Sunday, December 16, 2018

Monday, December 17

Hi folks,

Thanks for visiting our latest High School News.  We have some great student stories below, as well as  the Cornell Cooperative Extension Farm to Table news.  We also have two linked articles that are definitely worth your time.  The first article is about "Juuling" or "vaping," and the second article is about the effect of screen time on our kids.  

I hope you all have a great Christmas and holiday season.  

Tim Houseknecht, Principal

TST BOCES Students of the Month

Every month, Mr. Jeff Podalek sends out his list of students of the month.  I'm very pleased to announce the following South Seneca students were given this honor:
Left to right: Skylar Howard, Marissa Arnold, and Kyle Champion

Skylar Howard - Animal Science
Marissa Arnold - Cosmetology
Kyle Champion - Criminal Justice

Great job students, keep up the good work!

What Juuling Does to Your Body (It’s Not Pretty)
Although Juuling is increasing in popularity, studies show that it is damaging the bodies and minds of adolescents. Click the link for an informative read about the various dangers of Juuling: "Many seem to believe that the use of e-cigarettes is less harmful than smoking cigarettes, but the health effects of long-term use are still not known. And according to some study findings, there is reason to believe that e-cigarette use causes as much or more damage as conventional cigarettes."

Cornell Cooperative Extension Farm to School Newsletter
Enjoy this edition of the "Farm to School" Newsletter to read about local news, the recipe of the month, and brush up on which fruits and vegetables are currently in season.

Congratulations to the Cast of "Up the Down Staircase" 

Thank you to everyone who came out to see South Seneca's production of "Up the Down Staircase" directed by our own Tina Bauder! We're proud of our students for putting on a spectacular performance for this year's Falcon Players Fall Play!

"Smartphones should be a tool that you use, not a tool that uses you," San Diego State University psychology professor Jean Twenge states in an interview. She goes into detail about how technology, specifically smartphones, are affecting the brain functions on young adults.

Click the link above to learn more!

"Like" the New PTSA Page on Facebook
Keep updated with meeting dates and events happening in South Seneca's Parent Teacher Student Association bu liking their new page on Facebook. The next meeting is January 7th at 6:60 p.m. at the elementary school. The PTSA has two student officers and represents all three schools. Have an idea or something you'd like to see? Let them know!

Hospitality Business & Foods Management Class
Enjoys the "Fruits" of Their Labors

Mr. Barkee's hospitality business and food management students recently enjoyed the ratatouille and scratch-made macaroni and cheese they prepared in class. They teamed up to make two pans of the Ratatouille and began by preparing a tomato sauce to use in the dish. The ratatouille also contained sliced eggplant, yellow squash, zucchini, mushrooms, red and yellow bell peppers, onions, and spices. Students used leftover Mornay sauce they made from the b├ęchamel sauce in the Mother Sauces Lab to prepare the macaroni and cheese. The macaroni and cheese was topped with toasted bread crumbs and cheese and baked in the individual ramekins.

Mr. Barkee gave Mr. Houseknecht an extra helping.  Needless to say, Mr. House was blown away by how good it was!

Hogwarts Express Library Display
The library showed their creative holiday spirit by creating a replica of the Hogwarts Express using cardboard, glue, and wrapping paper. Kayla Park, Kenny Duckworth, and Tyler Thuering were among the students who helped make the Hogwarts Express display for the library.

Snowcoming Ugly Sweater Day

South Seneca gets into the holiday spirit on Ugly Sweater Day!

Great Room Makeover

Congratulations to Mr. Eastman for a wonderful classroom makeover.  Mr. Eastman moved his science class this year.  In addition to cleaning out many old materials, he salvaged some for some tools and models for some great decorations.


Please share the great things happening at South Seneca! Interesting lesson in the classroom? Student accomplishment? Let us know! 

Here's how: If you would like to have something shared in our news, either in this blog or somewhere else, you can visit Public Relations Tip Form. Please feel free to contact me at 607-869-9636 or 

Monday, November 26, 2018

November 27

Dear Parents and Community Members,

Thank you for visiting our High School News site.  It's been a busy year as usual, and it's going well in the High School.  Our students are taking advantage of our many programs.  In the following months, I'll be sharing stories from various classrooms and extracurricular clubs. 

