Racette, Russo chosen as THR Scholar-Athletes

A picture of Scholar athletes Olivia Racette and Jordan Russo flanked by Principal Jack Strassman (left) and Athletic Director Kurt Buddenhagen (right).
Scholar athletes Olivia Racette and Jordan Russo flanked by Principal Jack Strassman (left) and Athletic Director Kurt Buddenhagen (right).

Each year the Times Herald Record newspaper chooses two senior scholar athletes, a boy and a girl, from the schools in its coverage area. This year the students chosen from Liberty are Olivia Racette and Jordan Russo.

Olivia and Jordan were honored at a breakfast for all THR scholar athletes at Kuhl’s Highland House in Middletown on Tuesday, May 22.

Olivia is the salutatorian of her class and has participated in soccer, alpine skiing, basketball and softball. Skiing and basketball both occur during the winter season requiring Olivia to juggle two sports and her academic subjects. She won the Section IX alpine skiing championship this year and earned a trip to the state championship at Bristol Mountain.

While competing in sports and maintaining high academic standards, Olivia also found time to serve her community. She has been an AYSO referee and a mentor for middle school students. Olivia participated in the Relay for Life and has been a volunteer at the Liberty Elks and Liberty Methodist Church.

Her awards and achievements include National Honor Society; class treasurer; Tri M honor society; SCMEA all-county soprano; all-state; captain for soccer, softball, basketball; MVP in skiing, soccer, softball, basketball; Ross award for soccer scholar-athlete; Buchal MVP softball award; Ratner award for basketball scholar-athlete.

In the fall Olivia will attend Ohio State University to major in neuroscience.

Jordan Russo is the valedictorian of his class and has participated in the Varsity running program for four years. This include cross country in the fall, indoor track in winter and outdoor track during the spring season. He has served as captain for all of these teams and sets an example for other athletes with his strong work ethic.

Jordan’s awards and achievements include National Honor Society president; Kavleski student-athlete award

Jordan has also served his community as a volunteer at the Elk’s Lodge, as a member of Spirit of Liberty and by tutoring other students.

After high school, Jordan plans on attending Stony Brook University with a major in biochemistry.
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Vaping 101: What every parent should know

There are hundreds of e-cigarette brands on the market, and they are now the most commonly used tobacco products among youth. Middle and high school students are increasingly using these battery-operated devices, often marketed as a healthier alternative to traditional cigarettes, to inhale nicotine, THC and various synthetic chemicals.

And that has health officials – and school officials – worried.

Inhaling liquid nicotine is concerning on its own, but vaping unknown and potentially more dangerous and damaging substances is even more so, they say – and parents need to be on the alert.

Vaping: What is it?

Vaping is the “act of inhaling and exhaling the aerosol, often referred to as vapor, produced by an e-cigarette or similar device,” according to the National Center on Addiction and Substance Abuse (NCASA).

Vaping has become more popular among teens than regular cigarettes, especially since vaping devices can be used to inhale flavored substances – such as mint, crème brûlée or mango – and substances that contain nicotine or THC, the chemical compound in marijuana that produces the high.

E-cigarettes also can be used to vaporize opiates and synthetic substances.

What do e-cigarettes look like?

Many e-cigarettes and vaping devices look like everyday items – such as pens, asthma inhalers, iPods and lipstick tubes – which makes it easy to disguise their use. One popular vaping device that kids are bringing to school these days is the Juul vaporizer, which looks like a USB flash drive and can be charged by plugging it into a laptop. The Juul is small enough to conceal inside an enclosed hand and comes in eight different kid-appealing flavors. Packaging designs for some vaping liquids look a lot like popular candies, which could confuse some children and lead to accidental poisonings.

Is vaping safe?

Some people claim that vaping is less harmful than smoking, but “safer” does not equal safe. Nicotine – in any form – is a highly addictive drug. Teenage years are critical to brain development, which continues into adulthood. Vaping over a long period of time puts individuals at risk for negative long term effects, including:

  • Damage to the brain, heart and lungs;
  • Cancerous tumor development; and
  • Pre-term deliveries and stillbirths in pregnant women.

