Creating benches with purpose and more

What's new in education news, March 17 to 23

Posted 3/16/22

What's new in education news, March 17 to 23

This item is available in full to subscribers.

Please log in to continue

Log in

Creating benches with purpose and more

What's new in education news, March 17 to 23


Class of 1959 donates clarinet in honor of Robert J. Kaiser

A generous donation by the Class of 1959 means that another student can join Monticello's music program. Pictured are Bill Berry, left; Dr. Matthew Evans; Brenda Farquhar, class of 1959; Mike Mingo; Michelle Knowlton.
A generous donation by the Class of 1959 means that another student can join Monticello's music program. Pictured are Bill Berry, left; Dr. Matthew …

MONTICELLO, NY — Thanks to a generous donation from the class of 1959, at least one more sixth-grade student will have the opportunity to develop his or her talent in Monticello Central School District’s award-winning music program.

The class of 1959 wanted to make a collective donation to the district in honor of Dr. Robert J. Kaiser. Class member Brenda Farquhar reached out to the school bearing his name—the Robert J. Kaiser Middle School (RJK), which opened its doors 20 years ago.  

“Dr. Kaiser was our homeroom teacher before he moved on to become principal and then superintendent of schools,” she explained. “We are very proud that the school was named after him.”  

Ms. Farquhar contacted RJK principal Michelle Knowlton and asked how the school could best use a $600 donation; Knowlton suggested the funds be used to purchase an instrument for a student unable to afford one.

Mike Mingo, instructional lead for the performing arts department, contacted the district’s representative from the Robert M. Sides Family Music Center, Bill Berry. The organization, which has been a district partner for more than 17 years, was able to put together a full clarinet starter kit for a student, including the instrument and all the little accessories needed to play.

Recently, Berry met with Farquhar, Knowlton, Mingo and superintendent of schools Dr. Matthew Evans to present the clarinet. The instrument will be inventoried and loaned each year to a sixth-grade student in need.  

“For 11 consecutive years, the MCSD has received the distinction of being named a Best Community for Music Education by National Association for Music Merchants,” Evans said. “This award is unique in that it is awarded on the basis of the local community’s effort to support the arts. I think today’s donation from the class of 1959, and the assistance of Robert M. Sides Family Music Center over the years is illustrative of how fortunate we are to be surrounded by a community that cares.”

Sullivan County students triumph at the Scholastic Art Awards

LIBERTY, NY — Sullivan BOCES and the Hudson Valley Scholastic Art Affiliates, a consortium of organizations such as the Catskill Arts Society and the Orange County Arts Council, presented the Regional 2022 Scholastic Art Awards program for Dutchess, Orange, Sullivan and Ulster Counties.  

This year, 786 teens participated in the program and  2,392 works of art were judged.

In Sullivan County, there were 13 Gold Key winners, 17 Silver Key winners and 25 works received honorable mentions.  

  • Edward Lundquist, Livingston Manor Central School—Three Gold Key awards, two Silver Keys and one honorable mention. Lundquist also received the American Vision award; see below.
  • Madison Cross, Liberty Central School—One Silver Key award and two honorable mentions.
  • Madison Green, Liberty Central School—One Gold Key award, three Silver Keys and two honorable mentions.
  • Abigail Kelly, Liberty Central School—One Gold Key award, one Silver Key and four honorable mentions.
  • Seriya Jorge, Liberty Central School—One honorable mention.
  • Dylan Parks, Liberty Central School—Four Gold Key awards, two Silver Keys and two honorable mentions.
  • Rebecca Philips, Liberty Central School—Two honorable mentions.
  • Melana Quick-Lepke, Liberty Central School—One Gold Key award and two honorable mentions.
  • Andrew Scamihorn, Liberty Central School—One Gold Key award, one Silver Key and one honorable mention.
  • Summer Schmidt, Liberty Central School—One Gold Key award, one Silver Key and four honorable mentions.
  • Zandy Valencia, Liberty Central School—One Gold Key award, four Silver Keys and three honorable mentions.
  • Grace Wormuth, Liberty Central School—Two Silver Key awards and one honorable mention.

