May 12, 2016

Assemblyman Santabarbara goes back to school

Author: Ned Hoskin
Source: NYSUT Communications
santabarbara at schalmont
Caption: Assemblyman Angelo Santabarbara (standing, center) and Schalmont High School students get ready to work together on a biology project with Schalmont TA science teacher Michele Freeman. Photo by El-Wise Noisettte.

It was a little bit like a school reunion at Schalmont High School today as Assemblyman Angelo Santabarbara, D-Rotterdam, participated in a Take Your Legislator to School Day with the local teachers association.

"It was awesome, just really good," said Michelle Freeman, veteran biology teacher. "Believe it or not, Angelo was a former student of mine, way back when."

Freeman had her former student participate in a biology experiment with the class, and showed him the labs in the new wing constructed since Santabarbara graduated.

"He has been so proactive with helping us get as much as we can in state aid, and fighting for what we need," Freeman said. "It's important for him to see for himself what he is fighting for."

She said it also was important that he had a chance to see the other things teachers do, in addition to classwork.

"I had a student come in who wanted to show me her prom dress," she said, and while Freeman prepared a lab for the upcoming class, she also gave the student a few minutes to check out her dress.

"He turned to me and said, 'How do you do it all?'" Freeman said.

The lawmaker also spoke to an English class and attended lunch with students before visiting the middle school, said Schalmont Teachers Association political action coordinator Michael Libertucci.

"We've faced an uphill budget crisis this year," Libertucci said. "It's good to be able to go to our legislators when they have firsthand knowledge of what goes on in our buildings ... The assemblyman has been awesome for us."

The Schalmont TA is led by President Mary Beth Flatley.

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