Tompkins Weekly

Newfield High school holds a week of honors during sporting events



The Newfield High School boys varsity basketball team at Military Apprecition Night Jan. 12. Back row: Sawyer Emery, Malcolm Jenkins, Zakieus Vaughn, Riley White, Anthony Ellison, Ulric Claar Front Row: Carter Aidun, Austin Jenney, Nathan King, 2023 Graduate Brock Reed, Jared Goodrich, Greg Taylor. Boys Coach Mike Nembhard. Photo provided

Newfield High School recently experienced a week filled with basketball, tributes and awards, highlighting community and school spirit. The week commenced with Military Appreciation Night on Jan. 30 during the girls game, followed by the Jean Stewart Award for Excellence announcement on Feb. 2 during halftime of a basketball game. That evening also marked senior recognition for the boys’ basketball team.

The inaugural Military Appreciation Night, an initiative by George Taylor, a parent of two Newfield High basketball players, was held during a boys basketball game on Jan. 12. Taylor, a veteran, collaborated with Hank Neubert, Newfield’s athletic director, to bring this event to life. 

By Hannah Fichter

The evening featured music teacher Sharon Powell playing “Taps,” senior girls basketball player Aailyah McCoy singing the national anthem and guidance counselor Rick Pawlewicz reading a speech following a moment of silence. Complimentary popcorn was offered to military members, and new uniforms were purchased specifically for this event. 

“Very nice event to honor our military personnel,” said Neubert. “The community is very cognizant and very aware of the sacrifices of our veterans and our current service members.”

Neubert said that there are plans to make the event an annual tradition during basketball season, and he hopes to extend it to other sports, including football, soccer and possibly volleyball. However, he acknowledged the challenges of organizing similar events for spring sports due to unpredictable weather.

“It’s good for the community to see that we’re taking the time to recognize the men and women in the armed forces,” said Neubert.

Neubert noted that the event had a multifaceted nature. Apart from honoring veterans, the event also presented the military as a viable career path for students, offering an alternative to college or trade school.

Joel Abrams, a member of the Ithaca Community Gardens Board of Directors, stands by the raised beds that his younger family members helped him build last summer. Photo provided

“But the bottom line is it’s a way for us to recognize them,” said Neubert. “Hopefully, it helps build community support for our military and for the dedication of those people.”

Another highlight of the week was the Jean Stewart Award for Excellence, named in honor of the wife of long-serving Newfield coach Ricky Stewart. This year’s recipient was Rick Pawlewicz, a guidance counselor at Newfield since the mid-1990s and a familiar voice at Trojan sporting events. 

“I think if you were to pull graduates for the last 20 years, they would tell you that Mr. Pawlewicz had the biggest impact on their lives,” said Neubert. “Whether it be academically or support.”

Neubert said that the award process involves community and booster club nominations, with the final selection made by the booster club and himself, representing the athletic department.

“Every year, the Jean Stewart Award of Excellence is going to get bigger and better,” said Neubert.

On Friday, Newfield High School recognized six boys’ basketball team senior players. The school will continue this tradition on Feb. 7, honoring the senior members of the girls’ basketball team before their game against Odessa. The ceremony will include recognition of both Newfield and Odessa seniors.

All games, including these special events, are available for live streaming on Hudl, allowing access for those unable to attend in person.

As Newfield High School looks ahead, plans are in place to continue these traditions and incorporate cancer fundraising events into future games, further enriching the school’s community engagement and spirit.

In brief:

Planning board meeting

The Newfield Planning Board will hold its monthly meeting on Wednesday, Feb. 7 from 6 to 9 p.m. at the Newfield Town Hall. Community engagement is welcomed and highly encouraged.

Town board meeting

The Newfield Town Board will meet on Thursday, Feb. 8 from 7 to 9 p.m. at the Newfield Town Hall. The agenda for the meeting can be found on the Town of Newfield website.

Family story time

Newfield Public Library will host a family story time on Tuesday, Feb. 13 from 10:30 to 11:15 a.m. Parents and their children from infants to five years old are welcome to join for stories, songs and more. Older siblings are welcome, too.

Board of Education meeting

Newfield Central School District will hold a board of education meeting on Thursday, Feb. 15 at 6:30 p.m. in the elementary school’s Weaver Conference Room.

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