Chester Academy’s Internship Partner Appreciation Breakfast

  • Students from partnership program

    Empowering Students to Make Informed Career Choices

    Chester Academy hosted its annual Partnership Appreciation Breakfast on May 7 to recognize the students and community members who participated in this year’s Internship Program. Program advisor and school counselor Jennifer Burretto shared that 52 motivated students took advantage of the unique internship and job shadowing program this year.

    Chester Academy's Workplace Learning Internship Program identifies and puts juniors and seniors in career placements that match their interests. It is a unique experience that provides them with firsthand experience and insights that empower them to make better-informed decisions about their futures, whether career- or college-bound.

    It also builds self-confidence, and encourages them to delve into their interests and ambitions, to begin working out what they want to do in their careers.

    “We’re all so proud of our juniors and seniors for stepping outside of their comfort zone and being proactive in their education and exploring the possible futures that are out there for them,” said Ms. Burretto. “They gain so much firsthand knowledge and experience from working with our generous and gracious mentors. And many of those job owners ask their Chester interns to make sure they check in with them after college about possible employment. These students are not only learning, they’re building their college applications, their resumes, and a professional network!”

    Thank you to this year’s Chester Academy Internship Program mentors: Town of Chester Police Department, Dr. Eric Fethke (Boston Childrens' Health), Searchlight Web Consultants, Hudson Valley Imaging, Orange County VCA Veterinary Hospital, Brookside Family Dental, Orange County Depatment of Social Services, Athletic Republic, Odalys Dines Health & Life Coach, Prime Care Physical Therapy, Horizon Family Medical Group, Hudson Valley Imaging, New York State Police, Catskill Dermatology, Glenmere Mansion, Anytime Electric, Orange County Sheriff's Office, LAN Associates, Base 10 Architecture, Better Homes & Gardens Realty, The Sign Guys, Hip & Chic Boutique, Orange County District Attorney's Office, Dr. Donohue (Chiropractic Medicine), Ferrigno Financial, Medachieve Program (Touro College), as well as Chester UFSD faculty and staff who took interns under their wings right here in the district.

    Student at podium speaking in white shirt

Thank you

  • Thank you graphic

    On May 21, voters approved the district’s $36,503,854 budget for the 2024-2025 school year by a vote of 334-108. The community also said yes to a capital project aimed at enhancing district-wide safety measures to protect our students and staff. Among the many planned safety upgrades are new doors and transactional areas at Chester Elementary School, as well as a transactional area at Chester Academy.

    We were also glad to share that a new and promising future for the Maple Avenue Building is in the making, as voters overwhelmingly supported the plan to transfer ownership and operation of the building property to Orange County. The district maintains ownership and use of the 1965 gym and athletic fields. The proposition was approved, 402-44.

    Finally, two Board of Education members were elected, Lisa Hines-Johnson and Rosalie Pena.

Important Dates

  • June 11
    SEPTSA Meeting

    June 12
    Board of Education

    June 13
    Last Day of Classes for Chester Academy

    June 14
    CES Field Day

    June 18
    PTSA Meeting

    June 19
    Juneteenth - Schools Closed

    June 20
    Kindergarten Picnic
    5th-Grade Moving Up
    PTA Meeting

    June 24
    8th-Grade Moving Up
    Half Day for Students

    June 25
    Half Day for Students
    High School Graduation (Rain Date June 26)

Chester competes at Special Olympics

  • Special Olympics team

    In April, a team of five students from Chester Elementary competed in the 8th Annual Orange County Elementary Special Olympics! This year’s team was Justin Dennison, Eden Modugno, Miguel Pena, Sophia VanDunk, and Arek Woronecki.

    The Hambos took on teams from 10 other local school districts, as well as OU-BOCES, at this year’s event. The competition took place at Middletown’s Presidential Park Elementary School gymnasium.

    Events focused on two sports, basketball and soccer, and challenged the athletes to show off their dribbling, passing and shooting skills in both. The day culminated in a recognition ceremony (complete with an Olympic podium) when the athletes received their medals and ribbons.

    A student throws a basketball into a hoop

Special education teacher Amy Reid honored with Excellence Award

  • Congratulations to Chester Academy special education teacher Amy Reid, for being a recipient of the 2024 Mid-Hudson School Study Council (MHSSC)Teaching Excellence Award! The MHSSC bestows this honor on teachers who demonstrate excellence in achieving their district’s educational mission.

    Congratulations, Ms. Reid, on this well-deserved honor.

