Forestville hears of shared success

FORESTVILLE – The collaboration between Forestville and Silver Creek is going well, according to the districts’ athletic directors.

The two districts share several athletics programs, including football, soccer and cross country.

The Forestville Board of Education asked its Athletic Director Scott Hazelton and Silver Creek’s Athletic Director Sean Helmer to attend its meeting to report on how shared sports programs are going.

Both directors thanked the board for allowing the combination of sports teams.

“Our program would be devastated, I truly believe that. If both schools were divided, I don’t think one of us would have survived the football season at any level. That would just break my heart. We are super excited and Forestville’s kids have been great,” Helmer said.

Hazelton also thanked Helmer for his work making the Forestville students feel welcome.

“Starting as early as June Sean got his guys together and on board with our guys and they did a few extensive off-season programs, summer leagues and a lot of pre-season workouts together. That really just jumped off and the kids really bought into that, that it didn’t matter where your home address was really from, that everybody wanted to be part of a winning team, a winning tradition or start a new winning tradition with these two communities. It hasn’t slowed down whatsoever. All the feedback that I have been given from our Forestville parents and student athletes has been very, very positive,” he said.

Both reported that the transition from two sports teams to one has been “seamless” and that any problems that have arisen are typical of any year, not because of sharing.

Board members and Superintendent Charles Leichner said they have only heard good things from Forestville athletes.

“I heard from a student the other day that it just sort of worked out that we match well. That we brought things they needed and they brought things we needed and it has been good for the football program,” he said.

Board President Sylvester Cleary also thanked Helmer for accepting Forestville’s students and said this collaboration puts the district on the “cutting edge.”

“Your openness in accepting our kids, that’s beautiful. Going forward we are going to have to do more sharing because that’s what the times call for, that’s what the finances call for and we are on the cutting edge,” Cleary said.

Leichner said by sharing sports programs, it has increased opportunities for students and increased the quality of those opportunities.

The board later received reports including the transportation report from shared Transportation Supervisor Kari Turner and Supervisor Niel Waterman.

“Here again we are at the forefront of sharing services and in the process of sharing services that is a way forward that we can provide more value for our students here and more value for our taxpayers. We get more for less. Every period of time there is a buzzword and the one I hear now is ‘bundle.’ People are bundling everything together for more value. Going forward that is basically what we have to be looking toward; bundling so we can stay afloat and provide more value,” Cleary said.

Leichner explained Forestville shares Turner with Silver Creek, and made the agreement in anticipation of Waterman’s retirement in upcoming years.

The next board of education meeting will be held Oct. 3.