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8th Grade Honors Recipients - May 2020

    The annual Veronica E. Connor Middle School 8th Grade Honors Breakfast had been scheduled for May 8th, 2020. Instead of the traditional Honors Breakfast, however, students were honored for maintaining academic averages on the Honor Roll or High Honor Roll for the first three quarters of eighth grade by mail with gift cards supplied by the VCMS PTA and certificates that were sent home.
    This year, students celebrated their success without their peers, their teachers, and administration from the middle school and Grand Island High School. Veronica E. Connor Middle School Principal, Mr. John Fitzpatrick, awarded certificates of academic achievement via mail to the students. Assisting in the “celebration” was Dean of Students, Mrs. Felicia Pallaci, and Mrs. Susan Campbell, 8th Grade Team Leader.
    Unfortunately, Superintendent of Schools, Dr. Brian Graham, Karen Cuddy-Miller, Assistant Superintendent of Curriculum and Instruction, Mr. Michael Lauria, Grand Island High School Principal, as well as Board of Education members were unable to attend due to the school district closure.
    The celebration continued without the traditional gathering, though, and the following students were honored for their hard work and dedication to academic excellence: Jack Benns, Natalie Berg, Emily Birtz, Isabella Boyle, Alma Brown, Alexia Bryant, Julianna Burgin, Gianna Burruano, Victoria Caizza, Brooke Caldwell, Samuel Castner, Douglas Crowley, Kathryn Czyrny, Mariella DiCarlo, Kaitlyn Dudek, Taylor Duscher, Samuel Fabiano, Brandon Farquharson, Nicole Forsey, Gianna Genovese, Jenna Gorton, Giovanni Granelli, Timothy Grant, Hunter Hall, Kayla Harper, Jenna Hecht, Brady Hillman, Tyler Hoock, Alexandra Jensen, Jacob Joseph, Rachel Joseph, Brooke Kenney, Morgan Khadra, Mikaela Kitchen, Kailey Korkuc, Patrick Kruse, Anna Kurtzhalts, Claire LeFevre, Braeden Lenhard, Dominic Leone, Elijah Linenfelser, Kayleigh Lockett, Hollyn Lynch, Kyto Magee, Jillian Manns, Natalle Martineck, Hailey Martinez, Zainab Masoodi, Evan McMann, Addison McNulty, Haylie Mesmer, Tessa Morris, Georgianna Nowak, Brett Nowocien, Kendyl Ode, Cameron Pachura, Kristina Potenza, Aleksander Pyc, Megan Rebmann, Isadora Ristic, Christopher Sadkowski, Adam Schnell, Abbey Schneller, Emma Schoenrock, Pearl Sciolino-Coffey, David Squires, Ryan Stravino, Hannah Susman, Dean Urbaniak, Micaila Valle, Christian Vanini, Gabriella VeRost, Casey Walowitz, George Wenner, Brayden Willats, Luke Winarski, Alexandra Woloszyn, Jaiman Wright, Catherine Zach.

Essential Workers as Career Role Models - May 2020


From Mary Jane Fonte

   Distance Learning required the Grade 8 Family and Consumer Science curriculum to be adapted to meet the times at hand. Rather than writing a persuasive essay on any desirable career and then posting it on the bulletin board outside of of the cafeteria for others to read and learn about, students were asked to research careers currently represented by our brave and dedicated Essential Workers. The results of the research were then incorporated by the students into letters of gratitude shared from medical professionals to cashiers, across the country from Missouri to Virginia.
   Despite their exhaustion and endless hours, many of the essential workers immediately wrote back to our students, answering questions posed of them and expressing their sincere appreciation for the energizing effect of being recognized by today’s teens. Pictured are several essential workers on the job with captions indicating the eighth graders that practiced their ELA skills while thanking heroes of this COVID-19 epidemic. More to follow next week as letters continue to roll in via email.

Shining During Darker Times - May 2020

Kyleigh Ulrich baking cookies for the neighborhood.

Preston Whitfield weeding to make outdoor walks more enjoyable.

