Lori Mahan

Lori Mahan

Thursday, 08 February 2018 19:19

Division Street Elementary School PTA STEM Expo

[Photos provided]

SARATOGA SPRINGS — On Monday, Feb. 5, the Division Street Elementary School held their 6th Annual STEM Expo.

“The STEM Expo is an educational STEM opportunity for families to engage in hands-on activities with the goal of engaging students in STEM and getting them excited about doing STEM jobs for a living someday. We invite the entire community from public and private schools as they are a part of our larger learning community! I am very proud of the fact that this event has inspired other schools in the Saratoga and surrounding districts to implement similar educational STEM nights/days for their students and families,” said PTA President, Connie Woytowich.

Before the PTA started their STEM Expo, they would coordinate with other parent volunteers to provide feedback to students on their scientific experiments. With the main parent volunteer leaving the school upon their child’s graduation, the PTA decided to “change things up a bit and engage more families by way of providing activities and opportunities for learning,” said Woytowich.

“The event was a success! We had at least 100 families show up to the event. One of our parents said, ‘this is my favorite event of the school year,’” Woytowich exclaimed.

'Fourteen exhibits were present for the families to explore and enjoy.

Thursday, 08 February 2018 19:16

Waldorf 7th Graders' Field Trip to Canada

[Photo provided]

SARATOGA SPRINGS — Waldorf School seventh graders finally had the opportunity to put their six-and-a-half years of learning French and the culture to use on a week-long field trip to Quebec and Montreal. While supervised by French teacher Patricia Hrebenach and classroom teacher Elizabeth Sabatella, the students were given the opportunity to explore the cities on their own in small groups. They partook in events such as dog sledding and touring the Ice Hotel. The students also had an assignment to complete a scavenger hunt that required them to follow directions to specific cultural sites and answer questions about the history, culture, and architecture, while only speaking in French.

Thursday, 08 February 2018 19:11

Neighbors: Rich Johns

[Photo by www.PhotoAndGraphic.com]

WHO: Rich Johns
WHAT: Saratoga Springs High School Teacher and Sports Coach

Q. How long have you lived in Saratoga?
A. We’ve been in Saratoga since the fall of 1972, so you can do the math. It’s been over 45 years or so. I’ve been immersed in the community of Saratoga Springs and truly love being part of the community.

Q. How long have you been married?
A. Well, I better get this one right. My wife, Karen, and I have been married now for 46 years. I tell people ‘I think I was married when I was 15...’ I’m only kidding. We were married in August of 1971, I was going back to school for my senior year, Karen had graduated, and she became a teacher in the fall of ’71.

Q. How many children do you have?
A. We have one child, her name is Nicole, she is now 36 and she is a psychotherapist and yes, whether she is five or 36, she’s my little girl.

Q. What do you like to do for fun?
A. I do enjoy just being with my friends, there’s no question about that. I was very fortunate over the years to enjoy different sports. Karen and I spend a lot of time together and going for walks and enjoying seeing activities in the city. Taking short trips but always returning to Saratoga. I don’t see myself ever really leaving Saratoga. Q. If you had to describe your life as a movie genre, what would you say it’s been? A. Well you know, we never try to map out what our life will be like, we just sort of jump in it and we realize over time, life is life. I’ve been so fortunate to be able to go to college and pursue teaching. Coaching became part of it within that scope. I don’t want to use the term, ‘it’s been a wonderful life,’ it’s been a wonderful life. It certainly has been more that I can ever dream of as I’ve been able to move from teaching, coaching, and now sending the message that I have, which is now growing throughout the country. I could never have dreamt of anything like that. I consider myself a very lucky person, to have been married and enjoyed every bit of it. I don’t know if that fits a genre, but I know that it’s been very special and I do appreciate that.

Thursday, 01 February 2018 18:41

Saratoga Gymnasts: A Perfect Season

[Photos provided]

 On Friday, Jan. 26, the Saratoga Springs High School Gymnastics Team hosted their sixth annual Purple Passion fundraising meet at the Wilton YMCA. Thanks to event sponsors and gift basket raffles, $500 was raised for Wellspring of Saratoga, an organization dedicated to ending relationship and sexual abuse in the community.  In addition to the Blue Streaks, gymnasts from Guilderland, Bethlehem and Shaker participated in the event.  Although there were no team scores tallied or individual awards presented, all the gymnasts prevailed as the camaraderie and support for one another was contagious throughout the evening. 

