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Kendall celebrates homecoming with some changes

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 25 September 2020 at 4:13 pm

No tug-of-war or parade, but still lots of fun

Photos by Tom Rivers

KENDALL – Waylon Peet carries a Kendall flag while he and the senior class make their entrance on the soccer during a homecoming celebration this afternoon at Kendall Central School.

The seniors won the homecoming competitions.

There will be a drive-in movie at the school parking lot this evening from 6 to 9 p.m. to cap the week.

Each class from the junior high, freshmen, sophomores, juniors and seniors had a representative compete in different events, including the hula hoop.

Kendall normally has a pep rally in the gym for homecoming but the rally was moved outside to the bleachers and the soccer field.

The pep rally included observing a moment of silence for Richard J. Gilman Jr., who would have been a senior this year. He died on April 18, 2018 due to carbon monoxide poisoning.

Zack Barrett, a sophomore, had the longest soccer kick during one of the events. The school added more events and didn’t do some favorites, including the seniors vs. teachers in tug-of-war due to Covid-19 concerns.

Carol D’Agostino, the high school principal, welcomes students to the homecoming rally. She urged them to spread out – and have fun.

“It’s different but it’s good,” she said about the homecoming week activities. “It’s just good to have some fun.”

The Kendall classes won’t be doing a parade this year for homecoming. They still did hall decorating and dressed up for spirit days with different theme. Instead of the parade, each class had space in front of the school for s display about a movie genre.

“We know it’s not like usual,” D’Agostino told the students. “But we’re real excited to have a homecoming at Kendall.”

Joe Nettles, a senior, was speedy while bobbing for apples and then having to sprint. Only one kid could use the bobbing tub.

Seventh- and eighth-graders are spread out on the soccer field for the homecoming rally and competitions.

These students compete in a water balloon toss.

Waylon Peet gets soaked with a tub of water.

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Kendall Lions Club honors dedicated members, Citizen of the Year

Staff Reports Posted 19 September 2020 at 8:34 am

Provided photos

KENDALL – The Kendall Lions Club on Thursday recognized some of the club’s leading members and also presented a Citizen of the Year award.

Ken Spohr – Citizen of the Year: Spohr, scoutmaster of Troop 94, was named Citizen of the Year in recognition of his commitment to mentoring the youth of the community through his work and leadership with the Boy Scouts. Spohr has led several boys to become Eagle Scouts. Five of them have now completed projects at the Kendall Town Park, including creating a war memorial.

Julie Bunn – Lion of the Year: Bunn was presented this award by her father and Lion sponsor Mike Cusimano. Julie recognized for her commitment and service. She has organized and led a small group of our Lions in a program that checked on several senior citizens during the Covid quarantine. She also organized a team that delivered donated boxes of food to many families in our community.

Eric Maxon – Melvin Jones Fellowship: Eric Maxon received the Melvin Jones Fellowship award, the highest honor for a Lions Club member, in recognition of his outstanding service to the community through his participation and leadership in club activities. Maxon is a regular participant at our Bingo nights for the veterans at the Batavia VA hospital, organizes the annual Environmental Clean Up Day, and is an active member of our tent committee and other fundraisers and social events. Maxon has served on the club’s Board of Directors and is currently the second vice president. He lives the Lions Club motto of “We Serve.”

Bob Furness – Career Lion Award: Bob Furness was presented with a Career Lion Award. Furness has been a member of the Kendall Lions Club for 36 years and continues to actively participate in serving the community through many of the club’s events.

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Father and son climb stairs at fire training tower, 20 times, for National Fallen Firefighter Foundation

Photos by Tom Rivers: Doug Jones Sr. and his son Justin climb the stairs at the Orleans County Fire Training Tower this morning. They put in nearly 2,000 steps, 48 up and 48 down and did that 20 times to reach their goal.

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 12 September 2020 at 9:14 pm

ALBION – A father and son from Kendall climbed the stairs at the Orleans County Fire Training Tower 20 times today.

Doug Jones Sr., 62, and his son Justin, 23, trekked nearly 2,000 steps on the stairs, going 48 steps up and then 48 down and did it 20 times. That is about how many steps firefighters climbed in the World Trade Center towers on Sept. 11, 2001.

The previous two years, Doug and Justin did the stair climb at Frontier Field in Rochester with about 150 other firefighters in the region for the annual National Fallen Firefighter Foundation. But the event was cancelled at the stadium in Rochester. The NFFF urged participants to continue to raise money for the cause, and look for an alternative location as part of a virtual climb.

