Lori Mahan

Lori Mahan

[Photo provided]

 The Burnt Hills Oratorio Society (BHOS) hosted its 21st Annual Vocal Scholarship competition at Calvary Episcopal Church in Burnt Hills on March 4. Seniors from high schools across the Greater Capital Region had been invited to compete. Of the nine applicants performing selections from the standard song repertoire, Phoebe Reuther from Shaker High School and runner-up Nicholas Contois from Shaker High School won $1,000 and $750 scholarships, respectively. The students' music teachers are Dan Foster and Tyler Thomas.   Ms. Reuther was selected to the concert choir of the Suburban Council Music Festival in 2016 and 2018 and the Area All State Music Festival in 2016. She has participated in many charity events and sang for "Raise Your Voice: Sing for Kids" to benefit Court Appointed Special Advocates (CASA), the Center for Disabilities Telethon and the Hope Seven Food Pantry Benefit in Troy. As a performer she appeared with the Saratoga Children's Theatre as beggar woman in "Sweeney Todd." Ms. Reuther said she wants to become a music educator "to bring music into children's lives." 

Mr. Contois is a member of the Tri-M Music Honor Society, he was chosen for the 2017 All-National Honor Ensembles as well as All-Eastern and participated in the NYSSMA Area and All State Music Festivals. In February 2018 he was WMHT Student of the Month, and he performed in a Schenectady Light Opera Company (SLOC) youth production as Tony in "West Side Story." Mr. Contois wants to pursue a career in musical theater.  

Jurors for the awards were Robert Reeves, Megan Wilson and Yiping Wu. Mr. Reeves was BHOS's music director for two decades; he started the scholarship competition in 1997. Mrs. Gebert Wilson is a member of the music faculty of Emma Willard School and Russell Sage College; she maintains a private voice studio. Mr. Wu is a professor at Schenectady County Community College where he directs the SCCC choruses and teaches aural skills and voice. Funded as a component of the organization's operating budget, the Vocal Scholarship Program is fundamental to BHOS's community outreach endeavors. BHOS is working to extend the reach of this competition within the Capital Region. For information: www.bhos.us.

Thursday, 22 March 2018 13:54

Waldorf Students Take Over the World

[Photos provided]

SARATOGA SPRINGS — Every year during the final half of February, each high school junior at Waldorf School of Saratoga Springs participates in an internship that helps them to explore a profession they have an interest in, near and far from home, for at least a week.

“At the end of the experience, they will not only have a jump on their resume, but they will have gained soft skills and a selfknowledge that will serve them for life,” said Jennifer Dempsey, communications director, in a press release.

In the beginning of the school year, every junior is required to research a professional field of their choice, which includes exploring their own strengths and interests, interviewing professionals in their chosen field, and securing and completing their internship. Each student concluded their experience with a public presentation about their experience. The juniors traveled far and wide for their internships; Elliot Sabatella interned at the UK Ministry of Defence, Bristol, UK; several students spent time in Massachusetts; Kathleen Rembish interned at Nicole Miller, an iconic fashion designer, in New York City; Julie Stuart shadowed EMTs at the Saratoga Springs City Fire Department, and beyond.

Laura Howe chose to learn about music therapy in two different settings: Wildwood School in Schenectady, where she worked with individuals on the Autism spectrum, and The Spaulding Rehabilitation Hospital in Boston, where she learned about occupational therapy and speech therapy. Howe worked under Caitlin Hyaat at The Spaulding Rehabilitation Hospital and at Wildwood she shadowed Mark Ahola.

“I don’t know if I would say I preferred Spaulding over Wildwood, but I know that I really liked being in the hospital setting because there were co-treatments, so you could have different therapists in the room, and I really enjoyed that variety,” Howe explained.

Jacob Valmore cut his internship time between Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute (RPI) and NASA. Valmore explored the field of engineering at RPI and shadowed engineers at NASA’s Goddard Space Center in Maryland.

