Check out the pictures below from this outstanding event.
A huge thank you to Mark Deperno and all of the Sitrin STARS athletes, including Westmoreland's Jason Robinson, who came to Westmoreland today to show our students the power of adaptive equipment in the life of a differently-abled athlete. Students had the chance to watch some of the tremendous talent from the STARS team, learn about wheelchair basketball, and then became the players themselves.
Check out the pictures below from this outstanding event.
Update: I hope that you have had the opportunity to chat with a middle school student about the tremendous opportunity they had yesterday, which bonded all of the adults and students in the building. I am so proud of the conversations that students are having as a result of spending the day with Tiffony Jacobs and Tresor Rusesabagina. By sharing their personal stories, they were able to communicate some simple ideals for us all to consider to make the middle school, community, and world a better place:
*There is a tremendous amount of power in the words that we use towards one another
*If you can dream it, then believe in yourself, and achieve it
*Stand up for what's right, always
*Change comes from each of us, and we need to be the change that we want to see in the world
*Understand that each of us has a unique story....take the time to invest in learning about others' stories because when we do this, we build connections and learn that all of humanity has much more in common than we think
Over the past few years, our school community has worked closely with Erin Gruwell, founder of the Freedom Writer’s Foundation. By encouraging students to embrace diversity, develop connections with peers and adults, and share stories through journaling, Erin inspired her students to succeed, despite the struggles that they faced in their personal lives. Her students published their stories in The Freedom Writers Diaries, which was later made into a movie by Paramount. Her message continues to be deeply rooted in much of the work in our high school.
On Wednesday, May 28th, we have the tremendous opportunity to welcome two special guests from the Freedom Writers Foundation to Westmoreland Middle School to discuss acceptance, tolerance, and diversity.
Tiffony Jacobs-Tiffony is one of the original Freedom Writers who managed to succeed, despite a constant struggle in her personal life as a child and young adult. Her story is highlighted in the Freedom Writers movie, and in the book.
Tresor Rusesabagina-Tresor is a survivor from the unimaginable genocide that occurred twenty years ago in Rwanda. His father, Paul, risked his life to save over 1,200 people as the country waged war between two different ethnic groups. The movie Hotel Rwanda creates an account of this horrific time period in Rwanda, and includes the Rusesabagina family’s account.
Both of these guests come from vastly different backgrounds, yet their message about acceptance, tolerance, and diversity mirrors the work that we continue to focus on in the middle school.
Tiffony and Tresor will meet with students in grades 7 and 8 from 8:00-9:00am, and then with students in grades 5 and 6 from 1:00-2:00pm on May 28th. Parents, you are welcome to join your son or daughter for this presentation, so that you can share in their message. If you’re interested in attending, please contact the Middle School Office so that we can best prepare the gym for our guests.
On Tuesday, May 20, the 7th grade students and teachers took a field trip to Howe Caverns in Clobleskill. The kids took a tour of the caverns, which are more than 90 feet below ground, and at the end, were treated to an underground boat ride! The students learned about the history and geology of the caves and about the natural forces that created them. The group had a very good time, and the kids behaved exceptionally well; the teachers were very proud of them! (Written by Mrs. Pike-Roberts)
Mr. LaLonde, Mr. Cucci, and many sixth grade science enthusiasts were at it again during another Science Saturday! Last weekend, students gathered at school to build and race rocket cars in a collaborative, creative, problem-solving environment. Check out the pictures below, which capture the excitement of our students as they engage in engineering, physics, and more!
Congratulations to each of the eight students who were awarded with the, "Student of the Month" certificate this week for April. We are proud to have such a wonderful community here at Westmoreland Middle School, and are thrilled to recognize each of these students. We also want to recognize those students who were awarded with, "Principal's Awards" for their outstanding contribution of our learning community. This month's students include:
Students of the Month
Eighth Grade Class (for their tremendous work on the WWII/Holocaust Museum)
It was an absolute honor to welcome Holocaust survivor Helen Sperling to Westmoreland today. After touring the eighth grade WWII/Holocaust Museum, Mrs. Sperling brought students on the journey of her life, including the three years she spent in concentration camps, where she lost both parents. By sharing her heartbreaking, unimaginable story with students, she hopes to teach others about respect, acceptance, and tolerance. Before concluding her presentation, she challenged students to accomplish two simple things to make the world a better place:
1. Don't be a bystander
2. Be thankful for all that you have
We hope that Helen's presentation will be a powerful reminder to our students that we all must learn from history to build a better future.