The two picked the fire training tower on West Countyhouse Road in Albion.

Doug Jones. Sr., a past Kendall fire chief, and Justin Behrend-Jones head up the stairs for the third of their 20 trips this morning.

Jones Sr. said he is motivated to take on the challenge, despite a gimpy knee, as a memorial to the firefighters who died in 2001. There were 343 firefighters who were killed on Sept. 11, 2001 during the terrorist attacks in New York City.

That year, a Kendall firefighter also was killed in the line of duty. Rick Buongiorne was 48 when he died on Jan. 9, 2001. He was directing traffic around a single-vehicle collision when he was struck by a truck.

Justin Behrend-Jones and Doug Jones did the stair-climb challenge for the third year. They have raised about $2,000 for the National Fallen Firefighter Foundation.

Jones was the fire chief in Kendall that year. He said he thinks often of Buongiorne and the NYC firefighters who died that year. They are his motivation in the annual stair climb.

“There is a strong brotherhood in fire department,” Jones said.

His son recently relocated to Connecticut and works for a pest control company. Justin came home to do the stair climb with his father, who works in the warehouse for Associated Brands in Medina.

For more information about the climb and to donate through Doug Jones Sr.’s fundraising page, click here.

The father and son are pictured on the top of the stairs at the fire training tower in Albion.

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Superhero sister welcomes brother home from first day of school in Kendall

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 8 September 2020 at 8:30 pm

KENDALL – Stacey Jurs sent in this photo of her 5-year-old daughter, Gracelynn, waiting for her brother to come home on the school bus. Gracelynn is dressed as Lego Batgirl.

Her brother Connor Jurs, 8, had his first day of third grade today at Kendall. The district welcomed back students in grades 1 through 12.

Gracelynn has her first day of kindergarten on Wednesday at Kendall, which also has the first day for prekindergartners.

“The first day went smooth,” Jurs said. “The teachers were prepared, students too! It was a great first day!”

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School resource officers will continue at Kendall, Lyndonville

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 27 August 2020 at 11:32 am

County approves 2-year agreement to assign deputies to districts

ALBION – The Kendall and Lyndonville school districts will continue to have an Orleans County deputy sheriff as school resource officers the next two years.

The County Legislature approved an agreement with each district on Wednesday. The officers will serve in the schools and on school grounds, from Sept. 1, 2020 until June 30, 2022.

The Sheriff’s Office and the districts first reached the agreement two years ago. The districts each paid $100,000 a year to the county.

With the new agreement, each district agrees to pay $95,070. However, there is no built-in overtime. If a district needs overtime, that will be invoiced separately, said Jack Welch, the county’s chief administrative officer.

The Sheriff’s Office two years ago pushed for an expanded presence in Lyndonville and Kendall, the two schools in the northern part of the county that do not have a full-time police presence in their communities.

The officers will provide security for the schools, and also educate students with anti-bullying programs, anti-drug education and also guide them in using a new STOP DWI Driving Simulator, where students and other users can see the effects of driving while texting, drowsy or if they are impaired or intoxicated.

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Rare raptors draw bird lovers to Kendall

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 12 August 2020 at 1:21 pm

Pair of Swallow-tailed Kites have been spotted on 272, Creek Road

Photos by Tom Rivers: Josh Ketry, a bird enthusiast from Buffalo, scans the sky for a pair of Swallow-tailed Kites. Those raptors normally are in Florida but are making a rare appearance in New York.

KENDALL – The church parking lot at the Mount Olive Missionary Baptist Church in Kendall has been drawing a crowd of people from all over the state in recent days.

There have been as many as 40 to 50 people in the lot, holding binoculars or peering through telephoto lenses.

Josh Ketry was able to get a photo of one of the birds in flight. He has come to Kendall three of the past four days to observe the Swallow-tailed Kites.

They are chasing a “life bird,” a pair of raptors from down South. Two Swallow-tailed Kites are making a rare appearance in the state. Birding enthusiasts theorize they were knocked off their normal path from the hurricane.

The two raptors have been spotted in Kendall for the past 10 days. But they didn’t become a big draw until Sunday, when birders started sharing on social media and websites that the Swallow-tailed Kites were hanging around Route 272 (the Monroe-Orleans Countyline Road) near the Creek Road intersection.