“At NASA I saw a lot of the rigs that they use to test the space telescope that they just sent off to Houston, which was cool, and I got to the see the biggest clean room in the world where they built the spacecraft. At RPI, the coolest thing I did was fire up the wind tunnel, I’d never done that before,” Valmore said.

“It’s really cool experience that we’re given at Waldorf,” Howe said.

[Photos provided]

SOUTH GLENS FALLS — Betsy Stambach-Fuller, high school music teacher at South Glens Falls High School, where she has spent the last 11 years teaching, keeps herself very busy. Between her family, which includes her husband of 10 years, Jonathan, and her two children, Evelyn, 9, and Timmy, 5, teaching six classes, directing the high school’s drama club, and instructing the internationally competitive Acapella group Vocal Point, it’s no wonder her students love her.

“[SGF] is great, the kids here are some of the most kindhearted students that I’ve ever had the pleasure of working with. That just makes everything, all the long hours and time spent away from my family, just that much more worth it,” Stambach-Fuller said, praising her students.

While she highly praises her students and the South Glens Falls district, her students praise her equally.

“Because of Betsy Stambach-Fuller, the students and the community are brought together by the music she teaches and the time and effort she puts into her work. Without her, the South Glens Falls High School music program would not thrive as it does now, and the students would not be as passionate and excited about the music as they are today,” said student Josh Daley in a letter nominating Stambach-Fuller for Women of Influence.

With a master’s in music education from SUNY Fredonia, Stambach-Fuller teaches Choristers, Choraliers, Music Theory, Broadway Performance, History of Rock, and Life Skills.

“I always knew that I wanted to remain active in music and theater and then I was looking at those teachers who were really influential on my life, and I thought ‘how cool would it be to keep that going and pay it forward, to do that same thing those teachers did for me, for others,’” she said.

Her favorite part of teaching is the interaction she has with her students.

“I have that opportunity to really watch them grow and develop into adulthood for four years, because as a music teacher, they’re consistently with me. I think that is the most rewarding part, watching where they start in ninth grade and then seeing how they’ve blossomed into kind and capable adults by the time they graduate,” Stambach-Fuller explained.

“Last year, one of my graduating seniors paid me the ultimate compliment. She said, ‘I’ve watched you for four years and I’ve noticed that you’re really constant in what you do, and you don’t take heed to how others perceive you, you just follow your heart and you do what’s right.’ She was saying that she has struggled with an eating disorder and things like that, so she looked up to me as a role model in that respect where I just remain true to my convictions and my heart, that gave her inspiration through the healing process. So, for this school year, that impacted me to think students really do watch every movement that we make, everything we say, it impacts them more than we might realize. So, I do focus more now on being that smile or being that hug that students who are struggling, and I may not realize they are struggling on those personal levels. I do tend to focus now on being there and going out of my way to say good morning to everyone in the hall or paying a compliment to a student just to lift the burdens that they carry,” she said.

The most recent show the drama club put on was Ghost the Musical, and it was the first time it was performed in the capital region.

“We really were able to put our own mark in the interpretation on it,” she said.

For the last five years, her select vocal group has competed at the international level and this year they finally got the chance to move on to semi-finals, which take place Saturday, March 24. For Stambach-Fuller, however, it isn’t about the competitions or accolades, it’s about watching her students become wonderful people.

“Years ago, we had a student who was battling throat cancer, so just watching our students really use the power of music to help with that. The emotional treatments associated with an illness and everything, those are the moments that really stick out, when the kids come together to help others,” she stated.

In the summer, Stambach-Fuller directs a couple of theater camps and works with the Schuylerville Community Theater. She also teaches an acapella camp at the Glens Falls Music Academy called CampApella.

“It’s nice to have the summer together with my family because during the school year with all of our all-county festivals, all-state festivals, and the play, I have a lot of time away from them in the evenings and weekends, so we definitely take advantage of reconnecting in the summer,” she said.