Pearl Sciolino-Coffey crafting much needed face masks.
Written by DECA advisor Mary Jane Fonte

   One of the many trials of Distance Learning has been staying connected as a JV DECA chapter, especially when all of our volunteer outlets and venues have been cancelled. Our students only needed to be reminded of their gifts and opportunities to share them, especially now, with the world around us!
   Early in our Social Distancing, I compelled our eighth graders to be an example of all of the positivity in the world that is still there despite what we are going through. Via email, I shared the following challenge with VCMS JV DECA: “I love all of you and am grateful for the time we could spend together personally and virtually over this past year. Are you still trying to shine like a DECA diamond even though we are not at school? Here are some ways that I have thought of: perhaps you have an elderly neighbor that could use someone to take the leaves out of his/her shrubs or pick up the sticks in the yard without having to ask. Perhaps your own family could benefit from someone folding a load of laundry or doing a sink full of dishes just for the beauty of it. Maybe you’d like to bake a batch of cookies and take them to some essential workers on your street who works in a nursing home, hospital, grocery store, or on the streets keeping us safe. There are so many ways to shine.”

Connor Middle School 3rd Quarter High Honor Roll - May 2020

Marissa Aceti, Thomas Alberalla, Gabriella Amato, Alicia Battaglia, Carl Beckley, Aidan Birtz, Alayna Boyle, Maxwell Bronson, Lily Buckingham, Elijah Castner, Olivia Clark, Karina Conta, John Coram, Natalie DeCourcey, Olivia DeCoux, Jackson DeGlopper, Rebekah Dolan, Joseph Donlon, Elizabeth Frisbie, Simran Gill, Jeetpal Gill, Anna Girard, Aiden Golembiewski, Lindsay Greer, Samantha Grover, Chase Gustafson, Carson Hamilton, Camryn Harding, Haley Hillman, Audrey Holler, David Hoover, Paige Horvath, Colin Hurley, Juliette Itzo, Nina Johnson, Alex Joyce, Xander Kisloski, Bree Kolesar, Andrew Kozlowski, Cassidy Kurtzhalts, Anon Leone, Noah Magee, Chase Mango, Ismail Masoodi, Caylee Meyer, Kate Mezhir, Colin Morgan, Jillian Moskala, Natalie Payne, Preston Pickard, Isabella Pilon, Ella Prohaska, Cooper Pyc, Sophia Pyc, Brianna Rejewski, Maya Rizzo, Jasmine Rokicki, Tanureet Saini, Kabir Sandhu, Sienna Sarkees, Ryan Scott, Harini Selvakumar, Caden Sharkey, John Stancliff, Audrey Stockinger, Zachary Talamo, Charlotte Tower, Kennady Ulrich, Riley Uribes, Zachary Vinkle, Brooke Warner, Margaret Weselak, Kyla Wood

Camilla Acquisto, Ghaliya Ahmed, Faith Alford, Lydia Amato, Morgan Andrews, Kailyn Ash, Aubree Battaglia, Andrew Birtz, Rayyan Bukahri, Lily Burke, Matthew Burridge, Samantha Burridge, Isabella Burt Lauren Caizza, Grace Carpenter, Norah Carroll, Nicholas Castellino, Tori Cecere, Alper Celik, Anna Cipollitti, Gavin Clinton, Arianna Conta, Jacob Csicseri Diana DeAngelo, Skye Dreher, Ryan Evans, Noah Evert, Addison Flegal, Madelyn Gallagher, Grace Gramza, Hailey Green, Alyssa Griggs, Ian Hannon, Jacob Hazel, Catherine Hegarty, Hannah Hiscock, Leah Hurley, Rocquelle Hy, Lily Johnson, Logan Kochanowski, Natalie Kopf, Sully Korte, Kyle Kowalczewski, Rahul Leone, Annabelle Linenfelser, Peter Marston, Gianna Masker, Chloe Meinhart, Jolie Mondoux, Jaxen Montana, Keira Murray, Liberty Novak, Liam O'Kell, Alexandra Oldman, Lauren Olendorf, Rylee Pachla, Cora Pankow, Rae Pfalzer, Evan Pickering, Alyssa Pizur, Lorelei Popp, Ryan Rai, Samuel Rastelli, Owen Redfern, Layla Rein, Megan Reynolds, Savannah Samplinski, Jelena Simic, Juliana Smith, Sophia Sobrino, Morgan Szathmary, Abigail Szyprowski, Melaina Taylor, Anthony Vaccaro-Luttrell, Melina Valle, Kaitlyn Wadman, Mikayla Wagner, Zoe Anna Weselak, George Woloszyn, Elizabeth Zherebilov, Cole Zorich

