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Senior class brings holiday magic to Harry Hoag Elementary

The students in Lisa Trembley’s English 12 class worked for weeks to prepare for the visit.

group picture of senior class members with kindergarten students and Santa Claus in an elementary classroom
To see all photos of Santa and the senior class “elves” visiting the kindergartners, visit our Facebook page at

The Fort Plain Jr./Sr. High School Class of 2020 collaborated with Santa Claus to bring some holiday magic to the kindergarten classes at Harry Hoag Elementary. The kindergartners were visited by Santa and the senior class on Dec. 18 to give the children an opportunity to share their wishes, listen to stories and receive some goodies.

Each child got to visit with Santa and tell him what they wanted for Christmas. While they waited to tell Santa their Christmas wishes, they listened to the seniors read “How The Grinch Stole Christmas.” The class took Polaroid pictures of each student with Santa and created ornaments the children could share with their parents.

The students in Lisa Trembley’s English 12 class worked for weeks to prepare for the visit. The seniors consulted with Santa and helped him reply to each kindergartner’s letter to him, and they read the replies to the students after they met with Santa. The seniors also prepared for the visit by creating ornaments and goody bags and baking cookies for every kindergartner.

“The Class of 2020 had so much fun visiting with the elementary children, especially reading their letters to them from Santa!” Trembley said. “Merry Christmas to all!”

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High schoolers collect 750 canned goods for donation

Friendly competition benefited community agency

group of high school students sit in a school foyer with boxes of canned goods

The Fort Plain Jr./Sr. High School collected more than 750 canned goods as part of the grade-level competitions for Spirit Week this week. Student Council members delivered the donation to the Fulmont Community Action Agency, Inc.‘s center in Fort Plain.

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Flexible seating gives kindergartners the power of choice

Students decide which seat is best to help them get the most work done.

kindergarten student sits on a bean bag while a classmate is seated on a counter
Kindergartners Ethan Johnson, right, and Maria Hisert chose a counter and a beanbag, respectively, for their seats during class. Their teacher Tracey Conover utilizes flexible seating in her classroom, letting students decide which seat is best to help them get the most work done.

You won’t find a seating chart or traditional rows of desks and chairs in Tracey Conover’s kindergarten classroom at the Harry Hoag Elementary School. Instead, at any given moment, students could be sitting on stools, bobbing on exercise balls, lounging on bean bags, leaning in scoop chairs on the floor, or even kneeling at tables. 

kindergarten student kneels at a table while playing with Play-Doh
Jadiel Mendez-Perez loves the kneeling table.

It’s known in education circles as flexible seating. It’s a seating arrangement that allows students to sit where they choose, offering a wide array of options to work at different heights and in different positions. 

“We transition multiple times during the day, and each time, the children can pick a new seat,” Conover said. “This is beneficial to the kids because they have the option of choice.”

Conover has fully embraced flexible seating arrangements in recent years because of how it has positively impacted student learning. Conover attributes it to increased student productivity because the kids are comfortable and able to move. 

kindergarten student sits on an exercise ball
Ryelee David chose an exercise ball.

“A few years ago, I had a student who had trouble focusing,” Conover said. “One day, he was sitting at a table on an exercise ball. He was gently bouncing, fully engaged in his work. It showed how something as simple as having a seat that was comfortable to him could make a big difference.”

“I know it’s hard for me to focus and get things done when I’m uncomfortable,” she continued. “The same goes for kids.”

Though they have options, each seating arrangement has its own rules. Students always have to be seated safely, and they have to stay in their spot until they transition to the next activity. 

student sits on the top of a stairway landing while wearing headphones and clicking a computer mouse while using a laptop
Chase Woodcock chose a small set of steps as his workplace.

The students say they like to pick their seats. 

“It’s fun because we get to explore new seats,” Tabatha Romanello said. 

“I like to sit on the counter to do my work,” Chase Woodcock said. 

Flexible seating also helps students learn to problem-solve. One student opted to lay on the classroom carpet during a writing workshop. He got to work, but his pencil kept poking holes through the paper on the carpet. So, he solved his problem by grabbing a clipboard from a stack that Conover has stored in a bucket.