Josh Ketry, 41, of Buffalo was in Pennsylvania on Sunday on a birding expedition when a friend texted him about the Swallow-tailed Kites in Kendall. Ketry immediately changed course and drove 3 ½ hours to Kendall. He was back Tuesday and again today.

“This is a lifer so I’m chasing it,” he said.

He has been able to photograph the two birds. They are bright white with black on their wings and back. They tend to glide in the air. Ketry said they have been observed eating cicadas and dragonflies while in Kendall.

Ketry started getting into birds about 3 ½ years ago. He enjoyed the outdoors and hiking and wanted to make it more exciting. He set a goal of seeing an owl on a hike. They it became seeing eight different types of owls.

His list has continued to grow and he has made many friends through the hobby.

“It gave me a quest,” he said. “I’m fascinated by them.”

Lisa Scheppke of Queens and Josh Ketry of Buffalo chat in the parking lot of the Mount Olive Missionary Baptist Church in Kendall late this morning. Crowds have been in the church parking lot since Sunday drawing birders from all over the state.

Cornell University has many online resources to help people identify birds, and alert them to rare bird sightings. Click here to see Cornell’s entry on the Swallow-tailed Kite.

The Swallow-tailed Kites have been crowd-pleasers so far. Ketry said hundreds of people have been able to make the sighting. They two have the added draw of flying in a pair, and they haven’t just passed through the area briefly. They have stayed for more than a week, allowing birders to mobilize to try to see them.

Lisa Scheppke, 53, made the trip from Queens in New York City. She has been a birder for about a decade. She will often go a trips with friends to see birds. It is typically a solitary hobby, with long walks through trails and the woods to see the birds.

She reached Kendall last evening but missed the two Swallow-tailed Kites. She was back at 8 this morning. She was feeling discouraged until they made their first appearance of the day at about 10:45 a.m. They tend to be spotted first in the day at 11 a.m.

Stacy Robinson left her home in the Adirondacks at 4:30 this morning to drive to Kendall to see the Swallow-tailed Kites.

“They are a beautiful bird,” she said, holding her binoculars. “This is unusual too because they are a pairing.”

Scheppke, after seeing the Swallow-tailed Kites, said she was likely headed to the Montezuma Wildlife Refuge in Central New York on the way back to NYC.

Stacey Robinson left her home in the Adirondacks at 4:30 this morning and arrived in Kendall at 10:30. Fifteen minutes later the trip felt worth it when she saw the Swallow-tailed Kites. Two of her friends from Albany and Ticonderoga also drove to Kendall and urged her to make the trip.

Robinson said she has been birding the past eight years “obsessively.” She is retired as an assistant at an animal hospital. She said birders check their social media and online communities to see if there have been life bird alerts.

“Birders are very good about sharing information,” she said. “You never know when the next one is coming.”

She said the hobby has taken her throughout the region, to small towns, nature preserves and wildlife refuges.

William Norton, 24, of Hamlin only had to drive about 5 miles to get in position to see the two Swallow-tailed Kites. He has been a bird watcher since he was 16.

He said there are many different colors among birds, and they make distinctive noises.

“It’s just relaxing,” he said about the hobby. “You’re out in nature.”

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Kendall says state wrongly lists district among those that didn’t submit reopening plans

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 11 August 2020 at 7:56 am

District sets 3 public sessions to discuss new school year

Gov. Andrew Cuomo on Monday listed Kendall as being among 107 school districts that haven’t submitted a reopening plan to the State Education Department and the State Department of Health. The plans needed to be filed no later than July 31.

Julie Christensen, the Kendall district superintendent, said the state list isn’t correct because Kendall submitted its reopening plan to Department of Health on July 30 and with SED on July 31.

The plan was also posted on the school district website on July 30.

“The district has contacted the state regarding the discrepancy,” the school district said in a statement on Monday.

Cuomo said the districts identified as not submitting their plans have until Friday to submit the reopening document or else they can’t reopen for in-person schooling this fall.

The governor on Monday also reminded districts they must complete the three to five public sessions with parents and teachers and post their plans for remote learning, testing and tracing on their website by Aug. 21 to be in compliance with standards established by the State.

Kendall has three community forums set for this month. They will be conducted through Zoom video conferencing.

The dates and times of the forums are:

  • August 14 at 10 a.m.
  • August 19 at 4 p.m.
  • August 20 at 6 p.m.