What are the risks associated with vaping?

While researchers are still learning about the effects of e-cigarettes, some dangers are clear, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control:

  • Chemicals in e-liquids can be more concentrated and dangerous than chemicals in a cigarette.
  • Inhaling from a vape pen or e-cigarette that contains nicotine or THC could amplify the drug’s side effects.
  • The additional synthetic chemicals that make up e-liquids – such as synthetic marijuana – could expose the lungs to a variety of chemicals, including carcinogens and toxic metal nanoparticles.
  • Chemicals from these devices can damage the inside of the mouth and create sores.

Are nicotine-free e-cigarettes safe?

Many teens – and adults – are under the impression that it’s safe to inhale nicotine-free water vapors, but recent studies say otherwise.

Much of the respiratory risk appears to come from the flavoring agents found in some e-cigarettes, according to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. When inhaled, these flavoring agents can cause “popcorn lung” – a scarring of the tiny air sacs in the lungs that results in the thickening and narrowing of airways. Popcorn lung mirrors the symptoms of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), including wheezing, coughing and shortness of breath.

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says e-cigarettes are not safe for young adults. Some of the risk comes from the aerosol itself, which can contain lead, volatile organic compounds and cancer-causing agents.

Are there any regulations to protect my children?

Currently, there are no safety regulations in place related to e-cigarettes. The FDA states that minors are not permitted to buy e-cigarettes in stores or online, but that doesn’t prevent an underage person from buying them online by simply clicking a button that says they are 21 or older.

In New York state, e-cigarettes are treated the same as regular cigarettes. Vaping is banned in all public spaces, including bars and restaurants, the workplace, on public transportation, inside all public and private schools and colleges, and in outdoor areas where smoking is forbidden.

Did you know?

  • Half of middle school students who use e-cigarettes say they were the first type of tobacco product they ever used. Source: NCASA
  • More than 60 percent of teens believe occasional use of e-cigarettes causes only little or some harm. Source: U.S. Surgeon General
  • Many teenagers post photos on Instagram of themselves vaping or holding vaping devices. Source: U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency

What can parents do?

Find information about vaping and how to talk with your children about the risks here:

The National Center on Addiction and Substance Abuse

U.S. Food and Drug Administration

Partnership for Drug-Free Kids

Know the Risks: E-cigarettes and Young People

Scholars honored at annual HS Block L

On Thursday, May 17, students, staff, parents and community members gathered in the David E. Panebaker auditorium for the annual Block L Awards Ceremony. At this assembly awards are given to students across al grades in all the academic disciplines. In addition, special awards from colleges are presented and the Top 10 Seniors are announced.

Mr. Jack Strassman, high school principal, had the following words for those gathered:

Welcome to the 2017-2018 Academic Awards Assembly.  It is a great pleasure to recognize Liberty High School’s finest students; I am extremely proud of all of them.  Congratulations to all of you and thank you to all of the parents and guardians for your continued support.

Mr. Timothy Hamblin: Outstanding Music Awards

John Philip Sousa Band Award
Louis Armstrong Jazz Award
National School Chorus Award
Director’s Award for Chorus
Director’s Award for Band
Patrick Gilmore Award for Band
Director’s Award for Band
National School Orchestra Award
Director’s Award for Orchestra
Ian Cody
Christopher Ramirez
Brandi Crespo, Michael Fritz
Stephanie Krom
Angelina Fontana
Jordan Russo
Angelina Fontana
Elias Rabadi
Tedelijah Torres

Leonard Bernstein Musicianship Awards
Band – Luis Romero
Chorus – Olivia Racette
Orchestra – Kelgin Cheh

Mr. Justen Mills: Outstanding Physical Education Student Awards

9th Grade
10th Grade
11th Grade
12th Grade
Adaptive PE
Personal Fitness
Advanced Personal Fitness
Jennifer Reyes, Joshua Abreu
Gabriella Magie, Christopher Bayer
Taylor Arpino, Joseph Schmidt
Daniela Mercado, Elvis Fuentes Paz
Jenny Martinez, Zavien Jones
Megan Culton, Ashton Barrett
Juleda Shehi, Jeet Patel

