Seven seniors at Cazenovia High School were recently recognized by the National Merit Scholarship Corporation (NMSC) for their scholastic talents, including one student who will compete for potential scholarship opportunities moving forward.
Cazenovia High School Principal Molly Hagan recently announced that seniors Sophie Clancy, Anna Edwards, Willem Light-Olson, Melanie Michael, Benjamin Orbach, and Nadia Segall have been named Commended Students in the 2022 National Merit Scholarship Program.
A Letter of Commendation from the school and NMSC, which conducts the program, was presented by Hagan to these scholastically talented seniors.
About 34,000 Commended Students throughout the nation are being recognized for their exceptional academic promise. Although they will not continue the 2022 competition for National Merit Scholarship awards, Commended Students placed among the top 50,000 students who entered the 2022 competition by taking the 2020 preliminary SAT/National Merit Scholarship Qualifying Test (PSAT/NMSQT).
“Those being named Commended Students have demonstrated outstanding potential for academic success,” said NMSC. “These students represent a valuable national resource; recognizing their accomplishments, as well as the key role their schools play in their academic development, is vital to the advancement of educational excellence in our nation.”
Moreover, student Morgan Kingsley was named a semifinalist in the 2022 National Merit Scholarship Program. Kingsley is one of approximately 16,000 semifinalists for the program, which provides students with the opportunity to compete for some 7,500 National Merit Scholarships worth nearly $30 million that will be offered next spring.
Through her rigorous work ethic and care for her students, Cazenovia High School Business Teacher Christina New has been named Cazenovia Central School District’s 2021 Teacher of the Year!
Q: College Attended Undergraduate:
A: Cornell University Q: College Attended Graduate/Masters:
Masters in Business Education
Q: New York State Teacher Certification(s) and/or other credentials:
New York State Business Education and Work-Based Learning Coordinator
Q: Where did you complete your student teaching (if applicable)?
Fowler High School
Q: What activities (sports, clubs, jobs, etc.) were you involved in as a high school student and college student?
In High School, I played Varsity Soccer and Lacrosse and in college, I played Rugby for a season. In High School, I was on VAASA (Varsity Athletes Against Substance Abuse), Colors (Cultural Diversity Club), SADD (Students Against Drunk Driving), NHS (National Honor Society) and LENS (Leadership Club). I was also the Student Government Secretary all through High School. In college, I joined the Hospitality Club and was a member of the Ivory Tower Honor Society. I also worked at Temptations Ice Cream Parlor in Nyack, NY.
Q: Did your family or another person impact your decision to become an educator?
My mother was a High School ESL teacher and was always a huge inspiration to me. My father was the CFO of a company in NYC. I’m a perfect blend of them as a business teacher. However, my husband Ben was a Middle School teacher and Varsity Wrestling, Lacrosse, and Football Coach. He had such amazing relationships with his students and players. Even to this day, 20 years later, we are invited to their weddings. I still admire how much he loves education and it was he who inspired me to change careers from Business Development to teaching in 2005. Everyday before we leave the house for school he tells the kids, “make it a great day for learning.”
Q: Where was your first teaching position? What did you teach? Did you work elsewhere before being hired as an employee at Cazenovia?
I first taught at Camden High School in 2005. I taught HS Business English, Web Design, Sports Marketing, and then Keyboarding and Computer Applications to elementary school students. It was so much fun!
Prior to teaching, I was a Business Development Manager at Affiliated Computer Services and had several summer internships in NYC. Q: When did you start teaching/working at Cazenovia?
Q: Have you always been in education or did you start out doing something else?
I was a teaching assistant in a public speaking course at Cornell. After graduation, I was actually offered the job to manage the Turning Stone Casino Spa, but turned it down to work in Business Development at ACS and do a little more travel.
Q: When you started working at Cazenovia, who were some of the teachers that also started around the same time you did?
Kara Stauffer, a great HS Math teacher.
Q: Please describe two to five moments as a teacher that you will never forget? Why?
I’ll never forget all the Mr. Caz Pageants, Shark Tank Night, Sports Marketing events, going to states for DECA and being a class advisor. This past summer, I traveled to Nashville for an Entrepreneurship Conference that was pretty incredible too. Q: What have been the biggest changes in the profession during your career?
My classes continue to change every year due to new technology being implemented and the content always changing. I don’t think I cover anything totally the same year to year.
Q: What would you hope your teaching legacy might be?
I just hope the students remember their CTE classes from HS as the classes that helped make a huge impact on their lives. Our CTE Department consists of some of the best educators in the state in the areas of Tech, Ag, FCS and Business. They all inspire me to be a better teacher everyday and I just hope the kids remember that I loved them and will always really care about them. Q: Please describe your family.
I have a husband named Ben, daughters Lexi and Caroline and a son named Christian. We also have a rescue dog named Rocky.
Q: If you never became an educator, what career might you have had? Why?
If I never became an educator, I would have started my own business. There may still be time for that though, we’ll see! I love to help people, so maybe it would be a non- profit. I was a member of the Caz Covid response team this past year and I serve on the Chamber of Commerce Board.
Q: Outside of your current position, what are your other interests/hobbies?
I am a soccer mom! haha! I also used to do triathalons a few years ago, need to push myself to get back into that! I like to bake cookies too much now 🙂 Its important to have a good work/life balance. I’m very humbled to received this award. Our district has an amazing group of educators, I’m just the lucky name called this year.
