Questar III BOCES celebrated the memory of its late Board Vice President Marilyn Noonan and the legacy of the Durham School built 85 years ago as part of President Franklin D. Roosevelt’s Works Progress Administration.
More than 30 people attended a dedication and ribbon-cutting event at the Marilyn A. Noonan School at Durham including Marilyn Noonan’s family, school board members, and administrators. Speakers included Questar III District Superintendent Dr. Gladys I. Cruz, State Assemblyman Chris Tague, and her son Tim Noonan.
Questar III District Superintendent Dr. Gladys I. Cruz said throughout the existence of the BOCES there have been strong voices from Greene County school board members and superintendents, many of which asked the BOCES to establish a school in the county.
“One of those strong advocates was Marilyn Noonan. She was an extraordinary person who cared deeply about public education and who dedicated her life to public service,” said Cruz.
In fact, Noonan served as a school board member for 57 years. This included 16 years on the Catskill Central School District board, and nine years on the Tech Valley High School board, where she was a founding member. She also served on the Questar III board from 1988 to 2020, including many years as vice president.
For more than 30 years, Noonan helped to guide the BOCES through numerous initiatives including the adoption of the name Questar III in 1994, the renovation of its technical schools in Hudson and Troy, and the expansion of programs and services to help meet the evolving needs of local students and districts.
In a 2012 profile, Noonan was asked about her proudest moment as a Questar III board member.
“What matters to me are the accomplishments that we see on the personal, human scale. We work with some of the most vulnerable populations in our region and what I am most proud of about my work at Questar III is the humanity of the place and the people who work there. Students of all backgrounds are embraced when they come through the door and are welcomed into what is such a nurturing culture. Of course, I am proud of all of the big accomplishments – those that get headlines and win us recognition, awards and kudos and save us money – but it’s the quiet, personal victories we help these students achieve through our teachers and teaching assistants and related services staff that I am most proud of and cherish the most,” said Noonan.
During her remarks, Cruz shared how the Durham building has provided life-changing experiences to local students for several generations, including today’s grandparents and great-grandparents. She acknowledged the staff and administrators that previously worked in the Durham building.
The Marilyn A. Noonan School at Durham serves career and technical education (CTE) and special education students from Greene and Columbia counties (and occasionally students and adults from neighboring counties). This includes the Heavy Equipment and Agriculture Science CTE programs and elementary, middle, and high school programs in special education.
In June 2020, residents of the Cairo-Durham Central School District approved the transfer of this building to Questar III as part of a district-wide vote. Prior to this, Questar III leased space from the district for two years for its Heavy Equipment program.
Last month, Questar III completed a building project that restored and reinforced the various additions completed here in 1950s, 1970s and 1990s including the roof and other areas.
Nearly 100 percent of Questar III students graduate each year. This includes 98 percent of CTE students and 96 percent of special education students.