Mr. Brad Molusky: Outstanding Health Students

Ana Barragan, Sydneigh Fleischman,
Daniela Mercado, Monica Ponce,
Cascio Fonseca, Gavin Racette

Ms. Michele Quick: Outstanding Spanish Students

Spanish Exploratory
Spanish II
Spanish III
Spanish IV
Spanish V
Kateryn Fajardo Bonilla
Jennifer Reyes
Ana Barragan
Olivia Racette
Jelaine Evangelista
Sarah Kleinberger

Ms. Elizabeth Fuentes: Outstanding Math Students

Algebra 1A
Algebra 1B
Algebra 1
Algebra 2
Advanced Algebra
Math with Financial Application
DeAndre Wilson
Erika Sagbay Zhungo
Jennifer Reyes
Joseph Call
Brianna Roth
Jake Lesczynski
Sarah Kleinberger
Rebecca Mielnicki
Angel Giarratano Rogers
Christopher Ramirez

Mr. William Fleck: Outstanding English Students

9th Grade
10th Grade
11th Grade
Composition I
Effective Writing
Advanced Placement English
Nya Reebe
Kylie Flynn
Tracy Torrens
Andrew Russell
Raivyn Willis
Cheyenne “Shane” Davis
Michael Fritz
Jerikah Fleischman

Mrs. Kath Johansen: Outstanding Art Students

Photography 1
Advanced Photo
Studio Art
Advanced Studio
Ceramics 2
Graphic Design
Drawing & Painting
Drawing & Painting 2
Video Production
Andralyn LaGattuta
Ariana Auclair
Kelly Crisostomo
Andralyn LaGattuta
Karoline Monteiro
Charlee Henley
Rebecca Mielnicki
James Burger
Ariana Auclair

Mr. Craig Risco: Outstanding Social Studies Students

Global History and Geography 9
Global History and Geography 10
US History and Government
College US History and Government
College Intro to Political Science
Sophia Medina
Nicole Blais
Kateryna VanName
Paul Symanski
Daniela Mercado
Monica Ponce Agredano
Elias Rabadi

Mr. Michael Hazelnis: Outstanding Science Students

General Science
Living Environment
Earth Science
Physics of Toys
General Chemistry
Zavante Pinto
Joshua Abreu
Emily Lutz
Ashton Barrett
Marvin Romero
Angel Giarratano Rogers
Leah Fitzgerald
Sarah Kleinberger, Elias Rabadi

Mr. Dan Hart: Outstanding Business Students

Business Computer Applications
Business Math
Career and Financial Management
Personal Finance
Sports and Entertainment Marketing
Priyaben Patel, Chelsea Morgan
Paul Symanski, Ted-elijah Torres
Isaiah Keaveney
Jay Ann DeSimone
Morgan VanKeuren
Jay Ann DeSimone
Morgan VanKeuren

Mrs. Heather Cheh                               Award and Scholarship Opportunities

Elmira College Key Award – Alexandra Riley, Cascio Fonseca

Rensselaer Medal Program – Katy Decker

Clarkson University Achievement Award – Jelaine Evangelista

Clarkson University Leadership Award – Michael Cohen

University of Rochester Frederick Douglass  and
Susan B. Anthony Award for Humanities – Kelsey Morgans

University of Rochester Bausch and Lomb
Honorary Science Award – Benjamin Quackenbush

Mr. Jack Strassman                            Award and Scholarship Opportunities

University of Rochester George Eastman
Young Leaders Award – Abrielle Milling

Rochester Institute of Technology Award
for Innovation and Creativity Award – Sarah Kleinberger, Dustyn Kratz

University of Rochester Xerox Award
for Innovation and Information – Mika’il Baptiste

Wells College 21st Century Leadership Award – Emily Kinne

Student Sage Award – Taylor Arpino

Saint Michael’s College Book Award
for Academic Achievement – Tracy Torrens, Paul Symanski

Keuka College George H. Ball Community Achievement Award –
Kathryn Conklin, Jerikah Fleischman, Olivia Gorr, Yasiris Hernandez

 Mr. Jack Strassman             Presentation of Top Ten Students – 2018

  1. Jordan Russo
  2. Olivia Racette
  3. Elias Rabadi
  4. Liang Ouyang
  5. Daniella Mercado
  6. Monica Ponce Agredano
  7. Jeremy Lieberman
  8. Christina Burns
  9. Jennifer Lopez
  10. Kelgin Cheh

Food’s in when school’s out June 25 – August 10

Liberty Central School District will be participating in the USDA Summer Food Service Program from June 25 through August 10.

