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Students Head Back To The Classroom

Each students had their own pair of scissors to celebrate the ribbon cutting at the  Buccaneer Junior-Senior High School that opened on Wednesday (September 5).
Each students had their own pair of scissors to celebrate the ribbon cutting at the Buccaneer Junior-Senior High School that opened on Wednesday.

OSWEGO, NY – For dozens of Oswego students, Wednesday wasn’t just the opening of the new school year. It was the opening of ‘the’ school.

Buccaneer Junior-Senior High School officially opened with a ribbon-cutting ceremony by the students of the school, currently housed in portables behind Oswego Middle School.

Charles E. Riley second grader Aubrey Ruggio holds the hands of her sister Raelyn Fox, a first grader, and Trevor LaValley who started kindergarten.
Charles E. Riley second grader Aubrey Ruggio holds the hands of her sister, Raelyn Fox, a first grader, and Trevor LaValley who started kindergarten.

“This is exciting. I’m really looking forward to some great things from these students,” said Superintendent Bill Crist. “They will finish their high school career on time and be college and career ready when they leave. They have a little different path here than you’d find in the middle school or high school.”

The superintendent had high praise for the inaugural class at BJSH.

“These are kids that have great academic ability. But, for whatever reasons, just haven’t found success in a typical school setting,” Crist said.

Eventually, the students will be paired up with some local business or industry to get real life experience.

Kingsford Park Elementary School students Samson Scalzo and Alexis Pappa along with teacher Robin Tryon listen to Principal Mary Volkomer  as the student body was welcomed to the Oswego school on Wednesday (September 5) afternoon.
Kingsford Park Elementary School students Samson Scalzo and Alexis Pappa along with teacher Robin Tryon listen to Principal Mary Volkomer as the student body was welcomed to the Oswego school on Wednesday afternoon.

“Those internships could be in the student’s area of interest,” explained BJSH Principal Debra Smith. “For example, some of the girls are interested in crafts. So, the Ladies Home of Oswego is going to have them come in and do crafts. We have other students who want to work on motors.”

After a year or two of community service, when they get to be juniors and seniors, the students are sent out individually to work on their projects.

The top two reasons kids drop out of college, Smith said, are, one they don’t know how to organize their time (too much partying), and two, they just can’t deal with the additional heavy subject matter.

The BJSH staff is dedicated to helping students avoid those pitfalls.

“That’s not the whole purpose. The whole purpose of this school is to teach students in a different method – not a ‘paper and pencil’ method,” the principal pointed out. “We have teachers in this school that are multi-faceted. They were hand selected to be in this school because of their belief in kids.”

Senior McKenzie Demong shows her sister Morgan, a freshman, the way around the Oswego High School on opening day.
Senior McKenzie Demong shows her sister Morgan, a freshman, the way around the Oswego High School on opening day.

Brandon Grant said he is impressed with the approach the new school is taking regarding teaching.

“I didn’t care for the methods in use by the traditional schools,” the student told Oswego County Today. “You know; 45 minutes, 45 minutes, break, back to 45 minutes. Years ago when kids were going to school, it was common for people to work in factories. So it was like, ‘these kids will probably end up working in a factory, so let’s get them set up on that schedule.’ And even though the factories have died out quite a bit, people seem to have kept to that old style of teaching.”

The Big Picture School is stepping away from that, he noted.

“It focuses on what the students want to do and helping the kids who can’t learn as well in that cookie cutter, one method fits all, kind of method,” he said.

Ashley Murtha (front row center) designed the new sign that is displayed over the entrance of Buccaneer Junior-Senior High School. She was joined on opening day by her mother, Beverly, and Superintendent of Schools Bill Crist. Also on hand for the first day were Assistant Superintendent of Curriculum and Instruction Cathy Chamberlain, Director of Personnel and Human Resources Pete Myles, Board of Education member Lynda Sereno and BJSH Principal Debra Smith.
Ashley Murtha (front row center) designed the new sign that is displayed over the entrance of Buccaneer Junior-Senior High School. She was joined on opening day by her mother, Beverly, and Superintendent of Schools Bill Crist. Also on hand for the first day were Assistant Superintendent of Curriculum and Instruction Cathy Chamberlain, Director of Personnel and Human Resources Pete Myles, Board of Education member Lynda Sereno and BJSH Principal Debra Smith.

