By Greg Fox
BROCTON - In its first regular meeting since Brocton School junior and football running back Damon Janes died following a severe head injury during a game, the Brocton Board of Education reflected on the strength it has seen within the community.
Damon Janes’ jersey number is pictured painted on a football field. Janes, a junior Brocton Central School student, died Sept. 16 following a football injury.
After the Pledge of Allegiance, the board took a moment of silence to honor Damon.
During his correspondence, Board President Doug Walter read a letter he sent to the entire school staff on Wednesday, thanking them for their support they have given each other and their community.
"During the tragic loss of Damon, all of you really stood out and helped this community and the students in ways that words cannot express. The entire staff looked after the students in a way that showed how much of a caring staff we have. The students really needed the comfort and caring that all of you provided and I know they appreciate it tremendously," Walter read aloud.
"It's good to know we live in such a good school district in Westfield and Brocton," he said afterward.
Superintendent John Hertlein thanked the school board and administration for the recent work they did in helping out the kids.
"Every member of the school board was some place helping our kids," he said. "That's not in anybody's job description, that just came in your heart's description and we appreciate that."
During Middle/High School Principal Jason Delcamp's communications, it was announced that Canadian-based company Noggin Sports donated a number of gel safety caps in memory of Damon to the Brocton-Portland Midget Football Team.
Three hundred more caps will be purchased for area football teams in the near future using funds from a benefit in Damon's memory.
Delcamp also said the student council is requesting the canceled Homecoming activities be moved to Oct. 15-19.
Also during the meeting, the board approved a list of eight individuals (one being a machine custodian) to work the Oct. 9 consolidation vote in the Brocton gymnasium lobby, which will occur from noon to 8 p.m. Residents on that date will be able to choose whether or not Brocton should merge with Westfield Academy and Central School.
The workers will be compensated $75 each for the day.
Hertlein announced that the facilities tours in anticipation of the vote that were previously canceled have been rescheduled. Westfield's high school students and parents will have the opportunity to tour Brocton's facilities on Tuesday and Brocton's middle school students and parents can tour Westfield's facilities on Thursday. The general public is invited on both tours, which will both start at 7 p.m. on their corresponding days.
Residents of Brocton's district may call the high school or elementary school to reserve a seat on a school bus, which will shuttle them to Westfield for the tour. The tour will begin in Westfield's cafeteria. Westfield's tour of Brocton, which will begin in the auditorium, will not have shuttle buses.
A list of change orders from the EXCEL Capital Project was passed, with board members Michael Riforgiato and Steven Smith voting against the measure.
The change orders included additional steel needed for the weight of the air conditioning system ($2,882), more power in various rooms throughout the school ($8,647) and a boost in power to the chiller ($9,610).
Hertlein gave a brief update on the capital project, saying it is winding down. The pool is set to be filled on Oct. 14 and will take two days to fill.
"We believe, by the end of October, we will have someone off the diving board," he said.
The board entered into executive session to discuss the hiring of a new communications director.
The board moved its next meeting date to Oct. 10 at 7 p.m. in the board room. This is to better accommodate a presentation on the merger vote, which is set to occur Oct. 2 at 7 p.m. in the Westfield auditorium. The board's Oct. 16 meeting was moved to Oct. 23, as a result.