Saratoga Springs High School gymnastics ended their dual meet season a perfect 6-0 with a win over Bethlehem 176.05 -155.60 on Tuesday night.  With the victory, the Blue Streaks won the 2017-2018 Suburban Council gymnastics title.  Saratoga was led by freshman Ava Dallas who broke the longstanding Section 2 vault record of 9.325 with a score of 9.40.  In addition to winning the vault, Dallas also won the floor exercise with a score of 9.50 and took first place in the all-around with a score of 37.10.  Saratoga’s Sophia Damiano was second in the all-around with a score of 36.65.  Damiano also won the uneven bars with a score of 9.15 and the balance beam with a score of 9.40.  Taking third in the all-around was Saratoga’s Laura Eberlein with a score of 34.90.  Fourth place in the all-around went to Bethlehem’s Allison Gray with a score of 33.05.

With the dual meet season over, focus now shifts to Sectionals and the State Championships. On February 14, Saratoga will compete at the Section 2 Gymnastics Championships at Shaker High School against Shaker, Guilderland and Bethlehem.  Saratoga gymnastics is looking to extend their 16-year winning streak at the Sectional Meet.  For the Section 2 gymnasts who qualify, they will compete at the State Championship meet in Cold Spring Harbor, NY on March 3.

Thursday, 01 February 2018 18:36

Toga vs. Shen Rivalry Game: Ice Hockey

[Photos by www.PhotoAndGraphic.com]

SARATOGA SPRINGS — The Blue Streaks had their rivalry game against the Shenendehowa Plainsmen on Wednesday, Jan. 31 at the Weibel Avenue Ice Rink. The winner of this game was given home ice advantage in the playoffs and one playoff game. The Blue Streaks lost to the Plainsmen, 3-0, effectively ending their winning streak. With no goals in the first period, they seemed to be on even
ground. However, at 0:21 seconds into the second period, Shen’s Jon DiGiovanni scored the first goal of the night with an assist from Tyler Sullivan. In the third period, Brennan Alheim scored the final two goals, the first at 1:36 with an assist from Zach Rupert, and the final at 12:06 with assists from Cole Haldane and TJ Novitsky. Saratoga Goalie Brad Hippsley had 25 saves and Shen Goalie Kent Leighton had 16 saves. Saratoga’s league record is now 3-5-2.

[Photos provided]

SARATOGA SPRINGS — Ken Mantia, head coach of the boys’ basketball team at Saratoga Central Catholic for the last decade, has an interesting season ahead of him now. On Martin Luther King weekend in back- to-back games, senior captain Ryan McFadden, the teams’ top defender, suffered a torn MCL knee injury in the game versus Hoosick Falls. The next day, senior captain Tyler Haraden, the teams’ top scorer with at least 21 points per game, broke his foot. Both injuries have, essentially, ended Haraden and McFadden’s high school basketball careers.

“Haraden looks like he’s out for the season, there’s a small chance that he could get back by sectionals. So now, all of a sudden, we’re down two starters, so other kids have really stepped up and they’re doing a great job,” Mantia clarified.

Since the injuries, other team members have stepped up and the team has seen significant role changes, effectively adopting the “next man up” mentality. The “next man up” mentality is, basically, the opportunity for the players who normally don’t have the opportunity to step up and into the shoes of their injured teammates.

“It really gives kids an opportunity to shine, and they’ve been really relishing that,” Mantia said.

Stepping into McFadden’s shoes is senior Ben Scammell, a shooting guard, and appropriately stepping into Haraden’s shoes is his brother, Sam Haraden, also a senior and power forward.

“[Scammell] has kind of stepped into Ryan’s spot and he’s been doing a great job. He’s got a couple of games where he had three three-pointers and Sam Haraden has been doing a really good job defensively for us,” Mantia said.

Other key players who have stepped up are Terel Tillman, a junior point-guard who was an all-league player as a sophomore and has been a starter since sophomore year; Sean Englert, a senior center; and Aiden Dagostino, a sophomore shooting guard.

“The load is kind of with those three guys and then the other two kids, Scammell and Haraden, are stepping in and doing their part,” Mantia explained.

“The kids that have been hurt, they’re still on the bench, rooting the kids on. They’ve had great attitudes, so it’s been good to see. We’re playing well, just taking it one game at a time,” he said.

As of Jan. 31, no games have been lost since the injuries.

