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J.W. Leary Junior High recognized students at year-end assembly

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MASSENA - Students who went above and beyond this school year were recognized during J. William Leary Junior High’s end-of-year award assembly Tuesday afternoon.

“Today we’re honoring junior high students for an assortment of achievements,” Principal Jesse C. Coburn told the students and families who filled the floor seats and bleachers in the school gymnasium.

And it truly was an assortment, ranging from students with the top overall averages and those who had excelled in physical educatio, to students honored for attendance and being members of 85+ Club, to departmental awards in areas such as math, social studies, science, foreign language, band and art.

Among those recognized were the students with the top six averages - Ashna Gupta with 97.17, Abigail Elman with 96.25, Carlie Fowler with 95.75, KC Herne with 94.80, Noah Kormanyos with 94.60 and Blake Lazore with 94.40.

All together, 46 students were honored for “outstanding academic excellence” by maintaining a 90 or higher average and crossed the stage to receive their award from Mr. Coburn.

Thirty-nine students were recognized with attendance awards during the ceremony.

“It’s certainly testimony that if you water the plants they will grow,” Mr. Coburn said.

The school also singled out 122 students who were members of the school’s 85+ Club, those who had maintained an 85 or higher in all their subject areas and had been recommended by their teachers for the club.

Two eighth-graders - Zachary Whitcomb and Abigail Elman - were recognized for the second consecutive year with orchestra awards, Mr. Whitcomb for most improved and Ms. Elman for outstanding achievement. Joining them in receiving awards were seventh-graders Alexa Drumm for most improved and Camryn Buckshot for outstanding achievement.

Ashna Gupta received the Collette Kirkey Music Award, which was established by Richard Kirkey, Brasher Falls, in memory of his wife, and provides $100 to a student.

“It began a couple of years ago through the generosity of a very kind man who wished to honor his wife” who had a love for music, teacher Candise Taylor said.

The award also recognized Collette Kirkey’s “kindness to all those she came in contact with,” Ms. Taylor said.

Twenty-nine students who had been selected as Elks Students of the Month during the 2012-13 school year were also lauded, as were 44 seventh-grade nominees and 51 eighth-grade nominees.

Ms. Taylor, who also serves as the Student of the Month coordinator, said those students were recognized not only for academic excellence, but also their willingness to help out.

“Somebody has noticed this and nominated them. They do their best every day,” she said.

Several other awards were handed out during the hour-and-a-half ceremony, including a presentation by the Student Council President Dante Viskovich to teacher Michael Ashley, who will be retiring at the end of the school year after nearly 30 years of teaching.

For some students sitting in the gymnasium as seventh graders, they would have an opportunity to continue to continue building their junior high memories when they return to the school in September.

The eighth graders, Mr. Coburn said, should hang on to their J.W. Leary memories - the impact the building staff had on them and the impact they leave at the school - as they build new memories as high school freshmen during the 2013-14 school year.

And, Mr. Coburn said, he knew they would do well as they exploited their potential and continued their path toward graduation as members of the Class of 2017.

“I can’t wait to see what you do,” he said.


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