Forestville recognizes athletes, discusses practices

FORESTVILLE – To be in high school and be at the top of your graduating class while playing sports is quite an accomplishment. Four athletes were honored at a recent Forestville Board of Education meeting.

Forestville Athletic Director Scott Hazelton announced one student was honored on the western New York scholar athlete team and three students received honorable mention. Lizzy Gilman, volleyball player who has a 100.27 GPA was honored on the scholar athlete team. The following students received honorable mention: Jacob Nosbisch, football player who has a 96.25 GPA; Alisha Szumigala, volleyball player who has a 95.87 GPA; and Amanda Weaver, volleyball player who has a 97.69 GPA. Hazelton praised the students’ parents for being especially supportive of the students.

“Without (parents) in their lives, I’m sure these student athletes would not be where they are at today. The positive role models that you are at home, the support that you give your student athletes, the support you give our school district and community is very welcome. Parents, thank you for your efforts as well,” Hazelton said.

During the meeting, board member Pat Dugan brought up allowing sports practices on Sundays. Currently the district does not allow any team to practice on Sunday and state requirements only allow students to practice six days per week maximum, but there is no day limitation.

“I think we need to get our coaches the opportunity to make (that decision). I agree, one day out of the weekend they shouldn’t have practice. To decide it has to be Sunday, I just don’t think that’s fair to the coaches, kids or the families. Sometimes that’s what works best for everybody,” Dugan said.

Several board members agreed practices should not be allowed on Sunday, a day of rest and dedicated to spending family time. President Sylvester Cleary said students should be given the opportunity to spend time with their families.

Superintendent Charles Leichner said the students deserve a day off, whether it be Sunday or another day. He believes that, however, there needs to be parameters on the days students can practice. He also gave an example of a state champion sports team locally who never practiced on Sunday, as just one example.

“I spoke with Fredonia, their boys’ baseball team last year won the state championships. They never practiced on Sunday because they’re not allowed to. Somehow they were able to be successful,” Leichner said.

Hazelton said some students want to be together with their friends and are willing to practice on Sundays; some students think of their teammates as their family and would like to spend as much time with them as possible. He said he does not believe students are trying to escape time with family.

“I think family beliefs and tradition is huge. … I think our student athletes look at our coaches and teammates as family,” Hazelton said.

Board member Rodney Rogers brought up the issue while Forestville may allow Sunday practices, other schools, for merged sports such as football, may not follow the same procedure. Leichner said the player and parents should address the coach if there is a problem with scheduling or missing practice first before contacting the administration. The board of education decided to discuss this matter at a future date and did not act upon the matter at this time.

Comments on this article may be sent to