SARATOGA SPRINGS - Starting at 6 p.m. on Thursday, Jan. 11, the Amnesty International Club at Saratoga Springs High School presents their second annual Voices for Unity panel in the Saratoga Springs High School auditorium. This event is free to attend but donations are welcome. The panel will include speakers discussing their journey as a refugee from the Congo and the rise in white supremacism.
There will also be a bake sale, Q&A session after each panelist, photo booth, art gallery, and a guest performance.
Saratoga Central Catholic Bowling [Saints v. Hoosic Valley]
SARATOGA SPRINGS — On Thursday, Dec. 21, 2017, the Saints played Hoosic Valley. For Varsity, Hoosic Valley took the win with 3360-3179. Tim Barrett had the highest average for the Saints with 212, followed closely by Hayden Day with an average of 189. For Hoosic Valley, Leigha Henkel had the highest average with 221, followed closely by Blake Weibert who had an average of 219. For JV, the Saints took the win with 2371-2357. Jack Naughton had the highest average for the Saints with 158, followed by Tom Frankowski with 142. For Hoosic Valley, Jen Acker had the highest average of 169 and Zack Milette had the second highest average with 150.
Saratoga Central Catholic Bowling [Saints v. Granville]
SARATOGA SPRINGS – On Tuesday, Jan. 3, the Saints played Granville and won, 3565-2644. Tim Barrett had the highest average for the Saints with 233, followed by LJ LaFiura with an average of 216. For Granville, Mikey Martin had the
highest average of 186 with DJ Ludwikowski with 179. The Saints currently have a record of 38-6.
Saratoga Central Catholic Boys Basketball
SARATOGA SPRINGS — Over the Christmas break, on Wednesday, Dec. 27, the Spa Catholic Boys Basketball team improved to 3-0 league, 7-1 overall, by winning the 42nd Annual Saratoga Central Catholic Holiday Tournament. In the opening round, the Saints faced off against Bishop Maginn, posting a 75-62 win. Tyler Haraden led the Saints with 31 points, followed by Ryan McFadden with 13 points, and Sean Englert with 11 points. Dominique Threatt led Bishop Maginn with 22 points. The second night, the Saints faced Cambridge in the championship game. This was a hard-fought game with multiple lead changes and the Saints would ultimately pull it out for the win 57-49. Tyler Haraden again led the Saints with 19 points and was named the Tournament MVP. Terel Tillman had a strong game for the Saints on the boards and defensively, while clipping in 12 points. Tillman was also name to the All-Star Tournament Team. Cambridge was led by Tristan Williams with 20 points.
MALTA — The Little Gym, opening at Ellsworth Commons on Sunday, Jan. 7, is a part of a franchise that provides kids with classes of all athletic varieties, giving children “unique programs that revolve around active play,” according to the official statement.
With over 350 Little Gyms in the world, Kathryn Pellett and her husband Jim decided to open one more, right here in Saratoga County after receiving an email from Little Gym International. Pellett was involved with The Little Gym long before she opened her own, though. As the mother of four boys, all between the ages of one and eleven, her second-born son Chase showed signs of being on the spectrum around three years old. With that information, Pellett decided to enroll Chase in The Little Gym in Colonie three years ago.
“He was given an introduction month at the gym and he loved the program, we loved the program, and it was a really good fit for our family. Chase was mostly non-verbal when he started at the gym and as a mom it was nerve-wracking to send him into that situation. They never acted like he was different from any other kid going there. He really flourished in that environment,” Pellett explained.
With an undergrad degree in finance and an MBA, Pellett was a good fit to open this business.
“The email came at a good time. Chase was settling down and it would be nice for me to have a career of my own at this point and with my families’ history at the gym and my background in business, it seemed to be a really great fit. It was an ‘a-ha!’ moment to open the gym,” she explained.
After she and her husband talked to their family, who were all on board, and wrote a business plan, they got their funding in place and went from there. After a 16-month process, The Little Gym has their open house from 1 to 4 p.m. on Sunday, Jan. 7 with classes beginning on Monday, Jan. 8. The gym will be open 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. on Monday through Thursday and 8:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. Saturday and Sunday, with weekend afternoons reserved for pre-scheduled birthday parties.