Jack Benns, Alma Brown, Julianna Burgin, Gianna Burruano, Victoria Caizza, Samuel Castner, Douglas Crowley, Kathryn Czyrny, Kaitlyn Dudek, Brandon Farquharson, Gianna Genovese, Giovanni Granelli, Kayla Harper, Brady Hillman, Tyler Hoock, Alexandra Jensen, Grace Jones, Jacob Joseph, Rachel Joseph, Kailey Korkuc, Patrick Kruse, Elijah Linenfelser, Kaleigh Lockett, Kyto Magee, Jillian Manns, Zainab Masoodi, Evan McMann, Addison McNulty, Haylie Mesmer, Tessa Morris, Georgiana Nowak, Kendyl Ode, Cameron Pachura, Kristina Potenza, Megan Rebmann, Isidora Ristic, Adam Schnell, Emma Schoenrock, Ryan Stravino, Hannah Susman, Micaila Valle, Christian Vanini, Gabriella VeRost, Casey Walowitz, George Wenner, Brayden Willats, Alexandra Woloszyn, Catherine Zach .

Connor Middle School 3rd Quarter Honor Roll - May 2020

Muthanna Ahmed, Xander Ambrose, Isabella Anton, Andrea Mikayla Apon, Jacob Belous, Jillian Bland, Mya Brandon, Max Broeker, Jacob Brzyski, Kenadi Butcher, Faiz Cheema, John Chiarenza, Evan, Crockett, Brooklyn Drayer, Britlin Fanning, Madelyn Forbes, Noah Franco, Nicolas Genovese, Chase Giambra, Calli Harding, Carson Hinkle, Elijah Huber, Joseph Jung, Michael Lewandowski, Sarah Logar, Adrianna Marinucci, Natalie Marshall, Henry Maziarz, Chase McGuire, Payton McNamara, Connor Muehlbauer, Jonathan Neville, Dominic Nucci, Miranda Page, Andrew Pyc, Owen Rosetti, Allie Rumsey, Rose, Sergakis-McDaniel, Talia Simone, Grace Simpson, Reilly Smith, Janelle Spiesz, Trenton Tyrrell, Hayden West, Teagan Willats, Alexis Williams, Madeline Williams

Gianni Anello, Jaelynn Bolock, Zachary Bridenbaker, Cailin Budnik, Savannah Bukowski, Sophie Cane, Giana Caruana, Dylan Castiglia, Emma Chorey, Brooke Christensen, Abigail Coombs, Antonia Cotroneo, Samantha Crist, Bryan Decker, Jaskirat Dhillon, Isabela Dombrowski, Hailey Donovan, Samantha Fraser, Nico Fratello, Hayden Garey, Jacob Hamilton, Sydney Hamilton, Luke Hutton, Isabella Jayme, Jierui Jiao, Grace Kucinski, Richard Kwarciak, Michael Leone, Nicholas Lindsay, Nico Macrides,, Natalie Malush, Matthew Martin, Joshua McAuliffe, Madison McGowan, Hayden Miller, Madison Mondoux, Brady Moran, JacK Nevans, Leah Nickerson, Alejandro Perez, Emma Richards, Adelyn Roach, Jackson Schmidt, Oliver Schmidt, Gianna Simone, Avery Smith, Shauna Stevens, Chloe Terrana, Carly Tilkins, Pavneet Toor, Bridgette Warner, Alexandra Watt, Connor Weber, Olivia Wenner, Brody Winarski

