Firefighting Principal Honored

Holman Elementary School Principal Richard Karas, left, receives a certificate of thanks from board member Thomas Colucci during a recent Jackson School Board meeting. (Photo courtesy Jackson School District)

JACKSON – Board members reviewed the district’s two high school graduation ceremonies and various promotion ceremonies that took place late in June during its most recent board meeting.

The panel also recognized a staff member and an organization for their support of the district.

Recognition awards came in the form of honoring Richard Karas, who Superintendent Dr. Stephen Genco said “went above and beyond in his duties in the Jackson School District.”

Karas, an elementary school principal, was noted for often wearing different “hats” in his role as a mentor and leader at the school but in one situation he also took on the role of a firefighter.

In May, the Lucy N. Holman Elementary School principal took action when at the end of a school day, fire alarms went off. He made sure school staff were safely evacuated and the remaining child care students were out of the building.

Karas saw that the trouble was being caused by a malfunctioning light fixture in an unoccupied classroom.

Christa McAuliffe Middle School Home Association representative Adam Silvan was honored for the group’s recent $3,233 donation to the school district for another water bottle filling station at the school. (Photo courtesy Jackson School District)

The principal grabbed the correct fire extinguisher and put out emerging flames before they created any additional damage.

Facilities director Ed Ostroff said Karas was able to “knock that fire down” before a much larger problem emerged. His quick thinking put a halt to the fire and saved the school from smoke damage that would have followed if the situation had worsened.

After a half hour, fire officials gave the all clear for staff and students to return to the building and the school reopened the following day without incident.

School Board President Scott Sargent said “on behalf of the whole Board of Education, it is my pleasure to offer our sincere appreciation to Holman Elementary School Principal Richard Karas for his quick thinking and his willingness to wear any “hat” he needs to in order to protect his school and students.”

The Board also recognized the McAuliffe School Home Association for its continued generosity to the district having donated tens of thousands of dollars for Chromebooks, a 3-D printer, and other technology supplies for students.

This year the group made a $3,233 donation to install another water bottle filling station at the McAuliffe school.

Photo courtesy Jackson School District

Adam Silvan represented the school Home Association for the night’s presentation and award. Board members noted the impact of the group’s donation went beyond making sure students and staff aren’t thirsty. Aside from the health benefits of students consuming water, the water bottle filling stations are part of the school’s continuing effort to teach students about treating the environment with respect and conserving resources.

The system is able to track the number of plastic water bottles that are saved by not repeatedly using disposable bottles. The station will supplement the one that is already in use and is very popular at the school.

That station has already saved an estimated 13,700 water bottles since November 2017 according to information provided by district communications manager Allison Erwin.

Genco also noted that for the most part, “the weather cooperated for our promotion and graduation ceremonies. The middle school promotion program was a little iffy last Friday but we had a window of time before the rain and ultimately it worked out.

“As a former principal myself I was always told that the one thing you don’t want to mess up on is the graduations/promotions as everyone was watching,” Genco said.

Board member Sharon Dey said “The graduations went very well. I want to thank all our staff and teachers for another outstanding year.”

“They were all interesting and unique. They were all fun and moving ceremonies Board member Michael Walsh said.

“We did have a diversity of graduations. They were not all the same,” Sargent said. “They all went off very well.”