Please email Superintendent Julie Christensen ( with any questions you have in advance of the forums so she can research the answers and present this information during the forums.

For more information, click here.

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Kendall Scout adds sign, sidewalks to community park for Eagle project

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 9 August 2020 at 1:11 pm

Provided photos

KENDALL – Nicholas Wolf completed his Eagle Scout project last month, and added a sign with pillars to the Kendall Community Park. Nicholas also put in a garden area by the sign.

This is the fifth Eagle Scout project at the park. Last year Ryan Barrett, Brian Shaw, Noah Rath and Jayden Pieniaszek worked together and each took a phase of a war memorial at the park, which is on Kendall Road (Route 237) across from the Kendall Elementary School.

Nicholas Wolf also led a team of Scouts in putting in a 100-foot-long sidewalk that is 5 feet wide. Nicholas is a member of Troop 94 in Kendall.

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2 Scouts in Kendall earn their Eagle

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 5 August 2020 at 2:42 pm

Noah Rath, Brian Shaw helped create the Kendall War Memorial

Photos by Tom Rivers

KENDALL – Jess Markel, senior district executive for the Iroquois Trail Council, gives two new Eagles Scouts – Noah Rath (left) and Brian Shaw – the Eagle charge after the two earned Scouting’s highest rank. Merkel urged Rath and Shaw to continue to serve others.

Rath and Shaw both just graduated from Kendall. Rath heads to Alfred State College in mid-August to major in business and marketing. Shaw will be joining the U.S. Air Force.

They are members of Troop 94. For their Eagle Scout project, they teamed with two other Eagle Scouts, Jayden Pieniaszek and Ryan Barrett, to build a war memorial for Kendall. That memorial was dedicated on Sept. 29, 2019.

The Scouts needed to earn at least 20 merit badges as part of the path to become an Eagle. This photo shows some of the 35 badges earned by Noah Rath.

State Assemblyman Steve Hawley, left, is presented with two framed photos of the memorial, one for his district office in Albion and the other for his office in Albany. Hawley paid for the flag pole at the memorial for the New York State flag.

The scouts include from left: Noah Rath, Brian Shaw, Jayden Pieniaszek and Ryan Barrett.

Hawley also presented citations and a Boy Scout challenge coin to the two new Eagle Scouts for their work on the project.

“You should be very proud of what’s going on in Scouting here in Kendall,” Hawley said. “This is really what America is all about.”

Rath headed up phase three of the memorial which included the medallions for each five branches of military. Rath also had the electricity set up so the memorial and sidewalk can be lighted up at night, and organized the memorial bricks along the sidewalk.

Brian Shaw coordinated phase four which included final grading and planting of 14 cedar trees behind the memorial, which provides a buffer for the neighbors and also enhances the site. Shaw also led the work for the six plaques on the memorial for the different wars where Kendall soldiers served.

Nadine Hanlon, former president of the Board of Education, is presented with a framed photo. She was a big cheerleader of the project during its early days. The Scouts made their first public presentation about the memorial to the Board of Education, which backed the project. Hanlon was helpful in lining up other support in the community for the memorial.

“She helped drive this project through the town,” said Scoutmaster Ken Spohr, pictured in back.

She attended the Eagle Scout Court of Honor ceremony on Monday evening at the Kendall Fire Hall in her role as clerk of the Orleans County Legislature. She presented the two new Eagle Scouts with citations from Legislature Chairwoman Lynne Johnson, congratulating them on their achievement.

Hanlon said the memorial exceeded her expectations.

“You really gave us a great gift in our community,” Hanlon said.

Jayden Pieniaszek and Ryan Barrett put the Eagle Scout neckerchief on Brian Shaw.

Noah Rath hugs his mother Katie Spohr, after presenting her with a mentor pin. Shaw presented a mentor pin to his father, Nate Shaw.

Katie Spohr received this surprise from her sons Noah and John Rath. Katie has three sons who became Eagle Scouts. Luke Rath also earned Scouting’s highest rank. He was working at Wegmans on Monday evening.

She is the second mother to have three sons earn Eagle Scout in Kendall. Cathy Schuth’s sons Michael, Nicholas and Matt Schuth also earned their Eagles.

Katie Spohr has been active in the Scouting program for 16 years. She is currently the Troop Committee chairwoman.