HISTORY OF THE TEACHER OF THE YEAR AWARD
Each year, since 1983, the Cazenovia Central School District has honored one or more teachers for their outstanding accomplishments as an educator in our district. Nomination forms are sent to all members of the teaching staff in early June. When teachers nominate a colleague, they submit written explanations as to why a particular teacher should be considered for the Cazenovia Central School Teacher of the Year Award. In late June teachers, who have been previously been honored as Teacher of the Year, review the written nomination forms and select the individual to be honored. Previous “Teacher of the Year” recipients have been:
“I cry because I miss Daddy when he is at the hospital – I am loving and loved” reads poem by Cazenovia student Lila Campagna, the inspiration for a now published collection of narratives, essays and poems by Cazenovia students, staff and community members impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic.
Campagna didn’t know that her third-grade assignment in 2020 would serve as a ripple effect throughout the Cazenovia community.
“The book was developed to account for history in the making,” said Cazenovia Library Media Specialist Katherine McGinnis, who was so moved by Campagna’s poem that she opened the idea up to the Cazenovia community at large. The entries came piling in from students, staff and community members, and she spent the summer sorting entries, compiling, editing and publishing the book through Amazon.
“No matter how hard times may be, it is important to remember what we endured throughout the COVID-19 pandemic,” reads the foreword. “Thank you to all of our writers for your courage to share your experiences. We hope this work encourages reflection, inspires connection and brings hope to all those still healing from the COVID-19 pandemic.”
McGinnis said she was grateful to Cazenovia CSD administration who supported her throughout the project and also to middle school librarian Deb McHugh and high school librarian Ben Wightman who assisted in collecting entries. In the “About the Editor” section of the book, she reflects on her own COVID-19 experience, being on maternity leave when the pandemic hit.
“My transition to remote learning happened with an email,” she wrote. “I did not see my students or say good-bye. I simply made my Google Classroom and began posting lessons, attempting to reconnect with my kids via a computer screen.”
McGinnis writes that she did not plan on sharing her personal experience, but realized after reading the entries that all emotions, thoughts and experiences are important to share and vital to understanding the impact of a pandemic.
“I felt alienated and disconnected from my students,” she said. “And that’s when a colleague forwarded me Lila’s poem.”
McGinnis was inspired to create a book that would not only capture history in the making but bring the community together to remember 2020 not only for its challenges, but for its nature to encourage resilience, perseverance and hope.
One entry by senior Michael Parella reads, “I realized that there are parts of me that are only there because of the people I know. I realized that everyone I know adds something to my personality, and without being able to see most of them, those pieces were missing.”
Another entry by fourth-grader Lexi New reads, “The whole time was confusing and was hard. Sometimes I felt like crying. But the one thing that got me through was my family and friends and all the great teachers I had.”
By displaying positivity and seeing the light in all students, Teaching Assistant Donna Snyder has been named Cazenovia Central School District’s 2021 Staff Person of the Year.
Snyder, who works at Burton Street Elementary School, goes out of her way to help students in need, even after school hours as a volunteer. Snyder constantly thinks on her feet, which is imperative in her role, as each day differs from the next.
Donna is a crucial part of the Burton Street team and doesn’t think twice about staying late for meetings, sitting in on conferences, and texting into the evening to brainstorm what is best for the classroom and the students.
Q: What would you say are the best parts of your job?
A: I just love working with the kids and helping them to learn things. It’s great to see the light go off when they’ve learned something new. I love to be a part of that.
Q: When did you first start working with Cazenovia CSD?
Q: When you first started working with Cazenovia CSD, what was your first reaction?
A: My kids went to Burton Street Elementary, so I volunteered here and at the middle school. So, I was used to being in and out of the classrooms. I was thrilled to be able to have a job here and work with kids.
Q: Are there a few moments that stand out over the years as some of your favorite?
A: I love working in the co-teaching classroom. That includes the teacher, a special education teacher and me. And we work as team with the kids. We started that a few years ago, and that has been exciting to stay in the classroom.
Q: How would you like to be remembered at Cazenovia CSD?
A: Someone that was dedicated to the students. And someone who helped kids become the best that they can be.
Q: Outside of work, what are some of your interests and hobbies?
A: I am an avid hiker, canoer, and camper. I’m a 46er. And of course, family. That’s comes first. We love Disney trips, and I have a grand daughter who we spend a lot of time with.
History of the Staff Person of the Year Award: Beginning in September 2011, the Cazenovia School District started honoring one non-faculty employee as Staff Member of the Year. This award is given annually to recognize how a staff member has contributed to the success of our students and the district. The Staff Person of the Year recipient receives a trophy in recognition of their award.
Recipients of this award have been:
2011 Kathy Morse, Teaching Assistant
2012 Bill Poglitsh, Maintenance
2013 Jim Giardina, Transportation Department Bus Driver
2014 Mary Dewan, Library Aide
2015 Lou Ann Turner, Administrative Assistant to the Middle School Principal
2016 Cindy Hirt, R.N., Elementary School Nurse, Dept. Leader
2017 Sheryl Conley, District Treasurer
2018 Bitsy Namy, Teaching Assistant
2019 Rick Bosworth, Transportation Department Bus Driver