    Amy Reid stands with administrators

Glowing Garden Art Show lights up CES makerspace

  • Glow Night images

    The Glowing Garden Art Show on April 25 transformed the Chester Elementary makerspace into a colorful wonderland of light-reactive artwork. Organized by CES art teacher Emily Daunicht, the dazzling exhibition showcased the talents of artists from every grade level at the elementary school.

    “It was important to me that we showcase artwork made by students in every grade,” said Ms. Daunicht. “So, that meant students from Pre-K all the way up through fifth grade, and they all worked really hard on these projects, which varied by grade and were created specifically for this type of event.”

    Ms. Daunicht said that as the show drew near, her students were waiting with greater and greater anticipation for the big reveal, eager to show off their creations. The makerspace was set up with a labyrinth of display boards, each one hung with garden-themed student artwork and made to glow using UV lights.

    When the doors opened, the artists and their families navigated their way through the immersive visual experience.

    There was also a Family Instructional Academy workshop, "Let's GLOW Crazy About Art Education" led by the district’s Director of Curriculum, Instruction, and Communication, Dayanara Garcia.

    Families reviewed the value of art education in Pre-K-12 and had the opportunity to create their own glow-in-the-dark rose. While parents collaborated through their creative masterpieces, they had the opportunity to drop off their children for Child Care/art activities supervised by Leiny Valet and facilitated by Chester Academy student volunteers.

    Glow Night Images

Congratulations, Scholars!

  • Class of `24 Valedictorian

    Mykhaylo Hychka

    Mykhaylo will be attending Boston University, pursuing a degree in electrical engineering. Mykhaylo has always been passionate about technology and the differences it can make in the world. He has been an active member of the community, holding leadership positions in several clubs such as Kiwanis Key Club, Jazz Band, SAGA, National Honor Society, and assists with the Modified Track Club. Additionally, he has been a captain of the indoor and outdoor track teams and plans on competing in college. 

    Class of `24 Salutatorian

    Braydon Detwiler

    Braydon will be attending SUNY Albany pursuing a career in social work. His hope – to make a difference in the lives of the oppressed, unsafe, and those living in poverty. This year, Braydon was part of the Chester Academy Internship Program, shadowing a Kinship Specialist with the Orange County Department of Social Service. Braydon has been a member of Kiwanis Key Club, SAGA, Class Officers, Student Council, and the National Honor Society. Braydon is an excellent trombonist in our music program and has been selected to numerous All-County and Area All-State ensembles. 

    We look forward to Mykhaylo and Braydon’s Valedictorian and Salutatorian addresses during this year’s commencement ceremony on Tuesday, June 25.

Spring concert and performance season a success!

  • Chester’s spring concert season went off wonderfully. Congratulations to our Chester Academy high school musicians on a beautiful performance at their spring concert on May 9th! The chorus, voice ensemble, band, and jazz band performed; we are very proud of our students! The evening featured senior songs from the chorus and band and beautifully highlighted the seniors. Congratulations to all, and thank you to all who attended!

    And more congratulations to our talented Middle School and Elementary musicians for their wonderful Spring Concert performances on May 8 and June 6 respectively. The ensembles delighted audiences with music from a variety of genres. The concerts showcased all of the great musical talent we have here at Chester.

    Along with our annual in-house school concerts, Mr. Sparkman and Ms. Hyseni staged an outdoor concert on May 19 at the Chester outdoor amphitheater. The concert attracted an appreciative crowd that enjoyed performances by the fifth grade band, multiple small ensembles, the jazz band band, a rock band, and other musicians from grades five through 12 performing solos.

    And finally, bravo to the Chester Academy Drama Club and English teacher/musical director Christopher DeLao for their outstanding spring musical production! It was a weekend to remember, when Chester Academy was transformed into Rydell High for one weekend of exciting performances of the timeless hit musical Grease! Audiences were on the edge of their seats saying, “tell me more, tell me more,” as the cast drag-raced and hand-jived their way through the musical’s book of pop Broadway hits.

    Thanks to Ms. Scali, Ms. Hyseni and Mr. Sparkman for their hard work and dedication to our music program.

    Honored Musicians

    OCMEA Elementary All-County Festival (Grades 4-6)

    Gabrielle Thomas
    Hetvi Patel
    Nolan Dougherty
    Sawyer McElroy

    Chloe Gossai
    Jonah Boma
    Jazlynn Martinez
    Miles Ibocko
    Caleb Zulme
    Mikaela Colindres

    OCMEA Junior High All-County Festival (Grades 7-9)

    Noah Keegan

    Jadyn Francis

    OCMEA High School All-County Festival (Grades 9-12)

    Jailyn Fernandez
    Braydon Detwiler

    Michael Miller
    Krista Bucci

    Additionally, more than 30 Chester musicians prepared and performed vocal solos, instrumental solos, or small ensemble pieces for this spring’s New York State School Music Association (NYSSMA) festival. The pieces ranged from Level I (beginner) to Level VI (advanced).