McFadden and Haraden were “obviously disappointed by the injuries because they’re seniors. I mean, it’d be one thing if they could re-group and come back next season but when we’re in the middle of a really good year, we’re 14-2 now, we’re ranked in the state, and all of a sudden, their careers are over, it’s very tough. But they’ve been coming to practice, supporting the team, sitting on the bench at the games, their attitudes have been outstanding,” Mantia commended.

While the injuries were devastating to the entire team, they may have ironically helped to switch things up.

“It’s funny because now it’s hard to guard us, because you don’t know who it’s going to be. Tyler was a great player, and the opposing team used their whole defense to stop him,” he explained.

Injuries aside, the Spa Catholic boys have had a tremendous season and are taking it one game at a time to maintain that.

“We’ve done a lot of great things, it’s been a tremendous year. So we’d like to keep going as far as we can. I’ve seen seasons like this where guys will step up and you look back and it’s just amazing what kids can do when they get the chance to show off their skills,” Mantia said.

The Spa Catholic boys play again on Tuesday, Feb 6. For game details, check out the Sports at a Glance page.

[Photos provided]

BALLSTON SPA — Joe Shaver has been with Launching Pad Productions, the drama club putting on Shrek the Musical at Ballston Spa Middle School, for 16 years and has directed 14 shows. In a cast with 56 actors and 70 crew members, Shaver has been hard at work to make something great.

“It’s a lot of work but I love it. It’s what keeps me going, I love doing this. I mean I love teaching, but this is totally different. It’s not a classroom, it’s not a curriculum. It’s just like ‘let’s get a group of kids together and do something really special,’ which you can’t always do in the classroom. So, it’s really fun to get out into this place and do something fun that they love, too,” Shaver explained.

The audition process can be “grueling,” Shaver said. They see over 100 kids in two days and only four hours total.

“They don’t get a ton of time, about a minute and a half, and in that, we need to accept the right kids for the right parts. It’s very difficult but I think we do a very fair job. They get to sing for us, they get to read lines for us, we see a lot in that short time,” Shaver said.

Kids have the option of signing up to either audition, run crew, or both.

“If they audition and don’t get a part, they’ll be assigned to crew. We probably had about 175 applications all together,” he said.

Jared Wachtel, an eighth grader, was cast as Shrek. This is his first time doing a production.

“There was a good strong feeling that he’d be Shrek when I heard him sing and I don’t regret that decision at all,” Shaver said of Wachtel.

“It’s been really fun,” Wachtel said before he was rushed on stage to sing.

Liam Manion, a seventh grader in his second year with Launching Pad, is playing Pinocchio.

“This has been my dream since I was a little boy, so I’ve always wanted to be in Launching Pad,” said Manion.

Last year, Manion was an Oompa Loompa in Willy Wonka.

“I just love singing and acting, it’s really fun,” Manion said.

“We got really lucky this year with costumes. Part of the reason I selected this show is because I knew that we would have the support of a lot of local theaters, because Shrek has been done a handful the last couple of years,” Shaver explained.

Galway, Home Made Theater, and Burnt Hills-Ballston Lake Middle School donated costumes from their previous Shrek productions.

“It’s one of the biggest sets we’ve had, it’s created by one of the local parents here. He’s been with us for 13 seasons now,” Shaver said.

The set contains two spinning castle units and three large hanging moons, among other intricate designs. They also rented a life-size dragon controlled by three puppeteers.

“The kids are amazing. They are excited. I think it helps too, with it being Shrek, a show that everyone knows. So, they come in here excited to learn and wanting to learn and get better. They improve every rehearsal,” said choreographer Sarah VanAernem.

Performances are Feb. 2, 3, 9, and 10 at 7 p.m. with matinees on both Saturdays at 1 p.m. Tickets are $10 for adults and $5 for students and seniors and can be purchased before each performance in the lobby.

[Photos provided]

SARATOGA SPRINGS — The kids at Maple Avenue Middle School has been hard at work since November to put on this year’s production, Beauty and the Beast, a show they put on seven years ago. Candace Colvin, director and producer of the show; this is her eleventh show with the district. 

“It’s a great show. It’s a show everybody loves, the music is outstanding, and we’ve had so much help on the sets, which are incredible. The parents do the costumes and we’ve rented some costumes. The kids have been working a little bit in November and December, but pretty much every day in January, even some Saturdays! We try to make it fun,” Colvin said.

The show rotates between two casts total and three Belles. Molly Egan, an eighth grader who has also done shows through Home Made Theater and Schuylerville Community Theater, is playing one of the Belles, following in her older sister Serena’s footsteps.

