Elementary Concert a success

A student choir performs on risers in front of an audienceFor the first time in three years, the fourth graders performed a concert at the Elementary School on Thursday night.

The students worked hard to deliver a great performance in the winter concert.

Members of the elementary band perform on stageThe Elementary School thanks Eric Aweh and the entire district music department, who were all present for the concert; Emily McConnell who graciously played piano; the staff of Liberty Elementary school; the fourth-grade team for all of their flexing to make it all happen each day; and  Roothland Medina and Jamie Ward, for all of their many hours before school, during school and after school to make these events happen.

See more photos on our Facebook page

CCE to offer classes on discipline for parents

Cornell Cooperative Extension Sullivan County, in partnership will CCE Orange County, will host “Discipline is NOT a Dirty Word,” a free in-person or virtual program for parents.

Virtual classes will be held Wednesdays from 8 to 9:30 p.m. starting Feb. 1, running through March 15, with no class Feb. 22.

In-person classes will be from 6 to 7:30 p.m. Thursdays, Feb. 9 through March 22., at the Extension Education Center at 64 Ferndale-Loomis Road in Liberty.

These sessions will aid participants in learning the seven principles of positive discipline that are based on research studies about what parenting approaches are best for healthy child development. Topics to be covered include understanding children’s behavior, effective communication skills, conflict resolution, setting realistic limits, and developing healthy family relationships.

This class is free with required pre-registration. Registration for the in-person classes can be completed by calling the CCE office at 845-292-6180, ext. 100 or emailing sullivan@cornell.edu. Registration for the virtual classes can be done online, here.

To learn more about this class and other CCE programs, visit the events page of CCE Sullivan County.

This program is a six-week series with each week’s lesson building off the prior week’s class. Additional materials will be sent to participants each week in preparation for the upcoming class.

Cornell Cooperative Extension Sullivan County provides equal program and employment opportunities. The public can contact the office to request accommodations.

Latest LES News available now

Check out the latest from our LES News crew!

This time, our fourth graders, using “Would You Rather,” made their cases for which is better: a pet snake or pet tarantula, and if soccer or baseball was the better sport to play. They also conducted interviews with parents.

Zoe Kip to wrestle at state’s first girls invitational

A wrestler in a white singlet holds the head of her opponent to the mat

What began as an impulsive choice has led Liberty’s Zoe Kip to a statewide stage.

Kip is scheduled to compete in the first New York State Public High School Athletic Association girls wrestling invitational tournament on Friday, Jan. 27, at SRC Arena and Event Center in Syracuse.

Zoe KipThe 16-year-old LHS junior said she began wrestling in seventh grade on a whim. “I didn’t really think about it before I actually joined,” she said, “but year after year I grew to love the sport.”

She has only wrestled on mixed teams, as Liberty does not have a girls wrestling team.

NYSPHSAA classified girls wrestling as an emerging sport before the start of this school year, opening the path to being a fully sanctioned sport as soon as next year.

That is something Kip supports. 

“Let’s make it a female sport,” she said of wrestling. “Women’s wrestling is one of the fastest growing sports, and the dedication and persistence that female wrestlers have is incredible.”

When Kip started wrestling, she was the first girl wrestling for Liberty in more than a decade, she said. Now there are three females on the team.

Two wrestlers compete in a match“Zoe is one of the hardest workers in the room,” said her coach, Brian Vaughn. “Girls wrestling is growing, but has not yet matched the density of boys wrestling, so she has something to prove.” 

Athletic Director Erin Alvord agreed.

“As an athlete, Zoe shows great commitment to her sport. She is dedicated and a very hard worker,” she said. “Even though Zoe is only a junior this year, she is a veteran wrestler with a lot of experience, including off-season wrestling tournaments.”

That hard work has paid off.

Last year, she came in second in sectionals in the girls division, third in the New York State Girls Folkstyle Tournament, second in an Eastern national tournament, and qualified for the Journeymen Wrestling Tournament. This year, she placed third in the 160-pound class at the Eastern States Girls Invitational held at SUNY Sullivan and will make her state appearance later this month. For more details on Friday’s event, see the NYSPHSAA announcement here.

She said she looks forward to taking part in girls-only events. “It’s an honor to be able to go to events and be a part of these things.”

It’s a different vibe, Kip said.

Two wrestlers shake hands on the matThe wrestling itself isn’t much different than mixed matches, “but the kind of opponent relationship is because we both have an understanding of how much more we’ve had to work to be where we are and it makes it more personal,” she said. ”And we both have a mutual respect for each other when a lot of the boys lack that for women wrestlers.”

She said she has gotten a lot of support within the school and from competitors.

“I have incredible support from our athletic director, Erin Alvord, and our new assistant principal, Devin Lamar,” she said. “I receive support from most of the opposing coaches and a lot of the boys who have other girls on their teams.”

Support goes both ways.

“She is a leader in the wrestling room and her teammates respect her,” Alvord said. “Zoe is always willing to lend a hand to a new wrestler who needs help.”