“They figure out what works for them. For some students, that means having a forever seat, because they don’t like moving around,” Conover said. 

Students also learn about how to resolve conflicts in a positive way. 

“There are only so many seats available for each option. If there aren’t enough, they have to figure it out, or no one can use it,” Conover said. “Most of the time they solve the problem without adult intervention.”

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Model United Nations gives students lessons in diplomacy

The simulation was held at the Carey Institute for Global Good in Rensselearville.

eight students hold signs representing foreign countries
Fort Plain students recently participated in a Model United Nations simulation. From the left are Nate Beam, Emma Karker, Sophia Rogers, Brady Fureno,Taylor Gifford, Michaela Stockwell, Jenna Reese, Emma Oldick and Tucker Jones.
eight students hold signs representing foreign countries
Emma Oldick represented Mexico.

Nine Fort Plain Jr./Sr High School students recently participated in a Model United Nations simulation at the Carey Institute for Global Good in Rensselearville. Students Nate Beam, Emma Karker, Sophia Rogers, Brady Fureno,Taylor Gifford, Michaela Stockwell, Jenna Reese, Emma Oldick and Tucker Jones represented the nations of Austria-Hungary, Portugal, Mexico and Russia. Fureno served as the president of the simulation. Our students represented the stance of each nation on global imperialism. They had to write resolutions that were proposed to the United Nations Security Council. The mock UN Security Council debated and voted on each resolution. Fort Plain presented a resolution on behalf of Austria-Hungary and it was approved!

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High school names 1Q honor roll, principal’s list

105 students were named to the Honor Roll and 116 named to the Principals List. Every student received a brownie and a certificate.

Group of high school students hold certificates in a school hallway
In the front from the left are Xavier Rivera, Payton Landry, Kaylie Field, Adeline Handy and Gabriella Calhoun. In the back are Zachary Briggs, Chase Tyler, James Douglas, Yunus Demir, Beonika Hernandez, Breidyn Wall, Morgan McArthur, Nevaeh Rivers, Ashlynn Hart, Addison Parsons and Jahdia Austin.

Fort Plain Jr./Sr. High School is proud to announce that 105 students were named to the Honor Roll and 116 students were named to the Principal’s List for the first quarter. The students were honored at lunch-time ceremonies with certificates and brownie treats.

This initiative was made possible by the efforts of many staff members, including School Nutrition Director Lauri Broady and the kitchen staff, who organized the treats; teachers Jay Jarabek and Margaret DiBiase, who organized the certificates; and Principal Deborah Larrabee and numerous other teachers who helped to hand out certificates and participate in the ceremonies.

Honor Roll

Grade 7

  • Jahdia Austin
  • Brian Burgess
  • Joshua Crandall
  • Mariah Deese
  • Yunus Demir
  • Alexander Ellis
  • Karina Gattman
  • Country Hammond
  • Caleb Hanna
  • Tessa Hazzard
  • Serenity Johnson
  • Joseph Marriott
  • Damien Massie
  • Morgan McArthur
  • Jorge Medina
  • Xavier Rivera
  • Emily Rood
  • Adriyanna Rouse
  • Maiya Sousa
  • Breidyn Wall

Grade 8

  • Carter Baldwin
  • Sofia-Lily Bates
  • Ezekiel Brown
  • Amelia Cruger
  • Kaeden David
  • Kaitlyn Dodson
  • Victoria DuMond-Hall
  • Courtney Euler
  • Jasmine Fonda
  • Jakob Gattman
  • Paul Grassel
  • Ethan Hanna
  • Ryan Hazlett
  • Kassidy Hogan
  • Kierstan Horender
  • Ethan Hubbard
  • Payton Kretser
  • Izaak Lewis
  • Rafael Medina Jr.
  • Michael Palmeri
  • Anand Ragoo
  • Sarinda Sardina
  • Christina Schmidt
  • Chloe Sickler
  • Marissa Wilder
  • Ian Zuppardi

