Jaynie Ellis

Jaynie Ellis

Congrats to this week’s Athletes of the Week – Hannah Barber, Caroline Maloney, and Akhila Venkat!

Hannah Barber

Hannah is from Saratoga Springs and is in 6th grade. Hannah has been dancing since she could walk, and has been formally enrolled in dance for eight years. 

Hannah has been with her amazing ballet instructors at Saratoga Springs Youth Ballet for over four years, and has continued learning virtually from them. She has performed with the New York City Ballet at SPAC in Coppélia in June 2019. She auditioned and was selected again in 2020 to perform in Swan Lake prior to the COVID-19 cancellation of the performance. Hannah’s dream to perform as Clara in The Nutcracker came true in 2019. 

She has found a silver lining during this pandemic, and has had the opportunity to learn ballet virtually each week from former and current members of the New York City Ballet. She was accepted into ballet summer intensives for 2021 at the School of American Ballet Young Dancer Program, American Ballet Theatre, Ballet Academy East and NYSSA. 

Hannah is also a great student, having made high honor roll for all three quarters. She works hard to achieve her big dreams, and hopes to one day dance at Lincoln Center as a member of the New York City Ballet. 

Caroline Maloney

Caroline is from Wilton. She is 12 years old and in the 7th grade in the South Glens Falls CSD.

Caroline started taking ballet classes at age 7. She performed in the NYCB Coppélia in 2019, and was chosen as an understudy as a gesture for Swan Lake in 2020, although it was cancelled due to COVID. She will be attending the NYSSSA ballet this summer, and was also accepted to the Ballet Academy East’s summer program in the advanced level. 

During the stay-at-home directive, Caroline spent countless hours working hard at ballet and taking virtual classes, including attending five weeks of Ballet Academy East and periodically taking zoom classes with Dena Abergel, Children’s Ballet Master of NYCB.

She also takes her academics very seriously, and has been a high honors student throughout middle school. She also plays violin in the middle school orchestra and is in the school chorus. 

Caroline aspires to be a professional ballet dancer and looks up to her dance teachers – Cristiane Santos, Joan K. Anderson, and Lisa McBride. It has meant so much to her that her teachers formed SSYB, which is where she always wants to be with her dance family. 

Akhila Venkat

Akhila is a 10th grader at Shenendehowa high school. She fell in love with ballet when she took her first lessons at Austin City Ballet when she was four. She enjoyed the opportunity to perform with the NYCB at SPAC. 

When she is not dancing, Akhila loves being outdoors, skiing in the winters and biking in the summers. To de-stress she watches videos and plays the piano. 

SARATOGA SPRINGS — Ms. Michelle Tsao, Principal of Saratoga Springs High School, announces that Jason Zheng has been named Valedictorian of the Class of 2021 and that Julian Silva-Forbes has been named Salutatorian of the Class of 2021 at Saratoga Springs High School. 

Jason Zheng
Jason Zheng, son of Dun Ming and Mei Zheng of Saratoga Springs, will attend Yale University, and plans to pursue a career as a physician. 

Julian Silva-Forbes 
Julian Silva-Forbes, son of Keith and Sonia Silva of Saratoga Springs, will attend Columbia University and pursue a career in the media industry as a journalist or screenwriter. 

Kara Hausam
Kara Hausam will attend Northeastern University and major in chemistry.

Raquel Cohen
Raquel Cohen will attend Boston College and plans to become a doctor.

Jonathan D’Alonzo
Jonathan D’Alonzo will attend the University of Notre Dame and plans to become a doctor.

Devon “Kale” Kimble-Lee
Devon “Kale” Kimble-Lee will attend Lesley College and plans to pursue a career in art illustration and secondarily as an art teacher.

Kai Farr
Kai Farr will attend Boston University and plans to pursue a career as a film director.

Ava Herzog
Ava Herzog will attend RPI’s 7-year Accelerated Medical Program with Albany Medical College and plans to become a physician-scientist.

Jane Ginley
Jane Ginley will attend Boston College, where she was one of only 25 students selected to be part of its inaugural Human-Centered Engineering program.

