Superintendent's Weekly News Brief

For the week ending November 18th, 2022

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Giving Thanks

Much of this week's brief is based on the thanks we give within our school community on an ongoing basis.

We begin with student achievements, both academic and athletic, as we concentrate our efforts toward whole-child education. It is gratifying to see our students embrace opportunities toward their futures, and then to be recognized, both nationally and through higher education institutions as being part of and elite group of up-and-coming leaders. This past week's NHS inductees and athletic signers show that they are on the right path.

Beyond that, you will read about a teacher who raised nearly $10,000 for ovarian cancer research in honor of people he is grateful for having in his life.

Our students, always ready to celebrate our veterans and servicemen, pulled off incredible feats of charity, along with an outpouring of gratitude in observance of Veteran's Day. The West Seneca West Football team raised $12,000 for P.U.N.T. pediatric cancer care, and were rewarded for their efforts with a meet & greet with Buffalo Bills tight end Dawson Knox.

We also gave thanks to our school bus drivers and substitute teachers, who all uphold the ever important continuity of learning for our students. And a big thank you also to our Buildings and Grounds Department or all of their work this week, clearing out the snow!

At this time, I wish everyone a warm, safe and happy Thanksgiving as we emerge from an historic snowfall. West Seneca is the city of caring, giving people, and for that, I am grateful!

Matthew Bystrak



West Senior's National Honor Society induction ceremony took place on November 16th in West Senior's auditorium. The ceremony, conducted in most part by present NHS members, was absolutely lovely. Each student was introduced by their school averages, activities, leadership positions in various clubs, and their places of employment. It is amazing how many important endeavors these high-achievers pack into their days! Principal John "Jay" Brinker lauded the students for being the "best students of the best state school system in the nation."

One of the highest honors conferred in high school is a student’s selection to the National Honor Society. Students who are members of the National Honor Society (Amana Chapter) have worked hard to become members and have earned the respect of our faculty and school community. Membership in the Honor Society is also, however, an ongoing commitment to the ideals of the Honor Society; these include Scholarship, Leadership, Character, and Service.

Special thanks go to guest speaker Mrs. Cynthia Batista, WSW Quintet members; Jordan Brown, Aria Dusel, Lee Hamilton, Laci Kuwik, and Maya Reisch; Faculty Advisors, Mrs. Patrica Carlone and Mrs. Jennifer Schubring; and our student NHS Advisory Board of Alexandra Gelinas, Carson Guise, Quinn Hagler, Molly Mulderig, and Danielle Nadeau.

The new inductees (pictured below) are as follows:

Alex Attia - Delaney Banks - Hannah Becker - Carlo Bertero - Anna Blickwedehl - Riley Boody -

Carina Brawdy - Lillian Burkley - Kelly Cosgrove - Sharon Coughlin - Sydney DiPirro - Anna Donovan - William Dove - Nicolas Gates - Madison Giardina - Andrianna Girard - Aryanna Girard - Kathryn Harrington - Annastasia Kuczka - Isabella Kwilos - Bethany Lafferty - Carly Lawrence - Jenna Litwin - Ellen Magnussen - Madeline Mazurek - Lucia Molin - Meghan Mulderig - Jamy Nguyen - Casey Palmer - Nora Piotrowicz - Adison Pollutro - Chloe Przepasniak - Alexis Rauch - Meghan Sainsbury - Daniel Scott - Cora Schwartz - Addyson Smart - Tristan Smith - Olivia Warnes - James Wegelin - Cameron Whittaker - Laney Wild - Kera Wisor - John Zatlukal.

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It's always a great day when our scholar/athletes get scooped up by colleges who see their achievements and want them on board!

Below: Matthew Endich, Houghton University, Division II Soccer. Seen here with parents, Sam and Janine Endich.

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West Senior Teacher Raises Nearly $10,000 for NOCC

On Sunday, November 6th, West Senior Social Studies teacher Richard Joslyn ran in the NYC Marathon to raise awareness about ovarian cancer. This rare disease has tragically impacted three of Joslyn's close family members in less than four years - an aunt and mother-in-law succumbed to the often silent and fatal disease while his mother is thankfully in remission at this time.

Speaking for himself and his wife Molly, Joslyn says, "We would like to do everything we can to prevent other women and their families from going through this experience as it is evident that the signs and symptoms of ovarian cancer are often undetected. This year, I ran the 2022 TCS New York City Marathon to raise awareness and funding for the National Ovarian Cancer Coalition (NOCC) in honor of my mom, mother-in-law, and aunt. I would especially like for my two young daughters to grow up in a world where there is improved diagnosis, treatment, and support of those with the disease that has afflicted both of their grandmothers."

Joslyn would like to thank the many members of the West Seneca Schools community who made contributions to support such a meaningful cause. All together, they helped him and his wife raise nearly $10,000. Colleague Keith Ersing says, "Rich has been a teacher here for over 20 years and I am always impressed by his dedication to his students and our community." In fact, it was Ersing who alerted us to Joslyn's plight turned fundraising feat.

