Rakonczay of O/N BOCES recognized as a ‘Champion of Change’

Posted 11 April 2024 at 11:41 am

Provided photo: from left include Colleen Osborn (Orleans/Niagara BOCES Board of Education President), Tricia Andrews (NYSSBA Area 1 Ambassador), Bill Rakonczay and Nicole Goyette (Orleans Career and Technical Education Center Principal).

Press Release, Orleans/Niagara BOCES

MEDINA – Orleans Career and Technical Education Center’s Advanced Manufacturing and Engineering teacher Bill Rakonczay was recognized by the New York State School Boards Association at the Orleans/Niagara BOCES’ Board of Education meeting on April 10.

Mr. Rakonczay was presented with the prestigious award: Champions of Change. The award was created by NYSSBA to highlight the positive programming that brings change to students, communities and the school districts of New York.

Mr. Rakonczay was brought to their attention through E-Clips and an article that was written about him and his program. A committee chose Mr. Rakonczay’s program and Clarence School District Board of Education member, Awards and Recognition Committee member and NYSSBA Area 1 Ambassador Tricia Andrews came to the board of education meeting to present a recognition banner to Mr. Rakonczay.

Over a two-year period in his class, students are exposed to Computer Numerical Machining, Computer Aided Design and Welding Technologies.  Students experience how technology interacts in a real manufacturing environment in labs and local industries.  His students have manufactured parts for the International Space Station with NASA’s HUNCH program.

“I am so honored to have received this award,” said Mr. Rakonczay.  “I love what I do and this recognition means the world to me. I am looking forward to many more years of teaching at BOCES.”

Velocitii again named a top workplace in the Rochester region

Provided photo: Velocitii leaders celebrate the company being recognize for a top workplace award during a ceremony in Rochester. Pictured from left include Bryan Orr, director of finance; Brian O'Neill, VP of Sales; Kristine Hughes, director of operations; Heather Smith, CEO; and Jeff Brandt, VP of information technology. The top workplace awards are presented by the Rochester Democrat and Chronicle.

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 9 April 2024 at 1:46 pm

MEDINA – Velocitii for the second straight year has been named a top workplace in the Rochester region.

Velocitii just celebrated its 10th anniversary. It operates out of the Olde Pickle Factory on Park Avenue in Medina.

Velocitii is a business process outsourcing company. It provides support for other businesses, handling calls for customers about plans, billing and troubleshooting. Velocitii works with companies in healthcare, waste management, hospitality, e-commerce, auto insurance and technology.

It is one of 68 companies recognized with a “Top Workplaces 2024 award.” Velocitii placed 2nd in the mid-size company category (125 to 300 employees).

Velocitii also won the “Managers” Specialty Award. Company leaders say the recognition show Velocitii’s commitment to cultivating a culture of excellence, fostering employee development, and “fostering unparalleled engagement within our organization.”

“At Velocitii, the employee-centric culture we have cultivated is central to our growth strategy and our continued success,” said Heather Smith, CEO of Velocitii. “I could not be more excited that we, once again, have been recognized by external sources for our efforts in creating an environment where our employees feel valued and their professional development is a priority. Being recognized as a Top Workplace is an honor and will keep us focused on our continuous improvement process to remain an employer of choice.”

Throughout the past year, the company has spearheaded various initiatives aimed at enhancing its workplace environment. These initiatives include the establishment of a Diversity Council, the introduction of the innovative “What’s on Your Mind” suggestion box, the implementation of a robust Work Anniversary Program, and the introduction of merit-based increases.

Medina school district gets national music honor

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 4 April 2024 at 5:53 pm

Albion makes it 17 straight years recognized by NAMM Foundation

Photos by Tom Rivers: The Medina Marching Band enters Vets Park on Sept. 23 for a performance at home during the Fall Festival of Bands. Medina is one of the smaller schools that competes in the field band competition and has won the New York State Field Band Conference Championship several times.

Two school districts in Orleans County has been recognized as a “Best Communities for Music Education,” two of the 975 in the country to receive the designation from the North American Music Merchants.

