IFFY meets Jan. 18

The Interfaith Youth Group will meet Friday, Jan. 18 from 6-8 p.m. in the LES gym.  All students ages 13-17 are welcome.

Construction continues at athletic fields

Construction at the high school athletic field

While most of us dread the frigid temps, Facilities Director Albert DeMarmels is feeling thankful for the recent cold snap. The previously soggy ground is now dry and firm, which means the athletic field work is moving full speed ahead.

Construction at Liberty High School continues as part of the district’s field improvement project, approved by district voters last fall that will replace two drain lines and add perimeter draining around the school’s baseball, soccer and softball fields.

To date, drain lines and catch basins have been installed and the new soiled has been tested for sufficient compaction. The perimeter draining is approximately 75 percent complete.

Mr. DeMarmels is hopeful that the field will be open in time for our spring athletes to play a few games on their home field.

Alum featured in Elmira College art publication

Liberty alumnus Stephanie Krom was one of several students featured in the latest edition of “Mashups and Other Collisions in Art and Literature,” a print-on-demand book, featuring a collection of essays, poems, and artwork created by Elmira College students in the 2018 First Year Seminar class.

Krom, a member of the Class of 2018, considered perennial topics of gender stereotypes, love, and war, by reading and comparing literature such as Thornton Wilder’s play The Skin of Our Teeth and Mark Twain’s writings based on his Diaries of Adam and Eve. Additionally, she and her peers viewed and wrote about art from the Elmira College collection and from exhibitions in the campus’s George Waters Gallery. Their own artwork includes magazine collages inspired by the Surrealists as well as re-imagined scenes from Shakespeare’s The Tragedy of Romeo and Juliet, using a variation of the graphic novel form.

The complete book can be previewed through Blurb.com, and is available for purchase and digital download.

Students enjoy new cafeteria tables at LMS

Sorry, Huey Lewis. Contrary to the lyrics, it’s more hip to be round.

Students at Liberty Middle School are enjoying their school’s brand new, round cafeteria tables. The school’s former tables – which were over 20 years old – were showing signs of wear.

The cafeteria now boasts a “café-like” atmosphere with a smoother traffic flow. Each school building now has round tables.

The Makers Club is resourceful and kind

The Makers Club is an after-school program for fourth graders that meets on Tuesdays (for making)  and Thursdays (for coding.)  Two students from each fourth-grade class are selected to participate in ten sessions based on their interest and availability.  After the ten sessions are completed, another round of students will selected to participate.

Club members are currently weaving book bags using t-shirt scraps that were donated to the school. Once complete, the bags will be donated to the school’s lending library so that students can easily carry their books.

A student wearing a bright pink long sleeved shirt stands tall and displays her project: a weaving loom made from a piece of cardboard, string and scraps of tee shirts.


LHS is the place to be to earn college credits

Juniors and seniors at Liberty High School now have the opportunity to finish their high school careers with a jump start on college thanks to the district’s partnership with Sullivan County Community College.

Thirteen college credit courses are offered to juniors and seniors, including United States History, Political Science, Elementary Statistics, Fundamentals of Speech and Composition I. These courses are taught on campus during the school day by a Liberty High School faculty member.


Many students at Liberty High School earn credits through these courses, according to Guidance Director Molly Messina. Although the college credits come at a cost ($60-$265, depending on the class), students who qualify for free and reduced price lunch only need to pay $25 for the credits.

There are some stipulations, she explained: some classes have pre-requisites and all students need to pass the class and their final exam in order to receive the college credit.

“Then the college credits will be absorbed by generally any SUNY college,” she said.

Juniors and seniors who would like to learn more about the college credit courses should reach out to his or her guidance counselor in the winter. January and February is the best time for a junior or senior to begin planning his or her course load for the following year.

Maria Rakin featured in Art in Sixes exhibition

The Delaware Valley Arts Alliance (DVAA) will host its annual Art in Sixes small works exhibition from Nov. 17 to Dec. 23, opening with a reception on Friday, Nov. 17 from 3-6 p.m. In what has become a signature year-end event for the DVAA, the show features over 500 miniature artworks by local artists, including Liberty High School senior Maria Rakin.

The first “Art in Sixes” exhibit launched in 2005 with 98 works of art. In 2016, it had grown to 528 pieces hung on seven walls and the front window.

The artwork, which may not exceed six inches in any direction, covers a wide range of studio mediums including painting, drawing, sculpture, fiber, ceramics and photography. All the pieces are for sale and priced for holiday gift giving, generally in the range of $25 to $900.

Students participate in cooking lesson

October is National Farm to School Month. For four weeks, millions of school communities around the country celebrate the movement that connects children to fresh, healthy food and supports local agriculture and Liberty is no exception.

Chef Michael Bel, Director of the Culinary Arts Program at SUNY Sullivan recently donated his time to teach Liberty Elementary School students how to create quick and healthy meals that feature locally grown fruits and vegetables as the main ingredient.

The Catskill Edible Garden Project (CEGP) hosts after-school “Chef in the Classroom” events in Sullivan County schools as part of National Farm to School Month.

Chef in the Classroom is a hands-on way to get children excited about eating fresh fruits and vegetables. Studies show that children who actively engage in cooking are more likely to try new foods.

CEGP is a partnership between Catskill Mountainkeeper, Cornell Cooperative Extension of Sullivan County, and Sullivan Renaissance.  The project works with schools and community organizations to design edible gardens as living, outdoor educational and gathering spaces.

Students, staff participate in Miles of Hope

On Friday, Oct. 19, the staff and students in the Liberty Central School district participated in the Miles of Hope Breast Cancer Foundation fundraiser. Students and staff in Liberty’s three school were asked to wear pink and to donate $1 to Miles of Hope.

