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Special Day with Special Olympics

Believe in What We Can Do Together is not just the brand sign used by Keuka College. It was also the focus of the recent collaboration between the College, Penn Yan Central School District, Dundee Central School District, and Special Olympics at the Special Olympics Unified Sports tournament held April 29.

During the third annual event, those seven words were repeated throughout the day, as an embodiment of the spirit of the Special Olympics, where children with various physical and developmental disabilities play sports simply for love of the game—in this case, basketball.

During the tournament, third to sixth graders at the Penn Yan and Dundee school districts met on the basketball courts at the College’s JMW Recreation and Athletics Center and celebrated athletes of all levels and abilities.

Joshua Dority, senior director of programs with Special Olympics, presents a certificate acknowledging the College's role as the host of the event to Mark Petrie, vice president for enrollment management and student development.

Vice President of Enrollment Management and Student Development Mark Petrie welcomed the crowd and shared the motto of the Special Olympics: Let me win, but if I can’t, let me be brave in the attempt. He also received a certificate acknowledging the College’s role as the host of the event.

“It is a special day founded on collaboration and teamwork,” said Chris Paige, director of special programs at Dundee Central School and a 1998 graduate of Keuka College. “Believe in What We Can Do Together is truly what today is all about.”

Sarah Gaffney, head women’s basketball coach, helped coordinate the event.

“This is a great community activity and an opportunity to have people visit our beautiful campus. The men’s and women’s basketball teams were able to help assist the kids, either by offering tips or officiating the games,” she said.

Three unified teams from each school competed, with the Penn Yan students sporting blue or orange jerseys, while the Dundee teams wore their school colors of maroon and white. Each team played two games, while several students with disabilities participated in a skills clinic.

Dundee Middle School seventh graders Korina Bassett and Viviemne Hoad, both members of their school’s basketball team, chose to participate because they believe that by playing sports such as basketball, they can help everyone feel included every day.

“The students from Dundee have multiple handicaps,” said Paige. “Having them participate in a skills clinic allows them to see the game of basketball being played while learning the basics of the sport. They learned dribbling, shooting, passing, and how to make a free throw. We held a parade before we left the school, complete with a bagpiper leading the way. The whole school came out to cheer for these students—it truly felt like an Olympic event, and they felt like rock stars. I am proud to be part of this.”

Students in Keuka College’s DRIVE program were on hand to cheer for their friends. The DRIVE program (diversity, responsibility, inclusion, vision, and experiential learning), is a collaboration between the Yates County Arc, the College and Penn Yan Central School District. The DRIVE program provides 18-21-year-old special education students an opportunity to assimilate into the college environment and explore their personal goals.

At the closing ceremonies, each participant received a medal, with the team from Dundee Middle School edging out Penn Yan Middle School. Both unified teams from Penn Yan Elementary School came out on top. The winners of the skills clinic were also recognized.

Students from Dundee Middle School show off their gold medals

“The efforts between the schools and Keuka College truly celebrate the idea of inclusion and teamwork,” added Paige. “The idea of Special Olympics appeals to me because I am passionate about inclusion, and the three schools really support those with all abilities by including them in everything. An event such as this proves that, and builds meaningful participation in the spirit of sportsmanship.”

CSCY Celebrates 19 Years

By: Genille Gordon ’16

At St Luke's Episcopal Church & Parish House in Branchport Donna Gridley, site host, at left said: “This is the sixth time we've had volunteers come out on CSCY - the help is amazing. They always do a great job and it's fun to work with them. "

On Sunday, president Dr. Jorge L. Díaz-Herrera, welcomed the 274 volunteers for the Celebrate Service…Celebrate Yates (CSCY) day of service. CSCY is a collaborative between the Keuka College and Yates County Chamber of Commerce, with support from local merchants and business sponsors. For the 19th year, CSCY volunteers showed their dedication to their community by assisting non-profit agencies across Yates County. Each year, non-profits, including youth camps, community centers, churches, libraries, fire departments and more, gain a helping hand from Keuka students and members of Yates county community.