Everyone at the school, from the principal, staff and students, are excited to get the new year under way.

Brandon admits he was a bit nervous as well because he “is stepping away from all his friends at the high school.

“I know I can still talk to them outside of school and everything. I don’t have to be hanging out with them every minute of the day,” he said. “I’d much rather be able to learn. I think by the end of this, I might even be ahead of them.”

        District Welcomes  New Academic Year

A new school year has commenced in the Oswego City School District and for the most part opening day went just as expected.

From pre-kindergarten to seniors in high school just over 4,100 students commenced the 2012-13 school year.

Second grader Angelina Douglas hold the hand of her grandfather as she prepares to enter the Charles E. Riley Elementary School for the first time. She is one of the many students from throughout the district who have been shifted to a new school due to redistricting. Last year she attended Frederick Leighton.
Second grader Angelina Douglas hold the hand of her grandfather as she prepares to enter the Charles E. Riley Elementary School for the first time. She is one of the many students from throughout the district who have been shifted to a new school due to redistricting. Last year she attended Frederick Leighton.

The day dawned a bit overcast, but as the day went on the skies brightened as much as the children’s smiles.

Superintendent of Schools Bill Crist said, “I was very pleased with the opening day. Our administration, faculty and staff welcomed our students with open arms.  There were some minor glitches as could be expected on opening day, but for the most part it was relatively smooth.  It’s great to see the smiles on the faces of the students and our staff as they waited to start the new year.  I am looking forward to a very successful school year.”

Secondary students commenced the new year as they were the first one through the doors of the Oswego High School and Oswego Middle School.

There were 1,281 students in attendance in grades nine through twelve and another 611 at the seventh and eighth grade levels.

Just over an hour later 2,046 students walked, were driven by family members or hopped off one of the many freshly cleaned and washed buses owned by the Oswego City School District to commence the elementary year.

The entire Kingsford Park School community gathered for the annual “rainbow” photo toward the end of the first day of school.
The entire Kingsford Park School community gathered for the annual “rainbow” photo toward the end of the first day of school.

The only problem arose at Fitzhugh Park Elementary School as a computer malfunction resulted in an evacuation.

Principal Donna Simmons said, “The day started off with a music and balloon greeting for our students and everything was swimmingly smooth. However, halfway through lunch the fire alarm went off and we evacuated the building.”

Continuing she said, “We were outside for 25 minutes, but I have to thank the Oswego Fire Department, the Oswego City Police Department and our own building crews for their quick and efficient response. When the fire department gave the all clear everyone was able to have lunch.  I am proud of how everyone pulled together to make everything as smooth as possible.”

There was even more excitement across town. The portable classrooms just east of the Oswego Middle School have become Oswego’s newest educational facility. Buccaneer Senior-Junior High School has officially opened.

Reviewing schedules for the opening day of school were sophomores Anthony Wetzel, Hayden Avery and Eric Neacosia.
Reviewing schedules for the opening day of school were sophomores Anthony Wetzel, Hayden Avery and Eric Neacosia.

Principal Debra Smith and her team greeted 40 students on the first day with the major event being the ribbon cutting. Each and every student had a pair of scissors to officially christen the new school.

Excitement was quite high among students, parents, faculty and staff as the new year has commenced.

Principal Mary Volkomer, at Kingsford Park Elementary School, encouraged her students to work hard and be a team.

She asked the older students to help guide the new kindergarten students as well as students who have joined the “KPS family” through the new redistricting plan.

There were a substantial number of students who commenced the new school year in a different building than they left in June.

Whether it be a kindergarten student, a seventh grader or a ninth grader beginning their career in their new building or one of the many students who were redistricted to a new elementary school  it appears all are ready to start anew in commencing with the 2012-2013 academic year.

Oswego City School District provided information for this report