Thursday, 14 September 2023 13:44

Schuylerville Hosting ‘Kickin’ Out Cancer’ Event in Honor of Longtime Teacher Dave Mehan

Dave Mehan, pictured at Schuylerville CSD’s 2022 Kickin’ Out Cancer event. This year’s event will be held in honor of the longtime Schuylerville teacher (Photo by Shannon Vallee). Dave Mehan, pictured at Schuylerville CSD’s 2022 Kickin’ Out Cancer event. This year’s event will be held in honor of the longtime Schuylerville teacher (Photo by Shannon Vallee).

SCHUYLERVILLE — The Schuylerville Central School District’s 2023 Kickin’ Out Cancer event is set to be held Oct. 3, taking place in honor of longtime teacher Dave Mehan, who died of cancer in August.

Taking place during the Schuylerville varsity boys’ soccer game against South Glens Falls, proceeds raised during the event will be donated to the Schuylerville Elementary School Kindness Closet, which is set to be established in Mehan’s memory.

Schuylerville CSD Superintendent Gregg Barthelmas said it is a fitting tribute, noting that Mehan was, “everything you’d want in a teacher and a person.”

“He meant everything to the school,” said Barthelmas. “He was fun, kind, loved by staff, loved by students, loved by community members. ...People were always excited to go to his classroom. He was always kind of a jokester. He made learning fun.”

Mehan spent 26 years in the district, beginning in 1997 as a co-kindergarten teacher, eventually moving to fourth grade. He also coached a variety of sports through the years, including modified track and field, modified boys soccer, and varsity girls soccer, in addition to helping with the elementary school ski club, S.A.F.E.R. food drives, and serving on the Schuylerville Teachers Association.

Barthelmas said Mehan’s sense of humor was “uncanny,” with he and Shannon Vallee, first grade teacher and Varsity Club Advisor, noting Mehan also enjoyed dressing up during the holidays.

“St. Patrick’s Day, he was always dressed up as a leprechaun,” Vallee said. “He definitely had a connection with kids. One of my own children had him as a teacher, and she had a really good time that year.”

Over the years, Mehan was able to make a tremendous impact on students, with Vallee noting his enthusiasm could influence some kids to come to school when they otherwise might not have wanted to.

“All of his students, the students that really needed his help, they thrived over those years that he was their teacher,” said Vallee. She noted Mehan, along with friends and fellow teachers Pat Whalen and Chad Jorgensen, were constantly “laughing and having fun times.”

The Kickin’ Out Cancer event, which has been held by the district for over a decade, raised over $6,000 last year, Vallee said. This year includes the sponsors Sol Enterprises/Schuylerville Pizza & Pasta, and Document Tailors.

The event will include basket raffles put together by grade levels and departments around the district, a 50/50 raffle, and a ‘glowstick walk’. Proceeds from the school’s concession stand will also be donated to the Elementary School Kindness Closet.

Donations will also be taken at the Schuylerville girls varsity soccer game against Scotia-Glenville on Sept. 30 at Schuyler Park. Vallee said the boys varsity soccer team will be on hand to accept donations, and said basket raffles will also be set up, allowing spectators to purchase a ticket that will be drawn at the boys soccer game on Oct. 3.

“It brings the community together,” said Schuylerville varsity boys soccer head coach David Gauci of the event. “I think it’s a good thing for everyone involved. … It’s rewarding at the end.”

Gauci said opposing teams have also been involved in past years, wearing colors in support of the event. Vallee noted it will help launch the Schuylerville Elementary School Kindness Closet, which is intended to be established in honor of Mehan.

“This is really going to jump-start what we can put in the closet, decorate the closet,” Vallee said. “It’s going to be good for the school.”

Like Mehan, Vallee is a graduate of Stillwater High School, and emphasized it is meaningful to honor her former colleague.

“He has a huge community of friends, just up and down the river,” said Valle. “He touched our community, he touched this community, and he touched his home community as well.”

Barthelmas, who started working in the district alongside Mehan in 1997, said the two eventually became good friends. Noting Mehan was the type of person to “give you the shirt off his back,” Barthelmas said the event in his honor is thematic.

“If you think about it, it’s what he did,” said Barthelmas. “We try to represent it as how they conducted themselves. … In this way, (giving) back is Dave Mehan. That’s how I see it.”

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