“It is just a joy, especially when you see the lightbulbs turn on when they are younger,” she said. “I am so proud of my boys, all of my boys (all of the Scouts in the Troop).”

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Kendall can accommodate all students for in-person learning

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 4 August 2020 at 10:13 am

District adds extra class in kindergarten and first grade to space out students

Photo by Tom Rivers: The Kendall Elementary School is pictured last evening in Kendall. The district’s reopening plan would welcome all students back for in-person learning with precautions in place.

KENDALL – The school district’s reopening plan would allow for in-person learning at all grade levels from Pre-K to Grade 12.

Kendall is fortunate to have the space in classrooms where students can social distance at 6 feet apart, district superintendent Julie Christensen said during a forum last week.

Kendall would add extra classes in kindergarten and first grade which would put the average class size in those grades at 12-13 students. In second through fourth grade, the average class size would be 13 to 16 students.

That is if the families choose in-person learning. Kendall will also give parents and guardians the option of remote learning for students. In 438 surveys, about 5 percent said they will choose the remote option for students.

Students who do remote learning can log on and be a part of some classes through Zoom video conferencing.

The district plans to stagger the end of class periods in the middle and high school levels, so all of the students don’t spill out into the hallways at once.

The district will offer the array of classes, including music, art and physical education.

Kevin Watson, middle school principal, and Carol D’Agostino, the high school principal, both said students and teachers will be working diligently to meet state standards while also having fun at school. The district has new bleachers at the soccer field, with more room. They could be used for homecoming and some other events at school.

“We’re working on ways to get out of classroom so they’re not cooped up,” Watson said during the forum on July 28.

The reopening plan was submitted to the state on Friday and posted to the district’s web site. (Click here to see the document.)

Gov. Andrew Cuomo said he will announce by the end of the week whether schools will be allowed to offer in-person classes to start the school year.

Screenshot from Kendall community forum: Kendall will have desks spaced out at least 6 feet apart, with hand sanitizer, signs about proper hygiene and fountains for filling water bottles only.

In Orleans County, Kendall and Lyndonville both said they could offer in-person classes at all grade levels, every school day. Albion and Medina said they could do in-person each day from Pre-K to Grade 6, with a hybrid at grades 7 to 12, with two cohorts alternating in-person and remotely. Holley is looking at two days of in-person learning and three days of remote for all grade levels.

Smaller schools have an advantage because they can space their students out more in a classroom. Bigger schools don’t have the space or staff to meet the social distancing requirements of 6 feet apart in classrooms.

Kendall will require masks be worn on buses, in hallways and when social distancing isn’t possible. Students, once they are seated at their desks, won’t have to wear masks because they are 6 feet apart.

Wearing a mask is a “non-negotiable,” Christensen said in the community forum. If students refuse they will be directed to remote learning.

The district will provide “grab and go” breakfasts and lunches will be served with students eating in the cafeteria, overflow areas and in classrooms to ensure social distancing. Students in remote learning can also have lunch but it has to be picked up at the school.

Kendall also plans to add two day cleaners for sanitation, with those cleaners sanitizing bathrooms, door handles, classrooms when teachers at lunch and other parts of the school buildings.

The district also plans to make Chromebooks or tablets available for all students. Kendall will be prepared for a shift to remote learning if a change in the health statistics prompts the state to close schools. Last school year, Kendall students were forced to do remote learning beginning on March 16 until the end of the school year in late June.

Parents and guardians will need to do a daily health screening before they send their children to school. If kids are sick or have temperatures at 100 degrees or more, they should stay home.

“This is where we really need your help as parents,” Christensen said. “We are asking you to be partners in this.”

The reopening plans aren’t final documents. After the governor’s announcement this week, districts will continue to work on the reopening plan the next month before school is scheduled to start.

“Things are subject to change,” Christensen said.

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Another day, another double rainbow

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 3 August 2020 at 9:42 pm

KENDALL – Dawn Gardner sent in this photo of a double rainbow that appeared today at about 7 p.m. on West Kendall Road. The double rainbow emerged after the sun came out following a heavy rain.

There was also a double rainbow on Sunday in Orleans County.

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Kendall school district hosts reopening forum at 6 p.m. today

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 28 July 2020 at 9:10 am

KENDALL – The school district will host a community forum this evening at 6, and will discuss reopening plans, arrival and dismissal procedures for those on busses, and expectations for those in remote learning.

