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Celebrating our retirees

retirees with faculty and staff at the breakfast, standing and at tables

If you add up their years on the job, a half-dozen Fort Plain faculty and staff have served the children and community of the district for more than two centuries. With a combined 216 years of service, FPCSD’s latest retirees and retirees-to-be will surely be missed. Yet as they embark on new life journeys, they are wished only the best.

Celebrated and honored at a March 17 retirement breakfast at the high school were Andrea Bouck, Patti Jarabek, Jay Jarabek, Charlie Karker, Sue Summerfield and Paul Van Avery. Here are a few highlights and remembrances from their time at Fort Plain.

Andrea Bouck, guidance secretary, retired on February 28. She joined the Fort Plain staff as a clerk typist on Sept. 1, 1986, and also served as a cheerleader coach from 1992-1997 and 2005-2021.

“Andrea Bouck graduated from Fort Plain High School . . . and she never left,” said FPHS Principal Dr. Deborah Larrabee. “She stayed here for 37 years working in the guidance office. Her skills and knowledge are renowned. Whether working on the schedule, talking with teachers or working with the cheer team, Andrea gives 110 percent. Hard work, loyalty and diligence are the cornerstones of her character. Andrea Bouck is truly one of a kind. We thank her for all she has contributed to Fort Plain over the years.”

“A huge part of Andrea’s career at Fort Plain was spent building a phenomenal cheerleading program,” said a former cheerleader who is now a district employee. “For 17 years, she committed to coaching hundreds of girls in the sport that she loved. She established a program full of respect, talent and Topper Pride.

“Because of her, FP cheer is still known for its talent, dedication and precision. Andrea was not only a coach, but a mentor to countless young women as they navigated their high school years. Her legacy will always live on through FP cheer!”

Andrea’s lifelong friend, Kim, said, “Andrea Bouck has been a constant, familiar face at FPHS for the past 37 years. Her passion has always been the kids. She has touched so many lives as a cheer coach, schedule manager, database guru, problem solver, colleague, confidante, mentor and friend. Whether she was creating and choreographing dance routines that delighted and amazed basketball game attendees, helping with prom or listening as students worked through figuring out who they are and what their next steps will be, she has always given her all.

“Andrea has left an indelible mark on FPHS and all of those who have walked its halls. We are grateful for her time, experience, energy and her propensity to leave things better than she found them.”

Emily Marsh, a former cheerleader of Andrea’s who is now on the cheer team at Syracuse University, sent the following well wishes. “Andrea, congratulations on your retirement! I don’t know anyone more deserving of this new stage of your life than you. You have tirelessly worked for years to ensure students succeed and they have those resources to succeed.

“On a more personal note, you have changed my life far more than you know. Starting cheerleading in 9th grade, I wasn’t sure if this was the right sport for me or if I was even any good at it. I remember coming to your office the following year in tears, telling you I wanted to quit. You did talk me out of it, and I could not be more grateful. I wouldn’t have this beautiful life and some of my very best friends if it weren’t for you.

“I felt so lost my first year at Syracuse, and then you told me about cheerleading tryouts. I thought, “Yeah, right.” I would never make the team and it would be embarrassing. But with your encouragement I tried out, and I made the team. Having you present at almost every basketball and football game and Nationals at Disney gave me that confidence and support that I needed to succeed. I got to experience so many new places and things and made friends that turned into family because you were the one who believed in me.

“You have always believed in me, and that made me believe in me, too. Becoming a cheerleader was one of the best decisions of my life, and I want to thank you so sincerely for giving me that gift. I don’t know a lot of people who are so willing to go above and beyond for their students, current and former. Thank you so much for your support and love over the years, I will never be able to repay you. I’m so excited for you and I hope you enjoy your retirement! Love, Emily.”

Spanish teacher Patti Jarabek will retire in June of this year. She’s taught Spanish at the high school since being hired by Fort Plain during the 1991-1992 school year. In addition to teaching, Patti has led various extracurricular activities, serving as class advisor from 1994-1998, 2004-2006 and 2012-2013, cheerleading coach from 1992-1994, and Spanish department coordinator from 2005-2023.

