Ben Quackenbush recognized as Hispanic Scholar

The College Board’s National Hispanic Scholar Recognition Program (HSRP) has recognized Liberty High School student Benjamin Quackenbush.

The junior has been given the prestigious honor as 2018-19 National Hispanic Scholar for his excellence in academic achievement and superior college entrance exams.

Ben was among 5,000 academically outstanding students from more than 250,000 Hispanic or Latino juniors who took the Preliminary SAT/National Merit Scholarship Qualifying Test (PSAT/NMSQT) and identified themselves as Hispanic or Latino. To be eligible, students must be at least one-quarter Hispanic or Latino, achieve a minimum PSAT/ NMSQT score for their region and have a cumulative junior grade point average of 3.5 or higher to be designated as scholars. The HSRP honors these outstanding students and makes their information available to subscribing colleges and universities.

Liberty would like to congratulate Ben who continues to demonstrate academic excellence. Ben expressed his excitement about the recognition and acknowledged how perseverance during the day-to-day is what led him to his PSAT success.

“I’ve made it a point to study hard throughout the year,” he said. “To study hard and study better while paying special care to slowing down to better retain information.”

Modest as ever, Ben noted that he considers himself to be a strong test taker.

“It is an advantage,” he said. “I missed a few questions at the start of the test but I didn’t let that bother me and eventually I got into a rhythm.”

Ben also attributed some of his success to his teacher, Ms. Caro.

“She let her students know what to expect and that really helped” he said. “It’s a fast-paced test and it’s important to be aware of that to avoid feeling anxious.”

Ben said that he encourages sophomores to take the test to prepare for the fast paced environment.

“I’d tell [sophomores] to take the test, not worry about specific problems, and go back to it later if there is time,” he said. “Just let go of your anxiety and get the test done.”

Ben, who is also a member of the Liberty High School’s debate team, is planning to attend a university in Upstate New York to study something in the STEM field. Although he does not know what his specific concentration will be, he said he loves math and science and is certain that a STEM related profession is in his future.

Taking the PSAT/NMSQT test allows sophomores and juniors to see where they rank academically in comparison to students all over the state and country. For some who achieve national standing, it is a good time to make selections of colleges or universities as being a National Hispanic Scholar opens the door to many opportunities.

Congratulations to Ben!




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Plans for a coffee bar brewing at Liberty High

School nutrition has a huge juggling act in trying to offer health options while still appealing to student tastes. To that end, the district’s Food Service Department is happy to offer a flavored coffee bar to students and staff at Liberty High School. This will begin in April.

Students can choose among three 10-ounce coffee flavors for 75 cents. Coffee will be discounted to $0.50 if a student selects a breakfast meal. Staff may purchase a cup of coffee for one dollar. Half and half, milk and non-diary creamers will also be available. Each cup is under 60 calories. Flavors are unsweetened, and may include breakfast blend, French vanilla or “snicker kicker.”

Under state guidelines, a 10-ounce cup of coffee is the largest size that can be served to students during school hours.

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Math and Movement brings families together

On Thursday, March 15, Liberty Elementary School hosted an event designed to bring families together to have fun while learning called Math & Movement. It is a multi-sensory approach to teaching math and reading the uses physical activity and visual elements. In short, it pairs learning math and reading with being physically active to make it more memorable and enjoyable – for the whole family.

Nearly one hundred families attended the event, which was run by over 20 elementary school volunteers.

The program uses specially designed floor mats and banners that enable students to hop, walk, crawl, or dance their way to mastering math and reading concepts.

Among the reasons for a program like this is that eight of ten children are what’s known as kinesthetic learners, meaning that they learn best through movement – and the program taps into a child’s natural kinesthetic learning style.

The program is based on research that shows that moving during learning facilitates muscle memory, an important factor with younger children whose abstract thinking skills are not fully developed. Studies show this type of activity allows teachers and students to feel more energized, focused, and prepared to learn.

According to Liberty Elementary School Principal Jacqueline Harris, the Math and Movement Family Fun Night was just that. “It was a night of  math, physical activity, family, smiles and laughter all around,” she said. “Our goal for the future is to bring this multi-sensory approach into the classroom and change the way we practice fundamental math and literacy skills every day for every student at Liberty Elementary School.”

According to Jennifer King from Math and Movement, Liberty’s event on March 15 was the largest family fun night they have hosted.

“The excitement from students, parents, teachers and administration was contagious,” Mrs. King said. “It was our pleasure to bring Math and Movement to Liberty Elementary!”

The event was made possible through a grant and was no cost to the district.  The event would not be possible without the help of SueAnn Boyd, Healthy Schools Coordinator from Cornell Cooperative Extension and the school’s math department. Together they worked with Barbara Blakey and the Liberty Networking Group for months to make this event happen.

“We waited with great anticipation for the evening to arrive and when it did, it was even better than I had imagined,” Mrs. Harris said.

Photos from the event are available at this link.

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I ❤ Art Night is March 22

Members from the Liberty High School National Art Honor Society are hosting I ❤ Art Night for the students of Liberty Elementary School. It will be held in the cafeteria wing of the elementary school on Thursday, March 22 from 6-8 p.m.