Natalie Berg, Emily Birtz, Isabella Boyle, Owen Brockvescio, Alexia Bryant, Lorenzo Buscaglia, Brooke Caldwell, Barbara Chaves Moutinho, Lilliana Conway, Ryan Coutu, Mariella DiCarlo, Audrey Dickinson, Taylor Duscher, Meredith Ehlenfield, Samuel Fabiano, Nicole Forsey, Jenna Gorton, Timothy Grant, Katelyn Grant, Kyle Haines, Hunter Hall, Jenna Hecht, Joshua Hoover, Perrin Huff, Nicholas Ingalsbe, Gianna Karnath, Brooke Kenney, Morgan Khadra, Mikaela Kitchen, Anna Kurtzhalts, Claire LeFevre, Braeden Lenhard, Dominic Leone, Cayden Luciano, Hollyn Lynch, Sarah Lysarz, Eszter Magyari, Ava Marsala, Luecas Martin, Natalle Martineck, Hailey Martinez, LilyBeth Mazur, Brett Nowocien, Nicholas Pilon, Aleksander Pyc, Torin Roth, Christopher Sadkowski, Emma Santorio, Abbey Schneller, Pearl Sciolino-Coffey, Avery Snyder, David Squires, Charlotte Steck, Ella Steinwandel, Sophia Todaro, Kyleigh Ulrich, Dean Urbaniak, John Vinkle, Luke Winarski, Jaimen Wright, Mackenzie Wright, Ella Zaremski

Connor Middle School 3rd Quarter Merit Roll - May 2020

Cleopatra Basiliko, Jaiden Bush, Matthew Capage, Rylee Carpin, Bella Duscher, Joshua Flynn, Logan Flynn, Aiden Galligan, Sophia Gonzalez, Anna Gormady, Dominick Hanel, Aubrey Harper, Abrielle Hickok, Tre'Shawn Jennings, Sarabjot Kaur, Nikolas Korte, Lucia Lanthier, Ella Littere, Taryn Lysek, Moses McMurray, Kieran, Meisel, Gianna Misuraca, Caden Moran, Dylan Neal, Robert Osuchowski, Jack Pachla, Gabriel Pagacz, Patrick Quick, Ryan Reynolds, Noah Rogers, Jack Roth, Brendan Roulley, Sami Saleh, Alayna Schwinn, Brady Shearer, Harvinder Singh, Sabrina Steffans, Kaya Swart, Ella Szczepankiewicz, Alexander Woodring, Kayla Wylie

Olivia Barraclough, Jake Benton, Emma Beringer, Max Black, Sophia Bobbitt, Jacob Bonafede, Anthony Borzillieri, Bryson Boyle, Amanda Carriero, Deon Cleveland, Ryan Cowe, Joshua DeLong, Teresa Dudziak, Danika Fiebelkorn, Gabriella Guy, Luke Gworek, Hanna Hurley, Parker Inman, Austin Irons, Johanna Jackson, Chase Judd, Jayden Kleinschmidt, Sarah Lehan, Samantha Mesmer, Cameron Miano, Giana Moretta, Charlotte Nowak, Colby Okelberry, Arabella Pagoada, Addyson Peck, Jackx Pendola, Matthew Pomaranski, Celine Rizek, Mavrick Rumsey, Cameron Sargent, Ryan Sharp, Scarlett Sniadecki, Anthony Soluri, Christopher Swain, Asher Wright

Sarah Ahmed, Gurmehar Arora, Brianna Barr, Galileo Beutler, Andrew Bongiovanni, Avery Burroughs, Sabrina Butcher, Ella Campas, Emilie Carrig, Juliet Chadima, Nathan Cioppa, Jacob Clark, Emma Coburn, Tessa DeMartin, Bennett Dulniak, Tyler Dworak, Ian Greer, Hannah Higuera, Cameran Hoffman, Roman Horvath, Ethan Hovey, Robert Ingalsbe, Mithil Kara, Madison Keen, Raven Khreis, Nikolas Massaro, Olivia Mayer, Nathan Meyers, Madalyn Montes, William Norton, Dylan Novak, Cooper O'Leary, Sierra Palumbo, Aidan Pax, Victoriana Pirela, Adia Porter, Gianna Potts, Dominic Pullano, Mavis Riley, Audrey Satterlee, Justin Shores, Austin Shores, Robert Simon, Dylan Simpson, Andrew Smith, Seth Steinkirchner, Blake Thauer, Annie Weng, Preston Whitfield, Ta'miah Wilkes, Joseph Wynne, Gerald Zientara

VCMS Morning Announcements - March 2020

    March 19, 2020 - View the morning announcement from Mr. John Fitzpatrick the building principal of Veronica E. Connor Middle School. YouTube Video.