Edward Lundquist, from Livingston Manor, is the first Sullivan County student to receive the American Vision award for his work "Sky Tree." He is shown here with two works from the 2022 Scholastic Art Awards.
Edward Lundquist, from Livingston Manor, is the first Sullivan County student to receive the American Vision award for his work "Sky Tree." He is …

For the first time, a student from Sullivan County won an American Vision award. Edward Lundquist, a junior from Livingston Manor, received the award for his work “Sky Tree.”

Each year, only five pieces receive the American Vision award. To be considered, the nominee has to exemplify the emergence of an original, personal point of view or style in their work of art.

The 2022 Scholastic Art Awards Ceremony and virtual art galleries can be viewed on the Sullivan BOCES website at

Virtual cadaver dissection at Lackawanna College

SCRANTON, PA — Understanding human anatomy is critical for many careers. But cadaver dissection, once part of the learning process,  is on its way out. According to Scientific American in 2019, cadaver dissection takes a long time, accessing some body parts can damage other parts, embalmed organs don’t look like still-functioning organs, and cadavers tend to be old and diseased. Much of that means students could get a skewed idea of what a body looks like inside.

A $100,000 grant from the Hawk Family Foundation allowed Lackawanna College to buy an Anatomage table, a teaching tool that permits virtual dissection.

Anatomage calls the table the world’s first virtual dissection table that features a fully segmented human 3D anatomy system.

“Users can visualize anatomy exactly as they would on a fresh cadaver,” according to the company website. “Individual structures are reconstructed in accurate 3D, resulting in an unprecedented level of real accurate anatomy, dissectible in 3D. The table allows for exploration and learning of human anatomy beyond what any cadaver could offer.”

Meegan Murray, the lead for the college’s health sciences division, believes that the new table will be a game-changer.

“Having this technology at Lackawanna College will catapult student learning into the future,” she said, “producing healthcare professionals with a thorough understanding of human anatomy and physiology.”

The college expects to have the table available for the Fall 2022 semester.

For more information about Lackawanna College, visit

Layden Talmadge learns how to use an Autodesk Fusion 360 computer program.
Layden Talmadge learns how to use an Autodesk Fusion 360 computer program.

Dime Bank donates to the Greater Pike Community Foundation for STEM

PIKE COUNTY, PA — Science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) programs at the Delaware Valley School District just received a boost.

The Dime Bank donated $10,000 to the Greater Pike County Community Foundation (GPCF) through the PA Department of Community and Economic Development’s Educational Improvement Tax Credit (EITC) program.

The donation will fund innovative educational programming in the district, supporting classes that prepare students for a tech-centric future, according to a news release from the Dime Bank. 

Damascus School honor roll announced

DAMASCUS, PA — The Damascus School recently named students in the sixth, seventh and eighth grades to its second-quarter honor roll.

Eighth grade high honors

Carson Hedgelon, Rylan Montgomery, Ava Patrisso and Jordan Patzuk.

Eighth grade honors

Adrian Tejada and Sydney Roberts.

Seventh grade high honors

Michaela Davoli, Meghan Dowling, Otto Lohse, Kady McElroy, Saige Olver, Brody Patrisso, Myla Shields, Emma Snow, Cassidy Spaulding, Morgen Wilcox, Olivia Wood, Logan Dieterich, Carly Muniz, Justin Scanlon and Xavier Gonczi.

Seventh grade honors

Molly Diehl, Raven Hennig and Simon Kowalchuk-Swartz.

Sixth grade high honors

Kristoff Bundik, Lacey Cole, Sarah Ehrenhardt, Connor Tirney and AJ Dutton.

Sixth grade honors

Jaydan Beisner, Abe Bryant, Silas Myers and Abigail Gager.

