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Watertown High students treated to preview performance of Case Middle School’s “Frozen Jr.”

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Students at Watertown High School were treated to a sneak preview Wednesday of an upcoming performance of a musical presented by the Case Middle School Music Department.

After classes, the high schoolers gathered in the auditorium to watch “Frozen Jr.,” a lively show based on the 2018 Broadway musical “Frozen.” The musical itself is a stage adaptation of a popular animated Disney film of the same name.

“Frozen Jr.” features all of the memorable songs from the 2013 animated film, with music and lyrics by Kristen Anderson-Lopez and Robert Lopez, plus five new songs written for the Broadway production. It also expands upon the emotional relationship and journey between Princesses Anna and Elsa.

When faced with danger, the two discover their hidden potential and the powerful bond of sisterhood.

The musical will be staged at 7 p.m. Friday and Saturday at the Watertown High School auditorium. Tickets are $6, available at the Case Middle School main office or at the door for both performances.

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Students Surprise Nigerian Security Guard Who’s ‘Part of the Family’ with a Trip Home–Raising $30K

in Uncategorized 437 views

This week CBS News introduced the world to James, a Nigerian security guard at Providence College, who was recently given a monumental shock by the students he protects.

Working 4 overnight shifts a week, student organizer Brandon Reichart said James greets everybody with a smile and always welcomes conversations no matter what time of the night.

But for the last five years, James has not been able to return to his homeland to visit his family, and so Brandon organized a GoFundMe to secretly arrange a trip back to Nigeria with pocket money included.

The GoFundMe page said that all donations will go first to buy James a ticket, then to pay for his food and lodging, but the donations kept on coming until the fundraiser was halted at $30,000.

Then came the fun part, when Brandon and some of his fellow students entered James’ office and surprised him with the ticket.

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Watertown City School District holds winter celebration for students and teachers

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Watertown City School District students at Case Middle School were busy on the final day before holiday break decorating, painting and making holiday cookies.

Students got to choose which activities they wanted to do with what interests them — watch a movie, do crafts, use the weight room, play basketball and more.

There were three transitional periods with the first one starting around 12:30 p.m. Thursday.

Some of the events were holiday themed, others were not.

Case Principal Erin King said that part of the reason it’s important to have this break from the traditional school day is because December can be a long month for students.

“We really like kids to be able to take a break from that normal schedule for them,” she said. “A lot of people look forward to the holidays, but not necessarily everybody. And some of our kids don’t necessarily look forward to the vacation as much as everybody does, and so this is just kind of a way for our family to take a break and enjoy one another before we head off into that holiday.”

She said some children enjoy “the safety of school” with their friends and the staff at Case Middle School.

“It’s difficult for them to be away from the safety of school and the community of school,” she said. “This is a nice way to celebrate together in a non-traditional school setting way.”

King said they have also done a holiday sale for the kids, in which kids can use the “Case Cash” that they earn through good behavior.

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University Creates 2-Year Debt-Free College Degree to Help Underserved Students

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Butler University of Indianapolis has created a 2-year debt-free college to offer an associate’s degree aimed at helping prospective first-generation laureates get access to higher education.

Graduates of the facility can then continue their path to a bachelor’s degree for a flat rate of $10,000, a quarter of the current normal tuition of $45,000.

“We were founded in 1855 by an abolitionist,” President James Danko told CNN. “We were not living out our founder’s dream… that set in motion a lot of conversation and discussion about how you would deliver a degree? What would the type of student look like?”

Butler University is a private liberal arts college in Indiana, and the new college and programs will be funded by endowments and donations, and accessible to students in low-income housing areas and those who would be the first in their family history to go to college.

It was advised by the Come to Believe Network, an organization that helps design affordable degree programs for 4-year universities like Butler which has helped create similar programs at Loyola University in Chicago and the University of St. Thomas, in Minneapolis.

Danko said that Butler will begin enrolling students under the affordable associate’s program next year at their Midtown Indianapolis campus for the 2025 fall semester.