“The birthday party calendar is filled right up. People in this area are always looking for party ideas for their kids,” Pellett explained.
The gym’s curriculum is approved by the United States Gymnastics Association (USGA); because of the non-competitive nature of the gym, the kids are still learning the sport in a nice and safe environment. The Little Gym follows a 3-dimensional learning method: moving is the first dimension and is based on the class itself, the second dimension is brain boost, which focuses on cognition of the child, and the third dimension is citizen kids, which is fostering great relationships and teaching them how to be “great little humans,” she explained.
These three dimensions are present in every class at every age group. Every class is non-competitive. Opening The Little Gym also required the Pellett’s to attend a lot of training.
“Over the summer we went to Arizona for two weeks, where The Little Gym International is based. I also interned for a week at The Little Gym in San Jose. There is a lot of training that goes into a franchise,” Pellett said.
Class instructors were chosen after extensive background checks, they also needed to participate in intense online training.
“We focused more on finding someone who works well with kids rather than a gymnast,” she said.
All instructors also need to be CPR certified.
“I’m excited about it, there aren’t a lot of businesses you can open, and your family can participate with you. Chase is very excited about it. They’re all excited. We’ve done a good job of explaining to them that this is our family’s gym now. We want them to be proud of the gym,” Pellett said enthusiastically.
The Little Gym follows the school season, which ends in June, and then a shorter summer session, and then the full season starts in September. There will also be summer camp programs and camps during break weeks (such as spring break) offered.
“We’ve really found that a lot of parents are really happy to see it coming to this area. A lot of positive feedback with a lot of people excited that it’s going to be in Malta. It’s a child-friendly business for this community. We’re really excited this is opening and excited to bring it to this area. We want everyone to benefit from The Little Gym,” Pellett stated.
SARATOGA SPRINGS — Katy Ralston, a Saratoga Springs native, has been training in speedskating since she was eight years old and has been training full time since she was 16. Now, at 25-years-old, Ralston has decided to retire. Ralston just participated in her last Olympic Trials, which took place Dec. 15 – 17. The top three women and the top five men made the Olympic team, Ralston finished eighth overall.
“It was pretty much where I was expecting to finish. It would have been great if I had been able to do better or even make the team, but realistically I knew that was where I was sitting. In some races I did better than I expected. It was an okay way to finish out my career,” Ralston stated.
Before Ralston ever started speedskating, she was a soccer player. She will be going to school full time at Salt Lake Community College, where she is considering getting a degree in physical therapy, and will be playing soccer.
“Soccer was my first love for sports. Now that I’m done skating, I’d like to train for soccer and see where that can take me,” she explained.
In 2010, after graduation from high school, Ralston moved to Utah to train full time.
“Doing this for eight years is mentally and physically exhausting. I’m 25 so I’m kind of at the back end of my career, I don’t think I can make it another four years. Its time, I don’t have anything I regret much with skating. It was time to hang up the skates and move on,” Ralston said.
Ralston got her skating start at the Saratoga Winter Club after skating at her families’ frozen farm house pond with her dad.
“My dad had really old speed skates and he was doing cross-overs. I thought it was really cool and he tried to teach me,” she reminisced.
After that, her parents decided she needed to take skating lessons.
“It was kind of a fun activity that young kids do and as I got older, it was more fun and I started getting faster. Back then, the club had a lot of Olympians, World Cup team members, and some National Team members there. That put me in a cool position to train on the same ice as them. They helped me out a lot in wanting to pursue skating further as I got older,” she said. “My family has been really supportive. They’ve been great in helping me afford the equipment and all of the other expenses,” Ralston mused.
Ralston’s main coach in Saratoga was Paul Marchese.
“He’s still with the club but when I was 16 and really decided I wanted to get really good at this and try to go to the Olympics, Marchese really helped me out with getting to the next level. Most recently, my coach is Lin Lin Phun in Utah. She was a gold medalist from China and her medal is from the Vancouver Olympics in 2010. For the past two years I’ve been skating with her,” Ralston explained.