In her free time, Stambach-Fuller enjoys taking the train to New York City to see as many shows as she can. Her husband, Jonathan, is also a musician, so they enjoy going to as many concerts as possible, ranging from Ben Folds to the orchestra.

“I can’t escape the arts, in a sense,” she laughed.

Aside from her love for music and theater, she is also a New York Giants fanatic and never misses a game, whether on tv or in person.

Thursday, 15 March 2018 14:58

Local All-Star Moments

[Photos provided]

Hannah Klingebiel, Alpine Skiing: 
SARATOGA SPRINGS — Klingebiel won every slalom race in Section II during the regular season.  She then went on to win the NY State Championship title for slalom at Bristol Mountain on Feb. 26.  This qualified her for the Eastern High School Championship at Cannon Mountain in New Hampshire this past weekend.  Klingebiel once again won the slalom on March 9! Klingebiel is a sophomore at Schuylerville High School and has skied at Willard Mountain since she was four years old.  She joined the race team there when she was eight.

Saratoga Regional YMCA Youth Basketball League:
Ethan Dinsmore had a last-minute basket and then made a free throw to give Mexican Connection Restaurant a hard earned 24 to 21 victory over Saratoga PBA. Dinsmore had a team high of seven points, Bryant Savage six points, Alexander Savage five points, Connor Johnson and Yankiel Bracero had two points apiece, Nick Scalo and Jaden Cousar one point each. PBA was led by Jaden Manning with a game high nine points while teammates Jack Foster had six points, Emylyn Tineo got three points, Steve Bebee had two points and Makala Roy had one point.

Berkshire Hathaway Blake Realtors had a 20-point first half lead and never looked back, defeating Cudney’s Launderers by a score of 55 to 40. The winners got points from everyone on the team, with Jake leading the way with 14 points, along with 13 points from Ian Fisk, 11 points Cameron Fitzpatrick, eight points from Seth Mattice, three points from Shane Richardson, and two points apiece from Isaiah Barnes and Tim Leary. PBA scoring was Hunter Regels 15 points, Lydia Green eight points, six points from Elias Whol, five points from Will Sambrook, four points from Tom Leary, and Coleman Fignar with two points.

Thursday, 15 March 2018 14:55

Girl Scout Jamboree

[Photos by www.PhotoAndGraphic.com]

SARATOGA COUNTY — Each year, the Girls Scouts of the Saratoga-Schuylerville Service Unit come together for a day of fun and learning. Taking place at the Geyser Road Elementary School on March 10, this event is held every year in honor of the anniversary of the founding of the first Girl Scouts troop by Juliette Gordon Lowe in Savannah, GA. The Girl Scouts have six different levels, broken down by grade: Daisy (K-1), Brownie (2-3), Junior (4-5), Cadette (6-8), Senior (9-10), and Ambassador (11-12).

The theme this year was “Girls and S.T.E.A.M.”

“This is the Year of the Girl in Girl Scouts and they’re promoting that word; G.I.R.L. which means Go getters, Innovators, Risk takers, and Leaders. So that’s what we’re promoting,” said Michelle Przedilecki, event coordinator of Saratoga-Schuylerville Service Unit and troop leader of #3278.

“We were looking at women in S.T.E.A.M. fields as inspirations for the girls, so each troop picked a different woman from the S.T.E.A.M. fields. Each troop would study one woman as an inspiration and then they would teach the other troops about that person. They would run a booth with that activity. The girls would take turns being the leaders and take their passports and go around to all the other booths and get their passports stamped and do the activities each troop had,” Przedilecki explained.

The Girl Scouts celebrate their 106th birthday this week. The Jamboree is an event that takes place every year as part of Girl Scout week, which is celebrated internationally.