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Detroit Students Build a House–Then Deliver the Entire Structure For Low Income Housing

in Housing 216 views

It was a surreal sight for Pedro Rivera, a whole house was on the back of a trailer driving down a Detroit suburban road; a house that he and his friends had built with their own hands.

“All my friends, we all looked at each other like, ‘Wow, this is what we did,’” Rivera, a student at Oakland Schools Technical Campus-Northeast, told 7 Action News.

At the technical campus, students study to become specialists in carpentry, additions, or electrical work, but school instructor Aaron Swett who led the project to build a 1,368-square-foot home from the ground up, explained that it would help introduce the students to the whole gamut of construction trades.

The program, which includes working alongside professional tradesmen, prepares the students for their own careers in construction and carpentry, many of which are sorely needed in the US.

But it does something else as well, it provides a slow but steady supply of low and middle-income housing units for Michigan, a state that lacks them.

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Students’ “canstruction” competition aims to reduce food insecurity

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The LEAD Council of the Northern New York Community Foundation is inviting students at tri-county schools and organized student groups in Jefferson, Lewis and St. Lawrence counties to participate in a project to help reduce food insecurity across the north country.

“Canstruction for Northern New York” is a group activity to encourage students to team up and construct a fun, themed structure made of donated canned food and other nonperishable food items or hygiene products to support a local food pantry or backpack program of their choice.

Joining the competition is through an online registration at bit.ly/CanstructionRegistration. Teams must register to participate by March 27 and select the local food pantry or backpack program that will receive team donations.

According to the foundation, participating students will have a chance to support essential needs for local residents while learning values of community philanthropy and building school spirit around a project that will make a meaningful difference in the lives of others. Overall, the project aims to raise awareness about hunger and food insecurity in our communities. The initiative will empower students to collaborate and inspire their school and community to join in the effort.

Examples of canstruction projects may be found on the project web page at bit.ly/CanstructionNNY. Canstruction teams will compete for one of three chances to present a $500 grant to a nonprofit they care about most. A winning team will be named in the following three categories: “Top Collection Award” (most items donated/collected), “Best Design Award,” and “People’s Choice Award” (selected by an online vote).

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Watertown High School teacher helped by students after February fall

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Normally in a school setting, a teacher is helping out students.

But on Feb. 15, after Watertown High School English teacher Allison M. Gilliam took a fall before morning announcements and hit her head on the corner of her desk, students jumped in to help her, spearheaded by 18-year-old senior Elijah B. Kekuewa and another student.

Elijah said he sits next to her desk, and Ms. Gilliam walked into the room and noticed that her television, which shows the clock and rotating messages of what is going on in the school, was already on.

He said her foot caught and she tripped. She fell and hit her face on the corner of the desk.

“I tried to ask her if she was OK and she said that she had a headache, so I went around her desk and I just dialed in the number and called down to the office and asked for help,” Elijah said.

When he called the office, he said that he told the office that Ms. Gilliam had fallen, and the office said they would send a staff member up to help. They then called a code blue.

Ms. Gilliam was surprised when they called a code blue.

“I literally said, ‘I’m not dying, I just need a nurse, just somebody to help me because I think I’m bleeding,'” she said.

He said when he noticed Ms. Gilliam was in distress, he got up and helped.

“I got up like I expect any person to do, and decided to help her,” he said. “It was just kind of like first instinct.”

Elijah said he was able to remain calm because of what he has been forced to deal with in his life.

“My past has a huge reflection on who I am today as a person,” he said. “The past me wouldn’t have reacted like that … truthfully I would’ve been shook.”

He said he was worried about his teacher, to the point where he asked Principal Chad Fairchild if he knew how Ms. Gilliam was doing, because he wanted to visit her if she was still in the hospital.

Another teacher said she had heard from Ms. Gilliam and that she wanted to pass on the word that she was OK and she’d be back in school the next day.

“All I remember telling myself is, ‘Wow, this lady’s a god, a goddess,'” Elijah said.