Trout in Western Wayne classroom now have a chiller

LAKE ARIEL, PA — Recently, the Youth Advisory Committee (YAC) students at Western Wayne High School approved an application for a mini-grant for the purchase of a chiller for Dr. Mark Nebzydoski’s Pennsylvania Trout in the Classroom program. The students then successfully applied to the Wayne County Community Foundation (WCCF) board for the grant.

The chiller is a necessary component for raising trout in a school classroom. It maintains the proper temperature for egg hatching and for the development of trout fry.

The Trout in the Classroom program is overseen by the PA Fish & Boat Commission. Nebzydoski’s science classes had gathered most of the components necessary to raise trout from eggs—the trout would be released in the spring—but lacked this essential chiller. Now they can purchase that final component.

Creating benches with purpose

MONTICELLO, NY — Students in Don Waddell’s Wood 2 class at Monticello High School are honing their woodworking skills. The students—who range from sophomores to seniors—have progressed from creating birdhouses, which take six pieces of wood to complete, to benches and tables, which can take more than 100 pieces of wood.

On a recent Wednesday morning, the buzzing of drills and the thuds of hammers rang out as the class braved the weather to put the finishing touches on a long bench.  

“In this second year of wood, they’re at the stage where the projects get more sophisticated and take longer to complete,” Waddell said. “But it keeps their interest because they’re able to see the progress and the end result of all of their hard work. They’re using all the same techniques that they learned last year, but the designs get more specific.”  

Waddell’s classes are known for completing projects that are put to practical use. Throughout the years, his students have created pieces that not only rival the work of professional shops, but also serve the community. They have created podiums that have been donated to local churches, plaques that serve as headstone memorials, a store for the Cooke school and many more projects.  

In keeping with tradition, the benches being created by the current Wood 2 students will also serve an impressive purpose: they’ll be used to complete an outdoor mindfulness area being planned for the Robert J. Kaiser Middle School.  

“The mindfulness area will complement our wellness trail—Panther Path—as we continue to focus on student social, emotional learning, emotion regulation and wellness,” said R.J. Kaiser School health teacher and wellness coordinator Scott Cooper.

Cooke School students helped to measure and create this flag bulletin board. Recently they learned about serving in the military.
Cooke School students helped to measure and create this flag bulletin board. Recently they learned about serving in the military.

Military veterans visit first-grade class at Cooke School

MONTICELLO, NY — Recently, kids from Joana Dutcher and Danielle D’Agata’s first-grade class at the George L. Cooke Elementary School learned all about veterans.

The students had the opportunity to meet veterans and ask them questions.

Two of the veterans that visited were Retired U.S. Army Sgt. Michael Epstein (A co 7/6 inf, 3rd Bde, 1st Armored Division) and Retired U.S. Marine Corps Sgt. Joseph Kavanaugh (E-6).

Sgt. Epstein joined the class through Zoom. He talked about his job in the Army as a gunner on a Bradley fighting vehicle. The students asked him if he was ever deployed to another country. He told them that he fought in Desert Storm and was deployed to Germany and Saudi Arabia as well. The students were very interested in how Epstein kept in contact with his family while he was deployed. He told the students that it was mostly through letters. Epstein added that the best part of being in the military was making friends that he still has today. The worst part was being so tired but continuing on because they needed to complete their mission.

Sgt. Kavanaugh joined the class in person for the 246th birthday of the United States Marine Corps. He spoke about his 20 years of service in the corps; he too fought in Desert Storm. While deployed in the field, Kavanaugh and his platoon would sleep on the ground with just their jackets as pillows. Kavanaugh talked about how he would train for his job in the military and keep on training and practicing so that he got better and better.

He added that this was true of school. Students need to  always strive to get better at whatever they want to do. The students asked Kavanaugh the best and worst parts of being in the Marines. He too said that the best part of the military was making the friends that he still has today. The worst part was missing his family. The students learned a lot about our veterans but they also learned a lot about working hard and always striving to do better, said public information specialist Natalie Rowan.