Grade 9

  • Iyanna Gilot
  • Alexandra Handy
  • Ryleigh Hart
  • Madeline Heroth
  • Brianna Krutz
  • Isaac Nichols
  • Joseph Pipero Jr.
  • Mayreni Quiroz-Romero
  • Gavin Richards
  • Amani Santana
  • Corbin Sardina
  • Zimra Trant
  • Savonna Tyler
  • Aleigha Van Alstine
  • Phoebe Wagner-Gollinger

Grade 10

  • William Cochran Jr.
  • Jacob Curtis
  • Brandon Dygert
  • Michael Harris Jr.
  • Zachary Hayner
  • Jaden Hillsgrove
  • Owin Landry
  • Ella Logan
  • Tyrell Martin
  • Elizabeth VanDycke
  • Cheyanne Wahl

Grade 11

  • Hailie Anderson
  • Autumn Bagley
  • Manley Baker III
  • Molli Bates
  • Hannah Briggs
  • Jonathan Carter
  • Kyle Cook
  • Samuel Cruger
  • Patrick Curtin-Banks
  • Krzysztof Kulczynski II
  • Branden LaMont
  • Joseph LeMoine
  • Storm Lounsberry
  • Gavin Minarich
  • Kaylee Sanders
  • Justin Schumacher
  • Sierra Smith
  • Cameron Tamsett
  • Megan Telfer
  • Matthew Travis
  • Catherine Twitchell
  • Landen Van Alstine
  • Sarah Vanasse
  • Eja VanDycke
  • Zackarie Young

Grade 12

  • Bailey Battisti
  • Nathan Buley
  • Cassandra Herron
  • Cheyenne Hisert
  • Taylor Hoffman
  • Ethan Schoch
  • Franklyn TenEyck

Principal’s List

Grade 7

  • Zachary Briggs
  • Jordan Brown
  • Gabriella Calhoun
  • Samantha Darrow
  • Kaedence David
  • James Douglas
  • Kaylie Field
  • Hannah French
  • Cris-John Fuhs
  • Andan Gomez
  • Adeline Handy
  • Ashlynn Hart
  • Beonika Hernandez
  • Vienna Jackson
  • JulieAnn Kirby
  • Payton Landry
  • Jasmine Lapi
  • Hailee Lasher
  • Asaiah Muha
  • Addison Parsons
  • Nevaeh Rivers
  • Liam Rockwell
  • Chad Rogers
  • Brandon Schuyler
  • Dustin Talbot
  • Chase Tyler
  • Dustin Welch

Grade 8

  • Mariah Aney
  • Kelsey Buley
  • Mason Cook
  • Ethan Germond
  • Aidan Guile
  • Jordan Hillsgrove
  • Brady Keane
  • Monika Kulczynski
  • Sadie Mollel
  • Devan Sanders
  • Payton Skiffington
  • Alex Smith
  • Breanna Steinhauer
  • Marionna Stephens
  • Delana Tracki
  • Vandwane Tulabing
  • Austin VanGorder

Grade 9

  • Cameron David
  • Madison Delgado
  • Alexis Euler
  • Andra Fuhs
  • Amelia Gallagher
  • Stephen Gray
  • Nura Handy
  • Rylee Herron
  • Ethan Kilmartin
  • Vivian Nunez
  • Anthony Paradiso
  • Raul Rivera III
  • Alex Rivkowich
  • Rob Rogers
  • Kristin Sanders
  • Joseph Stinebrickner III
  • Natalie Thibodeau
  • Jeffrey Wilday

Grade 10

  • Nicholas Blowers
  • Erin Crouse
  • Sarah Florian
  • Keagen Ford
  • Hailey Hogan
  • Tucker Jones
  • Robert Jordan
  • Emma Karker
  • Talia Narzymski
  • Noah Norton
  • Emma Oldick
  • Seth Rivkowich
  • Sophia Rogers
  • Kasidy Rouse
  • Estee Smith
  • Levi Thomas