Thursday, 15 March 2018 14:52

Athlete of the Week: Michael Halligan

[Photos provided]

SARATOGA SPRINGS — Michael Halligan, an 18-yearold senior at Saratoga Central Catholic High School has been Nordic skiing since he can remember. He cites his dad as his introduction to skiing.

“When I was born he put me on skis,” Halligan laughed, “as long as I can remember, I’ve always been on skis.”

Halligan just got back from the Junior Nationals Competition in Utah. In order to qualify, he had to ski two races in Rochester and two in Lake Placid.

“It was a pretty good season, I wasn’t really expecting to do that much better than I did last season. After the first couple races, I kind of just started getting into the groove of things and got progressively better. I’m really pleased with how all of it turned out. It was really something that I’m never going to forget. That was one of the best experiences that I’m ever going to have. Just going to Utah and skiing with such a good team and also racing with different competitors, I couldn’t really ask for anything better. Getting there was really hard, but it was definitely worth it,” Halligan explained.

Halligan’s aforementioned father, Sean, is his Nordic coach at Spa Catholic, and his brother is his club coach.

“Both of them together really paved the pathway for me to do the best I can, and I can’t thank them enough,” Halligan said.

Halligan was satisfied with his results in Utah.

“My outcomes in Utah were okay,” he laughed, “I didn’t really expect to do that well considering the fact that I was skiing against some of the top athletes in the country, but I was definitely toward the bottom of the list. I am pretty happy with my results though, I didn’t come in last in any of the races so that’s good.”

Aside from skiing, Halligan also runs cross-country in the fall and track in the spring. Halligan transferred to Spa Catholic in seventh grade after being a Maple Avenue student. He is an honor roll student with grades in the high nineties, and enjoys his creative writing class the most.

“I just recently put my down payment on St. Michael’s College and I will be skiing for them, they’re a Division II school,” he explained.

He intends to major in Digital Media and Journalism.

“I’m really into making music, too. I play bass, and I’m really into audio production. I helped a couple friends out with making songs for them. It’s a side hobby,” Halligan said, explaining how he spends his free-time.

Halligan is also a part of Peer Ministry, a religious community service club that runs retreats for the lower classmen to spread the Christian value.

“We really like to help out the community as much as possible, our school community but also the Saratoga community as a whole,” he explained.

Halligan will be wrapping up his Nordic season on March 16 – 18 in the Eastern High School Championships, taking place in Maine.

“I think that’s going to be really good. The altitude [in Utah] took a lot out of me during Junior Nationals so I feel like in Maine, I’m going to have way better results. I’m really excited about it,” he said.


[Photos provided]

SARATOGA SPRINGS — Since early January, differently abled kids of all ages have been learning to skate and practicing at the Weibel Arena. On Saturday, March 17, the culmination of their hard work will be showcased in an Olympicthemed ice show. Skaters, assisted by volunteers, will demonstrate their newly acquired skills, as well as perform some fancy group footwork. Starting at 2 p.m., the public is invited free of charge to cheer on the skaters and volunteers at the Saratoga Springs Ice Rink’s 30 Weibel Avenue location. Refreshments will follow the show, along with some ‘puppy love’ from area therapy dogs and service dog pups-in-training.

As an annual service project of the Saratoga Springs Lions Club, the Saratoga Adaptive Ice Skating Stars Program brings together differently abled youth with volunteers and expert ice skaters, providing fun and instructional sessions.  The program runs January through March on Saturday mornings or afternoons. Ice times vary, according to the city rink’s schedule. Each year the program culminates with a themed grand finale showcasing the newly acquired ice skating skills of
 the children. Saratoga Stars is a free program and all skating and assistive equipment is provided.

“This program has helped my child build self-conafidence and independence to do other athletic activities,” says one skater’s parent.

“This program ROCKS!” says one legally blind skater.

For more information about the Saratoga Stars, contact Program Coordinator Mike Stoneback at [email protected] rr.com or 518-879-3607. For more information about the Lions Club, visit www.saratogaspringslions.com or their Facebook page: Saratoga Adaptive Ice Skating Stars.

