Collage of SBI student award winners

The Oneida-Madison-Herkimer Counties School Boards Institute recently conducted a virtual ceremony for the institute’s 2021 Student Achievement Awards for local students who have overcome challenges on their way to success in school.

Out of 4,500 students in the three-BOCES region, nine juniors were selected for the awards, O-M-H SBI Coordinator for Board Training James Van Wormer said, during the ceremony.

“Thank you to the nominators – without the nominators we really wouldn’t be here – and obviously thank you so much to the students and to the parents for their help,” Van Wormer said. “Every parent that I talked to – and we were just sharing our congratulations – they would say, ‘Oh, it’s nothing.’ As a parent, as a grandparent, I know it’s something. When you have students that come out the way our cohort has this year, it requires a lot of work and a lot of effort. So it’s a team effort from the schools to the homes to the kids. So congratulations to everybody.”

The O-M-H SBI includes 35 school districts in the Herkimer-Fulton-Hamilton-Otsego BOCES, Oneida-Herkimer-Madison BOCES and Madison-Oneida BOCES regions, and the winners of the 2021 Student Achievement Awards and Distinguished Service Awards were recently named.

The 2021 Student Achievement Award winners were honored during a virtual ceremony on Thursday, May 13. Educators who have provided longstanding service will be honored with their Distinguished Service Awards in the near future.

During the virtual ceremony, William Miller, the New York State School Boards Association immediate past president and NYSSBA Area 5 director, made comments.

“I want to congratulate every one of our award winners here tonight,” Miller said. “You’ve done some very special things to be nominated, and you have some very good backup and people who feel that you were very deserving of this, so congratulations, everybody.”

Miller also introduced NYSSBA Executive Director Robert Schneider, who said he looks forward to attending the institute’s award ceremony in person next year.

“It just melts your heart to see these impressive students and the awards that they deserve,” he said. “It’s fantastic.”

Student Achievement Awards

The Student Achievement Awards are presented to high-school juniors who have demonstrated a positive attitude, which reflects initiative, a sense of responsibility and an ability to interact with others, including peers and faculty.

Recipients also perform academically to the best of their ability, have overcome a significant adversity and participate in extracurricular and community activities. Other criteria include strong character values and a post-graduate commitment toward a career goal or higher education.

The Student Achievement Awards were presented this year to the following students:

  • Abby Barton, of Remsen Central School District, nominated by Kathleen Nebush.
  • Briana D’Alba, of Oriskany Central School District, nominated by John Baurer.
  • Konnor Smith, of Whitesboro Central School District, nominated by Dan Everson.
  • Shirley Coe, of Stockbridge Valley Central School District, nominated by Cassandra Gleason.
  • Ryan Walker, of Morrisville-Eaton Central School District, nominated by Michele Cesta.
  • Kalani Willis-Alverez, of Rome Free Academy, nominated by Paula Gilroy.
  • Hannah Patch, of Vernon-Verona-Sherrill Central School District, nominated by Kris Sullivan.
  • Emily Almond, of Central Valley Central School District, nominated by MaryBeth Napolitano.
  • Emily Wood, of Poland Central School District, nominated by Janice Watrous.

Distinguished Service Awards

The Distinguished Service Awards are presented to outstanding volunteers – such as school board members – and superintendents who have dedicated time, continued support and vigorous action in the service of public education and the welfare of children.

Recipients may have also demonstrated a positive influence in the greater community and in the state.

The Distinguished Service Awards were presented this year to the following school officials:

  • Morrisville-Eaton Central School District Board of Education Vice President Jackie Groves, nominated by Jodie Shantal and Greg Molloy.
  • Madison-Oneida BOCES board clerk/superintendent secretary Cathy Quinn, nominated by the Madison-Oneida BOCES Board of Education, with endorsement from Madison-Oneida BOCES District Superintendent Scott Budelmann. Quinn will be honored for her Distinguished Service Award during an O-M-H SBI Executive Committee meeting on Monday, June 7, at the Twin Ponds Golf and Country Club in New York Mills. Groves will be recognized at a ceremony on a date to be determined.

Collage of SBI Student Achievement Award winners

Oneida-Madison-Herkimer Counties School Boards Institute 2021 Student Achievement Award winners are pictured here. From left, top row: Hannah Patch, Konnor Smith, Briana D’Alba and Emily Almond. Bottom row: Emily Wood, Kalani Willis-Alverez, Abby Barton, Ryan Walker and Shirley Coe.