Grade 11

  • Zavia Allen
  • Meranda Battisti
  • Troy Butler
  • Kristopher Clapper
  • Evan Crouse
  • Sinem Demir
  • Jacob Fuhs
  • Fredrick Hanford
  • Tiffany Hazzard
  • Grace Hoffman
  • Howie Kelley
  • Olivia Kennedy
  • Sarah LaComb
  • Sarah Paradiso
  • Oleksandr Patyukov
  • Jose Pipero
  • Autumn Todd
  • Josh Wilder
  • Seth Wintermute
  • Damien Young
  • Rachel Zuppardi

Grade 12

  • Nathaniel Beam
  • Selyna DuMond-Halse
  • Brady Fureno
  • Ethan Gallt
  • Caelan Germond
  • Taylor Gifford
  • Cassandra Harwood
  • Gabriella Jenks
  • Jasmine Livingston
  • Willow MaGinnis
  • Joshua Nellis
  • Isabella Page
  • Ethan Reese
  • Crystal Smith
  • Michaela Stockwell
  • Jordan Waner
  • Lauren Weinberger
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Community partners support Fort Plain students with donations

Gift cards will help families have a bountiful Thanksgiving

four company representatives and a school counselor hold up gift cards
Harry Hoag Elementary School Counselor Stephanie Macherone, right, with representatives of Solitude Lake Management. The company donated gift cards for students in need.
school counselor and principal hold up child's winter coat
Harry Hoag Elementary School Counselor Stephanie Macherone and Principal Lauren Crisman hold up one of the winter coats donated by MVP and United Way of Montgomery County.

Students and families of the Harry Hoag Elementary School have recently benefited from the generosity of community partners that donated goods and items for the holiday season.

Elementary school counselor Stephanie Macherone recently accepted 10  Price Chopper gift cards on behalf of the school from Solitude Lake Management through its Little Gobblers program. The company donates turkeys or grocery store gift cards to help families in need have a bountiful Thanksgiving Day celebration.
Macherone also recently accepted 25 winter coats for students in need thanks to MVP and the United Way of Montgomery County.
“We are incredibly grateful to have community partners who help us support our students and their families,” Macherone said.
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Food science class donates meals to food pantry

‘They learned about nutrition, but they also learned about helping their neighbors.’

group of high school students pose for a photo in a food science classroom
Cory Cooley’s high school food science class. Clockwise from the left are Ashlin Tubbs, Gabe Travis, Jenna Paddon, Ethan Gallt, Joshua Nellis, Mekhi Lanier, Trey Nemecek, Deven Swartz, Sophie Claus, Sierra Linquist and Shawn Murphy.
two high school students spoon barbecue chicken into take-out containers in a high school food science classroom
Ethan Gallt, left, and Sierra Linquist package barbecue chicken into take-out containers.

A lesson about nutrition in a food science class at Fort Plain Jr./Sr. High School inspired students and their teacher to prepare and donate meals to a local food pantry.

Using an anonymous monetary donation, Cory Cooley’s students recently cooked 40 nutritionally balanced and portioned meals that they donated to the food pantry of the Fort Plain Reformed Church.

three high school students shred chicken into a bowl in a high school food science classroom
From the left, Ashlin Tubbs, Gabe Travis and Jenna Paddon shred chicken for soup.

“This project is important to me because I want to help my community,” student Jenna Paddon said. “When I see people in need, I want to help, because if it were me, I wouldn’t want to go through hardships by myself.”

The project was inspired by a discussion in class about food security, or the availability of food and one’s access to it. Cooley invited Pastor Nancy Ryan to the class to engage in a discussion about food security in the Fort Plain community. They talked about food needs, especially for the very young and the elderly; the things that may hinder people from going to the food pantry (pride, lack of transportation or immobility); and factors that could prevent people from using the food the church offers (lack of a kitchen facility or unavailability of pots and pans).

two high school students cut up cornbread in a high school food science kitchen
Trey Nemecek, left, and Mekhi Lanier cut up and package cornbread.

Ryan shared with the class the vision of the church to offer food that could be heated in a microwave, easily opened, and as nutritious as possible.

