WVTV welcomes alumni/local business people for graduation episode of School Talk


WVTV welcomes alumni/local business people for graduation episode of School Talk

June 8, 2023

At a time of year, when seniors are looking forward to graduation, the seniors in Dan Cecconie’s production class at Warwick Valley High School chose to take a look back at WVHS life and graduations of the past. The seniors co-produced a special edition of School Talk, during which host and English teacher Nick DiLeo welcomed Warwick Valley alumni, local business people and Chamber of Commerce members.

The guests were Steve Pennings (`79) from Pennings Orchard, Kim Corkum (`85) from Keller Williams Realty, and Jerry Schlichting (`96) from Frazzleberries Country Store.  

View a behind-the-scenes gallery from the production after this article.

“For this year’s final episode of School Talk, I proposed the idea to Mr. DiLeo that we invite people who graduated from Warwick to come back to the school and talk about what the high school experience was like when they were here,” said episode director Shane Crane. “We wanted to know what Warwick high school life was like at different times, and also what their plans were after high school and how those compared to the paths they took that brought them back home.”

The alumni were also encouraged to share any words of post-graduation advice they had for the Class of 2023. As the interview began, all three alumni talked about the obvious changes to Warwick Valley High School since their days in the halls. 

“The library is sitting in the middle of the quad,” said Ms. Corkum. “There used to be a big open quad there, so the school has extended quite a bit.”

Mr. Schlichting arrived with the original “press pass” he was issued for access to the old production department, another facility, he noted, that has changed significantly since he was a student.  

“I’ve been to the high school for a few theater productions with my kids,” he added. “But, it’s incredible to see all this!”

The trio reflected back on traditions that have changed — commencement ceremonies on the front lawn — and ones that have remained — like Warwick’s unparalleled homecoming weekends.

Ms. Corkum’s original plan, was to get into agriculture after growing up on a dairy farm in Warwick. Her husband was also in her senior class. 

“[We] decided to come back and we decided to have a family here,” said Ms. Corkum, who also shared the career moves that led her to her current job of 25 years in real estate. 

View a behind-the-scenes gallery from the production after this article.

Mr. Pennings spoke fondly of the agriculture program and his teacher John Buckley. He left Warwick after high school for college, but always felt couple years of college

“I was just a farm boy at heart, and I just wanted to come back to good old Warwick New York,” he said. He added that while his decision has worked out great, he expressed some small regret in the form of advice.

“I wish I had spread my wings and gone around and seen the country a little bit, and maybe got a job off farm for a while, to experience it,” said Mr. Pennings. “But, something was calling me back and I came back to Warwick at the young age of 20 or so. My oldest brother, Jack, bought an apple orchard, so he was calling me… come back to work; we’re going to grow apples and have a retail market and have some fun!”

It would be an understatement to say that things have worked out well, as Pennings Farm is one of the town’s most popular spots year-round with locals and visitors alike. 

Mr. Schlichting also left Warwick for a short period after graduating in the 90s, and returned to run the family business after realzing the boardroom was not the right fit for him. Frazzleberries Country Store was founded by his mom and a classmate’s mom in the spring of his senior year. 

View a behind-the-scenes gallery from the production after this article.

“I had gone away to school and [Frazzleberries] just kept growing and growing to the point where they had approached me — as sort of the business guy in the family — to say, ‘how do we sell this thing.”

He said that his mom and her partner had begun to feel a little bit of burnout and were thinking they’d close up shop. 

“But you know, rather than trying to help them sell it… my wife and I decided to partner into the business,” said Mr. Schlichting. Now, he and his wife own the local shop and its sister location in Newport, Rhode Island.

The panel of guests also talked about favorite teachers and their influence, the natural beauty of Warwick, and the welcoming community that throws so much support behind the district. The unique episode included plenty of great memories, Wildcat camaraderie, and some applicable wisdom. 

“I’m very proud of my production team,” enthused Mr. Cecconie after the taping. “They wanted to do something different this year for our final episode, and this was all their idea.”

You can watch the entire alumni episode of School Talk below, or on the Warwick Valley Television YouTube Channel.

Production Credits

  • Jazleen Alagh, Associate Producer for Mr. Pennings
  • Jasira Gay, Associate Producer for Ms. Corkum
  • Brooke Holzhauer, Associate Producer for Jerry Schlichting
  • Shane Crane, Director
  • Brooke Holzhauer, Technical Director
  • Jasira Gay, Audio Engineer
  • Gavin McCarthy, Teleprompter
  • John Murphy, Graphics
  • Jazleen Alagh, Floor Manager
  • Logan McKay, Camera
  • Rowan Astorino, Camera
  • Kaden Nagel, Camera





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