Cristina DeMeo 
Cristina DeMeo will attend Harvard University and plans to become a doctor.

Tyler Munter 
Tyler Munter will attend Northeastern University and plans to pursue a career in Engineering.

Cole Zeh
Cole Zeh will attend Colgate University with a premedical path and plans to become a surgeon.

Last Year of Academic Recognition

Saratoga Springs High School has also announced that beginning with the Class of 2022, they will no longer be reporting the top students of the class, including a valedictorian and a salutatorian. They will start using only an unweighted Grade Point Average (GPA).

This decision was made by the Building Leadership Team (BLT), which is comprised of  members in the school district: students, teachers, parents, school counselors, support staff, and building administration. The BLT presented this to the Board of Education in July 2019, and it was communicated to families the following month. The team used research from college admissions counselors, national organizations, the SSHS Graduation Committee, and other local high schools to form their decision. Student Council received input and feedback from the student body. 

Student Council received input that if a weighted GPA is removed, so should the top rank, as the top rank creates division, anxiety and separation among peers.

The switch to use only the unweighted GPA was made because the BLT believes that the dual GPA system is not only confusing, but inconsistent when used to determine scholarships, merit awards, and rank. Therefore, they will no longer be reporting class rank on a student’s transcript. 

The BLT believes that their decision will impact the school culture by fostering an environment in which students will place more importance on learning and personalizing their schedules. With the weighted GPA system, students are more likely to prioritize their grades over their interests, passions, and academically challenging themselves. College admissions counselors have reported they like to see students taking courses that are challenging, yet appropriate, for their
academic interests. 

SARATOGA SPRINGS — Sylvie Waters, scholar-athlete and 2020 graduate of Saratoga Springs High School, is now playing lacrosse at the collegiate level for Boston University. 

Sylvie’s sport has been lacrosse from a young age. She started playing on the club ADK Lacrosse team (a team made up of girls from all over the 518 area) in fifth grade. She continued to play for that team right through her senior year of high school, simultaneously being a three-year starter on the Saratoga Springs High School Varsity Girls’ Lacrosse Team. She also competed in tennis and did alpine skiing. 

Throughout her high school career, Sylvie was also able to dedicate time to her schoolwork. Some of her accolades, as listed on her bio on the Boston University Athletics website (goterriers.com) include: Student-Athlete Leadership Team member, National Honor Society, Scholastic Council Leadership Summit attendee, and NYSPHAA Scholar-Athlete. 

Some of her high school athletic accomplishments include being a two-time US Lacrosse School Girls team member, Under Armour All-American Team, and Northstar Invitational Leadership award recipient.   

Then, she was recruited by Head Coach Lauren Morton for Boston University. 

“I was being recruited by Boston University, and a month later I was on their campus getting a tour,” said Sylvie. “I was comparing all my other college visits to Boston University.”

Originally, Sylvie was being recruited by Coach Morton for Duke University, where she was the head coach of the women’s lacrosse program there until 2018. 

Now, Sylvie is an attacker on the Boston University Women’s Lacrosse Team, and one of nine freshmen. She got her first minutes of playing time in their game against Lafyette on Easter Sunday. It was her first time on the field since COVID took away her senior season, and since she had hip surgery in May. 

Sylvie plans to major in journalism and minor in business. She says that her transition from high school to college, not just in sports, but in general, was facilitated by the connections she made at Saratoga Springs High School. She recounted meeting people at college who knew people from her high school, and said that going to a big school really prepared her for a big university.

To any high school athlete looking to go on and play sports in college, she gives this advice: 

“Keep working hard, and advocate for yourself. When the time is right it will happen, just keep being true to yourself.”

Thursday, 08 April 2021 14:08

Erik Gottmann: Athlete of the Week

Congrats to this week’s Athlete of the Week – Erik Gottmann!

