ONEONTA – Hartwick College has announced its commitment to furthering educational avenues for students from rural upstate areas with its HartLand Promise, which will make attending Hartwick, a private school, comparable to attending a four-year public college or university in New York State.
“We understand a liberal arts education may seem financially out of reach by many in our region, but we feel important, life-changing decisions should not feel restricted because of where you live,” explained Darren Reisberg, who assumed the office of college president this past August.
As a student and as another generation of my family attending SUNY Oneonta, I was and still am captivated by the speeches of those who spoke at President Cardelle’s inauguration. Those who gave inspirational speeches did a phenomenal job.
I was and still am impressed by the articulation, dedication, and the creativity of those who addressed, those who were in attendance whether in person or via streaming. As a student of the said university, I can say that this administration has already done an amazing and outstanding job in the first year of the new administration.
I think it’s safe to say that this new administration will help guide the students at SUNY Oneonta in the right direction and will be a beacon of opportunity for all future and current students of SUNY Oneonta.
“Be the best person you can possibly be. For example: If you want to be a ditch-digger, then be the best ditch-digger you can be.” This inspirational quote was from my grandmother.
I can honestly say, this is the sort of advice that our local educators—whether they are teachers, principals, superintendents, guidance counselors, etc.—need to start encouraging students with, as well as students encouraging their fellow students. We need more advocacy plus advocates to stick up for people who are being bullied and harassed.
This being the start of another school year, and for some the first, I would like to offer from my perspective a few remarks about the state of our school today. The last number of school years, particularly the most recent two and a half, have been rocky and unique in many ways. As this is the start of my 30th year on the school board, I could go on about how different public education has become, but let me say first what has not changed — the value and importance of teachers and support staff. These are the people who students see and interact with every day. What has changed in no small way are the uncertainties and pressures under which they have had to work during the long COVID restrictions. This should be enough to warrant community-wide admiration. But to this, add the not so visible demands placed upon them by New York State for data collection and reporting, attention to social/emotional lives of children, documentation of NYS Standards adherence, and the external haunt of school violence. These have made their jobs much more. Our school employs an impressive new generation of professionals in every position who maintain concern and caring for each child and young adult in the building.
RICHFIELD SPRINGS – Karen Louise (Van Allen) Ingham, 65, of Okatie (Callawassie Island) S.C., passed away peacefully on Monday, September 5. Growing up in Richfield Springs, Karen enjoyed many long-time friendships in the area.
Karen received her undergraduate degrees from Bay Path University and American International College in Education. Karen continued her education by receiving her master’s degree from St. Bonaventure University in Education, with a concentration in Reading. Karen’s love of teaching led her to give back to her community by teaching for 23 years in the Richfield Springs Central School District as a kindergarten teacher and then finishing up her career as the reading specialist for the district.
On Friday, September 16, Cornell Cooperative Extension of Schoharie and Otsego Counties (CCE) along with the Master Gardeners of Otsego County (MG) held a groundbreaking celebration for their joint effort, Grow with Cornell Cooperative Extension Garden Project, at the extension’s Cooperstown office at 123 Lake Street.
“When completed, we will take the dirt and gravel parking lot of the CCE building and convert it to into sustainable gardens and landscapes which immerse participants and visitors in an accessible education environment with multiple learning opportunities. At the same time we hope to create an aesthetically pleasing, learning environment,” said Liz Callahan, Executive Director of CCE and this project.
“The garden site will incorporate raised beds, low-maintenance and native plants, pollinator gardens, annual and perennial flowerbeds, vegetable and kitchen gardens, small fruit planting demonstrations, and more,” she said.
“I’m very excited to be here and in this new capacity. We are still moving in and getting a used to everything here. I understand we will need to make some changes but we are ready!” said Darren Reisberg, newly appointed 11th president of Hartwick College.
“We were in Chicago for 22 years, so it’s great to be back on the east coast. My family is from New Jersey so they are happy and appreciate we are back too!”
Mr. Reisberg has an impressive resumé. He’s been a vice president for Strategic Initiatives and Deputy Provost at The University of Chicago, He was also an executive director at The University of Chicago Institute of Politics.
Encouraging philanthropy throughout Otsego County is a major goal for the Community Foundation of Otsego County. What better way to spark that interest than by engaging our youth? Our first-ever Student Voices, Student Choices Awards (SCSV) is a new competition for high school students to sharpen their focus on local needs and issues and encourage them to become leaders in their communities.
Four teams from participating high schools — Cherry Valley-Springfield, Edmeston, Gilbertsville-Mount Upton, and Richfield Springs — will identify the greatest needs in their communities, research organizations that address the needs, then present their causes to a panel of local leaders, educators, and perhaps, a celebrity or two.
I just returned from a trip to visit family. While away, I had the opportunity to celebrate a milestone — my grandson’s graduation from fifth grade. At his ceremony, he shared that his goal throughout school was to “make his parents proud.” His sincerity has me thinking about Springbrook at this time of year — summer at Springbrook feels charmed.
In June, we celebrated the accomplishments of ten exceptional graduates of The School at Springbrook. These young people came to The School at Springbrook from across the state, with unique backgrounds, skills, and goals. One graduate came to Springbrook as a nonverbal student, and through years of work and determination, crossed the graduation stage as a multilingual adult. Several graduates leave us ready to pursue meaningful employment, or to find new living environments that continue to promote their independence. What each of these graduates shares is tenacity — a determination that cannot be broken, no matter what the wider world may say. What I take pride in is that, at Springbrook, we say “yes, you can!” when all others say, “no, you can’t.”