Across the county on Sunday, a number of volunteers and non-profit site hosts had good things to say about this annual service event. Here’s a taste of CSCY in their own words:


Michaelle Jenkins ’16 at the Yates Co. Fairgrounds: “I chose to help today because it is a nice thing to help the people in the community where I have gone to school and lived for four years.”

Vincent Meccariello ‘19  at the Catholic Charities House – PYIRA:”I love doing community service because of the impact it has on the community. Anyone can donate their money but it helps when you spend time in the community, cleaning it up, and communicating with the members of the  community that really makes the experience valuable.”

Clay Kinyoun holds CSCY sign

Michele Griffin, one of the coordinators for the National Junior Honor Society of Penn Yan, which brought 45 (yes 45!) volunteers to CSCY, said about 13 students and four chaperones helped at the Branchport FD, while the rest of their group went to help with Outlet Trail cleanup between Elm Street and Cherry Street.

Clay Kinyoun, freshman, said: “It feels good to help out the fire department … and maybe they can do their job a little bit better because their fire department is a little cleaner now.”

Volunteers at Point Neamo

Leah Seager ’17 at the First Presbyterian Church of Penn Yan:

“ It’s a great way to help the community. In my prospective field of social work I will need to know how to be versatile. Social work is all about helping others when they need it and before they need it. Applying that to community service helps me to understand that it’s best to help something or someone before it’s too late.”

Aubrey Clark

Sarah Hauser ‘17 at the Catholic Charities Cramer House “I volunteer because as a leader on Keuka College campus it’s a good thing to do. As a college student it is important to lead by example instead of implementing words. It’s much better to give your time than your money.”

Aubrey Clark ’16 at the Penn Yan Fire Department: “ I love seeing the joy of everyone’s face when we arrive to help them. It’s the right thing to do.”

Clarie Sandstrom in the brown sash

Jen & Bob Mosich, playground ambassadors, welcomed the CSCY volunteers from Keuka College International Club (KCIC) and the Penn Yan Brownie Troop 40801, to Vincents playground in Branchport and said it was the first time many of the international students had ever held a rake.

Claire Sandstrom of Penn Yan, one of the Brownies, age 7, said: “We’re cleaning the playground. We’re learning how to save the community by picking up garbage and cleaning it up. I’m having fun! We’re at a playground and she said maybe after we’re done we can play on it!”

KCIC master’s student Yen Hoang ‘16, “I feel I’m doing a good contribution for the community.”

KCIC student Linh Bui ’18 “It’s really cool. It’s the first time we’re out and helping people, not studying on campus. It’s a great opportunity. ”

By the time the afternoon of service was over, all three KCIC students had “earned” an honorary Brownies badge. They were delighted to pose for photos with their new friends in the local Brownie troop.

Mike Manahan of Penn Yan, a member of the KC Community Associates Board, working at the Bluff Point church, said:

“We’re just getting started here! This is the first time I’ve done CSCY in about 15 years. Back then, I planted trees up behind the Penn Yan Elementary School for almost five years, as I recall. I’m on the Community Associates Board. I heard about CSCY from Kathy Waye and Mike Linehan and I was glad to do it.”

Working at the American Legion, Kenna Kosinski ’18 said: “My friends and I wanted to give back to those in Yates County.”

The coordinators of this annual day of service thank the following local business merchants for helping to underwrite costs of this year’s CSCY event: Eastview Veterinary Clinic, Eaves Family Dental Group, Ferro Corporation, Five Star Bank, Friendly Dodge, Finger Lakes Health, Graphic Connections, Keuka College Office of Community Relations & Events, Keuka College Student Senate, Keuka College Office of Student Affairs, Keuka Spring Vineyards, Knapp and Schlappi, K-Ventures, Longs’ Cards & Books, Lyons National Bank, Penn Yan Moose Lodge #2030, Nothnagle Realtors – Hometown Choice, Penn Yan Community Health, Penn Yan Elks Lodge #1722, Radio Hill Raceway, Phelps Sungas, Tony Collins ’77 Golf Classic, and Stork Insurance Agency.


