Young students from nineteen area schools experienced live theatre this month. Almost 2500 preK through first graders from Cattaraugus and Allegany counties attended the TheatreWorks USA performances of Pete the Cat. A cool cat named Pete, along with Jimmy and the Biddle family, went on a lively and colorful adventure filled with songs, dance and an insightful message about friendship.
The show at Olean High School on May 10 held added excitement for two local classes, who, thanks to their teachers, learned first-hand about forming new friendships. First grade teachers, Stacey Clayson of Prospect Elementary and Kristin Yehl of Portville Central, and their students were both traveling to Olean High School to watch the TheatreWorks performance. Their students had been communicating as pen-pals, but hadn’t actually met in person. The 35 eager students were able to meet their long-distance friends before the show started. Front row seating was reserved for the special guests. It was exciting to witness the kids’ enthusiasm as they met face-to-face for the first time. Both teachers were equally as enthusiastic and allowed the pen-pals to sit together to watch the show.
Kristin Yehl, from Portville, explained, “It was such a special treat meeting our pen-pals at the play. My kids were over-the-moon excited to meet up, and extremely happy to have seats reserved up front. We really enjoyed the play. They always do a great job keeping the audience entertained and engaged. We’re busy now writing back to our pen-pals because they delivered letters to us at the play.”
TheatreWorks USA is a professional acting company based out of New York City. It is America’s largest and most prolific professional theatre for young audiences.
BOCES Arts In Education, CoSer 403, helps schools enrich the lives of their students by providing opportunities to experience the performing arts. Fillmore Central, Olean High and Arcade Elementary opened their auditoriums to host these performances. For more information about bringing TheatreWorks shows to your area, contact Student Programs at 716-376-8284.
By: Jean Oliverio, CABOCES Student Programming
The second Southern Tier Annual Film Festival (S.T.A.F.F.) was held at the Cuba-Rushford Central School District auditorium on Friday, May 18. Participating schools included Allegany-Limestone, Belfast, Cattaraugus-Little Valley, Cuba Rushford, Fillmore, Olean, and Whitesville.
Administrators, teachers, parents, and students gathered together to watch and vote on student productions to see which district would take home the trophy.
Leading up to the event, Courtney Brisky, a student at Olean High school, created the artwork for posters to be distributed throughout districts across Allegany and Cattaraugus counties to advertise and promote the festival. Student submissions for the festival were due in mid-April and the finalists for the event were decided by graduate students at the University at Buffalo.
Audience members watched forty-three films, voting in a mere six films as finalists.
Finally, the moment came for the audience to choose the winning film and they selected a parody of the popular television sitcom, “The Office.” Students DeAndre Ahrens, Gabby Dutton, Hannah Erwin, Cody Findlay, Dana Hatch, Colston Saulter, Jonah Williamson, and Trenon Zeager took home the trophy for Cuba-Rushford. The trophy was previously housed at Fillmore Central School District and will now spend the year at Cuba-Rushford until next year’s festival.
Teachers have been preparing for this festival throughout the year by attending ongoing professional development offered by Cattaraugus-Allegany BOCES and presented by Dr. David Bruce at the University at Buffalo and Dr. Sunshine Sullivan at Houghton College. At the ongoing events, teachers hone their skills, brainstorm, and develop curriculum for teaching students to craft narratives, investigate the correlation between images and narrative, develop writing and media skills, and tap into creativity.
The first film festival developed out of a week-long summer professional development opportunity offered to English teachers through the region through a partnership by Cattaraugus-Allegany BOCES, Houghton College, and the University at Buffalo. This opportunity culminated with the creation of the Southern Tier Annual Film Festival by teachers because they wanted to offer their students the same kind of enriching experience in the classroom and give students the chance to present their work to a live audience.
“Writing with Video: Rural Voices” is going to be offered this coming year to teachers in every discipline to hone their skills, collaborate, and plan future film festivals. If you have interest in bringing this unique opportunity to your students, look out for the upcoming summer institute as well as for future film festivals.
By: Christina McGee, CA BOCES Learning Resources
Barb Busack is an Olean native whose parents nurtured an appreciation for nature. Whether it be traversing through the jungles in Costa Rica, hiking the west coast of Greenland, or walking in Spain, Barb enjoys nature and learning about different habitats. With digital camera in hand, she captures a variety of images from her adventures and readily shares with others. It is no surprise that Barb’s experiences and energy for life have allowed her to successfully grow CA BOCES’ Environmental Science program, CoSer 416.
Barb meets with approximately 5000 students each year, engaging them hands-on activities that complement classroom curriculum such as studying habitats (see photo), or creating a molecular model of a snowflake (see photo).
Barb is state certified in geology, biology, and elementary education. Every summer, she takes 7th graders from Cuba-Rushford to a three-day camp where they take guided nature walks, learn about snake hunts, identify edible plants, and observe insects and amphibians in the Allegany State Park. She especially likes providing instruction on animals and plants in the region, and the Three Great Cycles (water, soil and air) that sustain our life.
In this photo, Barb is speaking to students about ladybugs. Ladybugs are highly beneficial to gardens since they eat aphids and are an important part of our ecosystem.
Although most of Barb’s interactions are with elementary students, Science on the Seneca is a research program sponsored by Hobart-William Smith College that provides high school students an opportunity to be on a research boat and participate in a plankton drag. Students view plankton under a microscope, conduct a chemical analysis of water, and dredge up soil to analyze its contents (see photo). The results are then added to the college’s findings to assist in ongoing research.
Barb’s creativity and enthusiasm for nature is a true passion and contagious! If you would like to know more about the Environmental Science Program, please contact Amy_Windus@caboces.org at Learning Resources.
By: Cece Fuoco, School Library Coordinator for CA BOCES