“Food that you cook in a microwave isn’t usually nutritious, but they took up the cause,” Ryan said of Cooley and her students.

Students chose recipes by considering their freezability and taste. They chose three meals: barbecue chicken with sweet potatoes and asparagus, roasted vegetable macaroni and cheese, and chicken and vegetable soup with cornbread.

Student Sophie Claus said the project hit close to home.

“My family went through a phase where we had to get food from the food pantry, so I know how people who use the pantry feel,” she said.

“It’s important for the meals to be nutritionally balanced because the people we are helping might not know when their next meals are,” student Gabe Travis said.

Ryan said she’s eternally grateful to Cooley and the students for including her in the project. One of the things that struck Ryan about the project was how the class prepared samples for her and another class so they could all taste the recipes before choosing them.

“The sense that I had was of the commitment, not just of Cory Cooley, but of these kids to do something beyond themselves,” Ryan said. “They took their learning to the street and said ‘Here’s what we can do with what we can learn.’ They learned about nutrition, but they also learned about helping their neighbors, and that really warms my heart.”

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Fureno, Stockwell sign Letters of Intent for Le Moyne

As lifelong friends, it is perhaps fitting that the pair signed their letters together to play on the diamond next year.

Two high school students seated at a table with a "Fort Plain" banner before a group of families, friends and educators
Michaela Stockwell, seated at left, and Brady Fureno, seated at right, signed their letters of intent to play softball and baseball, respectively, at Le Moyne College next year.

Fort Plain Central School District is proud to announce that seniors Michaela Stockwell and Brady Fureno respectively signed Letters of Intent on Friday, Nov. 8 to continue their education and play at Le Moyne College in Syracuse this fall.

Stockwell will major in biology and play softball, and Fureno will major physics/civil engineering and play baseball.

Stockwell is a standout pitcher and leadoff hitter, and is recognized as one of the Western Athletics Conference’s top softball players.

Fureno has been the Hilltoppers’ starting catcher the past three seasons. He has started every game for Fort Plain the last four seasons. In that time, Fort Plain has won three Section II titles, captured the Class D state championship in 2016 and reached the state final in 2018.

Related news coverage

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Local restaurant donates cuisine for social studies unit about the Middle East

‘We are so grateful to have such supportive businesses in our school community’

students sample foods at their desks in a school classroom
Madison Delgado & Kristin Sanders
a student samples foods at their desks in a school classroom
Andra Fuhs

Students in Katie Sacco’s freshman Global History class got a taste of authentic cuisine during their studies about the Middle East thanks to the generosity of a local restaurant.

The Mediterranean Kitchen in downtown Fort Plain donated some dishes for the students to sample.

“We just finished our first unit that emphasizes the development of the Middle Eastern region, and the kids were able to taste some of the food from that area,” Sacco said. “We are so grateful to have such supportive businesses in our school community.”

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Students serve as poll inspectors on Election Day

‘This was a great opportunity for the students to learn more about our voting system and the democratic process while providing an important service’

two adults and a high school student sit at a table at a poll site in a senior center
Poll inspectors Debbie Godfrey and Janey Dygert with Fort Plain Jr./Sr. High School student Ethan Gallt at the Fort Plain Senior Center on Election Day.

Fort Plain Jr./Sr. High School students Jenna Reese, Brady Fureno and Ethan Gallt performed a civic duty by serving as poll inspectors on Election Day.  

“This was a great opportunity for the students to learn more about our voting system and the democratic process while providing an important service,” their social studies teacher Katie Sacco said. 

Sacco helped arrange the opportunity through the Montgomery County Board of Elections and the Student Poll Worker program. To be eligible, a student must be 17 years of age, have been or is currently enrolled in a US History and Government class and have a GPA of 2.5 or better.

two high school students show their badges as poll inspectors
Jenna Reese and Brady Fureno

Students are trained by the staff at the election board and able to serve throughout Montgomery County. Gallt served at the Fort Plain Senior Center. Fureno and and Reese were stationed at East Hill Elementary School in Canajoharie.

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