Past Spotlights

Past Spotlights

2019-20 Spartan Spotlights

September 2019 Spotlight: Jack and Vida Hendrickson

 NAMES: Vida Hendrickson, 13 and Jack Hendrickson, 12 

GRADE/SCHOOL: Vida is in 8th grade at the Middle School and Jack is in 6th grade at the Middle School.
SPOTLIGHT MOMENT: The Hendrickson sibling’s spotlight moments came with their performances in 2019 competitive mountain biking competitions. Vida placed 2nd at the National Interscholastic Cycling Association of New York (NICA NY) State Championship Series Race #5 in Windham, NY. She is ranked 4th in New York State and competed in the US Cup East Coast Junior Mountain Bike National Championships races, placing 8th overall. Jack placed 5th overall in the US Cup East Coast Junior Mountain Bike National Championships races. He is ranked 14th among 6th grade boys in New York State.   
MORE ABOUT JACK AND VIDAVida has been a mountain biker for over half of her life and she continues to perfect her skills. She is a member of the National Interscholastic Cycling Team of NY with the Galena Growlers out of Chenango County. In addition to her athletic ability, Vida shines in the classroom as an honor student. Jack has been mountain biking for 9 years. He is a member of the National Interscholastic Cycling Team of NY with the Galena Growlers out of Chenango County. Both Hendrickson children started riding with their parents as youngsters and they haven’t stopped since. Both say the sport is exciting and allows them to take risks, while having fun. Vida said the sport boosts bravery and Jack enjoys building on his competitive skills. They train every weekend at Chenango State Park. 
Vida is a member of the Spartan modified field hockey team and she plays CYO varsity basketball on the Church of the Holy Family team. She is a member of the MS orchestra and plays violin. She also enjoys playing the ukulele.
Jack plays youth football, basketball and baseball. He is a member of the MS orchestra and plays bass.

Favorite Subjects:
Vida: Art and Science
Jack: Science
Least Favorite Subject: 
Vida: English
Jack: Math
What they want to be when they grow up:
Vida wants to be a veterinarian, or have a career in orthopedics
Jack isn’t sure yet, but has some interest in becoming a surgeon.

October 2019 Spotlight: Taylor Hagquist

NAME: Taylor Hagquist, 16

GRADE/SCHOOL: 11th grade, High School
SPOTLIGHT MOMENT: Taylor’s Spotlight Moment came in June when she won three world championships and three reserve world championship titles at the Pinto World Championships held in Tulsa, OK. 
MORE ABOUT TAYLOR: Taylor has been riding horses and competing since she was 3-years-old. In June she competed in jumping and timed events on her Chincoteague Pony, VIP Sterling Silverette. Taylor’s competition circuit takes place in the summer. In November, she will compete in the Miss Teen Rodeo NY pageant in Glens Falls. When asked what she loves best about riding, she said the bond between horse and rider, and the trust that allows both to do amazing things. 

Activities/Hobbies: In addition to riding, Taylor sings in the HS Women’s and Mixed Choruses, plays violin in the orchestra, is a member of Show Choir, Drama Club, and Action Ecology. She volunteers in the community at the Camp Sertoma horse program and at the Dick’s Sporting Goods Open.

Favorite Subject: Music
Least Favorite Subject: None, she likes them all.
What she wants to be when she grows up: Taylor plans to attend Ithaca College and study Music Education and Performance.

November 2019 Spotlight: Payton Virgil

NAME: Payton Virgil, 13

7th grade, Middle School
SPOTLIGHT MOMENT: Payton’s spotlight moment was seen by thousands of people! His artwork was selected for the LUMA Mural Mapping Project and displayed during the projection arts festival held in September. Payton’s sea-themed art was based on the architectural features of a Court Street building and then projected on to the building during the festival.
MORE ABOUT PAYTON: Payton has been studying art at the Brunelli Art Studio for three years. He used acrylic paints for his original work that he entered into the LUMA contest. In addition to having his art featured in the festival, Payton sold his original canvas through the Cooperative Art Gallery following the event.

Activities/Hobbies: In addition to art, Payton enjoys playing golf, and he plays tuba in the Middle School band.  
Favorite Subject: Science
Least Favorite Subject: English
What he wants to be when he grows up: Lawyer

December 2019 Spotlight: Abby Wheeler

NAME: Abby Wheeler

GRADE/SCHOOL: 12th grade, High School

SPOTLIGHT MOMENT: Abby was in the national spotlight as a member of the Macy’s Great American Marching Band which performed during the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day parade in New York City. Abby played the tenor saxophone in the band. She was selected after being recommended for the honor by her band teacher Jackie Kovacs, and after submitting a recording of herself playing. 

“It was just a dynamic experience,” Abby said. To prepare, Abby practiced and then memorized the music for the parade. In the city her whirlwind experience included uniform fittings, practices, marching, staging for the performance in Herald Square, and a dress rehearsal along the parade route in the wee hours of the morning on Thanksgiving Day. The band members also took in the sites of NYC and the play “Tootsie.”
MORE ABOUT ABBY: In addition to being a talented musician, Abby shows Arabian horses in competition. She competes with her gelding, MCK Tristen in shows across the US. This past season she was the Unanimous Champion in the Region 16 competition in two events, and among the top 5 competitors in the prestigious Region 14 competition. Abby has been riding and showing horses for over 9 years.
Favorite Subject: Science/Biology

Least Favorite Subject: Macroeconomics

Future Plans: Abby plans to major in biology and psychology with a minor in music in college. She has yet to decide where she will attend. 

January 2020 Spotlight: Kyra Gordon

NAME: Kyra Gordon
AGE: 9
GRADE/SCHOOL: 4th Grade, Maine Memorial

SPOTLIGHT MOMENT: Kyra’s Spotlight moment came when she inspired adults to take action and clean up a local park that was vandalized with graffiti.

When Kyra and her younger cousins visited Muth Park in Apalachin park this fall, she recognized inappropriate words and phrases spray painted on the playground equipment. Disturbed by what she saw, she reached out to adults to help clean up the graffiti so that her cousins would have a safe place to play. Kyra joined a group of adults who set out to clean the eyesore. (Grafitti has been crossed out in the following "before" pictures.)
Activities/Hobbies: In addition to playing with her cousins, Kyra likes gymnastics, drawing and coloring. She plays the violin and sings in her school’s chorus.

Favorite Subject: Math

Least Favorite Subject: Reading

What she wants to be when she grows up: A teacher or veterinarian.

February 2020 Spartan Spotlight: Destiny Wood

Destiny Wood
NAME: Destiny Wood
AGE: 17
GRADE/SCHOOL: 11th Grade, High School

SPOTLIGHT MOMENT: Destiny competes in tractor pulling. She recently placed second in her class at her club, Newark Valley Tractor Pullers.
She didn’t take the wheel on her own until she was about 12, but Destiny has been riding in competitive tractor pulls since she was a toddler. On her dad’s knee, or next to him, Destiny has grown up around the sport that is a family tradition. 

Along with her parents, siblings, grandparents and other family members, Destiny travels throughout New York State and the east coast participating in tractor pull competitions. Right now she competes in the stock twin class. “It’s something I love to do,” said Destiny. She also loves studying welding at Broome Tioga BOCES. She combines the two to improve her sport. She has used her skills to create tools of the trade including wheelie bars (anti-roll over devices) for hers and other tractors. 
Activities/Hobbies: In addition to her sport, Destiny enjoys drawing, painting and making sculptures.   

Favorite Subject: Welding

Least Favorite Subject: Welding classroom (non-hands on) instruction

What she wants to be when she grows up: Undecided

View text-based website