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Thursday, 04 January 2018 13:46

All-Star Moments

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.


Published in Sports

[Photos provided]

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.

Published in Education
Thursday, 28 September 2017 12:54

SSHS Assembly Gone Awry

The parents interviewed for this piece spoke to Saratoga TODAY on the condition of anonymity because they feared retribution against their children for speaking publicly.

SARATOGA SPRINGS – Kekla Magoon, the writer of eight fiction young adult novels, went to Saratoga Springs High School on Friday, Sept. 15 and spoke to the freshmen class. What was marketed to parents as an assembly on writing styles and techniques quickly turned into an assembly on Magoon’s book How It Went Down, a story about a young black man shot by a white man with conflicting narratives on what truly happened that day.

According to parents and students, Magoon utilized her book plot to discuss the Black Lives Matter Movement and police brutality across America and associated those two things with being a social justice warrior.

One parent, who is choosing to remain anonymous to protect their child, said “my son was very distraught because his grandfather, uncle, and now cousin are all police officers. He had to leave his class to hear defamation of police officers like the family members that he idolizes. My son was made to feel like his police officer family members were bad guys.”

“I asked Superintendent Piccirillo and interim Principal Whaley why impressionable ninth graders would be subjected to controversial and inflammatory material without any balance. I asked why no permission slip was needed to miss class like for any other field trip, which is how this was billed. I also asked where in the grade nine English standards social justice advocacy and Black Lives Matter fits, whether this is part of the New York State curriculum,” another concerned parent said.

Another concerned parent described in their own words how their children described the assembly to them, “they said it was about an author and she wrote a book about Black Lives Matter.”

This information led the parent to research the author and discovered that Magoon is the writer of many books, not just on the Black Lives Matter Movement.

“I asked them, ‘did they say anything specifically about President Donald Trump?’ They said no, well not really. When she was talking about one of her books, it was about a young immigrant fighting an evil dictator. ‘You know, similar to what we’re all doing now.’ The kids knew she was talking about Trump,” the parent said.

This parent has not called the school yet but a number of their friends have.

“I’m just disturbed with all of the things happening at the school,” they said.

The students were asked to complete an assignment using news articles but were told to, “only use CNN News because Fox News is fake news. One of the children in the class said there was a bulletin board on the wall that said ‘Fake News’ with Fox on the left and ‘Real News’ with CNN on the right,” the parent explained.

“Why was this author picked? Who approved it? Who watched a video of hers before she came into the school? I try to tell my kids that all lives matter. Singling that out, I feel as though there is an agenda there. I just continue to try and educate and tell my kids that no one knows the full circumstances of when people are killed. We don’t know, we weren’t there. We can only go by what the media tells us,” the parent continued.

One other anonymous parent wondered if the school was not aware of the subject matter and did innocently invite Magoon to speak about writing and to inspire the kids and perhaps she, “went rogue.”

The school has been contacted by multiple concerned parents for explanation and “they refuse to provide answers to these questions and won’t put anything in writing,” a father explained.

“They teased this up as if she was an author just talking about writing. Why was she talking so much about the other topics,” she said.

“I feel as though the school has a political agenda,” she said.

After another incident last year involving an unflattering President Trump cartoon, concerned parents went to the school who said that they would be putting their teachers through sensitivity training.

“I want to see the results of this training. I want to see one, what they did, and two, I haven’t seen any big change coming out of the school that they’re showing both sides. If they are going to be pushing political agenda, which is against school rules, then why aren’t we seeing any Conservative views? Why aren’t we seeing anything from the other side? How about the Military? Why aren’t they showing things about people in the Military who have lost their lives? I feel as though there should be a broader spectrum. My boys did not take away any writing techniques from that assembly,” one parent concluded.

“I don’t want somebody my kids are supposed to be looking up to talking about white men and police brutality when I and my kids do not believe that there is racism in our school,” another parent said, who is choosing to remain anonymous due to job security.

She continued, “I don’t think politics should be talked about in school. I love our school, my kids love our school, I love our city, I love our town. I’m very proud of our school district.”

As we went to press, the school had not responded with a comment or statement.

[Readers are encouraged to post respectful comments regarding the article below.]  

Published in Education
Thursday, 25 May 2017 13:48

Fastest in the Nation

SARATOGA SPRINGS – There might not be any records left to break in the near future if Kelsey Chmiel continues at her current pace.

Competing in the 77th Annual William F. Eddy Meet at Schenectady High School on May 20 alongside 11 other Saratoga athletes, Chmiel, a sophomore, competed in the 3,000-meter race event, finishing with a dominant 9 minutes and 18.09 seconds, putting up the best time in the country for the spring 2017 season so far as well as setting the sophomore girls national record in the event. As one might expect, a performance that put national records to shame also left her competition on the day in the dust, as her closest competitor, Burnt Hills senior Eva Scott, finished the race close to a minute and a whole lap behind her at 10 minutes and 9.66 seconds. This was Chmiel’s third year competing at the Eddy Meet.

