At its Board of Education meeting on Monday, Nov. 24, the North Colonie School District honored student achievements from the current and previous school years. Students from Blue Creek Elementary and Shaker High, as well as the high school’s athletic department were recognized.
North Colonie residents gathered at the Forts Ferry Elementary School auditorium Nov. 24 to hear the special reports presented to the Board of Education before the board’s regular meeting.
Shaker High School was first presented with a School of Distinction Award from the New York State Public High School Athletic Association. The Association’s assistant director Bob Stulmaker presented a plaque to North Colonie Superintendent Joseph Corr, Board of Education president Linda Harrison, and Shaker principal Richard Murphy.
The award recognizes schools with sports teams that have won Athlete/Team Awards from the Athletic Association and have a collective grade point average of 90 percent or higher. Shaker qualified for Section 2 of the award, meaning that each individual student on qualified varsity athletic teams had a GPA of 90 percent or higher.
“There were 27 schools in this state that earned this award, and only three in Section 2. That speaks volumes for the student athletes, the parents and the teachers,” Stulmaker said.
“We congratulate our student athletes, coaches, teachers, administrators and parents,” Harrison told audience members.
Also from Shaker High School, senior Kyle Seniw was recognized for his participation in the All-National Chorus. He performed the Italian aria that earned him a spot in the chorus group.
Seniw applied for the position after scoring 100 percent on his New York State School Music Association performance last school year. He was one of 350 students in the country who performed in the All-National Chorus at the Grand Ole Opry in Nashville, Tenn., this past October.
For their participation in the human rights project “Speak Truth to Power,” the Board of Education congratulated several other Shaker High students. The project, from the Robert F. Kennedy Center for Justice and Human Rights, highlights “courageous defenders” worldwide to teach students about human rights. Three Shaker student group videos, including “Jamie Nabozny—Stand Up for Bullying” shown on Monday, received silver level honorable mentions in the national student video competition.
Kathy Berger’s third grade class was also recognized for its anti-bullying efforts. Blue Creek Elementary recently installed a Buddy Bench on its playground where, if a child wants someone to play with, they can sit down and other students will come and offer company. The bench is decorated with a rainbow and dove made from thumbprints of every Blue Creek student and staff member.
“Each year we try to come up with something that will teach character education in the culture of our school,” Berger told the audience.
Berger and Blue Creek school counselor Eileen Starlee decided to install the Buddy Bench after other schools saw success with their own projects. Funded by the School Success Team, a 23-year-old initiative at Blue Creek, the bench was completed early this school year. A schedule was made to ensure each student’s and staff member’s thumbprint made it onto the bench.
“We just thought it fit in with our philosophy at Blue Creek and being a community,” Berger said. “So now, if the kids see someone in need, it is their responsibility to help them.”
After the presentations, Superintendent Corr congratulated each student initiative.
“We want to thank our staff members and students for their leadership and their great work. We have athletics represented; we have music; we have the elementary program; we have the high school program. … Again, we have so much to be thankful for, for the great work of our students and the support they’ve received by the staff,” Corr said.