Improved Lew-Port program to be among largest in Niagara County
By Terry Duffy
A new school year is around the corner and excitement is starting to build around the Lewiston-Porter School District.
Beyond the wealth of capital improvements seen around the Creek Road campus comes the return of familiar faces in the district and a favorite among River Region residents – Community Education.
Community Ed – a victim of budget decisions of past years – is returning for 2019-20 – and Lew-Port officials couldn’t be happier. Its return marks the fruition of efforts by district administrators, who, following their weighted decision to drop this popular offering, nonetheless remained hopeful it could come back.
Turns out the return became a matter of good timing.
Orleans Niagara BOCES public relations specialist Anita Muzzi will serve as Community Ed coordinator. She explained an unplanned, short introduction at the Lewiston-Porter administrative offices resulted in an uptick among educators in the program’s planning and development. And it resulted in what Lew-Port aims to become one of the largest community education programs of its type in Niagara County.
“Coming this fall, the Lewiston-Porter Central School District will be the place to be as district rolls out their fall 2019 program,” Muzzi said.
Classes will run Monday through Saturday from late September through mid-December on the Lew-Port campus. “(And) from UFO activity in New York, to community choir to hula dance and everything in between, there’s no doubt we have the title as being unique!” Muzzi said. “With a vast array of 112 classes, workshops and tours, in topics such as arts and crafts, cooking, exercise, finance, health and wellness, learning and leisure, music, technology and certifications and college testing preparation, the Community Education program will be a commitment to lifelong learning that the district can provide to the community for years to come.”
Muzzi said she sees the Community Ed offering as transforming the Lewiston-Porter district into a learning hub for the entire county.
“The program is designed with a broad spectrum of classes to encourage the public to learn new and exciting things,” she said. “Several of the classes allow for teens to attend with a parent. I wanted to see parents and children interacting and learning together to make fun memories together. The program is open to anyone who would like to try something new.
“We are opening our doors to all surrounding communities and residents of other school districts. The objective is to make Lew-Port a hub of continued learning for the entire region.”
Lewiston-Porter Board of Education President Jodee Riordan commented, “It is very exciting to be able to return a full Community Education program to Lewiston-Porter. We are so proud of the classes that we have to offer. There is truly a class to inspire every interest.”
Superintendent Paul Casseri said one of the goals for Lew-Port in its planning was to develop a program that would have interest to a wide range of audiences.
“Lew-Port has a signature program designed to connect with the community. Life-long learning is an aspect of continued growth,” he said. “It stimulates the mind and body, provides social interaction and a strong community connection. We hope the community will support the program so it will continue to grow.
“It is said, ‘If you build, it they will come!’ ” Casseri continued. “Our program also affords the opportunity for input from the community on programs and instruction in the future. We are already planning our spring 2020 session and hope to roll out summer youth and sport camps.
“Additionally, our buildings and facilities belong to the community. We recognize that each year the residents support us through our annual budget vote. As the program grows and develops, it will move closer to cost-neutral. The district’s primary goal is to ensure programing for all.”
Muzzi said instructors for the program have been recruited from throughout Western New York.
“I love to see the excitement of our local hobbyists, enthusiasts and instructors preparing their classes,” she said.
One of them is Youngstown resident and fly-fishing instructor Rob Jeeves.
“This program is such a gem,” he said. “It allows folks in our community to learn from each other. The program not only helps individuals develop new skills, it also strengthens our bonds as members of the community.”
Upon seeing what this new program has to offer, Lewiston resident and Town of Lewiston Board member Rob Morreale said he already has his eye on several classes.
“Taxpayers can take advantage of classes to enrich the community. My children have been out of the district for over 10 years now. It will be great to go back into the district once again,” he said.
Wilson resident Donna Williams agreed: “This is so wonderful for the entire region. I live in Wilson and with such a wide selection of classes so reasonably priced, I would definitely make the drive!”
Registration for classes is now underway The Lewiston-Porter Community Education brochure can be found on the district website at www.lew-port.com. Online registration is available at www.lew-port.coursestorm.com.
Community Education instructors Remy Rotella (who will teach “How to sow seeds”) and Rob Jeeves (instruction of fly fishing).