Buc Boosters congratulate senior scholar-athletes on a "job well done"
The Oswego Buc Boosters recently recognized senior scholar-athletes from the class of 2022 during an outdoor evening ceremony on the turf field at the high school athletic stadium. The annual event was organized by the Buc Boosters.
Sean Callen, president of the Buc Boosters, welcomed student athletes and their families with some opening remarks, noting how the COVID-19 pandemic put a damper on students’ ability to participate in the sports they love. Callen commended the seniors who stuck with their sport all the way to the end of their high school career.
Paul Muench, director of educational programming at Daneli Partners and former OHS social studies teacher and coach, was the ceremonial guest speaker of the evening. Muench boasts a hefty resume as girls JV basketball coach at Oswego High School from 1989-1997, as well as 1999-2000. Muench then transferred to a position as the varsity football coach from 1993-1999. Muench then spent just under 22 years in the Fayetteville-Manlius School District as a modified and freshman baseball coach and varsity football coach before becoming a leadership presenter, speaker, and trainer with Daneli Partners.
“The best educational moments happen on these fields, courts, and gyms… Underclassmen, you’re going to be here soon. You’re next in line for the scary ride at the fair. You’re close to the ‘Oh my God, we’re seniors’ moment,” Muench joked. “This is a special class. You went through COVID and you heard that all the time ? as if you had anything to compare it to.”
During his speech, Muench noted that he fell in love with education as much as he did athletics. “You’re people of action. You got into the bleachers and you got into the game. So many people are watching life instead of living life – they’re becoming spectators of their own lives. And when I look at you folks and I see these friendships, I know you’re getting ready to move on and leave home,” Muench said. “You can’t get new old friends. There is a bond amongst you that is going to last a lifetime.”
Muench emphasized the importance of balancing newfound friendships post-high school with pre-established friendships with classmates on and off the field, noting that the trials and tribulations of high school athletics do not just apply to the world of athletics.
“We need to remember the past as opposed to living it,” Muench noted. “Take the lessons you learned on these fields and apply them to other aspects of your life.”
The Coach of the Year award was presented to Oswego Middle School physical education teacher and modified football coach Pat Bond, while the Fan of the Year award was presented to Kristin Norfleet, mother of senior athlete Preston Norfleet of the OHS varsity soccer and baseball teams.
Norfleet was commended for her dedication to watching her son’s teams play, despite facing multiple challenges with ongoing illness. Bond was recently named middle school physical education teacher of the year from the New York State Association for Health, Physical Education, Recreation and Dance Central North Zone in 2019.
Brand-new OCSD athletic director Cynthia Lauzon also made an appearance at the ceremony.
“Continue to have fun, continue to enjoy what you do, continue to learn – and know that you didn’t get to this point by yourself. You had a lot of people that supported you along the way,” Lauzon said. “For me, it would have been my siblings, because I have 12 of them.”
“I’m glad to be here, excited to be here, and I would like to wish all of you good luck. Keep learning, keep having fun, and keep setting goals and challenge yourself. Please come back and visit and support your fellow Buccaneers,” Lauzon said.
The Oswego Buc Boosters would like to thank board members Sean Callen, Susan DiBlasi, Cory Brosch, and Eben Norfleet as well as Julie Chetney, Joshua Lerch, Matt Seubert, Jill O’Gorman, Penny Foster-Pratt, Christene Rolfe, Henry Giberson, and Kellie Donovan. Thank you to student board representatives Marcus Baker, Duncan Baker, Alaina DiBlasi, Isabella Koproski, Owen Seubert, Mallory Upcraft, Allison VanBrocklin, and Tatum Winchek.