Caroline Muray/Recorder staff Broadalbin-Perth Superintendent Stephen Tomlinson, left, and Mary Sniezyk share a moment during the employee recognition program Thursday. Sniezyk is retiring after 30 years of service to the district.
BROADALBIN -- A combined 250 years of teaching experience -- comprised of this year's Broadalbin-Perth Central School District retirees -- sat in the high school auditorium Thursday, waiting to be honored during at the annual employee recognition program.
"It is humbling to be in the presence of this group in particular, the people who retired this year," board of education president Edward Szumowski said. "I shudder to think how we will fill all their shoes, but I am sure we will find a way."
The nine retirees being recognized were among 66 other employees receiving awards during the ceremony, which honored them for their dedication and service to the school district.
According to Superintendent Stephen Tomlinson, their commitment to the district shines through all of which their students achieved this past year.
Tomlinson said that includes many of their scholar athletes, who maintained a 90 or above average while playing countless hours of sports; and the cheerleading team, which won a national championship.
He pointed to the high school's rocketry team, Neon Icon, which qualified to compete with teams all over the country and came home with second place. And the Odyssey of the Mind intermediate team, which won regionals and competed against global teams.
Tomlinson said according to recent graduation rates, Broadalbin-Perth is rated the highest in the region, with 87.31 percent graduation rate.
"I want to commend our teachers first and foremost for getting the students to that point," Tomlinson said. "It truly does take a village to educate our kids and get them to graduate."
Tomlinson said the number of students B-PCS has tuitioning into the district has dramatically increased during the past seven years. He said they have one of the highest tuition rates in the region, and it speaks volumes that people are still willing to enroll their students into the system.
Simply put, Tomlinson said, the school district is the best in the capital region.
"When you think about what it means to be the best -- the highest quality -- it is excellence and standing over everyone else," Tomlinson said.
He thanked the faculty, staff and administration for making the year such a success.
Tomlinson also announced the winners of the third annual Outstanding Patriot Awards. According to a press release, each year, Broadalbin-Perth recognizes a teacher, instructional staff member, and non-instructional staff member for the awards.
John Baker, a middle school social studies teacher, received the Outstanding Patriot Award as a teacher. High School Principal Robin Blowers received the award for instructional staff; and director of operations and safety Michael Carney received the Outstanding Patriot Award for non-instructional staff.
Tomlinson also recognized the retirees with a gift -- a fruit bowl -- which the administration joked was a little lackluster, but a tradition nonetheless.
He spoke highly of all the retirees, but one in particular who affected his life.
Mary Sniezyk, who was retiring after 30 years of service, stood beside Tomlinson as he praised her for all her advice she supplied him throughout the years.
"Next to my grandfather, the one person in my life who has shown me more wisdom and what it means to be a real person, inside, is this lady right here," Tomlinson said.
Sniezyk said she will miss the kids, her associates, and the administration that supported her throughout her career. She said being a teacher is fulfilling, but at age 61, it was her time to leave.
"I am going out on top," Sniezyk said. "That is important."