If you would like to have something shared in our news, either  in this blog or somewhere else, you can visit our Public Relations Tip Form.  Please feel free to contact me at 607-869-9636 or  

I hope you all have a wonderful holiday season. 
Tim Houseknecht, Principal

Honor and High Honor Roll Lists
Please click here for our honor and high honor roll lists for the first quarter.  Congratulations to all! 

Help Your Student Avoid "Vaping"

Our colleagues at BOCES recently completed a letter that offers help to families concerning the use of e-cigarettes.  "Vaping" is popular habit these days, and we're trying to spread the word about its dangers.  Please take a look and share with others. 

Please click here for the letter. 


South Seneca Trap Team Earns First Place

The South Seneca High School Trap Club Team took first place conference honors in the recently completed Fall League in the NYS High School Clay Target League. South Seneca competed with Indian Lake, Paul V. Moore High School, and Truthville Christian Academy in Conference One. Twenty three schools competed in four conferences across the league. Team members included: Ellen Appleby, Greg Brewer, Damon Cooley, Mackenzie Coyle, Hunter Denmark, Lexxi Hayward, Jon Kaiser, Matt Kenyon, and Brandon Vanselow.
Team member Matt Kenyon took the overall top male average for the conference and finished third overall in the state with 22.7 per round average. Mackenzie Coyle and Ellen Appleby finished in the top ten for the state and Lexxi Hayward placed in the top 10 for the conference in the girl’s division. Brandon Vanselow, Damon Cooley, and Greg Brewer all placed in the top 10 for the conference for the boys. On a side note Mackenzie Coyle was on pace to finish in the top 10 overall in the state until an injury took place in week three. She bounced back and still finished second on the team in overall average with 20 per round; only 1.5 behind the overall top female for the state.
Matt Kenyon had two rounds of 25 straight during the season and Ellen Appleby and Brandon Vanselow each had one round of 25 straight. Greg Brewer finished on a strong note as he had a personal best combined score of 42 in the last week of competition.
The Fall League consisted of five weeks of competition. Each athlete shot two rounds of 25 targets per week. The team was coached this fall by Steve Coyle and Bill Hardy. The school adviser is Matt Barkee. The trap team is a school club open to all students in grades 7-12.
The South Seneca Club will participate in the Spring NYS High School Clay Target League which will take place in March of 2019.

Mr. Barkee's Foods Class A Big Hit

This year, we started a new Foods class with Mr. Matt Barkee. Mr. Barkee had a career in the restaurant industry, and he's sharing his management and food prep skills with students.

The course has been a huge hit, and the principal even gets a treat once in a while! Thanks Mr. Barkee!

Finger Lakes Friday: South Seneca Eats Healthy, Locally Grown Fall Foods

Finger Lakes Friday in the South Seneca cafeteria means serving recipes that involve healthy, locally grown fall foods. 
This cauliflower medley consisted of yellow and purple cauliflower grown by Finger Lakes Farms and distributed through Headwater Food Hub of Ontario, NY. The original white cauliflower was purchased at the Amish Auction in Romulus. 

Parent Teacher Student Association Announcement 
We have started a Parent Teacher Student Association representing all three schools at South Seneca. Come join us! The next meeting is Monday November 26th at 6 pm in the Elementary Cafeteria. Membership forms can be found on our Facebook page, sent home with your child, or request one by emailing 

Students may serve as committee chairs and in some of the officer positions. This is a great way to gain experience and build the student resume. We will be most successful with participation from Parent, Teachers, Student and Administrators from all three schools. Have an idea for an event? Email us or message us on Facebook. We appreciate your support! Good things to come as we grow and develop the South Seneca PTSA.

Students Selected for Junior High Area-All State

South Seneca Middle/High School is honored to have several instrumental musicians and a choral singer selected to attend this year's Junior High Area All-State. Congratulations to Natalia Anderson (9th Grade, Alto), Joey Borst (9th Grade, Tuba), Kathrine Buisch (7th Grade, Trombone), Luke Dendis (8th Grade, Clarinet) and Amelia Helfman (9th Grade, French Horn) who were accepted. 