Myra Hoke Brings Unique Combination of Skills to the Field Period™ and Internship Office

Editor’s Note: This is the sixth in a series of profiles of 2016 Student Employee of the Year nominees. The winner will be announced at a luncheon later this month.

Myra Hoke

When completing senior Myra Hoke’s first student employee evaluation, Assistant Director of Field Period™ and Internships Tara Bloom wrote hiring the social work major was absolutely the right decision.

In fact, when Bloom was reviewing Hoke’s subsequent appraisals, Hoke, who serves as a Field Period™ and internship peer assistant, was scored as “excellent” and “above average” in nearly every category. Even then, Bloom said she saw improvements each term, and those improvements culminated in a perfect evaluation last semester.

“She sets a high bar for my future work study students because she learns quickly, is independent in her work, and constantly bring laughter and smiles to the office,” said Bloom, who nominated Hoke for the award. “I am thankful that luck led her to apply for this position and grateful for all that she has done since.”

For three years, Hoke was responsible for developing the majority of marketing materials related to both the Field Period™ and internship programs. This included displays highlighting students’ internship and international experiences, brochures to promote scholarship opportunities, creation of digital signage to encourage attendance at upcoming programs on campus, and fliers to advertise deadlines and other opportunities.

“The level of autonomy that Myra earned within the office has allowed her to manage the front desk and phone as needed, assist with confidential documents, work one-on-one with students, and develop new ideas for programs and displays,” said Bloom. “There were many times she was so enthralled in a project she stayed late because she hated leaving it incomplete.”

Hoke’s work and dedication to the office is part of why Bloom believes the Field Period™ and internship program has reached the next level. Hoke worked alongside Bloom to elevate the ease of the Field Period™ process by incorporating a number of digital components to the program.

Tara Bloom and Myra Hoke

“Myra worked with me for months to customize the system, provide feedback, develop the contract form and evaluations, and then ultimately launch the change to the entire campus,” said Bloom. “Her knowledge of our program and process, honesty with me from a student’s perspective, and dedication to being a test subject helped bring a 74-year-old experiential learning program into the 21st century.”

Bloom adds that Hoke has also assisted in leading programs including the Field Period™ Exhibition, where she served as the social work facilitator. Typically a role Bloom entrusts only to faculty, Hoke did an “incredible” job.

“The impact Myra has made on this campus, and within the role of Field Period™ and internship peer assistant, has been significant and highly valued, and I would say that I don’t want her to leave,” said Bloom. “But when I think about her now, I see a young professional who has matured and grown into an incredible woman. Myra has contributed to this office with a unique combination of skills and contagious spirit. She truly became a trusted member of our team.”

Haylee Bush Inspires with Quiet Leadership

Editor’s Note: This is the fifth in a series of profiles of 2016 Student Employee of the Year nominees. The winner will be announced at a luncheon later this month.

Haylee Bush

As an outdoor recreation and adventure facilitator, senior Haylee Bush staffs and plans all team-building and adventure programs—nearly 300 by the end of the academic year. She trains her co-workers in experiential programming and challenge course protocol, conducts program assessment, and client outreach. She also helps maintain the challenge course grounds.

But according to Molly McGuigan, adventure program manager, Bush does much more than just show up early, do what’s asked of her, and leave.

“Haylee goes out of her way to incorporate academia and best practices into our programming,” said McGuigan, who nominated Bush for the award. “On multiple occasions, Haylee has approached me with ideologies she’s learning in her classes and actionable ways to use them in a manner that would benefit the program.”

McGuigan credits Bush’s independence and her passion with her success on the job.

