Superintendent’s Spotlight: Fiona Sezak


Superintendent’s Spotlight: Fiona Sezak

November 26, 2019

Sanfordville Elementary School fourth-grader Fiona Sezak sparkles with happiness when she speaks of the many different things she likes to do to help others.

It’s a student trait that Johnna Maraia, Fiona’s principal, loves to see in all her students. She enjoys watching Fiona spread this quality to her peers each school day.

Fiona with her Got Sneakers box“The happy smile ‘is’ Fiona,” she said “She’s always happy. She’s always smiling. She’s a wonderful soul. She’s kind, caring and helpful and always spreading these important qualities wherever she is in our building.”

At Sanfordville Elementary, Fiona is a member of the school’s Lego League Team and Drama Club (watch for her as Scuttle in the Drama Club’s upcoming production of “Little Mermaid Junior.”)  She’s also part of a school group looking to collect as many pairs of gently worn sneakers as possible for a project called “Got Sneakers?”

Donate your sneakers to a great cause

Got Sneakers is a sneaker recycling organization that collects unwanted sneakers for less fortunate people in places like the Caribbean, Central America, South America, West Africa and Europe. Doing this has the dual benefit keeping those sneakers out of landfills while putting shoes on people’s feet.   The school will receive $1 for every pair of sneaker collected.

“Our goal is to raise $700 for the school,” she said. “I think we can do this. Those sneakers will really help other people.”

Fiona is also a member of the school’s Leadership Club and feels this group offers her an opportunity to learn new leadership skills.

“Leaders can motivate,” she said. “I want to be like my Nana. She is always motivating me, complimenting me, helping me.  A leader helps the community and other people.”

Fiona believes the kindness of leaders can also make a difference.

“It’s important to be kind,” she said “You want to get a smile out of people. You want them to have a great day and be happy. Maybe they had a bad day and you can help to change that. Being kind can be contagious. It just gives you a good feeling and makes you a better person.”

What are some of Fiona’s tips for being kind?

Fiona with wooden bear school mascot“You can walk up to someone and say ‘have a great day,’ ‘how are you today,’ ‘are you okay?’ or ‘you look very nice today,’” she said. “And of course, there’s saying ‘thank you.’”

Taking kindness and helpfulness into the community

 Fiona, who aspires to be a kindergarten teacher, is even taking her kindness and helpfulness philosophies into her neighborhood through the  free “Babysitting Junior Club” she’s formed with her friend.

The “club” is intended to lend a hand to parents in her neighborhood who have preschool-aged children.

“We want to help all the moms who may go to work and all the dads who are like, ‘oh,’” she said. “I like being a mother’s helper. It’s a volunteer service. I don’t need to get paid. My mom pays me for the chores I do. I go whenever someone needs me, whenever the call comes in.”

When she’s in a neighbor’s home, she plays with the younger children and looks to keep them busy with arts and crafts activities.

“Once I get older, I might want to get paid,” she added. “I will probably want to buy a car. And, I’ll have to go to college. Even though your parents put up money, you’re going to need more.”

But for now, Fiona is content with spreading her positive thoughts through her kind gestures.  

“I tell people this will be a great year (at school),” she said “We’re going to have so much fun. Just saying this can affect someone’s feelings in a positive way. The world needs more of this.”     

Warwick Valley Central School District Superintendent Dr. David Leach routinely shines his “Superintendent’s Spotlight” on one of Warwick Valley’s amazing students. “Superintendent’s Spotlight” features students who reach goals, achieve accomplishments, face challenges and/or are role models to their peers.





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