With her full time athletic lifestyle, Ralston has traveled many places and created a family like bond with her teammates, and that is what she’ll “miss the most.”
“The coolest place I’ve traveled to is Seoul, Korea. The people there that come to watch the World Cup there are crazy, they’re so passionate about short track in Korea. The rink fills up with people and it’s a really cool environment to be in as an athlete,” Ralston remembered.
Ralston has seen many accomplishments in the nearly eight years she has invested full time into speed skating.
From 2010-2011, she was a member of the US Junior World Team; from 2010-2012 and 20142018, Ralston was on the US Short Track National Team; in 2011 she placed eighteenth overall in the Junior World Championships; and in 2014 and 2018, she placed eighth overall at the Olympic Trials.
SARATOGA SPRINGS — Meg Messitt, an ambitious freshman at Saratoga Springs High School, decided last summer that her political point of view needed to be represented in her high school. Along with two friends her age, Jason Schwartz and Paul Sheehan, Messitt and the boys spent their summer writing their new proposed clubs constitution. Messitt explained that she has always been interested in politics, starting with watching Fox News at a young age and continuing to do so well into her teen years.
“I was really excited to start this club, it got me even more engaged with politics. We wanted to express conservative values more, we thought there wasn’t a big voice of conservative ideas in Saratoga schools. We noticed that lessons tended to be from the democratic view point. So, we started this club, so the conservative values could be heard,” Messitt explained.
The clubs’ first meeting took place in November, appointing Messitt as president, Schwartz as treasurer, and Sheehan as vice president. So far, the club has attracted 30 members.
“We were surprised to see how many kids came and we’re expecting the numbers to grow, so we’re really excited to see how the club turns out,” Messitt said.
Along with the club serving as a place for young republicans to gather, it was also created to serve as a community service based club. The club participated in Adopt-A-Soldier in December, they sent out a package to a soldier on the Red Sea.
“The members of our club donated stuff and then we sent out the care package to the soldier,” she explained.
Items included nonperishable foods, Christmas decorations, magazines, and items the soldiers wouldn’t normally have on a ship. The club also intends to lay wreaths at the Saratoga National Cemetery, are planning a food drive, and are looking to meet up with local law enforcement.
“We are going to have a meet and greet with law enforcement to honor them, get to know them better, and see what they do,” Messitt stated.
Messitt has been in contact with a local police officer already. The club also has Senator James Tedisco lined up to speak to them on Thursday, Jan. 18.
“I feel that the current political climate is full of anger and hate. There is a lot of intolerance for people with different political beliefs. Political diversity is often unwelcomed, and we should respect people with different political beliefs,” she said.
On what it means to be a Republican, Messitt said, “we believe that there are equal rights for everyone.”
“People look at each other and if they hold a different political belief then they don’t like that person and judge them because of their differences. So maybe instead of thinking that way, we should listen to them and hear their side and even though you don’t agree with them, you can still be friends with them. I feel there should be more acceptance for political diversity,” she explained passionately.
Matthew Taylor, a senior and former intern on the newlyappointed Mayor Meg Kelly’s campaign, is ready to change the political climate at Saratoga Springs High School.
“One morning the Republican Club announced they were having a meeting and, so I decided to create a Young Democrats Club, because there should be a club for democrats as well,” Taylor explained.
The Young Democrats will hold their first meeting in January and have already garnered a lot of interest within the school. Sara Zlotnick has been appointed the clubs vice president.
“Action is needed, so that’s what we’re looking to do, raise money for not for profits in our area and make a difference in our community. This is the first charter of the Young Democrats in Saratoga County,” Taylor said.
Taylor has been very politically engaged throughout his life and began dipping his toes into the career end of things this past summer by interning on the Meg Kelly mayoral campaign.
“We obviously won, so that was great. I attended the meetings we had, made a lot of phone calls, a lot of knocking on doors, which is how you win elections. Also, a lot of communicating and keeping the spirits high,” he said.
Interning helped him to learn the amount of work that goes into a campaign, how even simple things like knocking on doors is critical to success.