The district will provide free, nutritious meals to children and teens 18 and under at the following locations:

Liberty Elementary School – 201 Main Street

Lunch will be served to any child, Monday through Friday from 11:45 a.m. – 12:45 p.m. at the Liberty Elementary School cafeteria.

Francis A. Hanofee Park – 136 Sunset Lake Road

The district will provide breakfast and lunch each week day to participants of the Town of Liberty Parks and Recreation Day Camp participants at Hanofee Park from 8:45 – 9:15 a.m. and 11:30 a.m. – 12:30 p.m.

Liberty Middle School – 125 Buckley Street

The district will also provide breakfast and lunch each week day to students taking part in the full day summer school programs at the Liberty Middle School from 7:30 – 9 a.m. and 10:45 a.m. – 12:45 p.m. from July 9 to Aug. 17

Meal Program Details:

  • Meals are FREE to children and teens ages 18 and younger.
  • Free summer meals will help families save money.
  • Food served is healthy and follows USDA nutrition guidelines.
  • No application or proof of income needed.

Eighth grade moving up ceremony is June 20

The moving up ceremony for eighth graders will take place on Wednesday, June 20 at 9 a.m. in the David E. Panebaker Auditorium at Liberty High School. Parents, family members and friends of the students are invited to attend. Check back here for more information or call the middle school office at (845) 292-5400 ext. 2300.

Fourth grade moving up ceremony is June 21

The moving up ceremony for fourth graders will take place on Thursday, June 21 at 9 a.m. in the elementary school gymnasium. Parents, family members and friends of the students are invited to attend. Check back here for more information or call the elementary school office at (845) 292-5400 ext. 2030.

Art Walk will celebrate student works on May 18

On Friday, May 18, all three Liberty schools will join in one event that celebrates student art.

The Elementary and Middle School Art Show will be hosted by the Liberty Library (189 North Main Street) and the Liberty High School show will hosted by the Liberty Museum and Art Center (46 South Main Street) from 4-8 p.m.

Beginning at 4 p.m., students from Liberty’s National Art Honor Society will escort groups in an Art Walk along Main Street, where many exhibits will be on display. Works will include those by Liberty students and local artists. Some artists will be available to sign their work.

A fun tradition, the Art Walk process is simple — proceed at your own pace, stop at artwork that captures your fancy, stroll around main street that is peppered with photographs, paintings and drawings.

Be prepared to be surprised by the wide array of artistic styles that are represented by Liberty students, from traditional to contemporary, from still life to impressionism and more.

Additionally, the LHS Art Department will unveil its the new banners that will decorate both sides of Main Street. The banners will feature student artwork and have been made possible through a grant that the department received in April from Sullivan Renaissance.

The district’s elementary and middle school students will simultaneously display their photography at their spring art show reception at the Liberty Public Library.

Event Details:

From 4-6 p.m., National Art Honor Society students will guide small groups through Liberty, starting from the Liberty Museum And Art Center and stopping at each Art Walk attraction point.

The district’s elementary and middle school students will simultaneously display their photography at their spring art show reception at the Liberty Public Library

At 6:30 p.m., the Art Department will unveil its new banners which will decorate both sides of Main Street.

At 7:00 p.m., the school’s art department will present student awards.

At 7:30 p.m. There will be an induction ceremony for the National Art Honor Society.

If you have question, email Kathy Johansen at kjohansen@libertyk2.org.

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Global 10 Transitional Regents exam is on June 5

The Global 10 Transitional Regents exam will be given to all tenth-grade students across New York State on June 5 at 8:15 a.m.  This exam is a graduation requirement.

