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Two new spring sports may be offered to WACS students

December 7, 2016
By David Prenatt - , Westfield Republican

If approved, Westfield Academy and Central School District will add two new sports to its lineup in the spring.

WACS Board of Education members listened to back-to-back appeals to for the new sports at their meeting on November 28. Athletic Director Jake Hitchcock and girls' varsity track coach Tom Stokes petitioned the board to create girls' and boys' cross country teams. Directly after their presentation, 6th Grade ELA teacher Melanie Korzeniewski asked the board to consider adding cheerleading to its sports roster.

Hitchcock said Chautauqua Lake and Brockton have indicated that they will join Westfield in creating a cross country team. He said they currently have 18 girls and 7 boys signed up for the sport.

Article Photos

Photo by David Prenatt
WACS teacher Melanie Korzeniewski and students Avery Knapp and Katie Altimeter attended the board of education meeting to request the district offer competitive cheer as a sport in the spring.

Stokes told the board that the district already has the uniforms needed for the sport. "All we need is transportation and a coach."

Hitchcock noted that Chautauqua Lake has agreed to help with transportation fee, and Brockton is considering the matter of transportation costs. He estimated the program would cost the district about $6,700.

Stokes said the sport of cross country helps students both physically and mentally. "You learn what real work is and from a mental aspect, it becomes easier to take on heavier workloads," Stokes said.

Stokes also noted that cross country does not typically attract the same type of players as football or soccer. "It is not a glory sport," he said.

The season would involve 6 meets and 3 invitationals, most of which would take place at Chautauqua Central School. However, Stokes said, the sport would require a commitment of 6 days a week for most of the kids and practice would take place at Westfield.

Korzeniewski addressed the board about the importance of cheerleading at Westfield. She said that new regulations which took effect in 2014 made competitive cheerleading an interscholastic sport.

Competitive cheer, as it is called is now a sport requiring a certified coach, she said.

Korzeniewski told the board that football cheerleading is currently run by Fredonia, so Westfield would be setting up for basketball. It really is a team-oriented sport, and 19 girls and 2 boys have expressed an interest in cheerleading, she said.

Korzeniewski noted she is certified to coach competitive cheer. The new state regulations for the sport require a properly certified coach, she said. The is not an established stipend for the coaching position, she said.

Korzeniewski said the sport would not required much investment from the district. "We have uniforms from before, but we'd need new mats, so you're looking at between $4,200 and $7,000 to get the program running," she said.

In other matters, District Superintendent David Davison told the board that the curriculum steering committee met and talked about revamping Open House at the school. He said they were "tossing around a bunch of ideas," Davison also noted that students will be dismissed early on December 22, so the afternoon might be devoted to staff development.

Davison also informed the board that the 21st Century Learning Grant has been submitted. The grant supports the creation of community learning centers that provide academic enrichment opportunities during non-school hours for children, according to the U.S. Dept. of Education.

Davison told the board that the water test results are not all back. He also said the new identification system is up and running. Board member Deanne Manzella noted that, should an emergency occur, they would know exactly who is in the building and where they're supposed to be.

Elementary Principal Mary Rockey told the board that students in Kindergarten through 5th Grade are showing progress on reaching grade level performance. While students in grades K through 5 remain about a year behind, there is some movement, she said.

"Hopefully, we will begin to see more students on grade level," she said. "It's getting better and we'll keep going." She added that the elementary school faculty is working on three main goals: elementary school guidelines for retention, guidelines for attendance, and report card revision.

Secondary School Principal Ivana Hite told the board that in comparing Westfield to other schools in Chautauqua County, Westfield is above the averages in the Sciences. "Even our economically disadvantaged students," she said. "All students are doing well," she added.

Hite told the board that Westfield's dinner theater was held last week and she said she called it Knappenberger's version of Cinderella, with some comic twists added to the original story. "The students did a fantastic job," she said.

The students in 7th Grade were awarded $1,500 toward their class trip to Gettysburg, Hite told board members. The Civil War Trust offers grants to help students visit battlefields because they believe there is no better way to comprehend our nation's history than to walk in the footsteps of those who forged it, she said.

She also said that three secondary teachers were awarded $500 mini-grants by the Northern Chautauqua Community Foundation. "There will definitely be community involvement," Hite said. We want to teach the kids to play card games, to knit and crochet so they can make hats and scarves to donate, and to start a community garden.

Hite also said that the STEAM Program held its first meeting last week. She noted that STEAM has the addition of Art to Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM to STEAM). This program is up and running as a curricular activity for our middle school, Hite said.



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