The forum is available through the Zoom videoconferencing or by calling in by phone. Click here for more information.

Kendall and all of the 700 school districts in the state need to submit reopening plans to the state by Friday. Those plans need to include three options: full in-person learning, a hybrid approach with in-person learning and on-line at home, and remote learning with no in-person classes.

Kendall’s reopening committees have looked at the district’s instructional practices, technology needs, sanitation, transportation and food service.

“The safety of our students, staff and community is paramount, as are providing a quality academic program and supporting social emotional needs,” Julie Christensen, the district superintendent, wrote in a letter to the community.

She said a survey of parents showed about 80 percent intend to send their children back to school this fall. If parents choose remote learning over in-person, Kendall will be using a Google platform to post lesson materials.

“We have developed plans and purchased supplies to accommodate the goals of all students all day, every day,” Christensen said in her letter.

The district superintendent said Kendall remains committed to providing a quality education.

There are some components required by the state Department of Health to reopen schools safely, Christensen said.

• Face coverings will be required for students and staff when social distancing can’t be maintained of at least 6 feet apart. Students will be required to wear face coverings on the bus, during passing time, at arrival and dismissal, and other times when social distancing not possible.

• Health screenings will be required each day before a staff member or child enters the building. Students should have daily temperature and health checks done every day at home. If a student has a temperature over 100 degrees, experiences a new cough, respiratory distress, vomiting or shortness of breath, he or she must stay home, Christensen said in her letter.

If students have been in close contact with someone who tests positive for Covid-19, they must stay home for 14 days. If students have traveled to a designated state with a high infection rate, those students must stay home.

Students who are quarantined and asymptomatic will be encouraged to continue remote learning.

• Hygiene and sanitation practices: There will be increased sanitation in classrooms, common areas, cafeteria, busses and bathrooms. The district will post more signs throughout school buildings for proper hand hygiene and cleaning. Kendall will also make hand sanitizer available in all classrooms, common areas and on school busses. The district has also added day cleaners to increase sanitation practices.

• Food service practices: Kendall will add grab and go breakfasts, preorder lunches and maintain social distancing in the café and overflow spaces. All spaces will be sanitized frequently.

• Transportation: Routes will be modified to accommodate social distancing to the extent possible. Facial coverings must be worn on busses. In the district survey, about 50 percent of parents said they would transport their child to and from school.

Christensen said the state’s guidelines and health requirements often change on a  daily basis, requiring flexibility from districts as they prepare for the fall.

School districts seek feedback for reopening

Photos by Tom Rivers: Junior high students in Orleans County sing on March 7 at Kendall during the All-County Music Festival. The auditorium at the Kendall Junior-Senior High School was packed for the concert. A week later, the school districts in Orleans County announced their buildings would be closed due to the Covid-19 pandemic. Reopening plans for schools will likely include social distancing, wearing masks and reducing the capacity in the buildings for large crowds.

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 11 July 2020 at 3:37 pm

Holley, Kendall, Lyndonville and Medina have online surveys

School districts want to hear from the community about possible scenarios for reopening schools this fall.

Holley, Kendall, Lyndonville and Medina all have online surveys, asking for feedback about on-line learning and returning to school in classrooms.

Albion also has formed a committee that is meeting to develop a plan for reopening schools this fall.

Gov. Andrew Cuomo said on Wednesday said New York will finalize guidance to reopen schools by July 13. School districts need to submit reopening plans by July 31, with the state to make a decision on reopening during week of Aug. 1-7.

The state won’t have a blanket policy for all 700 districts in the state because different regions of the state have different levels of infection from Covid-19, Cuomo said.

The governor said student safety, as well as the health of teachers and staff, remains the priority on how schools will operate in the fall.

“We know we have a lot of work to do, and we need input from our families,” Brian Bartalo, the Holley school district superintendent, said in a message to the community. “It’s important to note that although we need your input, the final decision about schools reopening and how schools will operate this fall will be determined by the Governor and the State Education Department.”

The districts in the surveys ask parents if they will send their children to school if the state allows in-person classes.

The districts ask parents their level of concern with having their children ride a school bus, sit in classrooms and participate in sports and other activities.

“We need to be ready for an opening of school with safety considerations (masks, sanitizing, distancing, etc.) for all students and staff, a ‘hybrid’ model where students attend school in person on a rotational basis and do some ‘distance learning,’ and a model where students are again learning remotely, like we ended this past school year,” Bartalo said. “It goes without saying that all of us at Holley CSD are hoping and planning for as much in-person learning as is allowed by the State, the CDC and our Health Department officials.”

