In Niskayuna, students got a history lesson that took them far from statistics and dates and into what it’s really like to serve in the military and fight in a war, thanks to the volunteer efforts of six retired 1940s-era soldiers and the teacher that brought them together. About 120 eighth-graders at Niskayuna’s Iroquois Middle School last week heard first-hand accounts of war from veterans Bill Rochelle, George Williams, Charles Merriam, Berhard Graf von Schwerin, Charlie Levezque and Allan Atwell as part of the school’s annual salute to veterans. The event, for which the veterans volunteers their time to speak to students, was organized by social studies teacher Dennis Frank as a way to take the students’ learning outside the textbooks and bring history to life for them.
In the Capital Region, hundreds of volunteers of all ages helped spruce up New York state parks, public lands and historic sites on May 4 as part of the state’s I Love My Park Day. The volunteers spend the day clean garbage and debris from parks and beaches, planting trees and gardens, restoring trails, improving wildlife habitats, painting and repairing fences and picnic tables, and performing other tasks to help maintain these areas. Efforts were held at more than 135 parks across the state. The effort -- sponsored by the state Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation and Parks & Trails New York -- not only results in a more pleasant outdoor experience for millions of park visitors, but also helps instill a sense of appreciation for the parks in the volunteers.
In Schenectady, dozens of people helped raise money for local food pantries and other hunger-relief efforts as part of the annual Schenectady Community Ministries Crop Hunger Walk. The Crop walk itself is part of a national effort held in more than 800 locations to battle hunger. To join the walk, participants were asked to raise at least $100 from sponsors. After the 5K walk, which began and ended at Emmanuel Friedens Church on Nott Terrace, the New Blues Band and the Donna Tritico Band performed for participants and volunteers. The financial goal of the Schenectady event was $35,000, from which 25 percent of the funds will benefit the Schenectady Community Ministries (SiCM) Emergency Food Pantry, Catholic Charities Senior Meals and the Community Crisis Network.
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High Notes is a Monday feature of The Gazette Opinion section spotlighting the good being done in our communities by individuals, organizations, schools and colleges, businesses. If you know of anyone who should be celebrated, send your suggestions for High Notes to Editorial Page Editor Mark Mahoney at [email protected]