Sunday, March 8, 2020

Fact vs. Fiction...

Do you remember playing the telephone game as a child? Sitting in a circle and sharing a "fact" with the person next to you and seeing how much that "fact changed by the time it got to the end of the circle. I can't recall a single instance where the information at the start of the circle was exactly the same at the end. This is because the our individual human brains interpret things differently from person to person. The outbreak of the coronavirus has brought this concept right to the forefront for our society. The Governor has recently done a serious of press conferences where he has highlighted the issues that arise from people sharing incomplete and/or inaccurate information. He has done a nice job explaining both facts and fear. Unfortunately, in today's society, most people feel that they are experts on all things that they can get their hands on. If we stick to coronavirus, how many people do you know that actually have direct access to the facts an information? The answer is most likely zero for 99% of the population. For instance, as superintendent, we have access to the most current information probably 10 times removed from the source. That means most likely, 10 people before I hear the news have had an opportunity to alter the message in some way, shape, or form. Often times, messages are not altered intentionally to raise concern; it's just that we all interpret a message differently when we hear it. Similar to the telephone game, many adults could sit in a room and hear the same message, but walk away with a different interpretation. When people hear something (or read something as is more common today with social media) it causes a response or reaction to the information that they hear. If the information though is not accurate or has been through the telephone game, now there are people reacting to things that are not necessarily correct. When that happens, fear can arise and/or anger over something that may not be correct. In our digital age, the internet (specifically social media) has become the telephone game of our childhood on steroids. People can go online and write whatever they want about anything, and all it takes is a few others to share it and all of a sudden there is misinformation all over the web. The bottom line, is that the truth is harder and harder to determine as we move away from the actual message that is trying to be delivered. Take time to seek the original message or get information from someone that was 2 to 3 times removed from the sender. Fiction can not only instill fear in our society, it can be detrimental to real progress.

Observer Dispatch 2020 Teen All-Stars

Who's your Teen All-Star?

The O-D is currently accepting nominations for its 2020 Teen All-Stars! Each year, dozens of local seniors are nominated by friends, family, school officials and members of the community.
Teen All-Stars is an annual awards program created by the Observer-Dispatch to recognize local students who excel both academically and in their extracurricular activities.
The nomination period will be open until April 1, 2020.
To nominate a local high school senior, please fill out the nomination form, located below. Nominations can be made by any member of the community for our students. Let's make sure RFA is represented with our amazing students.

Utica OD Teen All-Stars Nomination Form

Strough Drama Club

This week, the Strough Drama Club will host their musical, 42nd Street. On March 12th, 13th, and 14th, students will be performing the show at Strough Middle School. Tickets for the performance are $4 for pre-sale and $5 at the door. Pre-sale tickets are available at Jervis Library. For more information, please contact the school. 

Oneida County 2020 Youth/Adult Nominations

Oneida County’s Youth Bureau and Veterans Department are seeking 2020 nominations to once again celebrate, honor and recognize outstanding Oneida County youth (current grades 9-12) as well as exceptional Oneida County adults. The 2020 youth (current grades 9-12) and adult categories will remain the same.  Oneida County will recognize the following Youth categories:
-Commitment to Military Service
-Distinguished Volunteer
-Spirit of Success
-Positive Change Leading to Success
-Exceptional Leadership 

The Adult categories include:
-Distinguished Youth Employee
-Rising Star in Youth Services
-Connecting our Community

When nominating a youth and/or adult, please adhere to the following guidelines:
  • ·         Ensure you are checking only one category, per nomination form, for youth and/or adult nominee. (YOU MAY NOMINATE MORE THAN ONE YOUTH or ADULT)
  • ·         All nominations are reviewed by the Oneida County Youth Bureau Advisory Board; confidential information will not be shared publicly.
  • ·         Please submit a typed or neatly written testimonial with supporting and detailed criteria for your nominee. 
  • ·         It is recommended and important to hear from other individuals who are familiar with the nominees’ accomplishments/efforts. Please feel free to include no more than   three (3) support letters. 
Anyone interested in completing a nomination form, please contact the Rome City School District central offices for more information.