Rich had one request in allowing us to tell his story, and that was to share the following with all who read it. Kudos for your efforts, Rich. Thank you for helping us to spread the word.

Statistics from the American Cancer Society show:

  • In 2022, it is estimated that 19,980 cases of ovarian cancer will be diagnosed

  • An estimated 12,810 women will lose their lives to ovarian cancer

  • The risk of a woman getting ovarian cancer is about 1 in 78 in her lifetime

  • Ovarian cancer ranks fifth in cancer deaths among women and causes more deaths than any other kind of gynecological cancer

  • The five year survival rate is over 93% when ovarian cancer is diagnosed and treated in its earliest stages

  • Only 20% of all cases are found early, meaning in stage I or II; if the cancer is caught in stage III or higher, the survival rate can be as low as 30%

  • There is no reliable screening or diagnostic test for ovarian cancer.

Please consider making a donation to the National Ovarian Cancer Coalition. Dollars raised for the NOCC support national programs and local market initiatives to heighten awareness of the subtle signs and symptoms of ovarian cancer, assist newly-diagnosed patients throughout the country, provide ongoing support to caregivers, and advocate for the advancement of ovarian cancer research.

Pictured below: Rich (L), Rich's mother and daughters giving him a post marathon hug (R).

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Dawson Knox Visits West Senior for P.U.N.T.

This fall the West Seneca West Football team joined other football teams across WNY in a fundraising and character development program, standing behind local families who are facing a pediatric cancer diagnosis. West's student-athletes seized the opportunity to be game changers in our community for kids with cancer.

This season the West Seneca West Football team raised $12,000 for P.U.N.T. One student, Justin Passucci raised the most for a single athlete, $1,970 through 9 donors! On November 16, the team was rewarded for their efforts with a meet & greet with Buffalo Bills tight end Dawson Knox.

The P.U.N.T. Pediatric Cancer Collaborative is an essential nonprofit organization that provides families in WNY facing pediatric cancer with critical programs that offer financial, practical, and emotional support from diagnosis to recovery and even bereavement.

The average out-of-pocket expense cost is over $35,000 over the course of the pediatric cancer treatment. Nearly 50% of families facing pediatric cancer report one parent leaving the workforce to care for their child. One in four families report losing more than 40% of their annual household income as the result of a pediatric cancer diagnosis. Fifteen percent of families will fall from above to below the poverty line due treatment-related financial burden. Data suggests that financial burden lasts well beyond the end of treatment.

P.U.N.T. operates with collaboration and guidance from community hospital partners to ensure that every dollar gets channeled to where it is most needed.

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Kindness Wednesdays at East Middle

The Capstone Experience students in Mrs. Lutman & Mr. Papke's classes have been working alongside students in Mrs. Bonuito & Miss Jankowiak's classes on a kindness T-shirt project. The students collaborated to come up with positive quotes/pictures that they would want on a T-shirt. With guidance from Mrs. Leahy, the students designed and produced their kindness shirts using the cricut machine & press. As shirts are finished, students have been able to wear them to school to help promote positivity on "Kindness Wednesdays" at East Middle.

East Senior: Blood Drive with Veterans in Mind

Students at West Seneca East took a few moments to help honor some of our oldest veterans today. Pictured here (l to r), Cooper Yeomean, Aiden Summers, and Nathan Riley helped make beautiful buttons using materials from their library's makerspace. These will be handed out to residents at the GreenFields Continuing Care Community in Lancaster, NY, as a small gesture of our thanks for their service to our nation.
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Northwood Gives Thanks to Vets

Northwood K to 5 Students made notes, cards, posters and stories to thank and honor our veterans.

They will be delivered to K.I.A ( a local agency that supports and serves local veterans and their families) and sent to the VA from there.

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Allendale Celebrates Veterans

Mrs. Wurl’s class from Allendale made Veteran’s Day projects to celebrate Veteran’s Day.
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Winchester Potter's Nod to the US Navy

All of the students in third grade wrote thank you notes to the sailors on the USS James E.

Williams Destroyer. Mrs. Mack’s nephew will deliver them to the ship when he reports for his

deployment this week. The students wrote jokes and riddles in each letter to bring smiles to the men and women of the United States Navy!

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Music for Our Veterans from WSW

On Friday, November 11, West Senior band director John Blickwedehl and members of the WSW Wind Ensemble performed for the Veteran's Day Celebration at the YMCA on Southwestern Blvd.

About 20 members performed The Star Spangled Banner, a US Armed Forces Medley, and other music for Southtowns YMCA members during our annual Veteran's Day Celebration. YMCA staff and members were delighted to hear these young musicians play. Many expressed much gratitude for their presence there.

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Appreciation Days: Bus Drivers and Substituter Teachers

Here's to two groups of individuals who help make our world go 'round in the WSCSD! We hadn't planned days off for them during this week, but Mother Nature presides!

Thank you, Bus Drivers and Substitute Teachers, for all you do each and every day for our children. You get them to school and back home safely, and uphold their continuity of learning. Kudos!

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Enjoy your Thanksgiving!

Matthew Bystrak