December’s students of the month at Rubin Pollack Education Center

LIBERTY, NY — Each month, students are chosen from the alternative and special education programs at Sullivan BOCES to celebrate their accomplishments.

As part of the recognition, their names are placed on a bulletin board in the main hallway of the Rubin Pollack Education Center for their classmates, teachers, and visitors to see. The students also attended a principal’s lunch to celebrate and honor their achievements.

The following students were selected based on their academic achievements, character, attitude, respect for others and attendance. Their home districts are listed.

  • Delyla Alger—Roscoe
  • Joshua Jennings—Ellenville
  • Nicholas Di’Chiara—Liberty
  • Gaibrul VanAken—Monticello
  • Daniel Edmonds—Monticello
  • Brennan Young—Monticello
  • Thorin Chandler—Sullivan West
  • Sincere Martin—Monticello
  • Leah Talmadge—Monticello
  • Daniel Popet—Sullivan West
  • Yadiel Toribio-Torres—Monticello
  • Jayden Quick—Monticello
  • Elias Bonilla—Monticello
  • Carter Feeney—Roscoe
  • Samuel Rakin—Liberty
  • Daniel Ronellio—Monticello
  • Jadin Suarez—Minisink
  • Nicole Heins—Liberty
  • Jesse Guara—Monticello
  • Iliana Marrero—Fallsburg

For more information about Sullivan BOCES, visit

My Brother’s Keeper program back at Rutherford School

MONTICELLO, NY — After a nearly two-year-long hiatus courtesy of the COVID-19 pandemic, the My Brother’s Keeper (MBK) student mentorship program is back.

Once a week, fifth-grade students at Kenneth L. Rutherford Elementary School meet with MBK “fellows,” who are Monticello High School students.

The program is a nationwide initiative launched in 2014 by President Obama to address persistent opportunity gaps faced by young men of color, and to ensure that all youth are able to reach their full potential. The Monticello Central School District joined the MBK program in 2017 and over the years, has built up a comprehensive program that provides students with afterschool activities, opportunities for personal and professional development, community events, field trips and more.

The mentorship program partners high school students with elementary school students once a week after school to help the students build a stronger sense of connectedness to peers, teachers and the greater community. The fellows take on a “big brother” role, offering support and guidance to their younger peers.

“The high-schoolers are more relatable to the younger students,” said Shannon Daniel, who works with the MBK students. “It’s a different dynamic that helps the kids come out of their shells—it’s rewarding to watch that growth.”

At a recent session, the group. led by Donovan, an MBK fellow, discussed the quote, “Watch your character, it becomes your destiny.” After reflecting on the quote and discussing it with the younger students he summed up their interpretation and read it aloud to the entire class.

“Your thoughts become your reality,” he read. “You can become anything you want in life; the choices that you make will define your destiny.”

“I became a mentor in ninth grade,” said Collen, also an MBK fellow. “I enjoy making a difference. Through the years, MBK has given me a community and the opportunity to interact with kids.”

The program continues to grow, with new activities and partnerships planned for the upcoming months.

“It helps kids build character,” said MBK fellow Devante. “It helped keep me grounded and focused on the future. I hope that these kids will become mentors themselves one day.”  

For more information about My Brother’s Keeper, visit

Rep. Delgado visits Tri-Valley Central School

GRAHAMSVILLE, NY — Recently, Rep. Antonio Delgado (NY-19) visited students at the Tri-Valley Central School.

He toured the school and met with the students in the civics and social justice class. Delgado spoke about his personal and professional experience in ensuring justice for all people and the importance of engaging in the community as a way to improve people’s lives.

“It is exciting and incredibly important when young folks meaningfully engage with issues that affect our communities and our world,” Delgado said. “I was glad to connect with the class and answer questions about my role in Congress and what justice means to me.”


No comments on this item Please log in to comment by clicking here