“Twenty years ago, when I came to Fort Plain, I was fortunate to have Patti Jarabek as my mentor,” said fellow Spanish teacher Dr. Melanie Pombrio. “Patti provided me with a safe space to ask questions, try new projects, develop curriculum which allowed for creativity and personal expression, and so much more.

“Furthermore, Patti afforded me the opportunity to develop both personally and professionally. I have been very blessed and grateful to call Patti my colleague, but more importantly my friend. Congratulations on your well-deserved retirement, Patti. Wishing you nothing but the best in the next chapter of your adventure!”

Science teacher Jay Jarabek will retire in June 2023 after 31 years leading his FPHS classrooms and labs. In addition to his years of teaching courses including living environment, chemistry and AP biology, Jay has held various coaching positions since 1993, including volleyball from 1993-2009 and track & field from 1993-2007, and he served as science department coordinator from 2017-2022.

Colleague Lance Elliott said, “When I started teaching here in Fort Plain, Jay’s biology classroom was in room 102 (where Carol Connelly is now). That might give the younger teachers a clue as to how long we’ve been working together! In the early days, I was assigned to teach a section of biology and Jay was the go-to guy. Whether it was a lab, lab supplies, notes, or quizzes, he was always there to help.

“If it’s not already obvious, Jay is probably the most organized teacher in Fort Plain history,” Lance added. “Seriously, his student handouts and labs for the next nine months are photocopied before the school year even starts! Additionally, his entire room is systematically labeled, and his collection of three-ring binders is legendary! Some say that once Jay learned Microsoft Excel, data ran the other way!”

Lance noted Jay’s dedication to all of the high school’s students. “For many years Jay has volunteered his time to create, print and hand out achievement awards each quarter during lunch. He understands that it is often these small acknowledgements that fuel students’ desire towards continued improvement.

“It’s not surprising that when Jay’s AP bio kids graduate, he still tracks their progress! A number of his former students work in either medical research or healthcare, and it is my belief that it was his influence that made the difference in their career choice. Way to go Jay!”

Charlie Karker served Fort Plain as a physical education and health teacher, coach, sports coordinator and athletic director for five decades. Hired during the 1972-73 school year, Charlie taught PE and health until retiring from the instructional team in 2004. He continued to support FPHS students and faculty as a coach and athletic director from 1977-2022, when he retired.

FPHS Principal Deborah Larrabee said, “Charlie Karker started his career in Fort Plain in 1972. While many things have changed in those 50 years, one thing has not. Mr. Karker was a steadfast force and friendly face at Fort Plain. He shows the same enthusiasm, dedication and compassion to all our Toppers athletes. Charlie Karker will forever be remembered as an outstanding athletic director, coach, mentor and friend who will always be cheering for Fort Plain.

“It’s an honor to celebrate the retirement of people who have been with Fort Plain for many, many years,” added Dr. Larrabee. “It has been a true honor to work with them. I wish them all the best with good things yet to come.”

Sue Summerfield has taught math at Fort Plain High School since joining the district’s staff for the 2003-04 school year. She’s also served students and faculty as treasurer of extra-classroom funds in 2006 and through various extracurricular positions since 2008.

Sue, who will retire this June, was praised by fellow math teacher Debbie Waner. “Sue taught the 8th grade since she started here in Fort Plain (God bless her). In addition to teaching, she has been an extracurricular advisor for many different classes. She has organized many activities, proms and senior trips.

“Sue has been in charge of all extracurricular funds. That is a job in itself. She was recently in charge of the mentor program for the district and mentored several of her colleagues, including the student teacher who took her place in the 8th grade classroom this year,” Debbie added.

“Sue belongs to several organizations outside of school and has presented at numerous math conferences. She also enjoys a good meal, which was evident when we co-advised a senior trip.”

Paul Van Avery is retiring on April 28 after serving Fort Plain for more than 46 years. He has been part of the school community from kindergarten throughout his entire career, beginning as a cleaner and advancing to director of facilities III.

Humble, hardworking and dedicated, Paul will be dearly missed, and often thought of, as he embarks upon his life’s next chapter.  Read more about Paul and his retirement.

View a photo album from the retirement breakfast on our Facebook page.

