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Poland honors firefighters for responding to May 14 school fire

June 7, 2019



Poland firefighters pose at Poland school holding plaques they received next to student Deven Draper


Poland Central School District recognized Poland Volunteer Fire Co. members during a Prepared, Productive and Proud Assembly on Friday for their response to a fire at the school on May 14. Principal Greg Cuthbertson presented them with a proclamation from the Poland Board of Education, and student Deven Draper, president of the Rotary Interact Club, gave a plaque to two firefighters who are Poland employees. From left, in back: Poland firefighters Jason Carnright, Dave Cook, Kyle Anna, Chief Mike Galluzzo, Tim Fleming, Capt. Joe McCusker, First Assistant Chief Shawn Fleming and Fire District Commissioner Larry Finch with Draper. In front: Poland Volunteer Fire Co. mascot Sparky/firefighter Jeff Hubalek. To view more photos from the assembly – including of student award winners – find the school Facebook at www.facebook.com/PolandCSD.




POLAND – Poland Central School District students, teachers, staff and administrators stood and clapped on Friday to show their appreciation for Poland Volunteer Fire. Co. firefighters for responding to a fire at the school on May 14.

The firefighters attended a Prepared, Productive and Proud Assembly at the school on Friday and were called up front, when they received the standing ovation during comments from Poland Principal Greg Cuthbertson.

“As unfortunate and damaging as the fire was, it could have been much, much worse if not for the first responders that are standing here before you today,” Cuthbertson said. “Because of the quick reaction and expertise of our firefighters that responded that night, they were able to quickly locate, contain and eventually extinguish the fire – preventing it from spreading and causing more damage to other parts of the building. I stand here before you today, honored and grateful to be able to recognize your courage and efforts on that night and every emergency response call that each of you make. We as a school community would like to extend our appreciation and gratitude for all that you do for our community and say, ‘Thank you.’”

Following the May 14 fire, which originated in the basement storage area under the sixth grade classrooms, there was no school for four days. Around-the-clock cleaning and air purification took place, along with air quality testing. Students returned on May 20, and some classrooms had to be relocated. The cause of the fire remains under investigation.

“We are still dealing with some of the aftermath of this untimely event and will continue to do so for the immediate future,” Cuthbertson said, during the assembly. “This unfortunate event was a true test of adversity and challenged our school community to pull together for the greater good for all students and staff here at PCS.”

Poland started the PPP Assemblies last school year to honor students for showing various positive character traits, attendance, behavior and more. Each assembly highlights a specific character trait and places a spotlight on students in one grade level to perform.

During Friday’s assembly, the character trait was citizenship, and the spotlight was on kindergarteners. PPP Assemblies are normally just for elementary students, but after students received awards Friday, all students joined the assembly, and Cuthbertson called the firefighters up to the front. Cuthbertson read a proclamation from the Poland Board of Education and presented it to the firefighters.

Poland student Deven Draper, president of the Rotary Interact Club, then presented a plaque to Poland employees Kyle Anna and Jason Carnright, who also are volunteer firefighters and helped locate and extinguish the fire.

The other Poland Volunteer Fire Co. members in attendance for the recognition were Chief Mike Galluzzo, First Assistant Chief Shawn Fleming, Capt. Joe McCusker, Fire District Commissioner Larry Finch and firefighters Dave Cook, Tim Fleming and Jeff Hubalek.

The assembly then wrapped up with a performance by kindergarteners in the classes of teachers Julie Dutcher, Christina Kress and Carrie Roark. Dutcher spoke at the assembly and said the kindergarteners’ song was dedicated to the Poland firefighters and to Poland teacher Roxanne Przelski, who was diagnosed with triple negative breast cancer in March and is undergoing chemotherapy.

Earlier in the assembly, Cuthbertson said citizenship was an appropriate character trait to highlight for the last PPP Assembly of the school year because it probably fits most closely with the idea of being “Prepared, Productive and Proud.” It’s also a timely trait to recognize, he said.

“How fitting is it that this is the character trait of the month with all these things going on here at Poland Central School?” he said.

Near the end of the assembly, Cuthbertson said the firefighters’ response on May 14 for their school community also epitomized the idea of “Prepared, Productive and Proud.”

“This is what it’s all about,” he said. “This is what our PPP is all about.”




Greg Cuthbertson speaking with firefighters standing up front at school assembly


Poland Central School District Principal Greg Cuthbertson (left) speaks as members of the Poland Volunteer Fire Co. look at a proclamation they received from the Poland Board of Education during a Prepared, Productive and Proud Assembly on Friday for their response to a fire at the school on May 14. To view more photos from the assembly – including of student award winners – find the school on Facebook at www.facebook.com/PolandCSD.





Teacher Julie Dutcher speaking up front as kindergarteners stand in back about to start singing


Poland Central School District kindergarten teacher Julie Dutcher (left) introduces kindergarteners for their performance during a Prepared, Productive and Proud Assembly on Friday. The students are from the kindergarten classes of Dutcher, Christina Kress and Carrie Roark. Their song was dedicated to the Poland Volunteer Fire Co. and to Poland teacher Roxanne Przelski, who was diagnosed with triple negative breast cancer in March and is undergoing chemotherapy. To view more photos from the assembly – including of student award winners – find us on Facebook at www.facebook.com/PolandCSD.





Fire department mascot Sparky giving fives to Poland students


Poland Volunteer Fire Co. mascot Sparky interacts with Poland Central School District students during Prepared, Productive and Proud Assembly on Friday at the school. Firefighters were recognized for their response to a May 14 fire at the school. To view more photos from the assembly – including of student award winners – find the school on Facebook at www.facebook.com/PolandCSD.