Thursday, 15 March 2018 14:46

Ballston Spa Hall of Fame 2018 Inductees

BALLSTON SPA - The Ballston Spa Athletics Hall of Fame Committee announced plans for the 2018 induction ceremony to take place on Saturday, May 5 at the Ballston Spa High School auditorium (220 Ballston Avenue). The ceremony will begin at 1 p.m., followed by a reception with light refreshments and is open to the public. Tickets are available for $10 per person.

The 2018 Ballston Spa Athletics Hall of Fame inductees: • Sylvia Bertrand (coach) • Sandy Stanislowsky (coach) • Lisa Miranda Brassard (athlete) • Donald Goble (athlete) • Casey Wright (athlete) • Gregg Thomas (athlete) • 2002 Women’s Volleyball Team: Dana Bertrand, Abby Wright Burchett, Margaret Cornelius Casey, Phoebe Doran, Desiree
Farley, Ashley Hoin, Kristen Lipscomb, Nancy Negron, Brittany Coleman Richards, Catelyn Samoranski, Stephanie Stanislowsky, Melissa Townsend, Mary Janczak Yager, Coach: Sylvia Bertrand • 1973 Baseball Team: Walter Breason, Paul Brown,  Frank Cinella, Rick Currier,  James Dempsey, Rick Gardner, Steve Grandin, Steve Pratt,  Phil Rankin, Robert Smith, Robert Talbot, Dean Thomas, Mark Thornhill, Coach: Ronald Ravena

The mission of the Ballston Spa Athletics Hall of Fame is to recognize athletes, coaches, administrators, faculty and community members who have made significant contributions to the Ballston Spa Athletics program through their service, performance, dedication, commitment and accomplishments.

SARATOGA SPRINGS — Future Olympians from across the United States will compete for National Short Track Age Group titles at the Saratoga Springs Weibel Ave. Ice Rink, Friday — Sunday, March 23 - 25.  

RACE TIMES:  Friday, 9:00 a.m. - 5:30 p.m. Saturday, 11:00 a.m. - 7:30 p.m. Sunday, 9:00 a.m. - 2:30 p.m.  

Hosted by the Saratoga Winter Club, the U.S. Short Track Age Group National Championships and the American Cup 3 Final will offer spectators a first-hand view of the fastest human powered sport.  Starting at 3 p.m. on Saturday, March 24, current Olympians (returning from South Korea) will give an informal presentation, “Olympian: Vision to Execution;” give demonstrations on equipment and speed skating techniques (with audience participation, at 4 p.m.);

Six Saratoga Winter Club athletes will be competing. In addition, the Ice Cut Food Truck Festival (Saturday, March 24, 11 a.m. - 6:30 p.m.) will offer up a variety of delicious, fun food for spectators: pulled pork, wraps, waffles and more.  Last but not least, The Skate Extravaganza, on Saturday, March 24 from 5:30 - 7:30 p.m. features music, lights and the 500 meter sprint and 3000 meter relay finals. The Skate Extravaganza races will be some, if not the most exciting events of the weekend. The Saratoga Winter Club has a great history of hosting successful events ranging from local races to World Cup events and has brought up numerous Olympians in both short track and long track skating. This is the largest speed skating competition in the United States and it is the first time in over a decade SWC has been awarded this particular competition, offering our local community the rare opportunity to see, first hand, some of the best speed skaters in the United States.All events are free and open to the public.

Thursday, 15 March 2018 14:35

Activism Takes Many Forms

[Photos provided]

SARATOGA COUNTY —  On February 14, Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, FL suffered an unimaginable tragedy: 17 people were gunned down by a teenager with a gun. In the month since, students across America have become involved with supporting the students at Stoneman Douglas. On a local level, activism took many forms.