100th day is a great time to count on math

student holding math worksheet

The 100th day of school was a great time for Harry Hoag students to celebrate what they’ve learned so far this year and to focus on numbers, counting and math skills.

Some of our kindergartners made special hats that demonstrated 10-groups. They also explored building with 100 objects such as cups, Legos, marshmallows, pattern blocks and cubes.

2 students seated at table, counting Legos

3 students holding 100th day of school signs

group of seated students wearing paper hats they created

Visit our Facebook page for more photos.

Book Speed Dating event fosters a love of literature

students seated at tables with paper interview forms

Students in Mrs. Bartholomew’s 6th Grade English Language Arts classes had an opportunity to fall in love with new books during a Book Speed Dating event on Valentine’s Day.

“Students walked into a magically transformed room on Valentine’s Day,” Bartholomew said. “They each had chosen their favorite book that they’ve read this year and spent the class convincing classmates why they should read that book, too!”

The students were paired up for four minutes at a time, asking questions such as, “Tell me about yourself. What are your character’s character traits? What is one thing that really makes you stand out from all the other books on the shelf?”

“Students rotated through the room, meeting many new books,” Bartholomew said. “At the end, they voted on the book they were most interested in reading next for independent reading, and the winners won a prize!

“All of the conversations between students were filled with incredibly rich literary analysis. It was a great day filled with fun and learning. Great job 6th grade ELA!”

students seated at tables with paper interview forms

students seated at tables with paper interview forms

students seated at tables with paper interview forms, teacher standing near table, tables with tablecloths on them

Congratulations All County performers!

3 students standing together

Congratulations to our talented elementary chorus members Claudia, Piper and Isabella, pictured above, and high school chorus members Ian Burns and Bailie Richardson, pictured below, for their recent performances at the All County Music Festival, and to music teacher Julieanne Sincavage.

2 students

All County Band

Congratulations to our talented band members Jasmine Lapi (10th grade flute) and Natalie Thibodeau (12th grade percussionist), who performed three pieces with the Senior All County Band, and to music teacher Dalton Burrello.

The songs were: “Shenandoah” by Claude T. Smith, “Spitfire!” by Gary P. Gilmore, and “Fate of the Gods” by Steven Reineke.

“The students rehearsed from 8:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. on the day of the festival, and then put on a wonderful concert in the evening,” Burrello said. “They had the opportunity to rehearse, practice, eat lunch, and perform extremely challenging music with talented students from schools across the county (Fonda, Canajoharie, Amsterdam, etc.)

“They also worked with guest conductors from different areas of New York State, which created a very professional atmosphere and required a very high level of musicianship from each student. It was a great experience to be able to come all together and perform such high quality, challenging pieces of music, and I am grateful that they had the opportunity to be a part of that.”


93 Harry Hoag students achieve 2nd Q Honor Roll or Principal’s List

Harry Hoag School is proud to announce the 2022-23 second quarter Honor Roll, to which 31 students were named, and Principal’s List, to which 62 students were named. The Honor Roll and Principal’s List recognize outstanding achievement and effort.

Congratulations to the following students:

Honor Roll

Grade 6
Alexzandriah Clapper
Aiden Cruger
Jessie Fink
Dillan Harris Jr
Conner Hearn
Khloe Hisert
Hattie Hogan
Joshua LaQuee
Hailee Moore
Isaac Passero
Carl Reese III
Karson Rhodes
Dylan Salerno
Rylee Stone
Issac Tompkins

Grade 5
Henry Baker
Jaxon Best
Aubree Childs
Dohnivan Dodson
McKenzie Jones
Olivia Jones
Isabella Palmeri
Julian President
Amaya Rivera
Kayden Rouse
Elijah Shostek
Rosabella Smith
Joseph Sweet II
Kendrik Thackrah
Maicee Thomas
Adalay Webb

Principal’s List

Grade 6
Laura Atkins
Asher Barber
Halleli Brackett
Alyvia Castellano
Summer Crandall
Lexis Downes
Alexandra Hinkle
Justin Hisert
McKenna Hisert
Madden Lathers
Jazmain Leonard
Connor Lochner
Lainie McDuffee
Isabella McGuire
Jack Parkinson
Zoe Paul
Gabriella Peters
Anthony Polidori
Mary Pomatto
Braddock Putnam
Trent Richards
Sequoia Robarge
Molly Shults
Jaymes Smith
Anna-Belle Snyder
Gavin Souza
Lilly St. Pierre
Giavanna Suiter
Makenna Sweet
Kinley Trumbull
Kiana Tyler
Jordan Williams II

