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What Does Pride Mean to You?

Pride.

The five-letter word that students and members of the staff at the Fayetteville – Manlius school district live by.

Progress. Responsibility. Integrity. Determination. Excellence.

Like everything, it all starts at the top with the superintendent, Dr. Craig Tice, who has been the leader of a group of people who take a lot of pride in their students and individual needs and are very accepting towards people with disabilities.

Trust me, I experience it first hand on a daily basis.

All it took was a conversation with Mrs. Pat Muller and an email to counselor Mr. Doug Madden and assistant principals Ms. Lora Champlain and Mr. Ed Kupiec along with principal Mr. Ray Kilmer. From there, the athletic director, Mr. Scott Sugar, and his secretary, Ms. Kelly Hill, did all of the legwork.

My Junior Varsity baseball coach, Mr. Brent Ostrander, was extremely accepting towards my disability and always found time to check on me throughout each and every game. He always treated me as if I was just another player on the team.

He and Ms. Kelly Hill did everything that they could to assure my family and I that the fields for away games were going to be accessible.

However, the fields at opposing schools weren’t the issue. It was our home field that lacked accessibility.

Because of the combination of that and the uncooperative weather, my family and I ran into a few unexpected walls throughout the season. When we had rain, all of the water drained next to our dugout, which is where I sat.

When we were at one of the home games, nobody realized how wet that it really was until it was too late and the wheels of my power wheelchair had sunk into the ground and I was stuck in the mud.

Because of that, my family and I emailed Mr. Mike Vespi, who is the assistant superintendent for business services, and requested a meeting regarding the accessibility of the baseball field.

Mr. Vespi responded very quickly and scheduled a meeting at the baseball field that included my family, Mr. Tice, Mr. Russell McCarthy, who is the director of facilities, and Mr. Sugar.

When we met, Mr. Vespi was there along with Mr. Sugar, Mr. Tice, and Mr. McCarthy. As my family and I were expressing our concerns, all four of them were very attentive and wanted to hear what we had to say.

Just under six months later, if you go to the Junior Varsity baseball field, you will find a path that goes all the way around the backstop.

By doing this for me, the Fayetteville – Manlius school district gave me the ability to bring my powerchair to the baseball games.

Pride.

The five-letter word that keeps the wheels turning for the Fayetteville – Manlius school district.

1 Comment

  1. Lindsey

    This is why I feel proud to work for the F-M school district, and serve such a wonderful student as you Joe. What a great future you have as a writer!!!

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