Westfield OKs Football Merger, Cheerleading Up In The Air

Westfield Academy and Central School Board of Education members at a recent supplemental meeting officially approved combining the district’s modified and varsity football program with that of Chautauqua Lake Central School. However, the future of cheerleading remains undecided.

After considering many options and hearing from both coaches and parents, Superintendent David Davison recommended that the district separate its football program from that of Brocton/Fredonia, and combine with Chautauqua Lake as the host school for the 2018-19 school year.

WACS Athletic Director Jake Hitchcock told board members at the previous meeting that there were several problems with the alliance with Fredonia and Brocton. Many Westfield parents had raised concerns about the 7th and 8th grade players in the heavyweight division of the community-based Goldenhawks Football Program who no longer could play in that league.

The partnership with Chautauqua Lake will allow the 7th and 8th graders to play uninterrupted. Also, Hitchcock said, Westfield will be able to have home games. Board member Brenda Backus noted that “a partnership with Chautauqua Lake will give our kids the opportunities we’re looking for.”

The board also heard a proposal from 6th grade teacher Melanie Korzeniewski regarding the formation of a cheerleading club at WACS.

Korzeniewski, who is also the cheerleading coach for the Goldenhawks, said she has had many parents and more than 20 students in grades 9 to 12 express an interest in belonging to a cheerleading club.

“The kids really just want to bring the school cry back to Westfield,” Korzeniewski said. “They want to bring cheerleading back and show more school pride.”

Korzeniewski explained that the difference between cheerleading as a club and cheerleading as a sport is that there is no competition, no tumbling and no stunts with a club. A team that doesn’t stunt or tumble or compete has an adviser rather than a coach, she added.

Being a club instead of a sport also exempts the school from several state regulations which go with the sport of cheering. The NYSPHSAA by-laws and eligibility standards that are in place for cheering as a sport will not impact the district “if we just dance and cheer,” Korzeniewski noted.

Korzeniewski said there are at least seven parents who are willing to help with fundraising and do whatever is needed. She also noted that the district has 23 cheerleading uniforms that were purchased the year before cheerleading ended at WACS.

In another presentation, board members accepted a request from Senior Class officers to conduct a fundraiser from Jan. 2 to Jan. 19. Senior Class President Jimmy Wolfe, speaking on behalf of the students, said that the lack of football games at Westfield impaired their fundraising efforts.

Therefore, on behalf of the senior class, Wolfe proposed the sale of meat sticks for $1 apiece. The board approved the fundraiser.