Medina made the list for the first time. The school district last year started doing its own musical in the junior-senior high school after about a decade of a shared program with Lyndonville. Medina has long had a stellar marching band program.

Albion was recognized for the 17th straight year. Like Medina, Albion offers vocal and instrumental music programs from elementary, middle and high schools, with many performances in the schools and out in the community.

NAMM has been recognized school districts for 25 years. The award recognizes outstanding efforts by teachers, administrators, parents, students and community leaders who have made music education part of a well-rounded education, NAMM said.

Mike Thaine, the Albion High School band director, leads the band during a holiday concert on Dec. 20, 2023.

The NAMM Foundation’s list shows only these school districts in New York have matched or surpassed Albion for longevity on the list: Bayshore, 21 years; Clarence, 19; Fayetteville-Manlius, 19; Great Neck, 18; Jericho Union, 20; Johnson City, 19; Le Roy, 17; Monroe-Woodbury, 18; Monticello, 17; Nanuet Union, 17; North Babylon, 18; Northport Union, 17; Ossining Union, 17; Pittsford, 19; Port Jefferson, 19; Rush-Henrietta, 19; Syosset, 22; Webster, 18; West Genesee, 18; and West Irondequoit, 22.

Other nearby districts also were recognized including Batavia for the first time, Roy-Hart for the second year, Brockport for the seventh year, Pembroke for the fifth year and Lockport for the ninth year.

“Our unwavering commitment is steadfast in embracing and rewarding educators, administrators, parents and community leaders who applaud and support comprehensive music instruction as a fundamental part of core learning opportunities,” said John Mlynczak, NAMM president and CEO. “These leaders offer an extraordinary model of teaching that ignites a foundation of success we can all honor and celebrate.”

For more on the NAMM Foundation, click here.

3 from Job Corps earn high school diplomas, set plans for the future

Provided photos from Ashtin Fiegel, Iroquois Job Corps Recreation Department manager: Three students at the Iroquois Job Corps in Shelby recently celebrated earning their high school diplomas, including from left Quintin Mitchell, Javen Feliciano and Keyonia Pompey.

By Ginny Kropf, correspondent Posted 1 April 2024 at 8:31 am

SHELBY – Three students at the Iroquois Job Corps center have recently received their high school diplomas. They are Javen Feliciano, Quintin Mitchell and Keyonia Pompey.

“Javen has been at Iroquois Job Corps Center since January 2023,” said Stephanie Kellogg, academic manager at IJCC. “He has completed the carpentry program, been active in student leadership and is a positive impact on center culture. He is preparing to begin work-based learning as he comes to the end of his Job Corps journey. After completing the program, he plans on joining the Air Force.”

“Quintin, 17, is from Rochester and is looking forward to completing the brick-laying trade and getting his driver’s license,” Kellogg said. “He will tell you that he struggled a bit in academics until he got the motivation to help him focus and finish his credits. We are very excited to see Quintin continue to succeed and complete his Job Corps program.”

The third student, Keyonia Pompey, came to Iroquois Job Corps Center from Buffalo in August 2023.

“While at IJCC, Keyonia got her driver’s permit and is nearing completion of the Certified Nursing Assistant program,” Kellogg said. “Upon completion of CNA, she is planning on doing work-based learning in a long-term care facility and then returning to the Buffalo area to work as a CNA.”

2 from Orleans selected for Girls State program

Staff Reports Posted 14 March 2024 at 8:16 am

Mallory Kozody, left, and MacKenzie Fiorito will represent Orleans County at the Empire Girls State program.

Two high school juniors in Orleans County have been selected for the Empire Gurls State program from June 30 to July 6 at SUNY Brockport.

Mallory Kozody of Albion and MacKenzie Fiorito of Holley have been picked for the program, which is run by the American Legion Auxiliary. Anna Hess from Lyndonville has been named an alternate.

Classified as an “Action Program,” Empire Girls State focuses on providing students with the opportunity to participate in hands-on workshops highlighting the process of government, running campaigns, writing bills and other political activities.