“We’re glad that you’re all choosing to walk-out today. We’ve gathered here to honor the lives of the 17 students and teachers that passed one month ago. But never again should we have to do this. This marks the beginning of an end. An end for gun violence in our schools. Because enough is enough. We should be able to go to school and not fear for our lives. We should be able to go to school and come back the next day. But we can’t take this for granted. We must put an end to the atrocities that are claiming the lives of our fellow students. We have the power to demand change. Now let’s use it to stop the violence in our schools once and for all,” the students at Saratoga Springs High School said, at the beginning of their walk-out.

Saratoga Springs High School, Ballston Spa High School, and South Glens Falls High School were three schools in the county who decided to rise up and partake in the movement on Wednesday, March 14. South Glens Falls students did not walk-out, however; they oversaw of how they would support the movement.

“I sat down with a few student groups and tried to get an understanding of what the students wanted to do. They thought it was in the best interest of everyone in the building that we split what is activism and what is memorial,” said South Glens Falls Principal, Mody.

During third period, faculty and students engaged in discussion circles to confront issues about school violence, empathy, and the “SEE something – SAY something” philosophy. They also had a 17-second moment of silence. In the library, students also had the option to write letters to local representatives.

“The students were all engaged and that’s important. I always say, ‘educate not indoctrinate.’ My job is not to tell them what to do with their voice, but how to use it,” Mody said.

In Ballston Spa, a group of seniors kick-started their walkout organization.

“We have a sort of media committee, it’s a small group of seniors and we all divided up the responsibilities and we are the ones in charge of getting the media involved,” Joe Vesic said, referring to himself, Izzy Rutkey, and Joe McDonald, all seniors.

“One of the people that we’re working with tweeted ‘why can’t Ballston Spa participate in the walk-out?’ We all got on board with that and thought ‘yeah, why can’t we participate?’ So, we emailed our principal and we got her full support on the event and then we started to get people’s support outside of the small group of seniors that were working on it and it really grew into a big thing,” Vesic explained.

Aside from the principal’s support, the students also had the backing of most teachers and students.

“We have the majority of the school’s support; however, there is a small section of the school that I think their main reason for not supporting the movement is because they truly don’t understand what we’re calling for and once we explain it to the people that approach us showing resistance, they really do tend to come on board with our message,” Vesic said.

Vesic and the committee have spent their time listening to all of the various speeches that kids at Stoneman Douglas have been giving, along with watching clips from the Town Hall they had a few weeks ago. Ballston Spa’s message for the walk-out is simple: “mainly we’re calling for more background checks and limits on weapons of war,” explained McDonald.

Like the others, Ballston Spa’s walk-out lasted 17 minutes, honoring each victim of the shooting.

“Our main goal is definitely unity. With the election coming up, and a lot of us turning 18 soon or already 18, we will be able to register to vote and be able to vote in this upcoming election. If we start this conversation about what we, as teenagers and young adults, want and how we want to be represented in the government, then that will lead to us taking steps in November when we are able to vote and to have our opinions and our voices be heard,” Rutkey said.

The trio, however, remain realistic that a walk-out will not be the end-all be-all of what they’re fighting for.

“We won’t be giving up on this effort. I think that our motivation to have stricter background checks and limits on weapons of war is not going to stop with us walking out of school. We won’t stop calling our representatives or making our voices heard,” Vesic stated.

“I think that overall, Ballston Spa High School does a fantastic job of making sure we feel safe. We do have our regularly practiced lock down drills and in the past few weeks we have had a police presence throughout the day. I think individually, as a school, Ballston Spa does a great job, especially in response to a lock down we had at the beginning of the school year when a student did bring a gun to school. They handled that situation so well and made sure nothing like that has happened since. But on a state level and a federal level, that cannot be said about all schools, and we want to make sure it can be said about all schools,” Rutkey concluded.

Saratoga Springs High School also participated in the walk-out; however, two students offered an alternative, the #Honor17 kindness project, created by freshman Meg Messitt and senior Madeline Messitt.

