The Daily Star, Oneonta, NY - otsego county news, delaware county news, oneonta news, oneonta sports

January 25, 2014

Engineering and music let kids test their mettle

By Mark Boshnack Reporter's Notebook
The Daily Star

---- — There are two upcoming concerts for the Little Delaware Youth Ensemble, a regional youth orchestra made up of string players ages 6 to 18.

The first is 3 p.m. Sunday at Farrell Hall at SUNY Delhi, followed by one at 3 p.m. Feb. 2 at Anderson Theatre at Hartwick College.

According to the group’s website, the group was established in 2000 by musical director Julie Signitzer, Deanna Palumbo and a group of parents who wanted to give young string players a chance to gain ensemble experience unavailable elsewhere in the region. The group rehearses in Oneonta one night each week and performs four public concerts annually.

In its 14th season, the group added a preparatory orchestra for less-experienced students ages 6 and up. It will help prepare the players for the transition to the more-advanced group.

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State Sen. James L. Seward, R-Milford, stopped by the Oneonta Middle School’s tech room earlier this month to visit Otsego 4-H FIRST Robotics Team 4203, “RoboKronos.” The team of 12 boys and 4 girls is building a robot for the regional competition scheduled for March 13-15 at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute in Troy.

This year’s game is called “Aerial Assist,” which requires the robot to catch, move, and shoot an inflatable ball, cooperating and competing with other robots on a basketball-sized court. The after-school team, funded by NASA, local businesses, and the community, won the “Regional Rookie All-Star Award” in 2012, and competed in the World Championship in St. Louis.

“This is a great program for students,” Seward said.

The team is guided by Cornell Cooperative Extension 4-H of Schoharie and Otsego Counties, FIRST (For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology), and local volunteer professional mentors.

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Rep. Chris Gibson, R-Kinderhook, earned a perfect grade of A from the National Education Association for his work in Congress in 2013, according to a media release. He was one of three three House Republicans to earn the ranking.

The NEA Legislative Report Card measures members of Congress’ overall support for public education and educators, with each member receiving a letter grade of A through F based on their voting records on selected votes in 2013 and on five additional criteria.

“Rep. Chris Gibson is a prime example of a leader who listens to his district and responds by working to enact policies that assist educators and the students they serve. His bold leadership on working to lessen the negative impact of standardized assessments is just one example of his leadership on behalf of students, families, and educators,” said Mary Kusler, the NEA’s director of government relations.

“As a graduate of the local public school that my three children now attend, ensuring that our education system best prepares our students for the challenges of the 21st Century is a priority of mine. Unfortunately we have too often seen over-federalized education that places more unfunded mandates on local schools, squeezing out other local programs,” Gibson said. “In addition, over-testing has contributed to the widespread frustration many teachers, parents, and students feel. We can do better, and I will continue to work with our teachers and parents to do just that.”

MARK BOSHNACK is a staff writer for The Daily Star. Contact him at mboshnack@thedailystar.com.