Chautauqua Lake High principal gives annual report to school board

MAYVILLE — Chautauqua Lake High School Principal Josh Liddell began his end-of-year report during a recent school board meeting, showing off a student-constructed Thunderbird mascot made from upcycled material.

“They donated it to the school,” Liddell said. “The kids developed a website talking about upcycling. It’s been well received. Every year, the projects get bigger and better, I think it’s because the amount of machinery we have in the manufacturing club space now and the woodworking tools have been improved.”

Liddell commended the Environmental Science class’ students for educating themselves on the differences between recycling and upcycling, which refers to the reuse of material to create something of higher value than the original parts.

“The EPA estimates that about 75 percent of our total trash can be recycled,” Liddell said. “Presently, we only use about 30 percent of the value of recycled material.”

Superintendent Benjamin Spitzer stated his support to the progress made by the school in technology and manufacturing, summarizing his hopes for the future based on a recent meeting he attended at the Manufacture Technology Institute in Jamestown.

“They talked about stackable certifications that they are starting to embrace with their employees,” Spitzer said. “So an employee as a manufacturer will have an opportunity to go through this certification program. There are four modules to complete and it takes about six months. It requires a lot of online work.”

Spitzer is currently looking into adding this class to the school.

“If it would fly, these kids would go through these modules and walk out the door with this base certification that manufacturers would recognize, putting them in the front of the line for employment,” Spitzer said. “That’s the benefit of this. They’d be marketable.”

Liddell discussed commencement scheduled for Thursday at 7 p.m. “We have 89 seniors graduating,” said Liddell. “Our graduation percentage is really high.”

Liddell reported the results of a career survey indicating a wide range of college choices for graduating students.

“Our graduates have been accepted and will be attending colleges and university such as Alfred University, Niagara, Potsdam, Dayton, Nazareth, John Carol, Mercyhurst, Grove City, University of Rochester, San Houston State, UB, Bowling Green, Damon, University of Hawaii, JCC and Morrisville,” he said. “Usually, when I read that list in the past, you’d get a lot of kids going to Fredonia, JCC and JBC. Now we’re seeing our graduates start to spread out.”

In that same survey, Liddell informed the board that students’ aspirations include everything from farmers, physical therapists, teachers, editors, accountants, biologists, nurses, mechanics, aerospace engineer, bakers, social workers and heavy equipment operators.

“We also have three students that are going into the Army, Navy and Marines,” he said.

The day before graduation, Wednesday morning at 10:45, Chautauqua Lake is trying something new: a senior hallway graduation walkthrough.

“We’re going to walk them through the seventh- and eighth-grade pod all the way down to the elementary pod,” Liddell said. “The elementary kids will get to see the seniors graduating and hopefully can put the pieces together there. We’re going to do the walkthrough and then transition right into our graduation rehearsal.”