Applicants for Junior High Area All-State are currently in grades 7 through 9. They apply with their NYSSMA (New York State School Music Association) Solo Festival score from the previous year and a teacher recommendation. Applicants are from NYSSMA's Zone 3, which goes from South Seneca to near Binghamton and near Syracuse. Applicants with the highest scores and levels are chosen to fill a limited amount of seats in the two choruses. Students who are selected work with a guest conductor over the period of a day and half and present the music they worked on at a concert.

Come to our fall play - Up the Down Staircase!

Sunday, April 8, 2018

April 11, 2018

Student Opportunities Abound at South Seneca

Hello Parents, Students, and Community Members:
Our students are given many opportunities to explore.  We strive to find quality programming, not only within our walls, but outside of school when possible.  Please see the stories below as examples.  We will always be looking for innovative ways to get students involved and inspired.

It's hard to believe we're just about 3/4 of the way through the school year.  As the school year comes to a close, feel free to contact teachers, guidance or me with any questions. We want to help students have the best possible outcomes as we finish the year. Thanks for your support.

Tim Houseknecht, Principal

Coming Events:

April 21 - STEPS Day of Service  Click the link for more info.  We're looking for as many students as possible to be involved in this great project.

April 23Save a Life Tour  See link for company details. Students will have access to driving simulators during learning labs or lunches. The more knowledge we can get students about the vital skill of auto safety, the better.

May 2Funding the Future Show  This is a program that's being brought to us free of charge.  This is a unique way of getting students vital financial literacy knowledge. It starts with a rock show and ends with financial literacy!  See the link for details.

Extended Day Program a Big Hit
Our extended day program has proven again this year that the ability to not only meet students' academic needs but to pique their interest and further their passion is the way to increase student participation in an after school program. We have been able to maintain several of our programs that tap into the student athlete population.

Partnerships with outside providers for unique opportunities have increased this year. We continued our STEM program with the Cornell Cooperative Extension and our Outdoor Adventures that hosted skiing this year. Additionally, we have added a horseback riding program with a community business.

Academic support has increased to more consistent availability with staff available four days a week since the start of the spring session. Participation numbers are higher than last year and we hope to see the continued upward trend with dedication and willing support of our staff to not only make themselves available, but to help share their own interest with our students.

New High School Courses for 18-19

Gardening: Mrs. Parsons will be moving to the high school for 9th and 11th grade English next year.  With her move, she is adding a gardening course.  Details of the course still need to be worked out, but it will fit in very nicely with our geographic area and surrounding agriculture industry.

Mr. Matt Barkee will be adding a food industry course.  Students will learn skills like food preparation and restaurant management.  We're very excited about our new courses, which will allow students great career related learning. Mr. Anderson has been recruiting students for these new and exciting courses.

Middle/High School Planning Calendar

With our Building Planner, we're making it easier to find out what's happening in the Middle and High Schools.

From the High School home page, click on the
Ovid Building Planner link under the Calendars title. You'll find the letter days, various events, and even fund raisers. I hope you find this useful.

BOCES Success

Senior Dom Kio has been in the BOCES culinary arts program for the last two years.  He recently served dinners, appetizers and desserts to local school officials at the BOCES budget meeting.  Dom's dishes were delicious, and he has really enjoyed his time at BOCES.  We appreciate Dom's hard work in the program.

Thanks to Mrs. Copp

As Mrs. Fran Copp's career comes to a close, we want to show our appreciation.  She has had a great influence on many students, including Hannah Porter, picture here.

Wednesday, February 7, 2018

February 7, 2018

February 7, 2018

Dear parents and community members:
Thanks for taking a look at our latest High School News.  As with other times of the year, January was a busy month for us. Below are a just a few of the things that happened.  Feel free to contact me at any time with questions or comments.  

If your child is encountering any problems, please let us know.  We have very dedicated and caring staff that is here to help.  A couple of good sources for contacts are our Guidance Department page or our Staff Directory.  You can also check our communication guide, which is linked from both the middle school and high school home pages. Thank you very much for your support. 

Tim Houseknecht, Principal

Congratulations To Our Wrestling Champions

Congratulations to all our wrestlers on a great season, especially Keagan Carmenatty and Quinton Wormuth-Mundell. 
Keagan (left) is the Section 5 Class B 220 lb. champ. 
Quinton (right) is the 285 lb. champ. 
Great job guys!