Students are invited to create a number of artworks at stations, participate in games and smile for the cameras with silly props. Light refreshments will be served. Participation is free, but pre-registration is required so that we can plan for the needed art materials. If you plan to attend, please complete the registration form that was sent home to elementary parents and return it to Liberty Elementary School by Tuesday, March 20. Students must be accompanied by a guardian and should bring a smock and a bag.

Face painting, ice fishing, drum making, a drum circle, a drone show and a live band will all be part of the evening.
The event is funded by the grant from Sullivan Renaissance and the  refreshments are being provided by the PTA.
The National Art Honor Society students are eager to share their love of art with our elementary students. Come join us for an evening of creating!
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Students honor departing teacher John Chewens

Fifth grade teachers

On Friday, March 9, Liberty Middle School fifth-grade teacher John Chewens received a surprise pre-deployment farewell celebration from his students and colleagues.

Mr. Chewens, a Lieutenant in the Army, will soon deploy to the Middle East what he’s anticipating will be a 14-month tour.

Fifth-grade students, teachers and guidance staff threw Mr. Chewens a surprise send-off which included a surprise visit from his parents.

Surrounded by his parents, colleagues, friends and students, Mr. Chewens was presented with an Army Build-A-Bear that will keep him company on his travels .

Close up of army themed stuffed bear that students purchased for teacher John Chewens. Chewens is deploying to the middle east this month.

March 9, 26-28 and April 2 are now regular school days

According to state law, if a district should need to use more than its allotted snow days, it will need to “take back” certain vacation days to ensure that students attend 180 days of school. To that end, Friday, March 9, Monday, March 26, Tuesday, March 27, Wednesday, March 28 and Monday, April 2 will now be regular school days for all Liberty Central School District students and employees.

If there are any more inclement weather days this winter, the district will take back days from its spring recess in March.

The “take back” days* are, in order:

  • Thursday, March 29

*These changes were selected as a way designed to work around state assessments, Regents preparation and AP exams.

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Teachers surprise students with a reading inspired flash mob

Liberty Elementary School teachers and staff treated students to a reading inspired flash mob to spark excitement for Read Across America Month and to remind them about the joys and adventures that a great book can bring.

Assistant Principal Mr. Robert England triggered the celebration, launching into the choreography of “Gotta Keep Reading,” a parody song of “I Gotta Feeling” by The Black Eyed Peas. One by one, teachers joined in, dancing with their favorite children’s books and encouraging students to clap along.

Following the dance, Interim Superintendent of Schools Carol Napolitano led the students in the Reading Pledge, a promise to love reading for the rest of their lives.



Three seats available on Liberty Board of Education

District residents will go to the polls on Tuesday, May 15 to vote on the proposed budget and elect three Liberty Board of Education members for the seats of Jennifer Desrochers, Karen Hook and Joyce Teed. All the seats are for 3-year terms.

The vote will be at-large, meaning that the three candidates with the highest amount of votes will fill the three vacant positions.

All interested candidates must file a petition and must be:
• a qualified voter of the district;
• at least 18 years old;
• able to read and write;
• a resident of the district for at least one year prior to the election; and
• the only member of his or her household on the schoolboard.

All interested candidates must file a petition and must NOT be:
• a convicted felon;
• a member of another public office position;
• removed from a school district office within one year of the election; and
• a current employee of the district.

Nominating petitions must be signed by at least 25 qualified district voters. Petitions are due to the District Clerk, Tania DeFrank, before 5 p.m. on Monday, April 16, 2018.

Are you considering running for a school board in Sullivan County?
The Sullivan County School Boards Association (SCSBA) will host a free workshop for any resident of Sullivan County who is planning to run, or considering running for a Board of Education position. The workshop will be held on Monday, March 19 from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. at Sullivan County BOCES, Conference Room #1, located at 6 Wierk Ave. in Liberty. Please RSVP by Thursday, March 16 to SCSBA Executive Director Tania DeFrank at or 845-866-6946.


Click here to access the district’s budget page.

The Harlem Wizards take on staff March 6

The World Famous Harlem Wizards are coming to Liberty High School on Tuesday, March 6 to take on Liberty’s faculty and staff!

The game starts at 6:30 p.m., but come early to grab your seats and see this high flying, electrifying show! The Harlem Wizards will test their skills against an All-Star team of faculty and staff from all three of our schools.

This is a fundraising event in support of the Liberty PTA. Come out and enjoy the action! Please click the link in the event below to purchase tickets online. The cost is $8 for students; $10 for general admission when tickets are purchased in advance. Tickets purchased at the door are $10 for students; $12 for general admission. Tickets may be ordered and printed out online at with a $0.99 fee added per ticket.

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Important message regarding power, service outages

We understand that many of our friends and neighbors in the area have limited power, cell phone service and/or internet access.

While we don’t anticipate a delay or closure on Monday, we know the weather can be unpredictable, certain roads may still be dangerous and our SchoolMessenger alerts may not reach you.

In the event of a delay or closing, announcements will be posted to our website ( and Facebook page and submitted to our local radio stations.

Think back to those old school PTA style “phone trees” and use this time to identify who in your circle of friends has the most reliable internet and/or cell phone service. If you see a posting from us, please pass it on to whoever you can! It takes a village.

We will be exploring our roads and bus routes tomorrow. If you have any information that you could share with us about your area (power outages, impassable roads, etc.) please comment below.

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