A huge thank you to Daniella Hyde for her persistence in contacting Helen and arranging for her visit! Although some of the pictures below are blurry, I wanted to share them so you can witness the impact Helen had on our students and staff. I hope to add more over the next few days.
It’s always a great day at Westmorleand Middle School, and today was particularly special because it was the first annual, “Westmo Celebrates Reading Day!” Thanks to the careful planning of Mrs. Cutler and Mr. Fehlner, our students welcomed various readers from around our community into their classrooms. This was a great way for students to understand the importance of being a life-long reader, in all career paths.
We cannot thank our readers enough for taking the time out of their day to read with our students. Each of you provided a unique perspective for our middle school students, and they left today sharing stories from their guests. You made our kickoff event a huge success.
Below is a list of readers, in order of our period schedule:
Ann Turner-Westmoreland CSD
David Hoffman-Westmoreland CSD
Ruth Cosgrove-Kirkland Town Library
Rocco Migliori-Westmoreland CSD
Mike DiMeo-Utica College Music/Retired Music Teacher
James Nowak-Westmoreland CSD Senior
John Fehlner-Broadway Theatre League
Sheriff Robert Machol-Oneida County Sheriff
Keith Kulpa-Westmoreland CSD
Eric Coriale-Westmoreland CSD
Pete Cutler-Apple Inc.
Laurie White-Retired Westmoreland CSD Employee
MaryAnn O’Connell-Westmoreland CSD
Steven Dziura-COCVAC Chief of EMS
Suzanne Treen-Kinney Drugs, Pharmacist
Joanne Shelmidine-Westmoreland CSD
Kristin St. Hilaire-Utica College Women’s Lacrosse Coach
Derek Pooley-Utica College Residence Life Area Coordinator
Keith Sack-Westmoreland CSD
Jeffrey Dematties-Rome Air Force Base, Engineer
Scott D. McNamara-Oneida County District Attorney
JoAnn Ottman-Westmoreland CSD
Mackenzie Lane-Westmoreland CSD Senior
Mary Murray-Curator of Modern and Contemporary Art, Munson Williams
Heather Johnson-Westmoreland CSD Board of Education Member
Erin Hamlin-Olympic Medalist, Luge
It isn't often that we have the opportunity to interact with owls and falcons up close. Last Friday, our sixth graders spent time with Talon! Birds of Prey, as a way to enrich their experience reading Frightful's Mountain, by Jean Craighead George. This book brings students on a journey with a falcon, who is learning how to live and thrive on her own. Spending time learning about these magnificent creatures will certainly add to the wonderful thinking and discussions that are happening in sixth grade!
Check out the pictures and video below. Thank you to some of our students for sharing them to add to our collection.
Jason Robinson has become a household name in Central New York because of his commitment to "Paying it Forward." After being the recipient of a racing wheelchair (which has seen a lot of miles) through the fundraising efforts of his fourth grade classmates, Jason and his family established the JRob Foundation. The mission of the foundation is to provide adaptive sporting equipment to children who are differently abled.
This past Saturday, the JRob Foundation, in collaboration with Sitrin, hosted a wheelchair basketball tournament fundraiser. Players from all over the area came out to shoot some hoops for a great cause!
Pictured below is Senator Griffo, who joined Jason and his mom. Although we put up a good fight, Mrs. O'Connell, Mrs. Hickox, Mr. Hoffman, and I were no match against Jason's team!
Thank you to everyone who made this day a tremendous success. We look forward to continuing to support the JRob Foundation with their admirable efforts.
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