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Fun & Games: Middle schoolers raise spirits, money at annual 'Niska-Game'

Fun & Games: Middle schoolers raise spirits, money at annual 'Niska-Game'

'It gives them a chance to mingle with their friends in a positive setting'
Fun & Games: Middle schoolers raise spirits, money at annual 'Niska-Game'
From left, "Blue Team" members Maeve Hull, Ellie Kochneva, Silvanah Singh and, in back, Charlotte Hull.
Photographer: Jeff Wilkin/Gazette Reporter

NISKAYUNA -- Evelien Van Lanen was excitable, energetic and exceptional.

Van Lanen, 12, a seventh-grader at Van Antwerp Middle School in Niskayuna, dressed as a wolf for the town’s 32nd edition of “Niska-Game” on Nov. 2. She claimed a spot on a giant game board and thrust an arm into the air to celebrate.

“You get to interact with other people, you get creative for this,” Van Lanen said. “It’s a really nice way to interact with others and just play.”

About 60 boys and girls — town middle school students — played a life-sized version of the popular board game Monopoly in the “cafetorium” at Iroquois Middle School.

Students formed seven teams, and local businesses sponsored the kids and properties on the game board. Other sponsors donated food and services for the event.
During the game, students rolled a giant pair of dice — they looked like giant pillows — traveled around the board and performed dances, songs and skits to earn “Niska-Game” money. They wore uniform shirts and team colors.

Kids gave the big night out rave reviews.

“You get to have fun with your friends,” said Priscayah Singh, 11, who’s in the sixth grade at Van Antwerp Middle School. “And it’s fun because you get to roll big dice.”
Tyler Montgomery, 13, a seventh-grader at Van Antwerp, said his team of maroon-shirted kids did pretty well. “It’s just a fun way to compete with your friends and other people,” Montgomery said.

Parents watched the kids, fueled by candy, cookies, cupcakes and pizza, run and socialize during the three-hour party.

“It gives them a chance to mingle with their friends in a positive setting,” said Fuller Black, who with wife Kristin watched daughter Davina play the game.

“It’s social time for the kids and it’s keeping them out of trouble,” said Mineva Singh, whose daughters Priscayah and Silvanah were on the blue team.

Sharon Wohl, one of the game organizers, said “Niska” night gives kids from the two middle schools a chance to meet before respective graduating classes team up for ninth grade at Niskayuna High School.

“They get to be creative, they get to yell and scream and just be kids; there’s nothing electronic about it,” Wohl said. “The people who put it together always enjoy it.”
All funds raised were given to N-CAP (Niskayuna Community Action Program), which funds events and programs that benefit town youth.

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