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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’

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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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Watertown City School District looking to combat student vaping in restrooms

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WATERTOWN — During the Watertown City School District’s Board of Education meeting Tuesday evening, Superintendent Patricia B. LaBarr explained to those gathered that there has been a noticeable problem with students vaping in school restrooms. To combat this, the district is tightening things up when it comes to some restroom access.

While mostly relevant to the high school, Mrs. LaBarr said she has been working with administrators at both the high school and middle school, along with school resource officers.

“We have some serious concerns with the amount of vaping that’s been going on at the high school and as a result of that, some of the activities that are happening within the bathrooms,” Mrs. LaBarr said. “Mainly it was a high school conversation, but we want to make sure if anything is going on in the middle school that we address that as well.”

Mrs. LaBarr said students are going to the bathrooms to vape — sometimes up to four students go into one stall and shut the door, leaving other students that need to use the restroom unable to do so.

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North country school districts welcome students back for first day of school

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WATERTOWN — Standing hand in hand with her mother outside of the school she will most likely attend next year, a young girl anxiously waits for her older sister with a bouquet of flowers in hand ready to greet her Tuesday afternoon.

When Aubrey Walker, 4, spotted her older sister Alayna, 6, a first-grader at Starbuck Elementary School, she couldn’t contain her excitement, running down the path to give her a hug and the flowers she had waiting for her. Having been homeschooled as a kindergartener, this was Alayna’s first day away at school, so she was just as excited to see her little sister when the day was over. Clad in a white, sparkly sweater and proudly holding her flower bouquet, she held on to her sister for a bit, smiling all the while.

Their mother, Morgan J. Walker, said Alayna was excited, albeit a little nervous heading into her first day. She noted that she had the same nerves sending her little girl to school, but she was excited that her daughter was able to go and hopes that the year will turn out well.

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