Support for Hannah Podgorny
Hannah Podgorny, a senior, is challenged with some health issues. The senior class is selling some  tee shirts in her honor.  Please see the post here, which is on the school website.

School Anxiety and Avoidance Summit
The Racker Center in Ithaca is holding this meeting.  Family members, students, school staff, providers and community members are encouraged to attend. Please click here for more information. They still have a few spots available. 

Testing and Project Days - January 22 to 24

Students work in Auto Systems with Mr. Gilfus
During our midterm and Regents testing days, several teachers had special events for students.  The special schedule allowed us to have some longer times that usually wouldn't be available. 

Shown is one of Mrs. Copp's guest artists.
Art students enjoyed two 3-hour sessions on January 24. In the morning, we had painter Kari Ganoung Ruiz with the Drawing & Painting students and in the afternoon we had potter Mary Ellen Salmon with the Ceramics students.

Our Computer Assisted Drafting (CAD) class had a 3 hour project. Shown here is sophomore Brandon Vanselow.

Ms. Guinan and Mr. Ovenshire ran some team building activities.

2 Calendar Issues

If you have a printed calendar, please fix these 2 issues. Sorry for the errors.

  • March 7: This date should be listed as "Early Dismissal" only.  On an early dismissal day, students in the middle and high schools are released at 12:45, and students in the elementary school are released at 1:45.  
  • May 16: The middle and high schools only have one parent conference day on May 8, not two as the printed calendar states.  If you have a printed calendar, please label May 16 as PK-5 only. 

What is Yorkers Club?

Yorkers Club is South Seneca’s international travel club in the high school.

The club has traveled to many destinations, including Spain, France, Italy, Germany, Switzerland, Ireland, Wales, England & Costa Rica. In March of 2018 the club will go to Germany, Poland, Hungary & Czech Republic! Anyone can join and start fundraising!

A few key points:
  • Students must be in Grades 9 - 12 to travel.  
  • Students vote on the next destination in the Spring, so ballots will be coming soon!
  • 8th graders will be eligible next year, and can vote on the ballot this spring.
Please review this valuable article that covers advantages of student travel experiences.

If a student is interested in traveling, he or she can see Mrs. Sanchez in room 218 to find out more.  Parents can contact her at

Five SS Students Earn Awards

Five South Seneca students received the highest honor from the Scholastic Art & Writing Awards, announced January 30, 2018.

See the post here from our website.  

Once again, Mrs. Copp's art students are shining.  

Thanks to Mrs. Copp and others for organizing our latest Falcon Flyers events.  Please see this document.  

Monday, January 15, 2018

January 15

Hi folks,
I hope the winter is treating you well. This edition of our High School News focuses on testing.  Our schedule for January 22 to 24 is below, and I've also posted some good links in my first section concerning studying for Regents exams.  

Thanks for your support of our wonderful South Seneca students!

Tim Houseknecht, Principal

Tips on studying for Regents Exams

With our Regents and Midterm testing week approaching, here are some great resources for students:

  • Castle Learning  - Students at South Seneca have accounts to this powerful study tool. 
  • Khan Academy - Khan has quickly become a powerful learning tool for students worldwide. 
  • Past exams on the NYS Education Department site
    • I made a quick video on how to access past Regents exams (linked above). By reviewing old exams and using tools such as Castle Learning and Khan Academy, success on exams can be greatly enhanced!

Regents and Midterms - January 22 to 24

From Monday, January 22 to Wednesday, January 24, we will be holding Regents exams, mid-term exams, and special classes/projects for students in the High School.  The overall schedule is below, and students are currently receiving their individual schedules. 