    Three Chester students also auditioned for NYSSMA Area All-State: Jailyn Fernandez, Arianna Doughty, and Yamilet Lopez-Cortez.


    Concert 2

    Concert 3

    Concert 4

Chester Academy to be honored as Scholar-Athlete Team School of Distinction

  • Chester Academy has applied to be honored as a NYSPHSAA Scholar-Athlete Team School of Distinction for 2023-2024. Schools can apply for School of Distinction status by having 100% of their varsity teams qualify for and receive the Scholar-Athlete team award during their respective sports seasons. All of Chester Academy’s varsity teams achieved NYSPHSAA Scholar-Athlete team status.

    “It’s one of the things that I'm most proud of with our athletics department this year; every one of our varsity teams has been designated as a NYPHSAA Scholar-Athlete team,” said CUFSD Athletic Director Michael Doucette. “And that means that 75% of the players on a team must carry a 90% academic average (or better) during their competitive season.”

    Since the award was created in 2005, only 19 schools in Section IX have earned this award, and this is the first time that Chester Academy will receive the honor.

Varsity baseball and softball celebrate another great season

  • Chester Athletics Round-Up

    Baseball team

    Varsity Baseball, 16-5
    OCIAA Division Champions

    Softball team

    Varsity Softball, 15-6
    OCIAA Division Champions

    Varsity Track & Field
    Mykhaylo Hychka is the Class D Discus Champion

    Varsity Lacrosse, 3-12

    JV Baseball, 12-3

    JV Softball, 11-6

    Modified Baseball, 12-1

    Congratulations 2024 OCIAA Scholar-Athletes

    Nina Melone & Andre Jenkins

    Congratulations to Nina and Andre on being named 2024 Scholar-Athletes by the Orange County Interscholastic Athletics Association.

    To meet the selection criteria for this honor, students must be among the top 20% of their class, play at least one varsity sport in an above-average capacity, and exhibit outstanding citizenship.

    Doucette winningest Hambos baseball coach

    Chester’s Director of Phys Ed & Athletics and Hambos Varsity Baseball coach, Michael Doucette, became the winningest baseball coach in Chester UFSD history, with his 188th win in April. The “W” put Coach Doucette ahead of previous record holder, Tony Mancuso.

    “It’s amazing to reach this milestone and get so much recognition,” said a grateful Coach Doucette. “But as much as it means to me, I would trade all of that to get the kids a Section IX title or a NYS title run!”

    Coach Doucette’s overall record is 196 and 91.

Mock crash encourages graduation season safety

  • mock crash participants with fire truck

    On May 16, the Town of Chester Police and Fire Departments collaborated with medical professionals from Garnet Health and Flynn Funeral Home to present a mock automobile crash in front of Chester Academy. The scene was staged to show the immediate aftermath and ensuing investigation at a drunk driving accident with fatalities. The program was presented on the day of junior prom and highlighted the importance of good decision making during this potentially dangerous time of year for students.

    First, students gathered in the auditorium to hear Marianne Angelillo, a keynote speaker sponsored by the Orange County STOP DWI & Traffic Safety Program. Ms. Angelillo, a mom from Skaneateles, shared the story of her 17-year-old son Matthew, who lost his life in a drunk driving accident just after celebrating the end of his junior year. Once outside, student actors played the roles of crash victims as fire trucks, police cars and an ambulance roared into the scene. The ensuing dramatization, including an investigation and arrest, had a strong impact on the audience.

    Mock Crash is presented in the spring to drive home the fact that every year, about one-third of all alcohol-related fatalities involving teens take place during April, May and June – prom and graduation season. It is also meant to encourage our students to make good decisions.

    Prom season was wonderful here in Chester, and we’re glad that our students have exercised good judgment while celebrating their junior and senior years. With only a couple of weeks to go until graduation, we encourage you all to stay that course and celebrate wisely!

    A special thank you to the Town of Chester Highway Department for coming through to sweep up our lot after the event!

    Students behind cars in mock crash

Chester Odyssey rocks at states

  • Chester OMers were ready to rock at the Odyssey of the Mind NYS Finals in April. And rock they did!

    The team captured 4th Place in their division for their performative problem-solving around Problem #5: Rocking World Detour!

    The problem put OMers in the position of a rock band out on the road. When things get derailed, they find themselves transported to an unexpected location and must figure out how to use music to get them back on tour. Their performance had to include band merchandise and original hairstyles.

    OM team in blue shirts

    OM team in costume