Erik is a senior at Ballston Spa High School. He will have four varsity letters this year, starting with the ski team. The ski team’s season finished just in time for him to join the wrestling team, a sport he hadn’t competed in since eighth grade. Erik came away from this year’s wrestling season with eight wins and only one loss. He is currently playing on the football team, and will finish his high school sports career at Ballston Spa with lacrosse at the end of the school year. 

Erik has accomplished all of this while maintaining a 95 GPA. He just received a four-year full-tuition Army ROTC scholarship to the Virginia Military Institute, where he will continue playing lacrosse at the Division I level. 

GREENFIELD CENTER — Children’s author Artie Bennett will be appearing at the birthday celebrations for legendary racehorse Zippy Chippy at Old Friends at Cabin Creek on April 17. 

On April 17, from 12 p.m. to 3 p.m., Old Friends at Cabin Creek will be holding a reopening event and festivities in honor of Zippy Chippy’s 30th birthday (his actual birthday is on April 20). Artie Bennett, author of The True Story of Zippy Chippy: The Little Horse That Couldn’t, illustrated by Dave Szalay, will be there to read and sign copies of the award-winning picture-book biography.

“With its powerful message of hope and determination, and its healing dose of humor, it could well be the perfect storybook for our times,” said Bennett. 

Zippy Chippy’s legacy is quite an unusual one for a racehorse, as his losing streak is what made him famous. Zippy ran in 100 races during his career, and lost every single one – becoming one of the most losing racehorses in history. His trainer Felix Monserrate had traded an old pickup truck to get Zippy and had an emotional attachment to him. Felix then went about entering him in races with tough competition that he knew Zippy couldn’t beat, because Felix did not want anyone else to claim the horse. Zippy was also known to be a troublemaker at the track – stopping mid-race, refusing to leave the gate, biting, etc. Zippy is also banned from almost every track in America. In retirement, Zippy now lives at Old Friends, with his best friend Red Down South. You can read more about Zippy, and keep up with him and the other horses, on the Old Friends at Cabin Creek website: oldfriendsatcabincreek.com. 

Bennett is also the author of the rhyming picture books The Butt Book, Poopendous!, Peter Panda Melts Down!, Belches, Burps, and Farts – Oh My!, and What’s Afoot! Your Complete, Offbeat Guide to Feet, as well as two joke and riddle books titled The Universe’s Greatest Dinosaur Jokes and Pre-Hysteric Puns and The Universe’s Greatest School Jokes and Rip-Roaring Riddles. The True Story of Zippy Chippy is a CCBC Choice 2021. He has received praise on his books from Publisher’s Weekly, The Huffington Post, School Library Journal, and many more. 

Old Friends at Cabin Creek is a retirement facility for aging racehorses, located at 483 Sand Hill Rd in Greenfield Center. They are resuming their public tours April 17 through July 1, Saturdays only, from 12 -3 p.m. Summer hours are to be determined. A $10 donation for Zippy Chippy’s 30th Birthday Party will be gratefully received. Masks are required, and all necessary social distancing protocols will be observed during the celebration. 

Thursday, 08 April 2021 12:51

Wiswall: New Plans for Old Park

BALLSTON SPA — Wiswall Park is in need of revitalization, but the Village of Ballston Spa needs the community’s help to move the project forward. 

The Village of Ballston Spa Park and Tree Board, along with a group of citizens, have been working on a renovation plan for Wiswall Park. On Nov. 9, 2020, they proposed their concept design at a Village Board meeting. However, they need public feedback before it can be finalized. 

The reasons for revitalization listed by the Village of Ballston Spa Park and Tree Board are the invasive plants, dilapidated gazebo and park benches, the awkward location of the spring, uneven paths, and more. Their concept design is based on the park being a quiet retreat for strolling, sitting, visiting, and having lunch. The Board adds that they also want opinions on moving community events that previously took place at Wiswall Park to other locations in the Village. 

Liz Kormos, Trustee and Liaison to the Park and Tree Board, stated that the concerts will be moved to Iron Springs Park and the farmers’ market moved to Saratoga County History Center at Brookside Museum this summer to allow for the work to be done. Movies are still planned for Wiswall Park with Iron Springs Park as the alternate location. 