Grade 5
Angela Abe-Callan
Fiona Brown
Brantlee Brownell
Alana Candido
Owen Charboneau
Milo Clark
Christopher Compton Jr.
Christopher Cook
Sienna Dean
Bently Dodson
Sterling Edick
Arianna Eells
Laura Flynn
Jake Fountain
Raelynn Fournier
Laylah Hardnett
Isabella Hearn
Amarha Herring
Timothy Keane
Piper Kretser
Jacob LaQuee
Brian Madden
Claudia Maring
Carl Morrell
Aishwarya Murray
Mara Poultney
Ethan Shostek
Gavin Smith
Noah Smith
Booker Tarica

Registration is open for Girls on the Run

Registration is now open for Girls on the Run, a twice-weekly, afterschool program for 5th and 6th grade students where trained volunteers lead girls through interactive lessons and movement activities, culminating in a celebratory 5K in June.

Registrations are first-come, first-served and may be made by visiting or by scanning the QR code below. The program is limited to 15 participants.

GOTR QR code

Practices will begin the week of March 13 at Harry Hoag School and will be held Mondays and Thursdays from 2:45-4:15 p.m., and the 5K will be held June 4. As the season progresses, practice may extend to 4:30 p.m. to accommodate more activity and prepare for the race.

Fort Plain’s Girls on the Run volunteers are Kristy McFee , Meagan Heiser, Stephanie Paradiso, Tracey Conover and Lauri Broady.

The program cost varies based on income. Upon registration, you will be able to select the payment option that suits your family. Thanks to the graciousness of the Fort Plain Student Council, each girl will receive a $20 discount upon registration! Please use the code: FTPLAIN20

For the program, girls will need:

  • Shoes appropriate for running, such as sneakers (no Crocs, flip flops, etc.)
  • Clothing appropriate for athletic movement and the weather (cooler days, light rain) that meets the district’s dress code
  • A water bottle/drink for practices
  • A snack for after school

Girls on the Run participants will have fun, make friends, increase their physical activity levels and learn important life skills, such as teamwork, embracing their strengths and building relationships.

Harry Hoag Student Council holds food & personal items drive for Senior Center

4 students putting cans and package of food into a box

February is the month when we celebrate Valentine’s Day, and the Harry Hoag Student Council is showing their love for their community. Through Feb. 17th, the Council is collecting non-perishable food and personal care items for the Fort Plain Senior Center. Donations may be sent to an elementary student’s homeroom or dropped off during school hours at the Harry Hoag School entry kiosk.

Student Council members said they wanted to give back to their community. They decided to hold a drive to benefit the Senior Center after enjoying a visit there, they wanted to help seniors who access the center. To add some fun to the drive, the Council is holding a competition to see which grade donates the most items.

“The Student Council and all of Harry Hoag School appreciates any donations to the drive,” Elementary Principal Jodi Coppolo said. “February is a month when we emphasize the importance of kindness – although we talk about it all year long at Harry Hoag School – and a kind action or word can make someone’s day. We continue to encourage these random and intentional acts. Thank you to all in our school community for supporting our efforts.”

A collection bag for the senior center food drive

In the photos:
At top: Harry Hoag students start counting and collecting donations for the Senior Center drive.

At bottom: A collection bag outside a classroom

Hedgehogs help little learners build literacy skills and more

students practicing yoga poses on a rug in front of video screen

Joanne Kennedy’s Pre-Kindergarten students are exploring winter through literacy, and they’ve also learned some cosmic yoga skills, all thanks to hedgehogs.

“In Pre-K we read the story, ‘The Hat’ by Jan Brett,” said Kennedy. “My students fell in love with the character Hedgie. Of course, they also love Sonic the Hedgehog. So ‘A Cosmic Kids Yoga Adventure with Sonic the Hedgehog’ was a perfect match for our Fun Friday activity.”