Monday, January 22:
  • Exams and one US History review session. 
  • No regular classes at the Ovid campus. 
  • Breakfast and lunch available as usual.
  • BOCES classes are in session. Students are expected to attend unless testing. 
  • Regular bus transportation will be provided, including service at the half day point for those who need it.
Tuesday and Wednesday, January 23 and 24:
  • Exams (Regents and midterms).
  • Breakfast and lunch available as usual.
  • BOCES classes are in session. Students are expected to attend unless testing.
  • Regular bus transportation will be provided, including service at the half day point for those who need it.
  • All 9th and 10th grade schedules are full. This includes special classes and project time.
  • Many 11th and 12th graders are scheduled for Regents, midterms, and special projects or classes. 
    • Students in 11th and 12th grade do not have to be in school during unscheduled times
    • 11th and 12th graders should speak with their teachers if they would like to arrange meetings for review or work completion. 
  • On Tuesday and Wednesday, we have taken advantage of the testing schedule to hold some special projects, classes, movies and even speakers. I am excited that these days will provide us some opportunities we would usually be unable to offer. For example:
    • 9th and 10th grade skill building sessions such as ELA camp and Math camp.
    • Workplace lectures for 9th and 10th graders. 
    • Special class project sessions (all grades depending on individual schedules):
      • Studio Art, Ceramics, Drawing, Auto Systems, Computer Assisted Drafting, Wood Production, Digital Media
      • 2 movies for 10th graders that are intended to enhance classroom learning without costing valuable classroom time. 
Thursday and Friday, January 25 and 26:
  • Regular class schedules
The general schedule file is located here and on the high school web page.  If you have any questions about the week, please let me know.

If a student is studying for the SAT test, here's a great way to enhance scores.  Khan Academy has partnered with the College Board to help students.  Khan Academy is always offering new ways for students to enhance their knowledge and scores.  Check it out! 

Martin Luther King
On this remembrance day for Dr. King, I've included a link to his Nobel Peace Prize acceptance speech.  He was a great example for all of us, no matter our color.

School Anxiety and Avoidance Summit
Family members, students, school staff, providers and community members are encouraged to attend this event, which is sponsored by the Racker Center in Ithaca

Sunday, December 3, 2017

Sunday, December 3

Hi folks, 
Thanks for visiting our High School News blog.  We have a valuable event coming up this week for our high school and Middle School students.  Mr. Rich Johns will be speaking.  Please see the post below.  I hope you all have a great December and holiday season.

Tim Houseknecht, Principal

Rich Johns To Speak on
Wednesday, December 6

During our half day, Mr. Rich Johns will be speaking to our students.  Mr. Johns was a long time New York State educator. Following his passion of personal character development,  he started his “pay it forward” mission called Act With Respect Always with his Saratoga Springs High School tennis program and his sixth grade classes. He has continued this mission by speaking with other groups like South Seneca students.

We're excited to have Mr. Johns here.
You can check his website here.

If any parents or community members would like to attend, you are more than welcome. Mr. Johns will be speaking with middle school students from 8:00 to 9:00 and high school students from 10:20 to 11:20, both in the auditorium.  You would need to check in at the office first.

Who Said Turkeys Can't Dance?

Wednesday, November 22, 2017

Wednesday, November 22

Hello everyone, 
I hope that you all enjoy the Thanksgiving break.  As always, it's been a busy time in Falcon Land. I'm thankful for the many efforts of our dedicated staff members along with our wonderful students. 

If you haven't signed up for a parent conference, it's not too late. Please contact the school on Monday, and we can get you into a conference slot.  Thank you very much for your communication and suggestions; they are always welcome. 

Tim Houseknecht, Principal

This month's focus:
Tech Programs Going Strong

Students in our Auto Systems class are taught by John Gilfus.  Mr. Gilfus has a 2 period (75 minute) class every day for juniors and seniors. If your student is interested in a career with unlimited job opportunities, look into Auto Systems. 

John Barkee's classes focus on skills that students need for careers in many types of jobs.  From wood working to computer assisted drafting, Mr. Barkee's classes are devoted to teaching skills that students will use in the workplace. 

We are lucky at South Seneca to have a fully functioning tech department.  Students should take advantage of these courses.  For more info, please contact our Guidance department. 

Class News
You can see our class news pages on the right side of this post. 

BOCES students of the month for October
Congratulations to the following South Seneca students. Great job!
  • Mark Bullock, Food Services
  • Ben Snyder, Heavy Equipment
December's Positive View
Please review the poster below. Feel free to share this with your kids.  Let's face it, high school can be tough.  Words of encouragement for older folks like us can make all the difference.

Click picture to enlarge.
United Way
I recently joined the Board of Directors for the United Way Seneca County. I believe it's important that the organization should have a representative or two from the southern part of the county.  Please check their website at

The United Way supports many great programs in our area.  If you'd like to help support the campaign, feel free to contact me or check their site. Thanks. 

Have a great Thanksgiving!