“The school had put together the walk-out and we were just a little concerned about it, because a walk-out by definition, is a political protest and we don’t believe in political activism during school hours, so we came up with this alternative that pledges kindness and makes the school a better place at the same time. We feel it will also achieve more by doing something other than just standing outside. It will make the school a better place at the same time. I think it’s better than standing outside for 17 minutes,” said Meg Messitt.

After a teacher posted something on Facebook that one of her students had come up with, #whatsyour17, the Messitt girls were inspired to create their own similar idea.

“This project is not just for kids who aren’t walking out, it’s for everyone. I’ve met up with people that are organizing the walk-out and even they love this idea, they’re spreading it around, trying to get more people to do it, too. People in the middle schools are participating, a teacher from Colonie is also trying to get it into his school, as well,” Messitt explained.

Meg is the president of the newly minted Republican Club at the high school, but she says she doesn’t even factor that into her opinions on the walk-out, which
she finds to be very politically motivated, at all.

“What we’re doing [#Honor17] is not political at all. When we advertise this, I’m not even mentioning the club,” she explained.


Messitt said she felt pressure from some teachers to join the walk-out.

“Teachers have been pressuring students to walk out. They’ve been saying things like, ‘I want to walk out but if students stay behind I can’t.’ So this is just pressuring students to walk out because if they don’t, they think their teacher is going to be disappointed in them because they know their teacher wants them to walk out,” she said.

As far as her own personal safety, Messitt doesn’t feel unsafe but, “it wouldn’t hurt to put more thought into a better security system.”

Messitt did not participate in the walk-out.

Braeden Arthur, a sophomore at Saratoga Springs High School, found out about the event through social media and immediately decided he wanted to participate.

“I definitely think that for different people this walk-out means different things. Some people see it as just standing by those who unfortunately died in Parkland, and then some people see it as how some of the students from Parkland want us to see it; as this is a moment to bring attention to our administrators, President, NRA, and that students of this generation in particular have had enough of the gun violence and in a setting where students shouldn’t necessarily have to be afraid, no less,” Arthur stated.

For Arthur, his reasons behind participating are simple: “for me, personally, the walk-out is about students talking to the adults who happen to be running the country now.”

Arthur is aware of the #Honor17 project, “I like the idea of creating a kinder environment and I definitely think that’s a good way to, again, lower the risk of anything ever happening by making people feel more welcome. If kids felt more welcome and less singled out, maybe we wouldn’t have a situation where the solution is to hurt the people around them,” Arthur said.

Arthur commends the district for increasing security on the campus to make it an even safer environment.

“Do I think I’m personally safe? I’d say that I do feel safe, then again, I’m sure the kids at Stoneman Douglas thought they were safe, too” he said.

Matthew Taylor, one of the 10 initial students who organized the walk-out, doesn’t believe this to be political in nature.

“We haven’t taken a stand, it’s not about gun control, it’s mainly about walking out in solidarity with the students from Parkland. It’s to represent that this time, it’s going to be different, it isn’t just going to fade away into a distant memory. I understand that a lot of students are saying that ‘kindness and promoting kindness is something that we can do’ and although kindness is important, you must change hearts and laws, because that’s the only way real change will occur. You should be kind to people all of the time,” Taylor said.

Students from Saratoga Springs High School are currently raising money to charter a bus for those who would like to participate in the Washington, D.C. walk-out on Saturday, March 24.

“The walk-out is really about empowerment and making sure students know all of the ways they can get involved and they can voice their opinion, regardless of what side of the aisle they’re on. That’s why it’s not really that political. It’s just an issue that needs to be addressed,” Taylor said.

Maple Avenue Middle School also participated in the walk-out. While most schools across the county supported the walkout movement or provided an alternative, Schuylerville Central School threatened students with disciplinary actions and would treat walking out as an unexcused absence.

Page 28 of 44