BOE approves Superintendent’s separation agreement

On Tuesday, June 27, the Liberty Central School District Board of
Education approved a separation agreement with Superintendent of
Schools Dr. William Silver, effective June 30. The motion was
approved by a 5-3 vote.

During the meeting, the board also voted 6-1, with one abstention,
to appoint Carol Napolitano as the district’s interim superintendent effective July 1. Ms. Napolitano, who previously served as Liberty’s Assistant Superintendent from 2007 to 2016, will serve as the district’s top administrator until June 30, 2018.

“Despite various personnel-related discrepancies that we cannot
divulge publicly, the Board is grateful for Dr. Silver’s service.
He has been valuable in helping us ensure our students get the
best education possible while staying fiscally responsible, and we
wish him well in his future endeavors,” board President John
Nichols said, noting that the board’s decision to end Dr. Silver’s
contract agreement was “not taken lightly.”

Dr. Silver has been superintendent at Liberty for four and a half
years, assisting in the passage of four school budgets and one
capital project with no tax impact.

Since his arrival to Liberty, the district has produced
significant gains in academic proficiency, fiscal responsibility
and the percentage of students who are college- and career-ready.
Under his leadership, the high school’s graduation rate increased
from 70 to 78 percent.

“It goes without saying that I have enjoyed my years of service to
the Liberty Central School District,” Dr. Silver said. “While the
duties, responsibilities and projects have been enriching, it has
been the relationships and friendships I’ve built over the years
in working with the staff, our students and their families and
community members that have been the most meaningful and
rewarding.”

Agenda item details of the June 27 meeting, as well as all board
of education meetings, are available via BoardDocs.

Throughout this pending transition, the district would like to
strengthen the lines of communication between parents, staff,
students and the community. More information will be forthcoming
on our webpage and at upcoming board meetings, please call the
superintendent’s office at (845) 292-6990.

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Class of 2017 turns their tassels

Liberty Central School District graduated its Class of 2017 in a June 24 ceremony that looked back on the graduates’ 13-year journey and celebrated the days still to come.

As students accepted their diplomas, the community looked on with pride, whether they were supporting their own children or someone else’s.

In a graduation ceremony filled with words of advice and reflection, the members of the graduating class heard a larger theme; to stay humbled in this wild world and to tackle it with thought, rationale and kindness.

In his speech, Liberty High School Principal Jack Strassman described the need to keep perspective, stay grounded and to always look for the “helpers,” as one can never know what challenges or misfortunes we may witness.

Superintendent Dr. Silver noted that although we often treat commencement as the end of a journey that is not what the word actually means.

“Commencement isn’t the celebration of ending. It’s the beginning of the next phase of your life,”; he said, encouraging students to measure their success by the esteem of the graduating classes’; friends, family and community.

To relive the ceremony,  visit our YouTube channel

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Eaine Grossinger Etess inducted into WOF

Elaine Grossinger Etess always called Liberty “home.” The 1945 Liberty High School graduate and key member of the Liberty community and its history will forever be immortalized at home as a 2017 Liberty Wall of Fame inductee.

On Saturday, June 24, Ms. Etess, this year’s sole inductee, joined 22 others who have been inducted since the Wall’s inception in 2011.

In addition to her work at the Grossingers Hotel and Country Club, she was a leading figure in Liberty Central School District’s education system. She served on the Liberty Board of Education for a total of fifteen years. She was also a chairman of the Education Program Committee of the New York State School Boards Association.

The Wall of Fame is located in the lobby of the David E. Panebaker Auditorium at Liberty High School.

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Athletes Receive Block L Awards

The annual Varsity Athletic Block L was held on Wednesday, June 7, in the Panebaker Auditorium at Liberty High School. The event began at 6:00 p.m. with a welcoming speech from Athletic Director Kurt Buddenhagen and the singing of the National Anthem by Coach Ralph Bressler. Coaches then presented the awards for the fall sports followed by the letters for all one sport athletes. The winter awards were then announced and the letters for two sport athletes were distributed. The coaches for the spring sports then called up their award winners and the three sport athletes received their certificates.

During the spring awards a new award was announced in memory of Peter Koval. Coach Ralph Bressler, the head Boys Spring Track Coach presented the award to Senior Nicholas Skindzier, a member of the spring track team. Coach Bressler provided this explanation of the award.

“Peter was a member of the Liberty Cross Country and Track and Field teams. He was a thrower and his distances in shot put and discus were average. One day Peter tried throwing the javelin and found he was good at it. He understood the physics of throwing the javelin. He studied every aspect of the technique: the run up, the footwork, the release. He set a school record and went on to teach others how to throw. Peter threw the javelin in college at Division I Leigh University. Whenever he returned from college he would stop by to help members of the team. Peter also ran cross country. Even though running wasn’t nearly as much fun as throwing a javelin he put in the same effort. He always gave everything he had and never complained. He was a team player. During Peter’s senior year the division meet was at Liberty and we had to compete against stacked teams O’Neill and Sullivan West. I lined the runners up and fired the gun. Peter took the lead and ran like he was running a half mile race instead of three miles. Other runners took off after him. I wondered what he was doing and after about half a mile Peter began to jog. He finished dead last but by then I had an idea of why he had gone out so fast. I asked Peter to explain and he said ‘Coach, I knew I couldn’t score for the team but I thought maybe I could tire some of them out.’ We lost by a few points to O’Neill but beat Sullivan West. I am convinced Peter’s efforts made a difference.”

