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Herkimer BOCES employee, student win Friends of Children Awards

May 11, 2018



Laurie Waterbury with her granddaughter and Childcare Council Director Richelle Springer


Herkimer-Fulton-Hamilton-Otsego BOCES special programs secretary Laurie Waterbury won a Friend of Children award during the Child Care Council of Cornell Cooperative Extension’s 2018 Recognition Awards Dinner on Tuesday, May 8, at Daniele’s Banquet Specialists in Clinton. Waterbury hands her award to her granddaughter, Aubrey Waterbury, and poses with Child Care Council Director Richelle Singer.





Herkimer-Fulton-Hamilton-Otsego BOCES special programs secretary Laurie Waterbury and Child and Family Services student Alexis Everson won Friends of Children Awards from the Child Care Council of Cornell Cooperative Extension.

After receiving the award, Waterbury discussed how it felt to be honored.

“I guess I’m just speechless because I’m just doing my job,” she said. “I love working with a great team. I love walking down the hallway and seeing the students and teachers – their smiles and their dedication. They make my day. I’ve always been very proud of BOCES and what we do.”

The Child Care Council of Cornell Cooperative Extension’s 2018 Recognition Awards Dinner took place on Tuesday, May 8, at Daniele’s Banquet Specialists in Clinton. The Friends of Children Awards recognize the commitment and dedication of individuals, organizations and employers who make a difference in the lives of the community’s children and families.

Herkimer BOCES Mentoring Program Coordinator Sarah Trunfio nominated Waterbury for the award, and Herkimer BOCES Child and Family Services instructor Sarah Weeks nominated Everson.

Weeks won a Friend of Children Award in 2010, when she was in the Herkimer BOCES program with then-instructor Kim Fragetta. Fragetta, who retired at the end of last school year, received the Vivian C. Kinney Lifelong Friend of Children Award at the Child Care Council’s 2017 Recognition Awards Dinner and attended this year’s ceremony as well.

‘Our gratitude’

In her nomination letter, Trunfio wrote that Waterbury’s knowledge, work ethic, attendance and drive are what help Herkimer BOCES special programs consistently move in the right direction.

“Her value to the program, organization, component districts and all the students we serve is immeasurable,” Trunfio wrote. “Our gratitude to her for the impact she has had and continues to have on the education of our most vulnerable population makes her a great candidate for this award. Thank you, Laurie.”

Trunfio also described Waterbury as one of the most compassionate people you will ever meet – writing that when people enter a room she is in, they receive a calm, genuine greeting that lets them know they are cared about.

“Dependable, compassionate and committed are three words that come to mind when I think about Laurie,” Trunfio wrote. “She is the definition of dependable – putting in countless hours of hard work because she knows that her work helps administration, teachers and students to be successful.”

Herkimer BOCES Special Education Principal Brittany DerCola said Waterbury is “a true friend of children.”

“She cares for every child that walks through our doors,” DerCola said. “She always has a smile on her face and a snack or treat ready for the children. She keeps the special programs office running. If it weren't for her, I wouldn't be able to do my job.”

Waterbury said little moments and memories with students are meaningful to her. For example, she once was excited about a new hand lotion she bought, but the first day she used it, a student asked her why it smelled like shaving cream in the room, she recalled with a laugh. Current students also made cards for Waterbury, and one student didn’t know how to spell her name, so the student instead drew pictures of a water drop and a berry to represent “Waterbury.”

Working with children is important to Waterbury because she wants all children to know that they have people there to keep them safe and help them through things, she said

“I just want all children to feel that they’re important,” she said.

‘The experience’

Everson, of Herkimer Central School District, is a junior in the Herkimer BOCES Child and Family Services program, which involves working with and educating young children.

After the ceremony, Everson discussed receiving the award.

“It feels pretty great,” she said.

It was also an honor to be nominated for the award by Weeks, Everson said.

Working with children is important to Everson, and she wants to be a special education teacher or preschool teacher. The Herkimer BOCES Child and Family Services class has been beneficial in preparing her for her career path, she said.

“Just getting the experience with children, it helps a lot,” Everson said.

Her dad, Leon Everson, said anytime she is around children in the family, they run over to her, yelling her name.

“She loves kids,” he said.

While working with students ages 3-5 twice per week in the Child and Family Service’s nursery school program, Everson is known as “Miss Lex,” Weeks wrote in the nomination letter.

“She has fostered a meaningful relationship with each and every child in the class,” Weeks wrote. “However, one child sticks out in my mind particularly because of the emotional struggle the child had adjusting to school in the beginning of the year.”

A young girl would become upset every day when her mother left, but Everson talked to the child to make her comfortable, brought her tissues, did activities with her and read her stories to calm her down.

“Some days were better than others, but Lex was relentless,” Weeks wrote. “She never gave up on that little girl.”

Eventually, one day in March, the child calmly asked for “Miss Lex” and spent the day with her without crying once.

“After nursery school was over, she said to me, ‘She did great today, didn't she?’” Weeks wrote, of Everson. “I responded with, ‘She trusts you, and you formed that lasting relationship with a child who really needed it.’ She smiled and said, ‘You have a great night, Miss Weeks. I'll see you tomorrow.’”





Alexis Everson holds her award posing with Childcare Council Director Richelle Singer


Herkimer-Fulton-Hamilton-Otsego BOCES Child and Family Services student Alexis Everson poses with Child Care Council of Cornell Cooperative Extension Director Richelle Singer after receiving a Friend of Children award during the Child Care Council’s 2018 Recognition Awards Dinner on Tuesday, May 8, at Daniele’s Banquet Specialists in Clinton.




Alexis Everson with her dad, Child and Family Services instructor Sarah Weeks and former instructor Kim Fragetta


Herkimer-Fulton-Hamilton-Otsego BOCES Child and Family Services student Alexis Everson won a Friend of Children award during the Child Care Council of Cornell Cooperative Extension’s 2018 Recognition Awards Dinner on Tuesday, May 8, at Daniele’s Banquet Specialists in Clinton. From left, her dad, Leon Everson; Alexis Everson; Herkimer BOCES Child and Family Services instructor Sarah Weeks and retired/former Child and Family Services instructor Kim Fragetta.




Laurie Waterbury with members of her family following the Friends of Children award family


Herkimer-Fulton-Hamilton-Otsego BOCES special programs secretary Laurie Waterbury poses with members of her family after winning a Friend of Children award during the Child Care Council of Cornell Cooperative Extension’s 2018 Recognition Awards Dinner on Tuesday, May 8, at Daniele’s Banquet Specialists in Clinton.