EDMESTON – God needed another angel and he brought the best one ever home to him in the early morning hours Sunday June 5, 2022. Marie Margaret Johansen departed for her heavenly reward from her home, surrounded by her loving children and grandchildren.
Mom was born on August 26, 1939 in Saint Johns, Newfoundland. She was the oldest of five children born to Augustine and Margaret (Murphy) Murphy and grew up on tiny Bell Island off the coast of Newfoundland where her father was a tinsmith for the island’s iron ore mine. The path life led her on in her teen years was not one she would have chosen for herself but it truly shaped the woman and mother she would become. At sixteen years old, she left the pastoral setting of the island behind along with her brothers, friends and teachers and moved to New York City with her mother and sister where she immediately went to work as a file clerk to support the family. It was a difficult transition but she adjusted with the grace and humility that defined her. She met Carl Johansen through her work and turned him down six times before finally allowing him to take her out on their first date. They married in August of 1958 and her joy was compounded as they were able to bring all three of her brothers from the orphanage in Newfoundland to New York and reunite the family prior to the wedding. The circumstances from this period of her life reinforced and influenced the priorities that governed the remainder of her life.
SYMPHONY – 7 p.m. The Catskill Symphony Orchestra returns after a nearly 2 year hiatus. The first concert will be titled ‘Archissimo’ and will feature evergreens of the string orchestra reqertoire from MOZART Serenata Notturna, to BARTÓK Romanian Folk Dances. Health guidelines will be followed. Cost is $32/adult. Foothills Performing Art Center, Oneonta. Visit catskillsymphonyorchestra.org
BENEFIT DINNER – 5 – 8 p.m. Enjoy delicious pasta dinner featuring homemade bolongnese, alfredo and other sauces to help a local women battling against breast cancer. Cost, $10/plate. Anything extra will help toward costs not covered by insurance. The Black Barn, 3522 Co. Hwy. 11, Cooperstown.
In a previous essay, I asked; Why Do We Have Schools?
Parents and other family members took on the major responsibility for teaching children whatever it was they thought they should know. As in much of the animal kingdom, the adults play a very important role in teaching their young what they need to know to survive. We are born and eventually we die. Those who best learn how to survive, usually live the longest. But is that really true for us humans?
My mother used to say, “ignorance is bliss.” There are times that I believe her, but in most cases, ignorance will not get you very far in life. When settlers first came to the New World, they embarked on a bold adventure. There were new challenges and survival was just one of them. After living in relative freedom for over 100 years, the rule of the King began to take its toll on some of those freedoms. From this frustration came the words; “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their creator with certain unalienable rights, that among these rights are life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.”
Where does that quote come from? If you cannot answer that question, then our schools have failed. The founding fathers realized that if each generation after them were not taught about the reasons for the revolution and the documents developed as a result of their frustrations with the king, then the experiment would fail. They knew the importance of teaching the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution of the United States to future generations. That is one answer to the title question.
In the early days of our country, our society had that role. Parents had that role.
COOPERSTOWN – Gretchen Morrison, a teacher and lifelong resident of the Cooperstown area, died unexpectedly June 11, 2021, at the age of 42.
Gretchen is survived by her loving mother and stepdad, Sandra and William Stockdale, her siblings and their spouses, Gregory and Lisa Marie Morrison, Glenda and Matt Vatovec, and Glenn and Michelle Morrison. Gretchen is also survived by her beautiful children, whom she loved very dearly, Konrad, Violet, and Otto. She was predeceased by her father, Walter Glen Morrison.
Gretchen was born in Cooperstown to Walter and Sandra Morrison. She graduated from Cooperstown Central School with her path clear and set to become a teacher. She completed her undergrad studies at SUNY Oneonta and went on for her Master’s degree at The University of New England. She was a teacher for many years, first at Cooperstown Central School, then at Proctor High School. She loved her craft and her students. She worked tirelessly to give the young lives she touched the opportunity for more in their future.
The last of the Merger Mondays took place Monday, June 14, ahead of Tuesday’s board vote.
The superintendents of Worcester and Schenevus central schools acknowledged the growing pains of a merger, but also argued its perceived importance to a group of about 15 attendees.
Some of the guests included Assemblyman Brian Miller, and Jeff Bishop, communications director for state Sen. Peter Oberacker, R-Schenevus, who is an SCS graduate.
Miller expressed mostly neutrality for the upcoming vote and said he was there to “show support for whichever way the communities decide to go.”
Oberacker was unable to attend because he was at a parade in Unadilla, a cause of some criticism among those who attended, but Bishop said Oberacker was closely following the developments on the potential merger.
If the vote is approved, there will be a Sept. 22, straw poll followed by a Dec. 3, binding referendum.
If the merger is approved the combined Board of Education would increase from five to seven seats. There also will be state financial incentives for the merger, which BOE representatives say will be used to improve educational opportunities and provide funds to a reserve, while also maintaining the same staff only eliminating positions through attrition, which they say will save $690,000.
Class size will be 22 students or lower.
Much of the merger rationale is based on a study conducted prior to the pandemic, which referenced a declining enrollment for both schools, a problem which in a merged district would be resolved with access to more academics and athletics.
Any additional cost for transportation they say will be minimal.
Anything related to mascots, school colors and team names would be student driven, officials said.
“This is emotional for a lot of people. … We do realize that and recognize that, but we have to do what’s best for our kids and everything in the study shows its best for our kids,” Carlin said.
Miller diverted from his original stance of neutrality briefly to posit about the merger.
“It’s to benefit our children and make our area truly prosper. … Things are really getting tough,” Miller said, referencing state funding. “A merger is really the best thing we can do.”