Zoe Kip cheers on her teammate from the sidelines.“Being in mixed competition is tough,” Vaughn added, “but regardless of result, she still supports the rest of the team and shows up to practice with a smile. It’s good to have a teammate like that.”

Kip gives a lot of credit to her success to Vaughn, who has been coaching her since ninth grade.

“I wouldn’t have been able to do anything that I’ve done without him,” she said. “Him standing on the edge of the mat when I win, when I lose; helping me note my strengths and strengthen my weaknesses; for his coaching from videos I’ve sent him in the offseason.

“He’s changed the sport for me completely,” she continued, “and mainly for believing in me when I often don’t even believe in myself.”

The future for girls wrestling at Liberty and the state level is not yet known.

“I feel that Liberty could definitely do more,” Kip said. She is promoting the sport to the next generation of girls, including talking to middle schoolers about the sport during an award ceremony last year.

It is a building process.

“It will take some time until Liberty can possibly have its own women’s team,” Vaughn said. “Even the boys’ team has this issue.” 

Two girls practice before a wrestling matchA lot of the decision will be based on numbers.

“We would love to have enough female wrestlers to have solely a girls team. However, we will continue to do what is best for our student athletes,” Alvord said. “If participating in mixed competition helps the female wrestlers perform at their best, we will continue with that route. If we have enough female wrestlers and feel that other schools will also have enough and our females will be able to regularly compete at a level they know they can, we will provide our female student athletes with that opportunity as well.”

There is no doubt the sport is growing. 

 “Each year, there are more girls-only tournaments, or tournaments with a girls division, and I think this is really going to convince more girls to join,” Vaughn said

And what advice does Kip give to other girls who want to wrestle?

“Just do it,” she said. “You could end up loving it, and if you don’t like it you don’t have to continue. But you don’t want to end up missing an opportunity to do something you could really enjoy.”

Sports schedule, results for the week of Jan. 23-29, 2023

Our athletes will be in action in basketball, indoor track and field and wrestling this week.

Here is the schedule, with livestream links and results, if available:

Monday, Jan. 23

All matches postponed or canceled.

Tuesday, Jan. 24

5 p.m.: Boys JV basketball vs. Livingston Manor at Liberty High School

5 p.m.: Boys varsity basketball vs. Roscoe at Roscoe Central School.

5 p.m.: Varsity wrestling vs. multiple schools at Liberty Middle School.

Wednesday, Jan. 25

All events canceled or postponed

Thursday, Jan. 26

4:15 p.m.: Girls modified basketball vs. Livingston Manor.

5 p.m.: Girls JV basketball vs. Roscoe at Liberty High School.

6:30 p.m.: Girls varsity basketball vs. Roscoe at Liberty High School. Result: The varsity girls had a great senior night team 58-14 win, with every player on the team scoring at least one basket.  See more on the Girls Basketball Instagram page and the Liberty Athletics Instagram page.

Friday, Jan. 27

1 p.m.: Zoe Kip will compete in the New York State Public High School Athletic Association girls wrestling invitational tournament in Syracuse. Learn more about the event, including how to get tickets, here.

5 p.m.: Girls JV basketball vs. Fallsburg at Fallsburg Junior/Senior High School.

6:30 p.m.: Girls varsity basketball vs. Fallsburg at Fallsburg Junior/Senior High School

Saturday, Jan. 28

No events scheduled.

Sunday, Jan. 29

5 p.m.: Girls and boys varsity indoor track and field invitational vs. multiple schools at Armory Track.

The schedule is subject to change. Check  the Liberty schedule on the Section 9 website for the latest.

Girls basketball games postponed

The Liberty and Eldred school districts are currently investigating reported incidents that occurred at the girls basketball game on Tuesday, Jan. 17. Because of this, the districts have decided to postpone the girls basketball games scheduled for Friday, Jan. 20, until a date to be determined, while the investigation continues.

Mascot survey available; forum planned

Dear Liberty family,

As you are aware, we will be changing our mascot following a mandate from the state Education Department banning the use of indigenous mascots, logos and imagery.

As the first step in our process making the change, we are seeking input as to what you think our next mascot should be. We encourage you to take the survey at Liberty Central School District’s Mascot Ideas Survey Link to let your voice be heard. All survey responses must be received by Feb. 17.

We will also hold a community forum at 6 p.m. Tuesday, Feb. 7, in the High School Auditorium. It will be a chance for students, faculty, staff and members of the public to ask questions, offer suggestions, and learn more about what the changes mean. Paper copies of the survey may also be filled out at the forum.

We are also looking for people who would be willing to serve on a committee that will be tasked with reviewing the surveys and narrowing down the choices to put before the public for further input. If you are interested in serving on this committee, please attend the forum. If you aren’t able to attend, please send your name and contact information (email and phone number), as well as your connection to the Liberty Central School District, to questions@libertyk12.org, with the subject of “Mascot Committee” or call 845-292-5400, ext. 2055, and leave a message with the same information.

