Groton on the Inside: Groton student goes extra mile to earn diploma


When it comes to high school education today, there are many more pathways for learning and earning the ultimate prize – the coveted diploma – than there were even just a few short years ago.

One of those pathways, the CDOS (Career Development and Occupational Studies) commencement credential, only became possible in New York State in the 2013-14 academic year.

This credential was established by the New York State Education Department to recognize each individual student’s preparation and skills for post-school employment. Where in the past, many students graduated with an individualized education program (IEP) diploma, this credential provides a more meaningful substitute for some students.

For students with disabilities who are exiting with a regular high school diploma, it provides them with the additional opportunity to exit school with a credential that also recognizes the students’ work readiness skills for entry-level jobs.

It was that path that was chosen by Groton High School student, Elliott Felko, who spent part of his high school career on the campus of the Tompkins Seneca Tioga Board of Educational Services (BOCES), where he earned his CDOS in the Career Exploration Program in the BOCES Career and Technical Center.

While obtaining his CDOS was already an accomplishment, Felko made the additional choice to return to Groton High School this past fall to challenge himself to add the local high school diploma to his educational quiver.
It was not an easy road, but with hard work and perseverance, success was achieved – culminating in a very special ceremony to confer said diploma on Felko at the Groton Central School’s Board of Education meeting on Monday, Feb.11.

After some encouraging words offered by Principal Billie Downs and Superintendent Margo Martin, Downs instructed Felko to turn his tassel, which was followed by applause, accolades, and a celebratory cake.

Felko was joined at the ceremony by his parents, Chuck and Peggy Felko, whose obvious pride in their son was evident by their glowing smiles.

Town Board vacancy filled
At its regular meeting on Tuesday, Feb. 12, the Groton Town Board had hoped to fill a currently vacant councilperson seat. Councilperson Randy Jackson had to relinquish his position recently because he moved to a residence outside the town limits.

As it turned out, there were at least four individuals who had expressed interest in the seat, but largely due to the inclement weather that evening, not all were able to be present at the meeting. It was therefore decided that a special meeting would be called for the express purpose of making that appointment once all potential candidates were contacted, in the interest of fairness.

On Thursday, Feb. 21, that special meeting was held, and in very short order, Brian Klumpp was appointed to serve out the remainder of Jackson’s term, which will end Dec. 31, 2019. At that time, the position will be vacant again and those interested in serving for the next term would need to officially run for office in this November’s election.

Klumpp has been a Groton resident over 40 years and is currently self-employed as a land surveyor with an office in the Village of Groton. He also had prior experience as a civil engineer and land surveyor in Dryden and Ithaca, which he feels will be helpful in this role.

No stranger to board service, Klumpp had previously sat on the Village of Groton Board of Appeals Board and the Village of Groton Loan Committee. He currently serves on the Stonehedges Golf Course Board of Directors.
Klumpp will join Town Supervisor Don Scheffler, and Councilmembers Sheldon Clark, Richard Gamel, and Crystal Young at the next regular board meeting.

Another town vacancy to be filled
The Town of Groton is also seeking an individual to fill a vacant position on the Town of Groton Planning Board through the end of the term in 2021.

This board, comprised of Chair Mark Baxendell, Vice Chair Lee Brockway, and members Monica Carey, Ed Neuhauser, Barbara Clark, and Lisa Maloney Hahn, meets on the third Thursday of every month at 7:30 p.m. in the Town Hall, 101 Conger Blvd.

A description of the position and applications are available at the Town Clerk’s Office at 101 Conger Blvd or online at Applications must be returned to the Town Clerk’s office by Monday, March 11.

Groton on the Inside appears weekly. Submit news ideas to Linda Competillo, or 607-227-4922.


Spaghetti’s last hurrah
The Groton Ridge Runners Snowmobile Club, 748 Salt Road, will open its doors to the public to host its last delicious spaghetti dinner of the season, Saturday, March 9 from 4:30 to 8 p.m.

Spaghetti dinners also include salad, dessert, and beverages at a cost of $9 per adult and $6 for children age 4 through 12. Take-out dinners are available.
Snowmobile club meetings take place on the first Wednesday of every month at 6:30 p.m. Everyone is welcome and encouraged to attend anytime or visit them at

Clothing donations
Last week’s article on The Clothing Closet at The Open Door, 160 Main St., drew a slew of inquiries about how and where to make donations of clothing to it.

Donations of gently-used clothing are received primarily during the hours the Closet is open, the second and fourth Saturdays of the month from 10 a.m. to 12 noon. Beginning on Wednesday, April 10, it will also be open on the second and fourth Wednesdays of the month during the same timeframe.

Clothing is accepted for all ages, infants through adults. It must be clean, stain and odor free, and may not have broken zippers, missing buttons, rips or tears, etc. Currently, they are asking for spring and summer fashions only.

Please do not bring baby furniture, linens, toys, or other items that do not meet the criteria of clothing or accessories.

School calendar approved
For those who like to plan ahead, the Groton Central School academic calendar for 2019-20 was approved by the Board of Education at its meeting on Feb. 11.
Wednesday, Sept. 4 will be the first day of school. There will be two full weeks of vacation from Dec. 23 through Jan. 3, full weeks from Feb. 17 through 21 and April 6 through 10. There will also be two teacher’s conference days on Friday, Oct. 25 and Friday, March 20.


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