“I think (Ms. Gilliam) sees the best in me and wants the best for me, and she sees that I’m pushing myself so hard to try to get out of school this year to graduate, that she’s just trying to be my support,” he added.

Elijah said he felt like the interaction brought them closer, although he said he’s always liked Ms. Gilliam because she is energetic.

Ms. Gilliam said she has an orbital fracture of the right eye, and had a concussion. She was taken to the hospital by Assistant Principal Leslie Atkinson, and released that day.

“The fact that these kiddos remained very calm, and poised, and knew exactly what to do and did it without any sort of practice, or anything like that, that they had the presence and the mindset to do what they did, just blew me away,” Ms. Gilliam said. “It made me incredibly grateful, and thankful that I have the students that I have, because it showed me that these kids actually care about me as their teacher, that they were incredibly serious about making sure I got assistance and help.”

Ms. Gilliam said it was a team effort by her first-period class that was spearheaded by Elijah and another student.

One student ran out in the hallway to get help, Elijah called down to the office, another student made sure no one was recording a video or taking pictures, and students were coming up to her asking her if she was OK.

Ms. Gilliam said that if the students weren’t there, she probably would’ve just gotten help for herself.

“There is almost zero chance that that would’ve happened with this group of kids because there were others in here that would have jumped into action had those two not,” she said. “The fact that it was those two, doesn’t shock me because the other student I’m also very close with … I know that there would’ve been other students in the class that would’ve done that.”

She said that if it was an off-period where she doesn’t have students, she would’ve called herself.

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Tri-county school closings

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WATERTOWN — Schools across the north country are beginning to announce they will be closed Friday in anticipation of an intense lake-effect snowstorm that is expected to bury the area with snow.

As of 7:30 p.m. Thursday, the following tri-county schools have announced closings: Alexandria Central School; Bohlen Technical Center; Carthage Central School District; Faith Fellowship Christian School; General Brown School District; Immaculate Heart Central; Indian River Central School District; LaFargeville Central School District; Lyme Central School District; Sackets Harbor Central School District; South Jefferson Central School District; and Watertown City School District.

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Watertown High School graduates ‘the kind of young people you want to be around’

in School 519 views

WATERTOWN — “Resilient,” “thoughtful” and “mature” are some of the words Watertown High School Principal Chad A. Fairchild used to describe this year’s graduating class.

The newest Watertown alumni walked across the stage Friday and received their high school diplomas.

“They’re the kind of young people you enjoy being around,” Mr. Fairchild said. “They make you very proud, they make us very proud, they make their community very proud.”

The Watertown City School District presented diplomas to 168 students. The evening began with a parade that culminated at the high school football field.

Toward the back of the turf, students got out of their vehicles and made their way onto the turf via a red carpet.

Graduate Emma L. Shoemaker said she was “pretty excited” and “mostly nervous,” about graduation.

“I’m not ready to ‘adult’ yet,” she said.

She is looking to become a photographer and will begin selling her photography online and apply to colleges.

Before graduating, Emma spent time in Atlanta for the SkillsUSA Photography challenge, after winning a New York competition. She returned Friday morning.

She became interested in photography after her father bought her first camera in ninth grade, which led to her taking visual communications through the Board of Cooperative Educational Services.

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Jefferson Community College to hold 58th spring commencement Friday

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WATERTOWN — Jefferson Community College will resume in-person commencement exercises and will hold its 58th spring commencement ceremony at 7 p.m. Friday in the McVean Student Center gymnasium. Approximately 329 students are candidates for December 2021, May 2022 and August 2022 graduation with nearly 335 diplomas and certificates to be conferred.

This year, Maj. Gen. Milford H. Beagle Jr., commander of the 10th Mountain Division at Fort Drum, will give the keynote address.

Tickets are required for admission to the gymnasium. Each student participating in the ceremony has received up to four tickets for guest seating in the bleachers. Tickets are not required for entrance to the Sturtz Theater where the ceremony will be simulcast. In addition, the commencement exercises will be video-streamed on the college’s website beginning at 6:45 p.m.

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