As part of the program, participants become citizens of a fictional 51st state where they are in charge of building and establishing their own government.

According to the American Legion Auxiliary, the program “endeavors in one week to instruct the young women attending about the privileges of the vote, how political parties are formed and how leaders are chosen and elected to fill the various offices – it serves to instill in them the duties, privileges, rights and responsibilities of the American Citizenship as they actually participate in the process.”

Advanced Manufacturing students at Orleans/Niagara BOCES sign on for careers

Photo courtesy of Orleans/Niagara BOCES: from left include Jerry Stadelman (Modern-Tec Manufacturing), Andy Kimball (Newfane), Chris Carnahan (Moley Magnetics Inc.), Riley Bloomingdale (Roy-Hart), Mikey Wilson (Pivot Precision), AJ Horne (Custom Manufacturing and Design), Trent Dickinson (Barker), Jacob Rissew (Medina), Sam Burning (Roy-Hart), Joe Burg (J.W. Burg Machine and Tool), Joe Bruckner (Medina), Casey Childs and Mike Green (Amada Tool America Inc.), Tim Werth(Performance Manufacturing Inc.), David Merlin (Barker), RJ Shaughnessy IV (Newfane) and Braxton Schafer (Nuclear Alloys).

Posted 7 March 2024 at 4:27 pm

Press Release, Orleans/Niagara BOCES

MEDINA – We all have seen on the news where a high school student is recognized for “signing on” to a local college to play sports, correct? What about the students who want to enter the workforce after graduation?

Orleans/Niagara BOCES believes they should be recognized too.  Congratulations go to: Riley Bloomingdale (Royalton-Hartland), Joe Brueckner (Medina), Sam Brunning (Royalton-Hartland), Trent Dickinson (Barker), Dakota Gilhousen (Lockport), Andy Kimball (Newfane), Dave Merlin (Barker), Jacob Rissew (Medina), Robert Shaughnessy (Newfane) and Cal Stevenson (Lockport).

Recently Bill Rakonczay’s Advanced Manufacturing and Engineering students participated in the Finger Lakes Youth Apprenticeship’s “Signing Day Event.” Held at the Orleans Career and Technical Education Center on March 5, the seniors who are participating in the paid co-op program were celebrated for their achievements in the workforce.

Company representatives, where the students have been working, were on hand for the signing event where students signed a commitment to work for them after graduation.

The Finger Lakes Youth Apprenticeship Program offers an unprecedented solution to our region’s skilled trades shortage in advanced manufacturing. It is a one-of-a-kind career exploration program where students are connected to advanced manufacturing companies through Matching Day events that lead to job shadows and paid co-ops.

Basically, our students make money as they continue their learning.  Students can also receive college credit at Monroe Community College at no cost.

“I am so proud of my students,” said Mr. Rakonczay.  “This is a great program that gives my students on-the-job training that prepares them for the workplace and college.  I want to thank the companies that participate such as: Amada Tool America Inc., Custom Manufacturing and Design, J.W. Burg Machine & Tool, Modern-Tec Manufacturing Inc., Moley Magnetics Inc., Nuclear Alloys, Performance Manufacturing Inc. and Pivot Precision.  I also want to thank the parents and guardians who support us.  Without all of them, none of this would be possible.”

After the event, each participating students received a swag bag, a caliper and micrometer set. A huge thank you to the Finger Lakes Youth Apprenticeship Program for partnering with us to ensure the students’ success and offering them this opportunity!

Orleans residents named to Provost’s List at GCC

Staff Reports Posted 5 March 2024 at 2:59 pm

BATAVIA – There 216 students from Genesee Community College named to Provost’s List. Students honored on the Provost’s List have maintained part-time enrollment and earned a quality point index of 3.75 (roughly equivalent to an A) or better.