The Village of Ballston Spa Park and Tree Board asks that you freely share your thoughts regarding the concept design of the park and its future uses by emailing This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. by April 12.

Who: Alan Richer, The Toga Chip Guy

Q. Have you always lived in Saratoga Springs? 
A. I grew up in New Jersey and went to college at Syracuse University. I’ve lived in Houston, Connecticut, Massachusetts, and Albany. Now I have a house on the lake in Saratoga. 

Q. How would you describe what you do?
A. I am a chip historian.

Q. Can you give a brief description of  the history of the potato chip in Saratoga Springs?
A. The potato chip was popularized in Saratoga Springs. There are a lot of myths and legends around how it was invented. There is evidence that it was invented outside of Saratoga by a famous doctor in 1817 whose cookbook talked about “potato shavings.” The claim in Saratoga was in 1853 – 30 years later. 

Q. How did you get interested in chips?
A. While looking at art for my recently purchased home on Saratoga Lake in 2004, Michael Noonan, protégé of George Bolster, first told me about the various versions of the myths and legends surrounding Moon’s Lake House and the Saratoga Chips. He had original photographs of Moon’s Lake House, George Crum Speck, his sister Aunt Katie Weeks Adkins, and some of the early boxes, which he later sold to me. I was fascinated by the fact that the original name for the potato chip was the “Saratoga Chip” and wanted to determine how the name spread across the U.S. and abroad and was later phased out, something nobody else had ever done.

Q. Do you have any chip memorabilia or collectibles?
A. I have the largest collection of Saratoga Chips [brand name memorabilia]. I have a 40x40 display with bags, tins, machinery, and signs. It took me a long time to get a picture of an Aunt Jemima Potato Chipper (dates back to the 1900’s). While I have the photo, I have never been able to find the actual chipper. I once did a presentation for a Brown Bag Lunch at the Saratoga Springs Public Library and one of the attendees told me he had one. By the time I got done meeting attendees after the presentation, he had left, and I did not get his name and wasn’t able to determine if he actually had one or if he was willing to sell it. 

Q. In your opinion, what is the best chip flavor and the worst chip flavor? 
A. I like the traditional kettle chip (not a fan of spicy chips). 

Q. What is your go-to chip brand that you snack on?
A. A lot of companies send me chips, so I’m always eating new ones. When I go to the store, I’ll pick up the 40% Less Fat Cape Cod Chips, but all chips have their distinct niches.

Q. Can you give us an interesting trivia fact about chips?
A. Most people assume they are made with Idaho or Maine potatoes. But most of the potatoes used to make potato chips come from Michigan. 

Q. You have made quite a few media appearances. Do you want to name some of the things you have been featured in? 
A. I have done two segments for the History Channel’s “The Food That Built America” on Frito-Lay and Pringles. I have been interviewed by CBS, NBC, the Boston Globe, and various other television and radio stations, newspapers, and magazines. I am prominently featured on The Chips That Took Over The Snack World podcast (produced by History Channel’s “The Food That Built America”). I have partnered with the Saratoga Springs Lions Club to put on two chip festivals. Recently, on March 25, I did a Zoom fundraiser for the Saratoga Springs Preservation Foundation.

Want to learn more about potato chips? Check out Alan Richer’s website at togachipguy.com, his blog “My View of the World Through the Prism of the Potato Chip”, and his Toga Chip Guy Facebook page. 

SARATOGA SPRINGS — Skidmore College Men’s Ice Hockey Team had their first and only games this past weekend on Friday, March 26 and Saturday, March 27 against Hobart College. 

All of the games prior for the Thoroughbreds had been cancelled due to other colleges’ COVID protocols, or their own COVID protocols – varying reasons every game. 

“It’s great to be back on the ice in a game setting, after many trials and tribulations,” said Rob Hutchison, Head Men’s Ice Hockey Coach. “We just couldn’t get over the hurdles to get to a game until Hobart.” 