This performance continues Chmiel’s recent streak of standout performances and broken records. Back in March, at the 2017 New Balance Nationals Indoor national-level track & field event, Chmiel competed in the 2-mile event and ended up with a time of 10 minutes and 12.94 seconds, besting the state record and narrowly edging out the national record as well. Just a little before that, at the NYSPHSAA State Championships, Chmiel set the previous record in the 3,000-meter event for sophomores. At least year’s Eddy Meet, she set the all-time record for the 1,500-meter event in Section II with a time of 4 minutes 23.81 seconds, and also put up a time of 9 minutes and 48.25 seconds in the 3,000-meter race, a time she would best by over 30 seconds just one year later.

“It makes me excited,” Chmiel said about her collection of record-breaking runs. “But I think it also makes me work harder... I’m just gonna keep working at practice and hopefully lower my times.”

“She’s very competitive, she’s very analytical,” assistant coach Linda Kranick said of Chmiel’s consistently excellent performance. “I think this is the fourth national sophomore record she’s broken this school year... Kelsey has high aspirations, and works very hard.”

Kranick, who has been coaching track & field for 37 years and has coached with husband Art Kranick at Saratoga Springs High School since 1985, reckons that Chmiel is one of the best runners she has worked with in her career, if not the best, given her consistent record-breaking performances. Some of this she attributes to the advances in coaching techniques over the years that have allowed them to train faster and faster athletes, but it mostly comes down to Chmiel’s hard work and innate talents.

“Kelsey is very humble, very modest,” Kranick said. “And she understands that she has even farther to go.”

Elsewhere at the meet, senior Mimi Liebers bested the competition to finish first in the 100-meter hurdles event. Liebers will be competing in track and field at the College of the Holy Cross in the fall.

Published in Sports

SARATOGA SPRINGS – History came alive recently for students at Saratoga Springs High School (SSHS).

In the intimate setting of the SSHS teaching auditorium, a little over three classes worth of local students gathered for an assembly on May 24 where seven members of the Adirondack Chapter of the Korean War Veterans Association came to share stories from their times serving their country. In attendance to share their stories were Bruce Blackie, Roger Calkins, Eugene Slavin, Paul O’Keefe, Edward Bushey, William Reid, and Robert Garland. After each speaker rose to give the audience a salute, Blackie spoke first, introducing the group’s intention to shed a light on what many have termed the “Forgotten War.”

“What we wanna do is put a personal face on what you read in the history books,” Blackie said. He continued, noting the historically significant facets of the Korean War: it was the first war in American history with no formal congressional declaration to mark the country’s entrance into it, and it ended not with a victory on either side, but with a ceasefire that holds to this day.

Calkins spoke next, first noting how each speaker had lived through WWII, which ended just five years before the start of the Korean War, and how at the time the feeling of peace was such that few thought that it would ever end, let alone so soon after. He then took students through the shape of the lands controlled by the North and the South over the course of three years, starting with the divisions of the country made by the United States and the Soviet Union after WWII, see-sawing back and forth from Northern to Southern control, before finally ending with the current dividing line at the 38th Parallel, currently known as the Korean Demilitarized Zone.

“It all happened very fast,” Calkins said.

O’Keefe spoke next, bringing a much more personal angle to his talk, telling the story of how he came to be involved in the war, and how things went for himself and his friends afterwards. O’Keefe graduated from Mechanicville High School only four days before the war began. Alongside himself, a good friend of his from school, Raymond Waldron, was also drafted, and he told the audience to remember that name, as he would be coming back to it. Before basic training, O’Keefe had never held any sort of weapon before.

“Not even a BB gun,” O’Keefe said.

Speaking of his time on the battlefield, he noted how the life of a soldier felt like being an animal.

“Your home is now a hole in the ground,” he said, telling the students about foxholes.

Coming back to his friend Waldron, O’Keefe told the story of how surprised he was to see a friend from home in the army with himself. Later on, he told students about how Waldron went on to attend Ithaca College, and eventually became a coach and respected athletic director at SSHS, despite at one time being among their bitter rivals on the sports team in Mechanicville. Waldron’s esteem within the community was so great that a street was named after him, Coach Waldron Way, just off of Washington Street in Saratoga Springs.

O’Keefe concluded his portion by highlighting the some of the graduating Blue Streaks who would be going on to attend military academies in the fall, including student athletes Hunter Choy and Will Navin, who were in attendance.

After each speaker had told their stories, they opened up the floor for student questions. Choy and Navin each came with the kinds of specific questions befitting soon-to-be members of the Armed Forces. Choy asked about the tactics employed by the forces they interacted with in Korea, to which many of the men recalled the overwhelming numbers mobilized by the Chinese, who fought on the side of North Korea alongside the Soviet Union. Navin wanted to know about the public’s perceptions of the war at the time, which according to the men was something like ignorance, as many people seemed unaware of the war. Upon returning home from combat, a few speakers recalled how many people at home were not aware that they had been gone for so long on account of the war.

Along with sharing stories from their times in the service, the speakers also stressed how important it is to honor those servicemen and women who were not lucky enough to come back, an appropriate message so close to Memorial Day.

“It is a day to remember those who never got to take their uniforms off,” O’Keefe said about the upcoming day of remembrance.

All photos by www.photoandgraphic.com

Published in Education