included Charles E. Riley Elementary custodian Diane Mitchelson, Education Center senior typist Annette Geers and Transportation account clerk-typist Michele Carter. Temporary appointments included part time teacher aides Shannon Harter and Amanda Peterson.
The board also discussed a resolution granting stipends for intramural supervisors. It was decided to table the resolution until the February meeting. Board members indicated they were supportive of providing intramurals for elementary students, but further discussion was desired relating to the return of the program to the five elementary schools.
Under the “Finance” transfers of funds for music equipment repairs and supplies as well as travel expenses for a district administrator and payment of the Town of Minetto sewer and water bills were given the okay.
Other resolutions passed included an agreement between Tyler Technologies and the district for training of routing and planning software, acceptance of a generous $3,500 donation from Wal-Mart for the holiday assistance program, a three year contract renewal for Verizon and the payment to King and King Architects for previous work conducted for the district in relation to The Buc School.
Superintendent of Schools Halsey presented a brief “Superintendent’s Report” which he stressed that the principals would like to move forward in conjunction with the board on an action plan that was implemented under the guidance of former interim superintendent Gary Mix.
He noted that the process was moving forward in creation of the proposed budget and talked about the state report regarding “fiscal stress” relating to the Oswego City School District.
The next regular meeting of the Oswego City School District Board of Education will be after the committee meetings on February 12.
The committee meetings are open to the public and an opportunity for community members to dialogue with the board and administration.
Those meetings, covering personnel, finance and instruction begin at 5 p.m. in the Oswego High School Anthony J. Murabito Media Center.