Hilton Central School District’s board of education recently recognized this year’s Friends of Education comprised of individuals and organizations in the school community who have contributed to the education of students through volunteering or other efforts.
Hilton High School Principal Brian Bartalo recognized Laurie Polatas for her years of volunteerism and recent work in establishing and leading the Hilton Parma Drug Intervention and Community Education coalition. Polatas has worked to develop and maintain her partnership with HCSD in efforts to raise awareness around the effects of substance abuse.
“Laurie’s passion for making a positive difference in the community is contagious and is the driving force behind the coalition’s accomplishments,” Bartalo said.
Merton Williams Middle School Principal Tracie Czebatol presented the Friends of Education award to Hilton optometrist Michael Fryer and his staff for recently helping a student in need. Fryer repaired the student’s taped-together glasses and provided an eye exam and new glasses, including a durable pair for sports, all free of charge.
“Above and beyond does not begin to cover the services provided,” Czebatol said. “We are truly fortunate to have such a devoted and caring group of people supporting our students in a positive, loyal and collaborative fashion.”
Sue Raschke received the award for Northwood Elementary School. A retired kindergarten teacher, Raschke still volunteers every week.
“Sue has the rare gift of really listening to a child with genuine interest and joy,” Principal Kirk Ashton said.
She helps out with special activities and gives the students input on their writing assignments.
“In a kindergarten classroom where there is never enough time to get to each child during a writing lesson, this helps them feel the importance of writing for an audience,” Ashton said.
Interim Principal Karen Spillman at Quest Elementary School honored Nancy Guenther, aka Grandma, who has volunteered since her grandchildren attended Quest years ago.
“Grandma is a huge confidence builder for students, always encouraging them, praising their efforts and helping them to recognize the best in themselves,” Spillman said.
Guenther works with students in their literature circles, independent reading and shares her own experiences.
At Village Elementary School, Principal Ben Rudd honored Parma Historical Society members John Adams, John Corcoran, Chuck Nichols and Frank Thomas for their volunteer efforts and sharing their knowledge and expertise.
“Our teachers appreciate the work that they do as they bring our social studies curriculum to life through the stores and artifacts they share,” Rudd said. “Their efforts have made a lasting impression for students and staff.”
The HCSD Music Department recognized Charlie Martella and Christine Martella as Friends of Education. The Martellas have donated money, coordinated fundraisers, provided food for rehearsals, done hair and makeup for musicals, coordinated the 2017 Hilton Percussion Show and transported instruments.
“Charlie and Christine do all of this without being asked to do so,” said Linda Davis, music department coordinator.
Michael Giruzzi, director of physical education and athletics, recognized Daniel Butts as the interscholastic sports Friend of Education. Butts not only serves as Sports Booster Club treasurer, but is involved with all fundraising and sponsored events. This past year alone, the Sports Boosters, with Dan’s input, has generated close to $15,000 worth of goods and services for the athletic program.
“Dan does everything with the best interest of the students, and he does it with great pride and an outstanding perspective,” Giruzzi said.
The final Friends of Education award was presented by Superintendent Casey Kosiorek to village of Hilton Mayor Joe Lee. Lee has worked with the Monroe County Department of Transportation on improving traffic safety in front of HHS, is working on bringing back the special police to help with traffic control at large district events and provided updates to district officials during the recent wind storm, helping with important decisions on student and staff safety, just to name a few examples.
“We are so fortunate to have someone as devoted and caring as Joe to contribute to both our school and greater community,” Kosiorek said.