Taylor considers Kelly’s campaign to be a success because “we were passionate about the issues and we ran on that and worked hard.”
Taylor intends to go to college for political science, he will be attending George Washington University in the fall of 2018. The 2016 election season, and the subsequent outcome, was what sparked Taylor’s initiative to become more involved and aware of the political climate around him.
In reference to the current political world we live in, Taylor finds it “saddening. It’s so contentious and there is so much divide and such a lack of communication. That’s why I want my club to be a very inclusive environment. We may be the Young Democrats Club, but you don’t have to be a staunch democrat to be part of the club.
Our main goal is to make a difference in our community,” he said passionately.
Taylor intends to open any public figure discussions that happen within his group the Republican Club as well.
“I think that we’ve come so far from listening to one another that we instantly hear republican, or democrat, or conservative, or liberal and we instantly are turned off. I’ve caught myself doing that as well and I think that needs to end, because everyone has different views,” Taylor stated.
When asked what being a Democrat meant to him, he simply stated, “to be a Democrat, I say you believe in social equality, you believe in helping those less fortunate than you.”
Both clubs have expressed an interest in working together to show others that it is not always about your political affiliation but how you treat people for being people.
SARATOGA SPRINGS — On Saturday, Dec. 2 the SaratogaWilton Elks Lodge No. 161 held its’ annual basketball Hoop Shoot free throw shooting competition. Throughout the hours of 9 a.m. and noon, six youths came out to shoot free throws.
On Thursday, Dec. 14 at the Elks Lodge, an awards ceremony was held for all the winners from the Hoop Shoot competition.
SARATOGA COUNTY — “Every day can be Veteran’s Day with veterans, community members, and companies working together.”
That is the slogan for The Learning League and Project Transition’s No Excuses Clinic, which is a clinic designed to help a broad spectrum of people, from the morbidly obese to autistic people, to veterans trying to get back on their feet. At the No Excuses Clinic, taking place starting in January 2018 at the Hudson Valley Community College in Troy, veterans will participate in sporting events tailored to their skills.
“It will not take an act of Congress to help returning veterans overcome PTSD and spinal cord injuries. It will take an act of kindness from local employers and the sports therapies of Second Chance Sports,” said Billy Yaiser, founder of The Learning League and Second Chance Sports.
“Given the tools and opportunity, returning vets and active military families can do more for themselves than most doctors or insurance plans can. We need companies and community members to simply sponsor a family for as little as $35 per week,” said the official statement.
For companies looking to sponsor, The Learning League will tailor a plan that works best for you.
“Let’s start this New Year by working together to help veterans and active duty families reclaim their lives. In addition, you can jumpstart your own health and wellness and thank our veterans and active military and their families every day for their service by your sponsorship,” the official press release stated.
For more information, visit www.secondchancesports.org or call 518-491-0556.
To sponsor, make the check payable to:
The Learning League, P.O. Box 3031 Ballston Ave., Saratoga Springs, NY 12866.
Saratoga Blue Streaks vs. Adirondack Rivermen Hockey
SARATOGA SPRINGS — The Saratoga Blue Streaks played the Adirondack Rivermen in the Blue Streaks’ first sectional game at 6:45 p.m. on Wednesday, Dec. 13 at the Weibel Ice Rink. Saratoga took the win, 4-1. All goals were made at full strength. In the first period, Saratoga’s Nick Larrabee scored the first goal with assists from Ryan Jones and Devon Wormley. In the second period, Ryan Jones scored with an assist from Matt Shamberger and Will Detora scored with assists from Charlie Leary and Ryan Jones. For the Rivermen, Andrew Rizzo scored with the help of Jordan Willis and Cullen Krug. In the third period, Matt Shamberger scored the final goal with an assist from Gary Blanchard. Saratoga’s goalie Brad Hipsley had 12 saves and Adirondack’s goalie Ben DiFiore had 18 saves.