The official “final” counts are in:

Elementary School: $447.80
Middle School : $222.50
High School National Honor Society: $150.90
Grand Total: $821.20

For more information about Miles of Hope click on http://milesofhope.org/

The students and staff of the Liberty Central School District participate in several fundraisers each year supporting cancer research.

Picture of LES Staff poses during Miles of Hope
LES Staff poses during Miles of Hope
Picture of pink socks for Miles of Hope
“Yes, I do wear pink!”
Picture of students wearing pink for Miles of Hope
Students wear pink for Miles of Hope


Tips and advice for scholarship applications

College is expensive,
but it doesn’t have to be outside your reach.


The cost to attend college has increased dramatically over the years. In 2000, students across the nation paid $3,508 in tuition and fees to attend a public 4-year university. Jump to 2018, and students are now paying $9,716 to attend the same universities.

That’s an increase of 176 percent – more than double the rate of inflation! If the same thing were to happen to milk prices, a gallon priced at $2.79 in 2000 would be $7.70 today.

Aside from tuition, there are added costs to consider: If you live on campus, you’ll need to pay room and board, furnish your dorm room and buy supplies. If you’re commuting to school, you’ll need a permit to park on campus and money for gas or public transportation to get you back and forth. And you could very well have to pay for rent, utilities and your own meals.

There are actually billions of dollars in scholarships out there. Each year, the U.S. Department of Education, colleges and universities award an estimated $46 billion in grants and scholarship money. Also, about $3.3 billion in gift aid is awarded by private sources such as individuals, foundations, corporations, churches and nonprofit groups.

There’s money out there. You just have to know where to find it.

While financial aid of all varieties is more available than ever before, each year there are about $3 billion in scholarship funds that go unclaimed in the U.S., often because there aren’t enough qualified applicants.

Make sure you fill out your FAFSA

Over $150 billion is given to college students annually via the Free Application for Federal Student Aid, or FAFSA. The FAFSA helps determine student eligibility for work-study programs, grants or federal loans. Many colleges also require it for their own need-based or merit-based aid packages. Even if you think you wouldn’t qualify, complete your FAFSA application first. It’s often the key to unlocking other scholarships and financial support.


The FAFSA is more than just a one-page application form. It is an extensive report of financial

information that requires quite a few documents, from your social security number to your parents’ tax returns, to complete. The form is released every Oct. 1. Before you think about

beginning, there’s a handy checklist of all the documents and information you’ll need at www.fastweb.com/financial-aid/articles/fafsa-checklist.

Who gives out scholarships?

In addition to government sources, there are a variety of opportunities.

  • Colleges and Universities
  • Military
  • Individuals
  • Communities
  • Religious Groups
  • Non-Profit Organizations
  • Ethnic/Historical Organizations
  • Businesses

How can you increase your chances for success?

Look for scholarships with smaller awards – think less than $1,000

Scholarships with smaller awards usually have fewer applicants, so your chances of winning may be higher. These scholarships can help with those added costs such as books, supplies and living expenses. Receiving a few of these small awards can add up to big savings.

More work means less competition

Don’t avoid the scholarships that require a lot of work to complete the application. Mandatory essays, videos and/or special projects often lead to fewer people applying, creating a smaller applicant pool. This means greater chances of receiving an award.

Check frequently with your school’s counseling office

Schools regularly receive information on local scholarships, so check in with your counseling office monthly to see what scholarship opportunities exist. The counseling office can also provide resources and support throughout the application process.

Make it personal

Instead of applying for every scholarship that you may qualify for, apply for the ones that most fit your interests. The more personal and passionate your application is, the more likely it is your application will rise to the top of the submission pool.

Don’t introduce yourself in your essay unless you are told to

Many scholarship committees conduct blind readings. Essays with names or other identifiers are immediately discarded. Read the application directions carefully so you know EXACTLY what’s required.

Don’t use quotes

The best essays stand out from the crowd, so be original and use your own words, not someone else’s, unless the directions specifically state that you should use quotes from other sources.

Meet all the requirements

Make sure you answer every question accurately and meet every requirement. If the directions prompt you to list five things and you only list four, you could be disqualified.

Stick to the word limit

Get as close to the word limit as you can, but don’t go over. Exceeding the word limit could disqualify you.


Typos and spelling and grammar mistakes could also get you disqualified. Make sure to proofread your essay at least twice, and ask someone else you trust to look it over as well.

Don’t give up!

Like most things in life, the most successful scholarship winners are those who keep trying.

Find scholarships that you’re passionate about and keep applying.

Scholarships requiring essays of 1,000+ words rarely have more than 500 applicants, compared to the average 5,000 students who apply for scholarships with easier applications.



While playing sports is an excellent way to demonstrate you are a hard-working, well-rounded individual with experience as a member of a team, few students actually earn sports scholarships, as compared to the number who anticipate receiving one.

  • Only about 2 percent of high school athletes win sports scholarships every year at NCAA colleges and universities
  • In 2017, the average sports scholarship was less than $8,000 for women and less than $7,000 for men.
  • 53 percent of the scholarships awarded are designated for four sports
    • Football
    • Basketball
    • Soccer
    • Track & Field


You should begin searching for scholarships during your senior year. FACT: Many scholarships have January deadlines, so begin searching for scholarships in the middle of your junior year.

Scholarships are only for top scholars and athletes. FACT: Many scholarships do not take ninto consideration a student’s grades or athletic ability/participation. Others are awarded to students who have earned less than stellar grades and have fewer achievements that they can document.

You have to be a great essay writer to get one. FACT: Following the instructions and addressing the essay question is often more crucial to your success than how eloquently you write.

The scholarship application process is a one-time thing. FACT: Look for opportunities every year, beginning in the fall, even if you’re already in college.


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