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SCHUYLERVILLE – On an uncommonly warm Saturday, December 12, upwards of 600 people gathered in the beautiful weather to lay 2,700 holiday wreaths at the Gerald B.H. Solomon Saratoga National Cemetery.
The ceremony began at noon at the main flagpole, consisting of the National Anthem, Pledge of Allegiance, opening prayer, ceremonial wreath placing, recognizing all the military units and some fraternal organizations, and then closing remarks. All of the branches of the military were represented and participated in the services. The Cemetery provided a Civil Air Patrol color guard with 21-gun salute and the playing of taps.
There was a special wreath presentation at several of the graves, including for the nine who were killed in action in Iraq and Afghanistan, the grave of the unknown Civil War soldier, and the graves of three Medal of Honor recipients. The presentation was given by the Patriot Guard Riders and representatives of the Marine Corps League, as well as Gold Star families when possible.
Students from Schuylerville Middle School participated, placing homemade wreaths on the unclaimed remains of some Veterans.
“One of our ride captains, Joe Spodnick, has developed a nice relationship with those kids over the years,” said Bill Schaaf, Assistant State Captain of the Patriot Guard Riders. “Part of what this program is, it’s teaching about the history, about honor and respect. Joe took a teaching moment with the kids, and I think they enjoyed it.”
The Patriot Guard Riders of New York organize the annual event to remember fallen soldiers in concert with Wreaths Across America, the organization that trucks thousands of wreaths from Maine all across the country to ceremonies happening at noon local time on the same day in cemeteries nationwide. The event began locally 7 years ago; when 7 donated wreaths were placed on soldiers’ graves.
The Patriot Guard Riders hope to one-day place a wreath on all 13,000 graves at Saratoga National Cemetery. To that end, they have arranged with Wreaths Across America to receive one free wreath for every two wreaths purchased. To obtain the “buy two, get one free” deal, donors must purchase a wreath through the Wreaths Across America website and enter the code “NY0057”. To learn more about the program, visit www.wreathsacrossamerica.org.
Coin to be launched on November 17
SCHUYLERVILLE – The United States Mint and the National Parks Service have announced that a special new quarter will be launched on November 17 that will honor Saratoga National Historical Park and the British surrender at the Battle of Saratoga in 1777.
The Saratoga National Historical Park quarter is the 30th release in the United States Mint America the Beautiful Quarters® Program, a 12–year initiative to honor 56 national parks and other national sites. The official launch will take place at Schuylerville High School on Tuesday, November 17, at 9:30 a.m. The public is invited to the launch ceremony. Invited guests include U.S. Senators Chuck Schumer and Kirsten Gillibrand and New York Governor Andrew Cuomo. The event will also be streamed live on wnyt.com.
The coin’s reverse design (tails side) depicts a close-up of the moment General John Burgoyne surrendered his sword to General Horatio Gates, a turning point many believe marked the beginning of the end of the American Revolutionary War. Inscriptions on the quarter are “British Surrender 1777,” “SARATOGA,” “NEW YORK,” “2015” and “E PLURIBUS UNUM.”
After the launch ceremony, Glens Falls National Bank will be the official sponsor of a “quarter exchange,” where individuals will be able to purchase rolls of quarters (up to 10 rolls maximum), for $10 cash per roll. Friends of Saratoga Battlefield will also have a sales table for those wishing to purchase commemorative quarter sets, featuring the Saratoga quarter, for $8.50 per set.
The evening before the launch ceremony - Monday, November 16, from 5 to 6 p.m.—the U.S. Mint will host a coin forum at the Saratoga Town Hall, 12 Spring Street, Schuylerville. This coin forum is an opportunity for the public to express their views about future coinage, and to learn about upcoming United States Mint coin programs and initiatives.
For more information, visit www.nps.gov/sara
SCHUYLERVILLE — The community of Schuylerville is coming together to help neighbors recover from two events that have affected the Schuylerville Central School District family.
The Schuylerville junior varsity and varsity football teams will be trading in the pigskin for golf balls on Saturday, Oct. 18 to help support the Bateman family. Jack Bateman, father of team member Skyler Bateman, is recovering from a serious motorcycle accident that happened in August. Jack Bateman is making progress at Sunnyview Rehabilitation Center after spending five weeks in Albany Medical Center’s Intensive Care Unit but according to his family, he still has a long road ahead of him.
The football teams will host a fundraiser at the Sunnyside Par 3 Golf Course in Queensbury to help the Bateman family pay for medical costs. Each player is collecting sponsors and will play nine holes of golf in the “best ball” or “scramble” format. All proceeds will go directly to the Bateman family.
“Not only is this an effort in helping a friend and family in need, it’s also a way to give back to someone who has given a great deal of his time and dedication over the years, especially to the youth football program,” said Laurie Griffen, Schuylerville parent. “It’s a chance to support a teammate and give back to someone who’s given to them.”
The fundraiser will begin with a shotgun start at 1:30 p.m. and food and drinks will be provided.
