Wrapping it up

Sullivan West’s Board of Education bids farewell to the 2020-21 school year

Posted 6/23/21

LAKE HUNTINGTON, NY — On Thursday, June 17, the Sullivan West Central School Board of Education (BOE) held its final monthly public meeting of the pandemic-plagued 2020-21 school year.

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Wrapping it up

Sullivan West’s Board of Education bids farewell to the 2020-21 school year


LAKE HUNTINGTON, NY — On Thursday, June 17, the Sullivan West Central School Board of Education (BOE) held its final monthly public meeting of the pandemic-plagued 2020-21 school year.

“As the school year is coming to a close, many traditional spring events have taken place, making this haphazard year feel even more normal,” said Abigail Gaebel, the student member of the board.

At her last turn at bat before the board, the soon-to-graduate senior reported on a senior class trip to Hershey Park, senior bonfire night, a junior/senior prom, along with junior/senior band and chorus outdoor concerts.

Gaebel announced that the king and queen for the junior prom were, respectively, Gavin Hauschild and Amy Barlow, while Frank Decker and she herself were honored to wear the crowns of senior class royalty. She said that the high school’s National Honor Society (NHS) inducted members on June 15 from the previous year and added more than 30 members for their outstanding academic achievements in 2021.

“The ceremony was very special... it allowed students and their families to truly celebrate the prestigious accomplishment of being inducted into the National Honor Society,” said Gaebel.

In summation, the student board member, who is poised to serve as the Class of 2021 Salutatorian on Saturday, June 26, said of her role on the board, “This experience has made me more assertive in my public speaking and organizational skills. It has been an honor to speak on behalf of my fellow classmates and represent our school.”

At the conclusion of the board meeting, BOE president Rose Joyce-Turner singled out Gaebel for special recognition, saying, “You’ve been incredible.”

In other recognitions, superintendent of schools Stephen A. Walker announced the June 2021 student of the month, the Sullivan West Standout, a teacher recognition award and a board member recognition.

Matthew Calderon, a first-grader in the elementary school, was named student of the month. He’s “the first one to help a peer if they drop something, or need help cleaning up; he always checks with his classmates to make sure they are OK if they get upset, and the rest of the class uses Matthew as a role model for how to treat each other,” Walker said.

Wilson Vargas, a building maintenance mechanic with 29 years in the district, was selected as the Sullivan West Standout.“If it’s not working, Wilson is the guy to fix it,” said Walker. “Hearing Wilson’s cart [of tools] come down the hall is like hearing the ice cream truck coming down the block.”

Billy Templeton, a high school English teacher, received a Mid-Hudson School Study Council Award for Teacher Excellence.

BOE president Rose Joyce-Turner received a Board Mastery Award from the NYS Schools Board Association in acknowledgment of her efforts “to continually expand their governance knowledge and skills.”

Special presentations

High school science teacher Padraic “Paddy” McCarthy reported that the district applied for and received a Future Farmers of America (FFA) chapter from New York State. McCarthy said the new Sullivan West FFA Chapter currently has 23 members joining the ranks of approximately 15,000 in the state and an estimated 700,000 nationwide.

“We plan on doing some fundraising, using our 3D printer and participating in National FFA Week in the spring,” he said, adding that by that time, the members should be sporting the FFA’s distinctive blue corduroy blazers.

Elementary school teacher Dawn Hauschild, along with assistant high school principal Scott Haberly and assistant elementary school principal Kevin Carbone, introduced a brief overview of the history of Emergency Response Teams (ERT).

“The ERT system was created as a response to an incident that occurred on May 21, 1998 at Thurston High School in Oregon,” she said, explaining that a 15-year-old student killed his parents then went to school and murdered two classmates and wounded 25 other people.

In the wake of this horrendous act, a group of 200 councilors banded to together to assist with the “healing and recovery process.”

An ERT is a group of people who prepare for and respond to an emergency incident that is an interruption of the school day. This team is responsible for assisting with emergency incidents and helping with recovery of the building.

The trio emphasized that the ERT members are not tasked with law enforcement interventions to incidents such as armed intruders, as this type of response is the responsibility of the School Resource Officer (SRO) and/or other trained law enforcement personnel.

Spring sports

In summarizing the spring sports season of 2021, athletic director David Eggleton noted that 122 student athletes participated in 11 programs: track & field (modified boys and girls, varsity boys and girls), softball (modified and varsity), baseball (modified, junior varsity and varsity), golf (modified boys and girls, varsity boys and girls).

Several groups were recognized as Scholar Athlete Teams: varsity girls outdoor track, varsity softball, varsity girls golf, varsity boys golf and varsity boys outdoor track.

According to Eggleton, future plans for Sullivan West athletics in the 2021-22 school year include “45 to 47 programs, adding junior varsity if possible, wrestling added in two levels [and] possibly tennis.”

In other matters

The board approved the high school spring 2022 trip to Rome and Greece from April 14 to 22, 2022; recognized the service of outgoing members Lucas Arzilli, Annette Rasmussen and Sarah Cooper; and approved “the execution of the takeover agreement by the superintendent of schools and the settlement of the lawsuit” pertaining to alleged failure of a contractor to perform “certain masonry reconstruction work at the Sullivan West Elementary School,” a project dating back to March 8, 2018.

It’s a wrap

As part of his administrative report to the board, Walker said, “I don’t believe it’s an overstatement to indicate that this was a historically difficult school year for every single one of us. We dealt with uncertainty, frustration, anxiety and disappointment. I offer sincere and deep gratitude to every single member of our school district community for being part of this historic time with us, and for the support of our Bulldogs.”

For more photos, visit www.rivereporter.com

Sullivan West, Lake Huntington, School Board


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