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Two North Syracuse educators honored in Women of Distinction Awards

Two North Syracuse Central School District educators were recently recognized in the sixth annual Women of Distinction Awards.  Sponsored by New York State Assemblyman Al Stirpe, Danielle Rausa and Karen Seamans from the North Syracuse Central School District, were among eight Central New York women honored at the March 24 ceremony.  The women were the only two recognized in the awards' education category.

Rausa, a music teacher at Roxboro Road Middle School, conducts the band, chorus and various musicals. Working within the North Syracuse Central School District since 1997, Rausa formed the Roxboro Road marching band in 2013 to help students better connect with the community.

“The next award winner focuses on creating new educational opportunities for all her students, regardless of their financial means,” said Stirpe. “She travels with the marching band to many competitions, in some cases, giving her students their first opportunity to compete and engage with the community.”

“We’ve already heard it takes a village to raise and educate a child, and it also takes that for a teacher,” said Rausa. “The kids are wonderful, and I love being an educator. I am so beyond honored.”

Karen Seamans, director of the Cicero-North Syracuse High School marching band was the second winner in the education category.

Developing her passion for music as a student at the school, Seamans played on the Cicero-North Syracuse Northstars Marching Band. Since becoming their director, there are now more 130 members from grades seven through 12, and has led the band to back-to-back state championships in 2016 and 2017, and swept the competition at the TaxSlayer Bowl in Jacksonville, Florida. Seamons is currently prepping the band to perform at the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade in November.

Seamans additionally runs the Gillette Road Middle School Band and started a parade band and color guard group. Serving as the director of the Northstars Jr. Winter Guard, she has led them to a silver medal at the Mid-York ColorGuard Circuit Championships last April. She is also an avid dog-lover who spends her spare time fostering recuse dogs.

“She has spent countless hours as a dedicated director,” said Jennifer Broden, who said she has had the “honor” of knowing Karen since she started as a teacher. Her child, as well as her colleague Jodie Whitney’s child, have both had Seamans as a music teacher for several years. “We want to thank Karen for all her hard work and dedication,” she said.

“I’m completely honored,” said Seamans. As a member of the marching band in high school, Seamons said the experience made a “huge impact” on her life. “I’m so excited to be able to share that with our students now. I think it’s important to understand that beyond music, the kids that are in marching band, and the kids that are involved in concert band, and music programs, are learning life-long skills that I think are going to benefit them in the long run,” including things like accountability to one’s team, personal responsibility, hard work and the importance of setting goals.

“I hope that at some point, I see some of my students up here because my real goal, beyond winning trophies and competitions, to make them all people of distinction and contributing members to our community.”