Saratoga Central Catholic Bowling
SARATOGA SPRINGS — On Thursday, Dec. 14 Saratoga Central Catholic played a match against Waterford, winning each game with an overall score of 3261-2092. For the Saints, Micaela Barbolt had the highest average, 194, and Tim Barrett with an average of 189. For Waterford, Mackenzie Fletcher had an average of 132 and Elias Martin had an average of 125. On Monday, Dec. 18 Saratoga Central Catholic played a match against Whitehall. The Saints won all matches and overall defeated Whitehall, 2855-2040. Zac Niles
had the highest average for the Saints with 169 and Micaela Barbolt followed closely behind with an average of 164. For Whitehall, Abby Melvin led the team with an average of 152 and Zac Hollister with 131.
Saratoga Central Catholic Boys Varsity Basketball
SARATOGA SPRINGS — Overall, the Saints are 4-1 and 2-0 in the league. On Tuesday, Dec. 12 the Saints played Hoosic Valley and won, 53-45. On Friday, Dec. 15 the Saints defeated Stillwater, 71-55. On Tuesday, Dec. 19 the Saints beat Waterford 59-44 in a Wassern League matchup. Leading the way for the Saints, Tyler Haraden had 19 points, Terel Tillman and Aiden Dagostino each had 10 points.
Saratoga Springs Gymnastics Team
SARATOGA SPRINGS — Saratoga Gymnastics, the 16-time defending Section II champions, opened their dual meet season with a convincing win over Shaker on Monday night, 166.95-150.35. Saratoga secured four out of the top five all-around scores led by Ava Dallas (1st all-around; 35.10), followed by Sophia Damiano (2nd all-around; 34.05), Kate Dellaratta (3rd all-around; 32.00) and Megan Wishart (5th all-around; 31.00). Shaker’s top all-around finisher was Brianna Morris (4th allaround; 31.95). Saratoga gymnasts captured the top spot in each of the four individual events, with Ava Dallas winning the vault (9.00), the floor exercise (8.90) and the bars (8.70), and with Emily Ward winning the beam (8.90).
Saratoga Regional YMCA Youth Basketball League
ROTARY JUNIOR DIVISION: Saratoga Financial Services 31 — Mexican Connection Restaurant 25 In a nip and tuck game, Saratoga Financial outlasted Mexican Connection by a score of 31 to 25. Alex Cutler dropped in 12 points and teammate Ryan Boyle added another 8 points in the victory. Nick Scalo led his team in scoring with 11 points along with 7 points from
Yankiel Bracero in the loss.
Saratoga PBA 30 — PJ BARB-QSA 19
In a defensive battle, PBA got 9 points apiece from Steve Bebee and Emylyn Tineo and Jack Foster added another 8 points and defeated PJ’s BBQ 30 to 19. PJ’s was led by Caleb Beverly with 7 points and 5 points apiece by Jacob Armer and Jordon Cousar. SENIOR DIVISION: Saratoga Firefighters 54 — Berkshire Hathaway Blake, Realtors 36 In a very physical game, the Firefighters got off to an 18-point first half lead over BHHS, Blake Realtors and went on to a 54 to 36 victory. Noah Rourke exploded for a team high 21 points and Enyer Tineo scored 13 points while Curtis Bennifield added 12 points for the Firefighters. Ian Fisk had a game high 27 points with Jake Graham and Tim Leary each contributing 5 points in the defeat.
Village Photo 55 — Cudney’s Launderers 34
The game was even through the first half but in the second half, Village Photo used a smothering pressure defense to get a win over Cudney’s 55 to 34. The victors got 19 points from Jose Garcia along with 12 points apiece from Donald Steves and Patrick Deschaine. Cudney’s got 13 points from Hunter Regels and Lydia Green added 7 points, Tom Leary had 6 points in the loss.
SARATOGA SPRINGS — On Saturday, Dec. 16 students from the Saratoga Springs athletic department rang the bells for The Salvation Army at six stands in Saratoga Springs including Fingerpaint, Adirondack Trust, and Uncommon Ground on Broadway, Market 32 in Wilton, and the Wilton Mall. Lieutenant Bree Barker from The Salvation Army contacted all Saratoga County High Schools to seek help for the bell ringing.
“Collections are almost down $10,000 this year, mostly due to illness of our faithful, yearly volunteers and also from donor fatigue from the hurricane season. Saratoga Springs High School Athletics have stepped up to the plate to help us make it to the goal line,” Barker said.