However, the golf game isn’t the only fundraiser the Schuylerville Central School District has going on this weekend. The school community is also showing support for one of its teachers – Mrs. Penniman.
Penniman, a fifth grade teacher, lost her house to a fire on Saturday, Sept. 27. Flames had fully engulfed her one-story home by the time fire crews arrived on scene, destroying the home and killing three pets – one dog and two cats. The Penniman family was not injured but they did lose all of their possessions.
On Friday, Oct. 3, Schuylervile students and staff wore red to show their support for the Penniman family and to highlight the importance of Fire Prevention Day. Principal Gregg Barthelmas and Mrs. Penniman’s fifth grade team presented her with generous donations that the elementary school, middle school and high school collected.
If you would like to help the Penniman family, the SCSD faculty and staff are hosting a Spaghetti & Meatball Dinner on Saturday, Oct. 18 at the Schuylerville American Legion.
Friends of the Penniman family have also set up a Go Fund Me account called the “Penniman House Fire Fund,” with a goal of raising $2,000 for the family; the account has already collected just over $1,300.
To make a donation, visit www.gofundme.com/f70yfk.
Kids & Clay Summer Program Teaches Art Education
By Stephanie Hale-Lopez
For Saratoga TODAY
SCHUYLERVILLE - There’s something about squeezing a ball of clay that releases all creative intuition. Mold, shape and sculpt the clay and suddenly your imagination comes to life.
Monsters, gargoyles and dragons were taking on a life of their own at the Saratoga Clay Arts Center (167 Hayes Road, Schuylerville) Monday morning. A group of six kids kicked off the first week of the Center’s Kids & Clay Summer Program. With furrowed brows and the musky smell of clay in the air, the young artists worked patiently and confidently to mold their balls of clay into whatever they felt like.
“I’m making a volcano monster,” whispered 5-year-old Gabe, not wanting to take his eyes off his masterpiece while putting the finishing touches on its head. “I’m painting it green and brown. It’s going in my room.”
Seeing how proud and deeply invested the kids are in their pieces of art reminds SCAC owner, Jill Fishon-Kovachick, of her early days in working with clay.
“I’ve been working with clay since I was 11,” said Kovachick. “My parents sent me to a camp in Connecticut called Buck’s Rock, which was strictly an art, theatre and music camp. They had many different types of studios, including ceramics, so that’s how I began working with clay. It’s been a passion ever since.”
After Skidmore College did away with its adult education for ceramics program in 2011, Kovachick founded the Saratoga Clay Arts Center and knew she had to get children involved. She immediately organized the first Kids & Clay program, which only attracted six students its first year. Now in its third year, the summer program has more than 75 kids registered for the 8 different weeklong sessions.
“It’s growing as we move along,” said Kovachick. “It makes me feel really good. People are learning about us and a lot of the kids hear about us through their friends who have come to a class.”
The camp is divided into morning and afternoon sessions, each with different courses like hand building and wheel throwing. Kids ages 6 and up can choose which class they’d like to attend, but Kovachick said one thing is certain -- the kids will do everything from scratch.
“That gives kids a chance to learn about making something all by themselves, with the instruction of a teacher,” said Kovachick. “But they also learn how to glaze and they learn about our kilns and all kinds of things that happen here. It’s not just painting a piece, it’s doing something from start to finish.”
To help students along the way is local teacher, Rachel Garrison. During the school year, Garrison teaches ceramics and sculpture at Shenendehowa High School East. This is her first year as an instructor for the Kids & Clay Summer Program.
“We just keep it simple and they all want to be here,” said Garrison. “It’s nice because its students who have a desire to be here and be creative. They’re creative, they’re not afraid. Sometimes you get self-conscious and you’re afraid of what other people think or of making a mistake and this way, they can do whatever they want. It’s inspiring.”
Garrison said this group of six students compared to the 125 she teaches during the course of a regular school day allows her to work more closely with the kids over the four-hour session.
“At the high school, our classes are a lot shorter,” said Garrison. “They’re only 40 minutes. It’s hard to sink your teeth into things because by the time you get in, set up, and then you have to clean up, you only have about 30 minutes to work.”
While Shenendehowa is able to offer a variety of arts classes, some area schools don’t have the capability of offering a wide range of art electives. As a result, schools visit the Saratoga Clay Arts Center during the school year.
“It gives them a little diversity,” said Kovachick. “If they only have electric kilns in the studios at their schools, we have gas kilns that we use here. They can learn the raku process, which is a totally different firing process than what they have at their schools.”
Both Kovachick and Garrison hope the programs offered at SCAC will keep students interested in clay arts as they continue on to high school and college. So far, it seems to be working.
“You can make anything you want,” said Gabe. “I’m going to come back and make a turtle.”
The summer camp wraps up with SCAC’s 3rd annual Kids & Clay Summer Art Exhibition on Sunday, August 31. To sign up for the program, visit www.SaratogaClayArts.org
SARATOGA SPRINGS — A Schuylerville woman was arrested this week and charged with stealing over $35,000 from her employer, Saratoga Saddlery.