“Peter died this spring in a car accident in Pennsylvania. Anyone who knew Peter will never forget his smile and his sense of humor. Anyone who was on a team with Peter will never forget it was always all about the team. This award is being given for the first time this year but will be one of the awards given to a Senior athlete every year from now on. The award reads “Team above Self” and is given to a Senior track and field athlete who best exhibits this motto.”

The next presentations were the Special Recognition Awards sponsored by families or community organizations in memory of former Liberty athletes. These awards were followed by the recognition of two Liberty athletes, Olivia Racette and Dara Schiff, who participated in four sports during the three seasons. These athletes were able to juggle two sports during one season and still maintain the academic standards required of Liberty student-athletes.

The evening culminated with the Senior Awards. Maria Symanski and Joseph Decker were acknowledged as the Times Herald-Record Student Athletes for Liberty. The Elizabeth “Betty” Totten Award was presented by the Booster Club to Nicole Keyes and Joseph Decker. Jarek Krebs and Leanna Zilles were given the Liberty Rotary Club Perseverance Award. The final award of the night was the Tom Kelly Award for Outstanding Female and Male Athlete. These awards were presented to Evelyn Barragan and Joshwa Benjamin.

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Class of 2017 retraces steps during annual Senior Walk

Before they take on the world, they took a step back.

Before students walk across the stage to get their diplomas on June 24, they walk through the halls of their elementary and middle school. The now annual event is a reminder of how far they have come and an inspiration to the students whose graduation dates are several years in the future.

The Liberty High School Class of 2017 inspired younger generations to achieve their own graduation by walking the halls of their former elementary and middle schools on June 7.

As the seniors walked through the halls, the students got to see a visual representation of what the future holds.

The heartwarming event aimed to encourage grade schoolers to excel academically and prepare for the future.

Seniors retraced their path to graduation, thanked those who helped them along the way and inspired the remaining student body to envision the day where they too will don that red or white cap and gown.

While the seniors may have enjoyed passing out high-fives to the younger students, it was also a bittersweet trip down memory lane for some. Before they walked the hallways where they started their schooling and met their best friends one last time, they were treated to a slideshow of memories from their days at elementary students. It touched them emotionally to see some of their former teachers but also it gave them an opportunity to reflect on their 13 years of education at Liberty.

Congratulations to the Class of 2017! You will always have a home at Liberty.

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D.A.R.E. Graduation held for 5th graders

On Tuesday, June 6, Liberty Middle School fifth-graders were recognized as official Drug Abuse Resistance Education (D.A.R.E.) graduates.

School officials were particularly proud of the enormous amount of information that its students learned from instructor and School Resource Officer Devin Brust who also served as the Keynote Speaker for the occasion.

“We do more than just talk about not doing drugs,” Brust said. “We talk about self-esteem, and we encourage and motivate them. We want them to make good decisions and choices.”

Officer Brust rendered an especially encouraging message as evidenced from the rounds of applause from parents, community members, teachers, and students. His address was applicable to everyone in the audience.

Brust, who is described by staff as friendly, optimistic, respected and dedicated, is a central park of the Liberty’s D.A.R.E Program. He focused on the obstacles that the fifth graders may face.
As part of graduation, all students were required to submit an essay detailing their experiences and what they’ve learned as a result of their D.A.R.E education. Fifth-grader Alessia Lentini was chosen to read her essay aloud at the ceremony.

She expressed in her essay why she wanted to be drug and violence free, choose the right friends, and make the right choices in the future with the skills she learned in D.A.R.E.
She also received a D.A.R.E. mascot stuffed animal in appreciation for her hard work and commitment to the D.A.R.E. Program.

D.A.R.E is a comprehensive school-based drug prevention program taught by police officers to children at the Grade 5 level. The D.A.R.E. Officers partner with classroom teachers to build protective factors for children by providing information and social skills needed to live drug- and violence-free. Students are taught to use a four-step D.A.R.E decision-making model designed to help them engage in critical thinking, empowering them to make healthy choices and take charge of their lives. It provides them the skills to analyze each decision and evaluate their choices.

The program is delivered over a 10-week period, and each lesson is presented in a fun and factual way, designed to maximize student participation using an interactive workbook.

For more questions about the D.A.R.E Program, visit dare.org

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Trash barrels as art projects

Liberty High School art students have been using unusual canvases
this summer to promote a cleaner, more beautiful community.

Five new metal trash barrels decorated with the students’ creative
artwork are ready for placement at the Liberty Skate Park and
Liberty High School athletic campus, pending donations for dome
lids.

A collaboration between the Liberty High School Art Department,
Sullivan Renaissance and Liberty Parks and Rec., this project was
made possible through the help of the community:

• The metal barrels were donated by alumni, Joe and Rich Kavelski
of Foam Gods.
• The primer was donated by a parent.
• The pick-up and delivery of the cans was done by Liberty Parks
and Rec.
• The barrels were prepped by Thallman’s Garage.
• The paint was funded through the Sullivan Renaissance.

Art teacher Jennifer Bull spearheaded the project and assisted the
students in their custom designs. The barrels, pictured below,
were painted by Lexi Sisselman and Taylor Arpino (school mascot);
River Lounsbury and Camryn Santillo (black and white logo);
Madison Johnstone and Kristen Brooks (flowers); Breanna Jackson
and Sean McMahon (skate park); and Heather Stein and Kateryna
Vanname (maroon logo.)

The art department is currently seeking donations to be used
toward purchasing dome lids for the barrels. For more information
or to make a donation, please contact JBull@libertyk12.org.

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