‘Service’ close to home

The Dunkirk-Fredonia Rotary teamed with WNY P-TECH to create and install a lending library in Washington Park in the city of Dunkirk. Gathering for the unveiling were, from left, Officer Campese of the City of Dunkirk Police Department; Michele Starwalt Woods, Assistant Governor for Rotary Area 16; Linda Hall, SUNY Fredonia School of Business and Rotarian; Michael Mansfield, Dunkirk City School District Superintendent; Magdalena Dye, Cattaraugus County Bank Branch Manager and Rotarian; Marcus Buchanan, Property Maintenance Board Chairman; Jason Hammond, Dunkirk Public Library Director; Lynn-Marie Contreras of Dunkirk, P-TECH student; Susan Parker, District 4 County Legislator; Heather Banks, P-TECH Administrative Intern; Nick Kauzala of Lake Shore, P-TECH student; Jared Sek of Dunkirk, P-TECH student; Officer Noble of the City of Dunkirk Police Department; Michael Przybycien, City of Dunkirk Deputy Director of Public Works; Nicole Cliff, City of Dunkirk CDBG Administrator; EJ Hayes III, City of Dunkirk Deputy Director of Planning and Development; Wilfred Rosas, Dunkirk City Mayor; William Smock, P-TECH Principal; Diane Hannum, Dunkirk-Fredonia Rotary President; Kevin Bourgoine, E2CCB Director of Workforce Development & CTE.

There’s a new beginning to be found in Washington Park in Dunkirk. There are actually quite a few beginnings, thanks to a collaborative project between the Dunkirk-Fredonia Rotary and WNY P-TECH in Dunkirk.

Recently, the two groups and numerous city and county officials and representatives gathered to unveil a brand-new lending library. The yellow and blue library that sits in the center of the park near the Washington Avenue side was designed and constructed by P-TECH students Rebecca DeYoung of Silver Creek; Lynn-Marie Contreras and Jared Sek of Dunkirk; and Nick Kauzala of Lake Shore.

This unique Little Lending Library is home to Pulitzer Prize novels, New York Times Bestsellers, word search puzzles for children and adults, and even a gift package of Frozen-themed books.

The project stemmed from a call by immediate past Rotary District Governor Frank Adamson, who challenged all Rotary Clubs in District 7090 to install Little Lending Libraries in their communities throughout Western New York and Southern Ontario. At the end of the 2020-21 academic school year, Dunkirk-Fredonia Rotarian Sheila Hahn and her committee placed a Little Free Library at the Wheelock Early Childhood Center in Fredonia.

In addition to the Wheelock outdoor Library, Rotarian Michele Starwalt-Woods and several other Rotarians teamed up with Principal William Smock and Welding Instructor Jeremy Bryant of the WNY P-TECH College & Career Academy in Dunkirk to bring this project to life. Students designed, created blueprints, constructed, and painted the three-tiered Little Lending Library.

“We’ve made a concerted effort this year to pair our hands-on, project-based form of education with local organizations to fulfill a community service need,” Smock said. “I’m proud of our teachers and students who are helping to bring these types of projects to life.”

This year, P-TECH in Dunkirk has teamed with a number of community groups, including area church groups, to bring bunk beds to families in need; Chautauqua Lake High School to create DEC trail kiosks for the local Overland and Rails to Trails; the City of Dunkirk Police Department to 3-D print organizational cabinets; and it’s even working to help design and create a prosthetic arm for a local student.

P-TECH administration and Rotarians worked closely with the city of Dunkirk Deputy Director of Public Works, Michael A. Przybycien, who ensured safe drilling procedures and bolted the lending library into a concrete pad on the inner circle of Washington Park.

The WNY P-TECH STEM College & Career Academy offers a project-based, differentiated learning culture with specialized educators working in tandem with higher education, business partners and component school districts. Students work to earn NYS Regents Diplomas and A.A.S. Degrees in Mechatronics, Welding Technology, or Mechanical Technology with specialization in CADD or machine tool from Jamestown Community College. Students remain enrolled in their home districts for the length of the program while completing their Regents Diplomas and Associate of Applied Science Degrees.

Rotary International is one of the largest service organizations in the world with over 1.4 million members, whose motto is Service Above Self. Chautauqua County has five Rotary Clubs with over 200 combined Rotarians. The Rotary Club of Dunkirk-Fredonia holds in-person and Zoom meetings every Thursday at noon at the SUNY Fredonia Technology Incubator on Central Avenue in Dunkirk. Notable guest speakers discuss current topics and share information at each session led by Rotary Club President Diane Hannum.

WNY P-TECH is currently accepting incoming 9th-grade students for the 2022-23 school year. To learn more and see if it’s the right opportunity, eighth-grade students or their parents should contact William Smock, WNY P-TECH principal, at 672-3144 or email wsmock@e2ccb.org.

To learn more about Rotary in Chautauqua County, Western New York, and Southern Ontario, contact Assistant Governor Starwalt at (716) 467-1769 or email michelestarwaltwoodsrotarian@gmail.com.


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