The following from Orleans County made the list:

  • Megan Gentile of Holley
  • Jason Grager of Lyndonville
  • Luca Pylypiak of Lyndonville
  • Anthony Moule of Lyndonville
  • Brent Oliver of Medina
  • Dominique McKinley of Medina
  • Jenna Wildschutz of Medina
  • Valerie Busch of Medina
  • Adam Lindberg of Medina
  • Leah Knab of Albion
  • Kobe Pugsley of Albion
  • Kaitlin Simons of Albion
  • Autumn Husfelt of Albion
  • Krista Lefrois of Albion
  • Barbara Lamka of Albion
  • Meganne Moore of Albion
  • Erin Harding of Holley
  • Jacqueline O’Grady of Holley
  • Evangeline Cooper of Kent
  • Jacqueline Santiago Garcia of Waterport

RIT Dean’s List includes several from Orleans County

Staff Reports Posted 21 February 2024 at 8:26 am

ROCHESTER – The following students were named to the Dean’s List at Rochester Institute of Technology for the fall semester of the 2023-2024 academic year. Full-time degree-seeking undergraduate students are eligible for Dean’s List if their term GPA is greater than or equal to 3.400; they do not have any grades of “Incomplete”, “D” or “F”; and they have registered for, and completed, at least 12 credit hours.

  • Jacob Corser of Albion, who is in the mechanical engineering technology program.
  • Conner Hollenbeck of Albion, who is in the mechanical engineering technology program.
  • Nathanael Strong of Albion, who is in the packaging science program.
  • Reg Chuhi of Holley, who is in the computing and information technologies program.
  • Sierra Apicella of Holley, who is in the studio arts program.
  • Kyle Kuehne of Kent, who is in the software engineering program.
  • Sydney Wilson of Lyndonville, who is in the software engineering program.
  • Alanna Holman of Medina, who is in the human-centered computing program.
  • Isaac Becker of Waterport, who is in the robotics and manufacturing engineering technology program.

Local students on Dean’s List at Buffalo State, Hamilton College

Staff Reports Posted 19 February 2024 at 8:46 am

Buffalo State University and Hamilton College have announced students from Orleans County made the Dean’s List for the fall semester.

The following had GPAs of at least 3.5 and were full-time students, making the Dean’s List at Buff State:

  • Alexis Creasey of Albion, majoring in Psychology
  • Nicolina Creasey of Albion, majoring in Speech-Language Pathology
  • Hannah Heil of Medina, majoring in Fashion and Textile Technology
  • Isabel Ramsey of Medina, majoring in Graphic Design
  • Emily Schoolcraft of Medina, majoring in Childhood Education

Hamilton College in Clinton, NY announced that Jonathan Pietrafesa of Medina made the Dean’s List with a GPA between 3.5 and 4.0. Pietrafesa is a senior majoring in cinema and media studies.

National Guard soldier from Holley gets promotion

Staff Reports Posted 14 February 2024 at 6:26 pm

HOLLEY – William Kelly of Holley, a member of the New York Army National Guard, has been promoted to the rank of first sergeant, announced Major General Ray Shields, the adjutant general for the state of New York.

Kelly is assigned to the Company B, 427th Brigade Support Battalion.

Army National Guard promotions are based on a soldier’s overall performance, demonstrated leadership abilities, professionalism and future development potential.

Katelyn Spierdowis earns engineering degree from Clarkson University

Staff Reports Posted 12 February 2024 at 6:27 pm

POTSDAM – Katelyn Spierdowis of Albion received a bachelor of science degree with great distinction in civil engineering from Clarkson University on Dec. 16, 2023.

As a private, national research university with its main campus at Potsdam, Clarkson is a leader in technological education and sustainable economic development through teaching, scholarship, research and innovation.

GCC announces Orleans County residents on Dean’s List

Staff Reports Posted 8 February 2024 at 10:39 am

BATAVIA – Genesee Community College announced students from Orleans County who made the Dean’s List in the fall semester. Students honored on the Dean’s List have maintained full or part-time enrollment and earned a quality point index of 3.50 to 3.74.

