State of the School 2017

Spencer Schultz, Jenna Vespi and Jillian Risavi

Editor-in-Chief and Producers of the Ramfeed

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Once again, Jamesville-DeWitt High School is ranked as one of the premier schools in New York State by U.S. News and World Report. Yet, the administration is committed to maintaining the success J-D has achieved in the past by improving different facets of the school. “We’re standing on the shoulders of giants, and looking forward into the future,” says Principal Paul Gasparini.

The Flock, J-D’s student section, has led the charge on reinvigorating school spirit. After a two year hiatus, the club is back in action. Club president Paige Petrell emphasizes that the Flock hopes to “put the enthusiasm back in all school events, big or small.”

While spirit for sporting events has been greater than ever, participation in other school-sponsored events, namely the Homecoming Dance and J-D Day, is a different story.  Though there has been limited excitement for J-D Day in recent years and the Homecoming Dance has already been cancelled, Mr. Gasparini asserts that school spirit is at an all time high. While Mr. Gasparini says J-D Day is definitely still a go, he is working with Student Government to change things up, by maybe creating a music festival called RamJam. “We are developing a stronger and stronger feeling of unity. Students want to support each other,” he says.

As the number one ranked sports program in Central New York according to Syracuse.com, it is no surprise J-D athletics remain supreme. J-DHS student athletes not only succeed on the field and on the courts, but also in the classroom. This year, J-DHS received a citation from Assemblywoman Pamela J. Hunter, who congratulated J-D for being a school of distinction in New York State. “All of our athletic teams are athletically superlative; our students are achieving students. They set goals, they’re ambitious, they work hard.” says Mr. Gasparini.

In the past two years, the art department has suffered major losses in their staff, with the retirement of longtime teachers Carlos Benedict, Carl Wenzel and Steve Pilcher. Leaving big shoes to fill, the hunt was on to find adequate replacements who would be capable of continuing the success of the J-D Art Department, and that was found in Jacob Brodsky, Ashlee Childers, and Mark McIntyre. They’ve done “a really nice job taking the program to the next level,” says Mr. Gasparini.

J-D’s technology program has also been on the rise in recent years. Our Project Lead the Way program is responding to a rise of interest in STEM classes with the addition of 24 new computers in Room B05. “Girls Who Code” has been a contributing force behind that increase in participation, by encouraging more female students to take part in the technology department. “It’s very important for us to get more young women involved in technology and our girls who code, both in the middle school and the high school, have helped to push more young women into that field,” says Mr. Gasparini.

In the ever-changing environment that defines our high school, Mr. Gasparini has a positive outlook on the year ahead. “I am excited for this year. We have a great student body, we really do.”