The Schenectady School District Athletic Hall of Fame reunion dinner and induction ceremony is a major event for Schenectady. But since 2000 it hasn’t been held in Schenectady, but in Saratoga Springs. Fortunately that is about to change, with the dinner and ceremony to be held this September at Proctors.
Criticized in the past for going to Saratoga, the organizers said that while they preferred to be in Schenectady, there was no venue here big enough to hold the 400-500 people that usually attend. (For the first two years it was held at Glen Sanders Mansion, which can only accommodate about 350.)
We argued, in a September 2006 editorial, that there were other options, including the Armory on Washington Avenue, Schenectady High School and Union College. All were considered but rejected by the organizing committee for one reason or other.
Then along came the renovated and expanded Proctors. When the organizing committee saw that the facility accommodated 450 people for a gala last fall, it became interested. After several visits and meetings with Proctors staff, it decided to try the event there. The reception will be held in the spacious Robb Alley leading to the GE Theatre. The dinner will be on stage, catered by Glen Sanders owner Angelo Mazzone, who also handled it at the Hall of Springs. And the ceremony will be in the main theater, with its superior audio-visual equipment.
Bob Pezzano, of the committee, and Philip Morris, CEO of Proctors, are both a little concerned that the dinner might attract too many people for the main stage. But their back-up plan to also use the GE Theater, connecting the two through a video link, could work. And the 2,700-seat main theater opens up additional possibilities, like having people who don’t come to the dinner attend the ceremony. Pezzano says he expects to invite all the school’s varsity athletes and their parents this year, with the chance of extending it to the wider community after that.
Schenectady has a rich history in sports; they have often brought people here together. Let them do it again each fall with this special event — in Schenectady, where it belongs. Welcome home, Athletic Hall of Fame.