“It’s intense, it’s a lot of work, but it’s all worth it in the end. I think that we’ll end up with a really awesome show,” Egan said.

“Molly is awesome, she was our Dorothy in the Wizard of Oz last year and she was Ariel in The Little Mermaid when she was a sixth grader. She’s very talented and a great kid, too, very smart,” Colvin commended.

Egan intends to continue doing musicals in high school, and though she prefers singing to acting, she enjoys them both immensely. She is also a lacrosse player.

“I just really love when it all comes together. I think it’s so cool with the costumes and everything. I feel like there’s one moment when you see everything on stage and it just makes you really happy, after all of the hard work,” Egan said.

The Beast is being played by Ethan Crowley, an eighth grader with a black belt in Tai Kwan Do and a swimmer.

“I mostly do plays, I don’t really do musicals too much, but it’s been fun. I’m not a dancer at all,” he laughed, stating that as his biggest challenge.

“But you can’t tell when he does the waltz, it’s quite good,” Colvin laughed.

Crowley plans to continue acting in high school.

“I love playing this character and working with such a talented cast,” Crowley said.

“It’s a super great group of 100 children, they’ve been really good,” Colvin said.

Shows are over two weekends, beginning on Friday, Feb. 2 at 7 p.m. and Saturday, Feb. 3 at 1 p.m. and 7 p.m. Performances continue Friday, Feb. 9 at 7 p.m. and Saturday, Feb. 10 at 1 p.m. and 7 p.m. in the Henry C. Trombley Auditorium, tickets are $5.

Thursday, 25 January 2018 18:11

Saratoga Ninja Garage Kids Head to Nationals

[Photos provided by Eric Huss]

SARATOGA SPRINGS — The Saratoga Ninja Garage (SNG) has caused quite the stir this last year, between their summer camps with American Ninja Warrior stars Jamie Rahn and Brian Arnold, among other special ninja guests, and the attention that the ninja sport has brought to the area. SNG curator Eric Huss started converting his garage so his kids, Johnno, 10, Oliver, 8, and Scarlett, 5, could have a play space for themselves and their friends. After a few open gym sessions, the SNG was packed frequently with kids looking to improve their ninja skills and have a great time. Huss decided to start a competition team, resulting in 14 kids, ages 6-15, competing at the Pinnacle Parkour Academy gym, owned by ninja warrior Jamie Rahn, in Cherry Hill, NJ. The third annual Cherry Hill PPK National Ninja League Qualifier competition took place on Jan. 20 and 21.

Team SNG had seven National qualifiers from the Saratoga Springs area: Zach Germain, Kaitlyn Wells, Andrew Wells, Oliver Huss, Nick Freeman, Molly Kaatz, Molly Ford, and coached by Randi Cowper.

Thursday, 25 January 2018 18:03

Sabbatical Delivers First Foal

[Photos provided]

SARATOGA SPRINGS — The National Museum of Racing and Hall of Fame’s Foal Patrol Project, a livestream initiative where people can view realtime videos of several in-foal mares during their pregnancy and through the actual foaling process. Livestreams are available 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. daily, with extended hour as the expected foaling date approaches, at
www.foalpatrol.com. At 5:50 a.m. on Friday, Jan. 19, the first foal was delivered by Sabbatical, a mare owned by Phipps Stable at the historic Claiborne Farm. The foal, which is a bay colt by War Front, arrived earlier than its’ projected due date, which was Jan. 28. Both Sabbatical and the foal are healthy.

“We’re so excited to see the first foal of Foal Patrol. Congratulations to Phipps Stable and everyone at Claiborne Farm,” said director of the National Museum of Racing and Hall of Fame, Cathy Marino.

“We are thrilled they agreed to be part of this new initiative of the Museum. One of the Museum’s priorities is to make the sport of thoroughbred racing accessible to as many people as possible and Foal Patrol is a wonderful way for people to get unprecedented insight into the breeding of a racehorse, one of the most essential components of the sport. We’re looking forward to seeing this colt grow and develop on the way to the racetrack,” said Marino.

A contest has been set up on www.foalpatrol.com for name suggestions, the winner will receive a prize package, including a tour of Claiborne Farm. The next mare, Breeder’s Cup Distaff winner Stopchargingmaria, is projected to deliver her foal at Three Chimneys Farm in Kentucky around Feb. 2. 

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