VCMS Girls Modified Basketball Recap - March 2020

Front row: C Steck, A Higman, E Steinwandel, R Joseph, M Reynolds.
Middle row: H Lee, S Ennis, M Gallagher, A Coombs, S Dreher
Back row: Coach A Meaney, L Amato, K Ash, L Burke, Captain T Wilkes, AC M McGowan
Click photo for larger view.
Written by Coach Arthur Meaney.

    The 2020 version of Grand Island girls’ modified basketball showed tremendous growth over the course of the season. Yes, they posted a winning record, but what was truly noticeable was the improvement seen from the first game until the last in terms of how they played individually and as a team. The girls demonstrated a deeper understanding of the nuances of the game that can only benefit them as they move along in their basketball doings.
   The seventh graders were a large part of a team because there were only four returners from the previous season. They will be a formidable force over the course of the next five years of their GI playing days. Megan Reynolds, Abigail Coombs, and Lydia Amato showed tremendous improvement from Day One to the last day. Their efforts in practice and dedication to improving what they were doing on a daily basis made them better basketball players.
   Righthander Lydia Amato’s left-handed layup was a sure bet by February and would rival most lefthanded players’ layups. Two other seventh graders who brought some skill to the floor were Ailish Higman and Skye Dreher. Ailish became a very solid defender who would hit the floor for a loose ball without thinking twice. She was a very supportive team player who shows promise for next year. Skye led the team in free throw percentage (100%) ~ cannot get much better than that. Skye has a smooth mid-range jump shot that is very accurate. It will be important to get her open next season.
   Kailyn Ash was a very important player for us this year. She missed a few games and we spent time trying to see if guard or forward would be best for her skills. She had a nice touch around the basket and has some height as well. She will be an important piece next season. Other important pieces will be two strong forwards ~ Lily Burke and Assistant Captain Madison McGowan. Both Lily and Madison had strong seasons and played off each other very well. Against zones, Lily did a solid job of reading defenses and taking what they gave her for the best of the team, often feeding Madison on the block. Both will be outstanding rebounders next season.
   The team leader in minutes played was Madelyn Gallagher. The defensive awareness that she brought over from soccer was a welcomed addition. “Big G” was instrumental in helping calm things on the floor when it looked a little scraggly and could be counted on to make solid interior passes. This group overall shows great promise for their eighth grade year.
    And, finally, the eighth graders. These six young ladies will be taking their skills up to the high school next year and expect to compete for important JV roles. Two eighth grade “newbies” were Hailey Lee and Samantha Ennis. Hailey improved over the course of the season, becoming more adept at rebounding and blocking out. Hailey played whistle to whistle, even in practice. Sam’s role grew as the season progressed, a great example of “keep working and you’ll get noticed”. She took on many of the toughest “bigs” to defend and did it very well without committing fouls. She became very reliable on the defensive side of the ball.
   Ella Steinwandel was one of a trio of eighth grade guards who started every game and led the direction of the team. Ella was well-versed in the offense and could help out the seventh graders in practice. She loves basketball and is very dedicated to doing well in the sport. JV will be happy to have another “all in” player on their roster. Rachel Joseph is another gym rat who was often one of the first to practice so she could work on her skills before practice actually had begun. “RJ” has a very smooth mid-range jumper, but her crossover and spin moves are what created space for her and her teammates this past season. She will be of great help to the program next year.
    Of course, let’s not forget Charlotte Steck ~ in the mold of Koz II (current JV player, former member of the mod squad), Charlotte spent every extra minute of practice (water breaks, rest, cleanup time) launching threes. Her efforts were rewarded in a number of games and the three is often a dagger in the heart of a defense. One game worth mentioning was a 41-29 victory over Lockport at Lockport. Down by quite a bit, Charlotte put us on her back and woke us up with a three and a long two. In the end, Charlotte had put up 17 in her strongest performance of the year. She will be a force at JV as she continues to hone her skills.
   And, finally finally, Ta’Miah Wilkes. Ta’Miah was our captain, leading scorer, leading rebounder, and MVP. Ta’Miah is a player to account for when you are on defense. She usually has solid positioning under the boards and has a very accurate shot to about 15 feet. Ta’Miah’s personality is infectious and often resonates throughout the team. She enjoys having some laughs but also takes her basketball development seriously. Ta’Miah cares about the game and for that reason we will miss her at modified as she heads off to the high school to do her part for Grand Island Girls’ Basketball.
    A special thanks goes out to all the families of the players for their dedication and support, in particular Steve Steck, scorekeeper par excellence. Keep up the good work, cash money ~