We look forward to seeing you at the forum on Feb. 7.

Sincerely,

Dr. Patrick Sullivan

Superintendent of Schools

Registration for pre-kindergarten to open at LCSD

Liberty Central School District registration for its pre-kindergarten program for the 2023-2024 school year will begin March 1.

The pre-K program, designed to prepare children with the skills needed for kindergarten, can accommodate 72 students. There are 36 slots available for half-day pre-K, and 36 slots available for full-day pre-K. Full-day slot will be determined by a lottery. To be considered for a full-day slot, applications must be submitted by March 31, 2023. The lottery for all full-day slots will be held on April 13, 2023.

The a.m. pre-K program will run from 7:45 to 10:30 a.m., with the p.m. program running from 11:50 a.m. to 2:35 p.m. The full day program will be from 7:45 a.m. to 2:35 p.m.

Students must be 4 years old on or before Dec. 1, 2023, to qualify for the program. Registration is held at Liberty School District’s Registration Office at 115 Buckley St. in Liberty.  Appointments for registration are required. To make an appointment, call Heather Austin at 845-292-5400, ext. 2331. Parents or guardians will fill out an application at that time. They must also bring a copy of parent/guardian’s photo ID; custody papers, if applicable; proof of residency, such as a utility bill or rental lease; and the child’s birth certificate, immunization records and a copy of recent physical exam, which must include all school physical exam requirements. Parents and guardians are encouraged to check with their child’s doctor for details.

Liberty wrestlers compete at Eastern States girls wrestling invitational; Kip takes third

Zoe Kip and Imani Gonzague competed in the Eastern States Girls Wrestling Invitational held at SUNY Sullivan, with Kip taking third in her weight class.Girls hold paper tiles that read @Sanction— NY Four girls stand on a podium

Girls wrestling is an emerging sport and will possibly be its own sport in the next school year. “While our girls still compete as ‘mixed competition,’ meaning they compete against boys in most cases, it was a positive experience to compete in a tournament of girls only,” Liberty Athletic Director Erin Alvord said.

Kip  placed third in her 160-pound weight class, earning her a spot on the podium. She will also compete in the he first New York State Public High School Athletic Association girls wrestling invitational tournament on Jan. 27 at SRC Arena and Event Center in Syracuse

Gonzague is a strong competitor and has great hopes to finish out the season strong.

Congratulations, girls!

Sports schedule, results for Jan. 16-20, 2023

Our athletes will be in action in alpine skiing, basketball and wrestling this week.

Here is the schedule, with livestream links and results, if available:

Monday, Jan. 16

No events scheduled.

Tuesday, Jan. 17

4:15 p.m.: Boys modified basketball vs. Sullivan West Blue at Sullivan West — Lake Huntington.

5 p.m.: Boys JV basketball vs. Fallsburg at Fallsburg Junior/Senior High School.

5:45 p.m.: Girls modified basketball vs. Sullivan West Blue at Sullivan West — Lake Huntington.

5:45 p.m.: Girls JV basketball vs. Eldred at Eldred High School.

6:30 p.m.: Boys varsity basketball vs. Fallsburg at Fallsburg Junior/Senior High School.

7:15 p.m.: Girls JV basketball vs. Eldred at Eldred High School.

Wednesday, Jan. 18

11:15 a.m.: Boys and girls varsity alpine skiing: giant slalom vs. multiple schools at Belleayre.

1 p.m.: Boys and girls varsity alpine skiing: giant slalom vs. multiple schools at Holiday Mountain Ski Area.

3:15 p.m.: Boys and girls modified indoor track and field exhibition vs. multiple schools at Sullivan Community College.

6 p.m.: Varsity wrestling vs. multiple schools at Liberty Middle School

Thursday, Jan. 19

All events postponed or canceled.

Friday, Jan. 20

4:15 p.m.: Girls modified basketball vs. Tri-Valley at Liberty Middle School.

5 p.m.: Boys JV basketball vs. James I. O’Neill at James I. O’Neill High School.

5:45 p.m.: Boys modified basketball vs. Tri-Valley at Liberty Middle School.

6 p.m.: Boys and Girls varsity indoor track and field divisional vs. multiple schools at West Point United State Military Academy.

6:30 p.m.: Boys varsity basketball vs. James I. O’Neill at James I. O’Neill High School.

Saturday, Jan. 14

A person places a medal around the neck of a wrestler
Zoe Kip gets her second place medal

Wrestling Results: At a wrestling tournament in Peekskill High School, Zoe Kip went 3-1, with three pins to reach the finals.

She dropped the finals match to the No. 1 ranked girl in the state, taking second place. Cheyenne Graham went 2-0, one decision and one pin, grabbing first place in her very first tournament. 

A person places a medal around the neck of a wrestler
Cheyenne Graham gets her first-place medal

On the JV Side, Shawn Bickham took second and Adam Houser, third.

The schedule is subject to change. Check  the Liberty schedule on the Section 9 website for the latest.

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