To see Holley’s survey, click here.

To see Kendall’s survey, click here.

To see Lyndonville’s survey, click here.

To see Medina’s survey, click here.

Kayli Miller of Albion kicks the soccer ball during a modified game last September against Barker. The sports programs could be different this year due to precautions against the spread of Covid-19.

Medina asks how the pandemic impacted your family with the following responses: no impact/no change; some impact, does not change daily behavior; noticeable impact; significant daily disruption; and severe daily disruption, immediate needs unmet.

Medina asks if the disrupted school had an emotional or mental impact on children. Medina and the other local districts had their last day of in-person classes on March 13.

Parents are also asked whether they are satisfied with the way distance learning was implemented during the pandemic.

Parents are asked if their homes are set up for distance learning, and what could be done to make that work better, whether it be WiFi access at home, a device for the student to do school work, more support with instruction and childcare.

Parents are asked if they would feel more comfortable sending their children to school if the buses and classrooms were at half capacity, rather than full capacity.

Mark Kruzynski, Medina’s school superintendent, said the parent responses will help the district as it considers its reopening plan.

“Because we will always follow all directives from the health department, local, state and federal government, many decisions about what school will look like in the fall may be ‘out of our hands,’” he said in a message to the community. “However, for those things that the district may be able to control, we want to make the best decisions possible for our students and families.”

In one of Medina’s questions, parents are asked if students/staff return to school in September, which measures are most important at school? They are also to check all that apply.

  • Wearing masks at all times
  • Wearing masks only in situations when you cannot be 6 feet apart
  • Hand sanitizer in each classroom and common area
  • COVID-19 testing for staff and students before re-entry in the fall
  • Daily testing of student/staff temperature
  • No lunchroom use for students
  • No playground use for students
  • Limited hallway travel and changing of classes
  • No sharing of any classroom resources or materials such as books, games, supplies
  • Staggered start and end times to the day

Among the questions asked by Kendall, was there too little or too much communication from the district/administrators during the shutdown, or was it just enough.

Lyndonville asks parents what is their expectation regarding student athletics, performing arts, and extra-curricular activities if students return to school in the September? The responses include:

  • I FULLY expect these events to be provided for student participation in a traditional format with reasonable safety measures.
  • I am CONCERNED about students participating in these events because of social distancing challenges while participating.
  • I would NOT allow my student(s) to participate in these events at this time.

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Kendall student will be part of first virtual Girls State program

Staff Reports Posted 30 June 2020 at 11:55 am

Provided photo: Madison Nardi and about 400 other students will be part of the first virtual Girl State program. The program runs from June 28 to July 12.

KENDALL – Madison Nardi, who will be a senior at Kendall in 2020-21, will be attending the first ever virtual American Legion Auxiliary Girls State.

Madison is one of 400 young women selected to attend the 79th American Legion Auxiliary Girls State session.  As part of the annual program, outstanding students are chosen from their local high schools to spend a week learning about the inner workings of state, local and county government. Madison is sponsored by the Jewell Buckman Auxiliary Unit in Holley.

This premier leadership conference is designed to provide practical insight into the workings of the government, promote youth civic engagement, instill a sense of pride in America, and empower the next generation of women leaders, providing them with a network that lasts a lifetime.

Madison Nardi is a rising senior at Kendall High School. She is active in many ways in her school and community, including varsity volleyball and various other clubs.

The program included workshops lead by a political instructor, presentations on women in leadership, Activities that inspired patriotism and pride, as well as information on the American Legion Auxiliary.

“The ALA Girls State experience is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for young women across our state and while we couldn’t hold the program in person, our team worked hard to ensure that this cohort of High School Juniors get to learn some of the important principles of democracy and about the American Legion Auxiliary ” said Jennifer Farley, American Legion Auxiliary Girls State chairman. “Our hope is that after attending the virtual ALA Girls State, the girls will be inspired to participate in the democratic process, volunteer in their communities and be filled with patriotism and pride.”

ALA Girls State:​ The American Legion Auxiliary’s marquee Girls State program, first presented in 1937, is one of the most respected and coveted experiential learning programs presented in the United States.