The home/away weekend series were exhibition games. Skidmore lost 1-0 on Friday. Hobart’s Zach Tyson scored the lone goal in the first period of the game, with assists from Travis Schneider and Aaron Maguyan. Skidmore’s goalie Brian Kowalski had 42 saves, 19 of them in the third period. 

They lost again on Saturday at Hobart, the final score being 4-1. Tyler Hall scored the only goal for the Thoroughbreds in the third period, with assists from Everett Wardle and Mike Gelatt. Danny Lassman had 18 saves in goal for Skidmore. Kowalski had 14, and Tate Brandon had 20. 

 The team had been practicing like it was a regular season right along. After about eight weeks of practice in the fall, they had a two-month break from Thanksgiving until January, instead of their usual 10-day rest. Although there were no spectators allowed at the games this past weekend, they still honored their five seniors - Danny Lassman, Matt Muzyka, Misha Mrotchek, Tyler Hall, and Brian Kowalski. 

“They are awesome people on and off the ice,” said Coach Hutchison. “In terms, of leadership, they kept the team motivated and excited to get out on the rink. They put a positive spin on things.”

Next season, the team is looking forward to a fresh start after an exhausting season this year. Coach Hutchison is hopeful that they will be able to go into summer training with some sense of normalcy. 

Congrats to this week’s Athletes of the Week – Brock Delsignore and Colden Dorfman!

Brock and Colden are both seniors and varsity wrestlers at Shenendehowa High School. In the 2019-2020 season they were both state finishers at the NYSPHSAA Wrestling Championships. Brock was just one match short of winning the state title and placed 2nd in the Division I-182 weight class. Colden placed 4th in the Division I-160 weight class. In this past “hybrid” season (only 7 separate dual meets and 1 tri-meet), Brock was 3/3 and Colden was 2/3. 

Their coach, Robert Weeks, describes them as leaders within the program – great athletes and students. All wrestlers in the program were given the option to compete on their own for the 2020-2021 season. Brock and Colden decided to stay with the team, despite having more opportunities to compete if they wrestled on their own. Coach Weeks expressed that their decision to stay with the team is a testament to their character as athletes and teammates. 

SARATOGA SPRINGS — Skidmore College has reversed their decision to allow a Progressive Zionists for Peace club a trial period. 

On March 13, via a Zoom meeting, Skidmore College’s Club Affairs Committee initially denied a Progressive Zionists for Peace (PZP) club a chance to see if they had interest on campus. The establishing president of the pro-Israel group is student Nessa Goldhirsch Brown. 

A letter from Sarah Baker, a Senior Senator on Skidmore College’s Student Government Association (SGA) board, to Nessa Goldhirsch Brown, describes why the group was turned down. In the letter published on FIRE’s website (Foundation for Individual Rights in Education, thefire.org), Baker wrote the following:

 “…some members [of the Student Club Affairs Committee] expressed concern that a dialogue focused club with one perspective being conveyed could be troublesome. That being said, the committee thinks that the group should try to either gain more diverse perspectives before becoming a club focused on dialogue or reframe the mission to be more advocate focused with a specific stance.”

Recently, the Committee granted a trial period to a
Pro-Palestinian group, Students for Justice in Palestine,
without hesitation.

On March 19, the prospective PZP club had a follow-up discussion with the Club Affairs Committee, who ultimately decided to move the club into a trial period. Sara Miga, Director of External Relations and Strategic Communications for Skidmore College, gave the following statement: 

“This was never an issue of religion or ideology. Skidmore does not and will not tolerate anti-Semitism or religious discrimination of any kind. Skidmore seeks to create a welcoming, safe, and inclusive environment for all, and there is no place for discrimination at Skidmore. Skidmore College is committed to fostering a diverse and inclusive community in which members develop their abilities to live in a complex and interconnected world. In line with this mission, thoughtful, spirited and sometimes challenging discussions are encouraged. We support our students in their efforts to work out student governance and organization.”

Saratoga TODAY also reached out to Nessa Goldhirsch Brown, and Skidmore College’s SGA, but did not receive a response from either.

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