The Oneida Daily Dispatch (Oneida, NY)
MOMENT OF FELLOWSHIP
OSCDF holds its 2021 Wall of Distinction ceremony
CANASTOTA, N.Y. » The Oneida community gathered on Saturday in a moment of fellowship and recognition for some of its greatest current and past residents during the Oneida City School District Foundation’s (OSCDF) 2021 Wall of Distinction ceremony.
The Wall of Distinction celebrates OHS graduates who have made outstanding contributions in their field and also recognizes retirees and others who have served the school district with distinction. A banquet hall at Theodore’s Restaurant was the location for this year’s event.
After last year’s anticipated ceremony was put on hiatus due to the pandemic, the appreciation felt by all to be present at this year’s ceremony was evident.
Members of the OCSDF took care to ensure all who attended felt safe, with COVID-19 contact tracing check-ins upon arrival, ample hand sanitizer, a mandatory mask policy when not seated, and frequent sanitization of the microphone in between speakers.
Those being honored included Eric Blowers, OHS Class of ’83, Anne F. Gardulski, OHS Class of ’73, Eric Moyer, OHS Class of ’57, and Frank Perretta, OHS Class of ’61. Posthumous honors were given to David Clancy, former
OCSD principal, and Donald Hudson, OHS Class of ’74.
Since its inception in November of 2001, the foundation has awarded $144,000 in student scholarships and just over $93,000 in classroom grants, said OCSD Foundation President Tarie Dick.
Matt Carpenter, Oneida’s recently appointed superintendent of schools, marveled at the community involvement evident in his district’s city. This togetherness and support are what he says “made Oneida a really special place for me to want to come work.” Not every community has a resource like the OCSDF, he said, adding that the wall of distinction is inspiring.
’67 OHS graduate and Wall fo Distinction Chairperson Sue Tyler commended the district’s teachers, bus drivers, cafeteria works, administrative staff, and more for all their hard work as she set the tone for the evening. “They are true heroes along with our students,” she said. She said that the OCSDF strives to help every student be the best person they can be.
The speeches made by the inductees were full of love and deeply held gratitude. Many looked back on their Oneida roots as the place that started it all: their success, their passions in life, or their inquisitive minds.
Blowers said he accepted his spot on the wall in hopes to show future students that someone from Oneida can make it into the FBI, like he did.
Gardulski reflected during her speech, “The teachers I had in junior high and in high school were really quite extraordinary. Some I think had a deeper impact on my trajectory than my college professors.”
Previous Oneida athletes Moyer and Perretta praised the teachings of Coach William Fariel as a key figure in their lives that lead them to become educators themselves.
Matt Clancey, David Clancey’s grandson, accepted his award on his late grandfather’s behalf. “Over the many decades, my grandfather touched the lives of countless people in Oneida, making the community a better place because of his involvement,” he said.
Pamela Hudson, the wife of the late Donald Hudson, accepted his award. “He just served his community and wanted to help others,” she said. “It was in his soul.”
As the people in the room gathered together, all connected to Oneida in some way, many stories were shared and times reminisced. Some reflected on the way Oneida used to be, with certain buildings come and gone. At one point, Perretta flashed his miniature high school diploma from his wallet, something that was commonplace at one time but is now a thing of the past.
The evening was concluded by all in the room singing the Oneida High School’s alma mater.
To learn more about the Oneida City School District Foundation and to donate, visit the organization’s website.