On Jan. 13, Sonic and his friend Jamie led the students through a fun yoga practice via video. “Pre-K students have so much power and energy like Sonic, but they also learned the importance of rest to balance it all out to be the best they can be,” Kennedy said. “What a fun adventure with Sonic the Hedgehog!”

students practicing yoga poses on a rug in front of a video screen

students practicing yoga poses on a rug in front of video screen

students practicing yoga poses on a rug in front of a video screen

Helping students use digital tools safely and effectively

Harry Hoag students will learn how to use online resources safely and effectively through three special presentations in their school.

On Friday, Jan. 13, and on Feb. 17 and March 10, the Integrated Community Alternatives Network (ICAN), a nonprofit organization, will present to kindergarten through 6th grade classes about digital safety, the appropriate use of technology and how to navigate the internet responsibly.

School Counselor Stephanie Macherone organized the visits, with each presentation geared appropriately to meet each particular grade level’s developmental needs.

“The presentations are designed to increase our students’ understanding of digital safety, help them to become more mindful of their technology usage and increase their knowledge of how to navigate the internet safely,” said Elementary Principal Jodi Coppolo. “Our goal is to educate students and provide them with the tools, skills and strategies they need to become digitally literate.”

Vaping and e-cigarette use is a troubling trend

January 11, 2023

Dear Parents and Guardians,

The use of vaping paraphernalia and e-cigarettes has increased both nationwide and locally, becoming the most commonly used tobacco products among our youth. This is a troubling trend.

While these odorless tools are often marketed as safer and healthier alternatives to traditional cigarettes, to inhale nicotine, THC, flavored substances, and various synthetic chemicals, they are neither safe nor healthy.

Our school district is very concerned about the increase in vaping among students. Here is some important information for our Fort Plain families.

Teen vaping — 6 things every parent/guardian needs to know

  1. Slang terms: E-cigs, e-hookahs, hookah pens, vapes, vape pens, JUULs, “jeweling,” mods (customizable, more powerful vaporizers).
  2. Vaping devices can be used to inhale flavored substances – such as mint, crème brulée or mango. Many people are under the impression that it’s safe to inhale nicotine-free water vapors, but recent studies show otherwise. Flavoring agents can cause “popcorn lung” – a scarring of the tiny air sacs in the lungs that results in the thickening and narrowing of airways. Popcorn lung mirrors the symptoms of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), including wheezing, coughing and shortness of breath.
  3. Vaping devices can be used to inhale substances that contain nicotine, THC (the chemical compound in marijuana that produces the high), opiates and synthetic substances.
  4. Inhaling from a vaporizer enhances a drug user’s high and can amplify a drug’s side effects. That’s because it delivers a far more potent form of whatever drug is being used. The chemicals in synthetic drugs are dangerous and potentially fatal in cases of overdose.
  5. Vaping synthetic drugs is more discreet than other forms of drug abuse. Because e-cigarettes can resemble everyday ballpoint pens or USB memory sticks, they are easy to hide. E-cigarettes and vaping pens are odorless.
  6. E-cigarettes and pen vaporizers are easy to acquire for underage users.

Signs of vaping abuse and what parents/guardians can do

Parents/guardians can be on the alert for signs of vaping abuse. They can:

  • Watch for physiological symptoms and side effects that may indicate their teen has a vaping abuse problem. These can include dry mouth syndrome, nosebleeds and strange, erratic behavior.
  • Familiarize themselves with what e-cigarettes look like and how the devices work, so that they are able to identify them in the hands of their teens.

Student use of vaping paraphernalia on campus, school grounds and school buses is a violation of the Code of Conduct. Students who violate the Code of Conduct are subject to consequences outlined in the code.

Please review the fact sheet graphic below to learn more about vaping and its associated dangers. We encourage you to talk to your child about vaping, and remind them that state and federal laws prohibit them from purchasing tobacco products and e-cigarettes.

Thank you for your support and cooperation. If you have any questions related to our prevention and intervention efforts, please contact Jr./Sr. High School Principal Dr. Deborah Larrabee at or the Elementary Principal Mrs. Jodi Coppolo at

Lauren Crisman

Graphic depiction of facts about vaping

Graphic depiction of facts about vaping - part 2

Download a pdf of the above fact sheet

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