The program epitomizes the ALA’s mission to honor those who have brought us our freedom through our enduring commitment to develop young women as future leaders grounded in patriotism and Americanism. The young women become knowledgeable of the democratic process and how our republic form of government works at the state and national levels.

To learn more about the Auxiliary’s mission, visit​.

For more on the Girl State program, click here.

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Kendall commencement allows grads to celebrate together on lawn at Fire Department

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 27 June 2020 at 2:30 pm

Photos by Tom Rivers

KENDALL – Hailee Mitchell (left), the salutatorian, and Katherine Pearson, the class valedictorian, walk past a 2020 sign at the beginning of the Kendall commencement on Friday evening.

The district held the celebration on the Kendall firemen’s grounds, where there is usually the carnival.

The state set a maximum size at 150 people for graduation ceremonies, unless people were in cars. Kendall decided to have an outdoor ceremony and allow families to drive-in and park.

The 51 graduates had seats on chairs that were spaced six feet apart to meet the state’s social distancing guidelines.

Carol D’Agostino, the high school principal, addresses the graduates and the crowd. She is joined on stage by Lisa Levett (left), president of the Board of Education, and Julie Christensen, district superintendent.

The stage was donated for use by Kludt Farms. Christ Farms decorated the stage for the event.

Sarah Delmont, one of the class advisors, hands out masks that she made for all of the seniors. They had the Kendall logo on them.

Isaiah Curtis-Korn heads to the stage for his diploma. He is wearing a mask for Kendall’s Class of 2020.

Kasandra (Cliff) Hopkins, the salutatorian for Kendall’s Class of 2002, delivered the commencement address. She works as administrator of the Northway Surgery & Pain Center near Albany. Her mother is Kendall teacher Renee Cliff.

Hopkins has been an EMT, registered nurse and earned a master’s degree in nursing.

When Hopkins gave her speech in 2002, it was to her classmates whose senior year started with the Sept. 11, 2001 terrorist attacks. This year’s senior class was born not long after the 9-11 attacks.

“The world is constantly changing,” she said. “Each generation has a challenge to rise up to.”

The pandemic has been disruptive, but Hopkins said it has also given students more time with their families. Students have needed to adapt to on-line learning and using more technology.

Hopkins quoted from the lyrics of “Be a Light” by Thomas Rhett.

“In a time full of war, be peace

In a world full of hate, be a light

When you do somebody wrong, make it right

Don’t hide in the dark, you were born to shine

In a world full of hate, be a light.”

Hopkins said it isn’t a coincidence Kendall picked the eagle as a mascot.

“We are proud and we are made to soar,” she said.

David Klafehn takes photos of a memorable graduation ceremony at Kendall.

Elizabeth Sutphen stands on the stage before receiving her diploma.

Amber Salonen is happy after receiving her diploma.

Parents and family members of the graduates watched the ceremony from the back of pickup trucks and from lawn chairs.

Brianna Drennan accepts her diploma from Carol D’Agostino, the high school principal. They each kept an arm’s length away.

Hailee Mitchell delivers the salutatorian speech. She praised the small-school atmosphere at Kendall which nurtures students. She commended her classmates for pushing through the past three months, especially with the disappointments of having the senior trip, spring fling and spring sports all cancelled.

Julie Christensen, the district superintendent, praised the community for its support of the students during their school career, and especially since mid-March when the pandemic hit.

She said the Class of 2020 is high-achieving. Among the 51 students, 56 percent were on the honor roll every marking period of high school.

Mason Kuhn is congratulated by Carol D’Agostino. Mason served as one of the class officers.

Katherine Pearson gives the valedictory address. She said a “silver lining” in the pandemic is students graduate knowing they are loved by the community.

She thanked local residents for adopting seniors and giving them gifts during the quarantine. She also said teachers showed their love and commitment to students with a parade by every students’ home and by being creating in their online lessons.

Pearson said her family suffered the loss of her uncle, Wayne Younglove, on June 9. He lived an adventurous life and enjoyed riding snowmobiles, going boating and racing cars. She urged her classmates to follow his example and be brave in trying new things and exploring the country and world.

“I’m graduating with 50 other amazing people who will do wonderful things in life,” Pearson said.

Chloe Tonas decorated her mortarboard on her graduation cap. She and her classmates gathered outside the Kendall fire hall before the ceremony.

Chloe thanked the school administrators for working out a graduation where the class could be together and many family and friends could attend.

These graduates walk by the large 2020 sign created for the ceremony.

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