VCMS Student Artist of the Month - February 2020

Pictured is Kayleigh Lockett with a work recently completed in class.

   Kaleigh Lockett, an accelerated eighth grade student at Veronica Connor Middle School has been selected as the K-12 Artist of the Month for February, 2020. Says Kayleigh; “art is important because it is used to express feelings and emotions. It is much easier doing that with art than with words.”
   Kayleigh is inspired to make art by the world around her. Nature, animals and looking at the work of other artists are frequent sources of inspiration for this student. Her favorite style of art is Realism, a type of art in which Kayleigh is particularly adept. She is depicted here with her pastel hummingbird painting, realistically rendered and inspired by the artist Georgia O’Keeffe.
   Kayleigh’s art teacher says that she is an exceptional student who always strives to do her very best. Her work depicts a great deal of thoughtful preparation, precision and a meticulous command of media. While her favorite medium is pencil, this student displays command of every medium that she’s explored in class.
   Coming from a family, where mom, dad and grandma are all artistic as well, has allowed Kayleigh to explore the arts through family trips to museums and showered her with support, guidance and encouragement in all of her artistic endeavors. Her favorite art memory was made as she and her family recently visited the Metropolitan Museum of art in New York City. While she is not planning an art career at this point, Kayleigh is certain that it is something she will pursue and a way of viewing the world that will always remain important to her. The art department is proud of Kayleigh’s exceptional accomplishments and is pleased to select her as this month’s K-12 Artist of the Month.

VCMS Hosts Leadership Conference - January 2020

Approximately 400 students participated at the WEB Conference.

The Grand Island participants.

   Veronica E. Connor Middle School hosted a WEB student leadership conference for over 400 Western New York students on Tuesday, January 28th. WEB stands for Where Everyone Belongs. It is a mentor program that pairs eighth graders up with sixth graders at the start of middle school, or seventh graders with fifth graders in buildings that serve those grades. The WEB leaders help the younger students transition into middle school. The goal of the conference is to allow area WEB leaders to share their experiences regarding their WEB program, discuss different ideas from different schools, and bring those ideas back to their own programs. In addition, the WEB leaders will be able to build positive relationships with their peers.
    “We are excited for the WEB leaders to meet other like-minded WEB leaders from the area who are determined to be positive role models for others in their school,” noted Jillian Stapleton, one of the WEB coordinators at Connor Middle School. “These individuals are dedicated to creating a culture of kindness in the buildings.” Districts/middle schools who will be sending students to the leadership conference include Grand Island, Starpoint, Amherst, Cleveland Hill, Casey Middle, Hoover Middle, Franklin Middle, Niagara Wheatfield and Lewiston-Porter.
    As part of the WEB program, younger students are introduced to their WEB mentors during an orientation at the start of school. Throughout the school year, WEB leaders meet with their students to teach lessons on things like positive attitude, cooperation, rumors, sportsmanship, study skills, stress management, etc. In addition, they have social gatherings throughout the year. “It's powerful to see all the great WEB leaders in one room and see the impact they are making,” stated Deanna Przepiora, a WEB coordinator at Connor Middle School. “These kids are all difference makers in their school.” The leadership conference took place in the Grand Island High School Main Gym from 9:45 a.m. to 1:15 p.m.

VCMS Interact Club Luggage Drive - January 2020

    Veronica Connor Middle School Interact Club is having the "Carry On" luggage drive to benefit children in foster care. Please help by donating gently used or new luggage, duffle bags, backpacks and toiletry items. Donations will be accepted at the middle school and Nickel City Hardwood in the Mighty Taco Plaza until Friday, February 14th.