Athletic Director Peter Sheehan and varsity girls’ lacrosse coach Elaine Anton-Lotruglio “quickly and enthusiastically responded and organized for their students to cover 60 hours of bell ringing,” Barker explained.
The students who signed up first were lacrosse players and the signup sheet quickly snowballed into the entirety of the athletic department; students from all the teams signed up and every spot on the sheet was filled, resulting in roughly 80 students volunteering their time. Some Maple Avenue Middle School students signed up as well, and were paired with high schoolers when they rang the bell.
“Even parents jumped in if they had a younger child in seventh or eighth grade,” AntonLotruglio said.
From 10 a.m. to 8 p.m., three to four students monitored the bell in each location per two-hour shift.
“It was cold! They’re athletes though, so some of them even play in that weather sometimes. The ice hockey players were used to it,” Anton-Lotruglio laughed.
“We rely on this money to carry us through the year in order to help those who need us. All of the money raised stays in our area, so when you make a donation this Christmas, you are really making change happen for your neighbors,” said Lieutenant Trish Smouse, Corps Officer.
“It was fun! Who doesn’t like to ring that bell? It gives you a good holiday feeling, that’s for sure,” said Anton-Lotruglio.
If you would like to donate to The Salvation Army or are interested in being a bell ringer, visit www. salvationarmyempirestate.org.
SARATOGA SPRINGS — Hannah Weeden, an English teacher at Maple Avenue Middle School, created The Gratitude Project 15 years ago and has made it her life’s work for the last two years. This project consists of students delivering handwritten letters to people who have made a powerful impact on their lives, showing gratitude to them for that. Weeden believes that if gratitude is instilled in a child from a young age, you raise a happier child.
“Thinking and then recognizing the little things as well as the big things that enrich our lives enables us to not just feel happy, but be happy,” Weeden explained.
To Weeden, gratitude isn’t simply words, it’s an attitude.
“Students need to grow this attitude to find fulfillment within themselves, this has to be taught and modelled,” she said.
The students hand-write their letters because Weeden feels that hand-writing is as personal as it can get in this day and age with all of the technology that is available. She does not read the letters, she feels that would take away “from the sincerity of the students’ heart.”
“Similar to developing a muscle at the gym, developing gratitude requires regular and periodic practice in order to grow and develop,” Weeden explained.
Weeden has been a keynote speaker for the New York State Middle School Association (NYSMSA) at their last two annual conferences.
“I saw the tear-stained faces of my colleagues and I was blown away at how transformative it was for them to just receive a letter,” she explained, in reference to the students handing out their letters to the teachers who have made an impact on them.
“I feel like it’s essential for students to truly find ways to be positive and upbeat and I don’t think that often times they know how to do that. So that whole notion that gratitude isn’t necessarily about saying thank you to someone but it’s experiencing gratefulness of what you have, big or small. What I’ve come to recognize is students need to grow this attitude and I really am acting as a facilitator of that growth. They need to find fulfilment within themselves, but it really has to be taught and modeled, it doesn’t just happen,” she said.
“What has been incredibly empowering for me, is to see through their physical interactions between student and adult, student and student, to see that interaction, they’re growing. It’s a messy process, but they are really growing their soft skills which are being lost in a day and age when everyone is connected to a cell phone. So, it’s not only developing them in terms of giving them a more positive outlook on life but it’s enabling them to develop soft skills that are otherwise being lost,” she said.
In the last two years, teachers from South Glens Falls and South Colonie have expressed an interest in using The Gratitude Project in their classrooms.
“I’ve continued to speak to as many people, that are willing to listen, in terms of the project, as I can” Weeden said. “Sharing this has been a very intense experience for me. Yes, I put myself out there every day with my 145 students but I’m not one to put myself out there otherwise,” she explained.
With sharing her message of gratitude, Weeden’s goal is to see positive change.
“This is certainly a project that can be done at all levels,” she said enthusiastically.
For more information on The Gratitude Project, visit www. hweedenpowerofwords.com.