“Before coming to ask me for assistance, Haylee conducts research and typically finds the answers on her own,” said McGuigan. “If she thinks something would make a good event, she pulls it together and makes it happens without hesitation.”

In fact, McGuigan said Bush always shows up over-prepared, and goes out of her way to make sure her co-workers are also over-prepared.

“Haylee inspires those around her to take chances and gives them confidence to reach the potential they have, but don’t see,” said McGuigan. “If something goes wrong, Haylee holds herself accountable, because she’s dedicated so much time in shaping her fellow students and the team-building program. She takes the experience as a chance to work harder to improve her skills, and goes out of her way to help others use the mistake as an educational opportunity.”

Haylee Bush and Molly McGuigan

In her four years as a supervisor—three as a facilitator—McGuigan said she has never seen a student who has capabilities close to Bush. Not only has Bush exceeded McGuigan’s expectations by taking on more responsibilities than are required, “Haylee far exceeded the obligations of a facilitator long ago, and is consistently meeting the responsibilities I would have of an assistant manager with ease, and her work is of the utmost quality.

“Haylee naturally exhibits servant leadership, and she leads with kindness,” adds McGuigan. “While she accomplishes things well above her pay grade, it’s the little things that stand out. While others are chatting, she’ll quietly pick up a broom and sweep, causing a chain reaction that results in the whole building being clean in no time.”

And though McGuigan believes Bush would never admit it, she believes people look up to her.

“Every member on my staff looks to Haylee as the standard, the best of the best, and many view her not only as a role model, but as a second manager,” said McGuigan. “With all of the additional responsibilities I’ve taken on in the past four years, I don’t doubt the TeamWorks! program would have suffered a loss in quality if it weren’t for Haylee stepping up and taking on new responsibilities.”

Kaitlyn Talbot is Valuable Member Lightner Library Staff

Editor’s Note: This is the fourth in a series of profiles of 2016 Student Employee of the Year nominees. The winner will be announced at a luncheon later this month.

Kaitlyn Talbot

Junior Kaitlyn Talbot has worked in Lightner Library for three years. In that time, Library Circulation Supervisor Carol Sackett said she has become a valuable part of the library’s workforce.

Part of Talbot’s responsibilities include training new student workers, which Sackett says assists her greatly at the beginning of each academic year.

“She helps ease the transition from year to year with new workers, and has been an inspiration for them,” said Sackett, who nominated Talbot for the award.

Sackett adds that Talbot’s contributions go further than simply training new students in their duties as a library student employee.

“Katie demonstrates a true gesture of friendship and assistance, which helps new students adapt to college life,” said Sackett. “She demands high standards and professionalism from herself and imparts that to others. Her commitment to Keuka College puts demands on her rigorous schedule, which she manages well. Katie puts a lot of pressure on herself to excel in both her studies and her work, and she manages her rigorous schedule well.”

In turn, Sackett adds, Talbot expects her trainees to follow in her footsteps.

“We have a responsibility to provide coverage during evening hours and weekends, which is a necessity seven days a week when classes are in session. Katie’s constant willingness to fill in for others in emergencies is much appreciated,” said Sackett.

Kaitlyn Talbot and Carol Sackett

In addition to her role helping Sackett train new students, Talbot—and all workers—are expected to learn the Library of Congress system and be competent when assisting other patrons. They must understand how to shelve materials, check materials in and out using the library’s computer system, and shelf read to make sure materials are shelved correctly.

“Katie has mastered all of the library techniques necessary to competently run the circulation desk,” said Sackett. “She is cheerful, prompt, professional, and enjoys working with the public.”

Sackett adds Talbot learned her job easily and enjoys working in the library as part of the group.

“She is a natural leader in the library, as well as when working with others,” said Sackett. “Her competence, patience, and motivation all come into play. Her leadership skills, library knowledge, and commitment to all that she does is refreshing. She is always willing to give of her time and talents to help us, has shown excellent judgment, and is a valued student employee. She is truly a special student worthy of recognition.”