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Vietnam War veteran presented with high school diploma after 50 years

CONGRATULATIONS — The Eden Central School Board of Education presented Kent Willis, a Vietnam War veteran, his high school diploma though Operation Recognition, which authorizes school districts to present diplomas to certain war veterans. Photo by Alicia Greco.
EDEN — Vietnam War veteran Kent Willis, whose education was interrupted when he was called to serve his country, was presented with the high school diploma he had never received, during the Eden School Board’s meeting held Nov. 20. A reception and presentation of the diploma was held for Willis, as part of the meeting.

Eden student musicians played patriotic music while guests situated themselves, lining the hallway with banners and tiny American flags, as they prepared to welcome Willis.

Guests in attendance included Boy Scout troops, American Legion members, the Eden town supervisor, community citizens and others.

Superintendent Sandra Anzalone thanked the audience and those who assisted with the orchestration of the ceremony. She explained that Operation Recognition gives school districts authorization to grant high school diplomas to any veteran who served in either the Korean War, World War II or the Vietnam War.

“We recognize you as a hero,” Anzalone said to Willis, while handing the veteran his diploma. Willis served with the United States Marines in the Vietnam War, from 1961 – 1965.

The board also recognized the girls volleyball team’s winning the New York State Public High School Athletic Association State Championship title.

“What our program is most proud of is that Raider volleyball athletes have continued on to successful and productive lives,” head coach Stephen Pierce said. “Alumni have saved approximately $1.5 million in scholarship savings for Eden families.”

In other board news:
– Lucinda Karstedt, director of information technology, presented a review on student use of personal technology policies. The Eden elementary and high school buildings will now be running under what Karstedt called “bring your own device.”

With a tandem wireless network, she explained, students will be able to use accepted devices – such as smart phones, iPods®, iPads®, laptops, etc. – within the school, for school work purposes. The wireless network, she said, will block access to certain sites that may include inappropriate material, like pornography, gaming or social media.

– Three bus drivers hours were modified and approved by the board.

–The board accepted a donation of a 1978 Steinway© piano from Susan Adams. The piano is valued at $6,670. Anzalone thanked music teacher Mark Vona and the music department for helping to take care of the piano.

– The Eden board approved, with discussion, the merge of North Collins’ and Eden’s football teams. The junior-senior high schools of both North Collins and Eden teams will combine for varsity, junior varsity and modified football. The cheerleaders will remain separate entities. The merge will take place in the fall of next year.

– Representing the safety committee, David Martin presented to the board the status of the committee. He said that “lock-out, lockdowns and shelter in place” have been discussed and situated.

Thomas Murphy, director of finance, said that a safety committee is necessary to the school, in order to maintain an insurance discount.

– A parent information night will be held after the school concert from 6 – 7 p.m. on Dec. 5 at the elementary cafeteria. The topic of discussion will be data dashboard and state assessments.

The next board meeting will take place at 7 on Wednesday, Dec. 18 at the junior-senior high school cafeteria.


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