  • Brianna Smith of Lyndonville
  • Calista Stinson of Lyndonville
  • Chyenne Tackley of Lyndonville
  • Kristi Oliver of Medina
  • Melanie Poynter of Medina
  • Faith Oberther of Medina
  • Amanda Jones of Holley
  • Sara Kingdollar of Holley
  • John Butler of Kendall
  • Isabella Zasa of Knowlesville
  • Shawna Grabowski of Waterport
  • David Garrow of Medina
  • Alex Stahl of Medina
  • Logan Gardner of Medina
  • Makayla Heideman of Medina
  • Kenley Fenton of Medina
  • Faith Woody of Albion
  • Lucy Rivers of Albion
  • Sandra Hammond of Albion
  • Ethan Hofmann of Albion
  • Rowan Hofmann of Albion
  • Cheryl Root of Albion
  • Sandra Intorcia of Albion
  • Sadie Gregoire of Albion
  • Gabriella Olshefski-Koch of Holley
  • Hannah Knight of Holley
  • Kayleigh Bopp of Holley
  • Paige Struble of Kendall
  • Qasim Huzair of Waterport
  • John Troy of Waterport

Local students make Dean’s List at UB, Cortland and Hartwick

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 7 February 2024 at 10:05 am

College students from Orleans County have made the Dean’s List for the fall semester at the University at Buffalo, SUNY Cortland and Hartwick College.

The following from Orleans were recognized for academic achievement at the University at Buffalo:

  • Cam Bell of Albion
  • Amaya Cancino of Holley
  • Jaklin Mofardin of Lyndonville
  • Arella Biesinger of Medina
  • Brooklyn Brown of Medina
  • Carter Green of Medina
  • Elle Gross of Medina

The Dean’s List at SUNY Cortland includes the following from Orleans County:

  • Paige Derisley of Waterport – Physical Education K-12
  • Tessa Heideman of Lyndonville – Psychology
  • Lacey Kenward of Medina – Early Childhood and Childhood Education (Birth-Grade 6)
  • Olivia Morrison of Albion – Anthropology
  • Xander Payne of Medina – Sport Management

Hartwick College in Oneonta also announced that Erin Kiefer, an English major from Lyndonville, was named to Fall 2023 Dean’s List. To qualify, students must complete at least 12 academic credits during a term with a grade point average of at least 3.50 and no incompletes.

20 from Orleans make President’s List at GCC

Staff Reports Posted 31 January 2024 at 8:18 am

BATAVIA –  There are 198 students from Genesee Community College named to President’s List including 20 from Orleans County. Students honored on the President’s List have maintained full-time enrollment and earned a quality point index of 3.75 (roughly equivalent to an A) or better.

The students from Orleans include:

  • Brianna Pasnik of Medina
  • Emma Carson of Medina
  • Sade Poole of Medina
  • Cayden Lilleby of Medina
  • Corey Saj of Medina
  • Alexandria Strong of Medina
  • Candice Baker of Medina
  • Michael Greybill of Albion
  • Myrna Martin of Albion
  • Reuben Rivers of Albion
  • Amanda Greenough of Albion
  • Derrick Murschel of Albion
  • Isaac Neidert of Albion
  • Madison Flor of Albion
  • Melanie Kuhmann of Albion
  • Rowan Ford of Albion
  • Jackson O’Brocta of Albion
  • Grace Gregoire of Albion
  • Luke Gregoire of Albion
  • Natalie Bertsch of Waterport

Students from Orleans make Dean’s List at Morrisville, LeMoyne and FLCC

Staff Reports Posted 27 January 2024 at 9:22 am

Students from Orleans County have earned academic honors by making the Dean’s List at SUNY Morrisville, Le Moyne College and Finger Lakes Community College.

• Blake Dunton of Knowlesville and Olivia Kroening of Knowlesville made the Dean’s List for the fall semester at Morrisville.

• Aubrey Schoolcraft, a freshman Accounting major from Medina, is on the Dean’s List at Le Moyne College in Syracuse.

• At Finger Lakes Community College in Canandaigua, Adriana Botello of Holley and Ella Lewis of Lyndonville made the Dean’s List as full-time students with grade point averages at 3.5 or higher.