High schools around the Southern Tier held their graduation ceremonies this weekend, including Owego Free Academy, where the school’s 144th-annual Commencement was heard live on WEBO. The ceremony included 161 graduates receiving their diplomas and three student speakers: Valedictorian Bella Coleman, Student Council President Dan Raftis, and Senior Class President Ethan Pryor. Students from Tioga Central, Vestal, and Union-Endicott also graduated Saturday while Waverly, Newark Valley, Spencer-Van Etten, Maine-Endwell, and Candor held their graduations Friday. Congratulations to all members of the Class of 2017 from everyone at WEBO.
New York state has set aside $5 million to expand pre-kindergarten programs in some school districts.Governor Andrew Cuomo said the money is intended for pre-kindergarten programs for three or four-year-old students at high-need school districts who do not have a state funded pre-k class. Cuomo announced the initiative in January which was included in his budget proposal and later approved by lawmakers. Funding for districts will be renewed each year, provided the programs meet all requirements. The state Education Department will administer the grant and expects to announce awards sometime this fall. Some national studies show children who participate in early childhood education programs have higher test scores from their toddler years to age 21, including higher achievements in both reading and math. Studies also show these children are more likely to attend a four-year college and eventually get a full-time job.
US Senator Kirsten Gillibrand stopped by the Tioga Elementary School today to urge fellow Senators to reject the Trump Administration’s proposal to cut SNAP benefits and funding to critical nutrition and nutrition education programs for low-income families. The Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, or SNAP, has funded programs like the “Eat Smart New York” program. 12 percent of all Tioga County residents rely on SNAP for their meals, but the presidential administration would cut SNAP funding by $193 billion over 10 years. Senator Gillibrand was at Tioga because the school has used federal funding to plan a “Tiger Farm” on district land that will grow food that they will use as part of school lunches next year. We have posted the full video of Senator Gillibrand’s talk today on the WEBO Facebook Page. Besides the SNAP issue, she also shared her thoughts on the Republican Senators health care plan yesterday.
It’s a busy weekend for graduating seniors and their families in the Southern Tier.
Three of Tioga County’s public high school’s will hold their graduation ceremonies on Friday night, all scheduled to begin at 7 p.m. Waverly will graduate its seniors in a ceremony at the high school athletic field, Newark Valley will hold graduation in the high school auditorium and Spencer-Van Etten in the high school gymnasium. Candor has scheduled graduation for 730pm Friday.
Tioga’s largest high school, Owego Free Academy, will hold its graduation at 10am Saturday at Christy J. Valvo Stadium on the OFA campus. The ceremony will be broadcast live on Your Hometown WEBO. Tioga Central will also hold graduation on Saturday.
Other ceremonies throughout the Southern Tier include Maine-Endwell at 7 p.m. Friday at the BU Events Center, Vestal at 1 p.m. Saturday, also at Events Center, and Union-Endicott at 11 a.m. Saturday at the Arena in downtown Binghamton.
Many local students are taking part in SUNY Broome’s Fast Forward and Early College programs, and will now have the chance to participate in an online academy at the college. The college’s program coordinator Katie Bucci was on the WEBO Morning Show today.
“We have a new initiative starting in the fall, the Early College Online Academy (ECOA),” Katie Bucci told the WEBO Morning Show. “Those are five special classes that are offered completely online by our faculty at SUNY Broome to high school students. Those courses will be offered at a 66% tuition discount.”
The online academy joins Fast Forward and Early College to allow students three different ways to get a head start on their college degree, accumulate transferable credits, and prepare for higher education, all while still enrolled in high school. More information is available on the SUNY Broome website. The full interview with Bucci is available below.
Dr. Randy Richards is retiring as the Superintendent of the Waverly Central School District after three years with the district. His retirement was accepted by the Board of Education at a meeting last night. His last day will be June 30. Richards says in a letter to the district that he will look back at his time in Waverly with pride and thanks. He had another year remaining on his contract, but is eligible for early retirement due to prior military service. GST BOCES will lead the search to find a new superintendent.
This year’s Owego Free Academy graduation will once again be held at the Christy J. Valvo Stadium on campus. There was some question about the location due to renovations on the property. The ceremony will begin at 10am on Saturday, June 24 and will again be carried live on WEBO. Those who can’t make the commencement ceremony will be able to listen live on all our radio frequencies and online at listentowebo.com.
Five local high school seniors will compete at Tioga Downs Sunday in the track’s annual Scholarship Race. Each of the seniors has received a $1,700 scholarship from the track and the local horsemen’s associations. Each of the five winners will be paired with a trainer to pilot a harness racehorse around the track immediately following the day’s scheduled races. The participating seniors are Ethan Pryor from Owego, Anna Raymond from Newark Valley, Ashley Tiffany from Tioga, Alicia Cygan from Vestal, and Jacob Pylypciw from Union-Endicott. Post time for Sunday’s races is 1pm at Tioga Downs. Racing will also be held tonight and tomorrow beginning at 6:50pm.