Liberty High School will be in session on this day. The high school will be following its regular schedule except for those students taking the Global 10 Transitional Regents exam.

Liberty voters approve $48.8 million budget

On Tuesday, May 15, Liberty Central School District residents approved the district’s $48.8 million 2018-19 budget proposal and elected three members to the Liberty Board of Education.

Voters approved:

  •  A $48,849,113 budget for 2018-19 that increases spending by 6.4 percent ($2,936,104) and carries a 2.71 percent tax levy increase ($505,308): 224 yes, 99 no;
  • A no-cost referendum which allows the district to expend the remaining balance of its Capital Reserve Fund: 234 yes, 85 no;
  • Three candidates for three open board of education seats: Joyce Teed, Peter Racette and Karen Hook.

Joyce Teed, Peter Racette and Karen Hook will begin serving their terms on the Liberty Board of Education on July 1, 2018. In total, three candidates sought election to the three open seats:

  • Joyce Teed: 248 yes votes
  • Peter Racette: 231 yes votes
  • Karen Hook: 211 yes votes

There were twelve write in ballots for the board:

  • Michael Tocco: 1 vote
  • Kurt Zilles: 1 vote
  • Tania DeFrank: 1 vote
  • Mike Priore: 1 vote
  • Wain Hewlett: 1 vote
  • Dan Marty: 1 vote
  • Ken Grabowski: 1 vote
  • Mary Grabowski: 1 vote
  • Marta Illing: 1 vote
  • William Hulse: 1 vote
  • Jennifer Desrochers: 2 votes

District officials would like to thank the members of the Liberty community for coming to the polls to vote.

“We want to thank all those who took time to vote today,” Interim Superintendent of Schools Carol Napolitano said. “It’s gratifying to move forward with a fiscal plan that ensures our students get the best education possible while also focusing on safety, security and technology advancements.”

Visit www.libertyk12.org/budget to learn more about the 2018-19 school budget.

Five facts about the proposed 2018-19 budget

On Tuesday, May 15, residents will head to the polls to vote on a $48,849,113 proposed budget for the 2018-19 school year. In need of a refresher? Scan these facts for a more informed conversation about your local school budget before you cast your ballot.

1. The board of education worked with district and school leaders to develop the 2018-19 budget proposal, which was informed by the district’s mission, educational goals, fiscal challenges and opportunities and community input.

2. The district remains under the tax cap. Including this coming proposed budget, the average five year tax levy increase is zero. The actual tax levy will not be set until August, after the district receives its true state aid revenue projections.

3. The proposed budget is built on three pillars: safety, programs and technology. Within these pillars, highlights include:

An additional school resource officer

After the February school shooting in Parkland, Florida, school safety has resurfaced as a significant challenge of the times. In response, the district understands the value and necessity for a visible and active law enforcement figure within the schools, to work hand-in-hand with faculty, administrators and students. The proposed budget includes funds for a door alarm system the elementary school and a second School Resource Officer who would patrol our three school buildings and district office.


The creation of a K-8 MakerSpace

For several years, there has been a national focus on careers related to science, technology, engineering and math (STEM.) More recently, this focus has come to include the arts. The proposed budget includes funds to create a K-8 MakerSpace, a lab which contains age-appropriate elements found in a woodshop class, science lab, computer lab and an art room. With a MakerSpace, students won’t just learning about cities, they’ll build them from the ground up.


Updated, stronger and faster technology

If the budget is approved, the district would purchase equipment for the MakerSpace and would outfit all classrooms with new iPads, SmartBoards, computers and cameras. Additionally, the district would have a significant increase in the capabilities of its internal network, including more storage, more bandwidth and a faster internet connection.


4. There is a proposition on the ballot that asks voters for approval to expend money from the Capital Reserve Fund. The district has $1,650,000 left in its Capital Reserve Fund and would like voter approval to expend the fund to pay down expenses from the Phase II Capital Project. Just like a savings account, this fund lets the district set aside money for future projects and major purchases.

5. Polls are open Tuesday, May 15 from 12-9 p.m. in the Liberty High School’s gymnasium. Additional details of the budget can be found at www.libertyk12.org/budget.

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