Pathways students and staff spending time with The Grand residents

ILION – Five Herkimer-Fulton-Hamilton-Otsego BOCES Pathways Academy staff and 18 students recently visited The Grand Rehabilitation and Nursing at Mohawk Valley in Ilion to give back to the community by providing a fun day for the residents.

Students delivered items such as coloring books, colored pencils, crossword books, word search books and candy to residents and interacted with them by wheeling them to their destinations, talking with them, coloring with them, painting their nails, playing cards with them and participating in guessing games with them.

“We were told by the staff that they have never seen so many people down in the recreation room at one time because of our students being there,” said Cheri Evangelista, a Pathways Academy teacher’s assistant. “The staff and residents fully enjoyed our company and have welcomed us to come back any time we would like.”

Evangelista, Pathways Academy art teacher Dina DeSarro, special education teacher Jessica Davis and teacher’s assistants Jose Lopez and Sherrie Steciak took the students to The Grand Rehabilitation and Nursing at Mohawk Valley on Friday, Feb. 14, so the visit had some Valentine’s Day themes to it as well. Evangelista and DeSarro are the Pathways Academy Student Council advisors, and the students who attended included Student Council members and others.

The Pathways Academy Student Council has been focusing on giving back to the community this school year with projects such as supporting flood victims and providing presents and financial support to Central Valley student Anna LaBella, who is undergoing treatment for sarcoma cancer. The visit to The Grand was a continuation of those efforts by the council members, Evangelista and DeSarro said.

Though it may have been a culture shock at first, students warmed up to the residents and stated they would love to go back again, Evangelista and DeSarro said.

“This was a great experience for the students, and they were all so well behaved,” DeSarro said. “We’re very proud of them.”

The Pathways Academy is one of many programs that Herkimer BOCES operates out of the Remington school building at 77 E. North St. in Ilion. A public vote for residents in all Herkimer BOCES component school districts is scheduled for Tuesday, March 31, on a Herkimer BOCES proposal to purchase the Remington school building from Central Valley.

Herkimer BOCES has leased the former Remington Elementary School from Central Valley since 2013. During the current school year, 212 school-aged children from the 10 component school districts and 250 adults from the community have attended programs housed in the Remington building.

As a more permanent solution to its space needs, Herkimer BOCES proposes to purchase the Remington school building. The Central Valley community voted 256-16 on Nov. 12, 2019, in favor of selling the building to Herkimer BOCES.

The next step is for residents of all 10 component districts to vote on Tuesday, March 31, whether to authorize the purchase of the building by Herkimer BOCES.

Qualified voters may vote at any location listed below or at the Herkimer BOCES William E. Busacker Complex Technical Education Conference Room at 352 Gros Blvd. in Herkimer. Each district will have a voting location for residents’ convenience:

  • Central Valley: Small gym at CVA 
  • Dolgeville: High School Lobby
  • Frankfort-Schuyler: Old Gymnasium
  • Herkimer: High School Library
  • Little Falls: Middle School Gymnasium
  • Mount Markham: District Office
  • Owen D Young: Founder’s Study
  • Poland: Lobby
  • Richfield Springs: Entrance adjacent to baseball field
  • West Canada Valley: Front Lobby

A qualified voter for the Herkimer BOCES proposal must:

  • Be 18 years of age or older
  • Be a citizen of the United States
  • Have or will have resided within the Herkimer-Fulton-Hamilton-Otsego BOCES region for a period of at least 30 days

All persons offering to vote will be asked to provide one form of proof of residency. Such form may include but is not limited to a driver’s license, a non-driver identification card, a utility bill or a voter registration card.

Upon offer of proof of residency, all persons offering to vote will also be required to provide their signature and address. Persons who do not provide a proof of residence will be asked to sign a declaration in order to be allowed to vote. Find out more information about the purchase proposal and the vote at

Pathways students and staff write Valentine's Day messages on a table for The Grand residents

Herkimer-Fulton-Hamilton-Otsego BOCES Pathways Academy students and staff prepare Valentine’s Day messages on Friday, Feb. 14, for residents of The Grand Rehabilitation and Nursing at Mohawk Valley in Ilion.

Pathways student paints a The Grand resident's nails as a Pathways teacher's assistant looks on

Herkimer-Fulton-Hamilton-Otsego BOCES Pathways Academy Student Council Treasurer Destiny Charles paints the nails of a resident of The Grand Rehabilitation and Nursing at Mohawk Valley in Ilion on Friday, Feb. 14, as Pathways Academy teacher’s assistant and Student Council co-advisor Cheri Evangelista looks on.