News & Events
CHATHAM ALUMNI CONNECTIONS - SUMMER 2021
THE ALUMNI ASSOCIATION'S VERY BUSY YEAR
We couldn't get together, but we knew how to keep in touch with each other and the Chatham Central School District. The district website shared many photos of things that were happening and gave us the confidence that, even though things were different, good experiences were happening in the classrooms and in the community.
We learned that teachers were spending their own money to buy special supplies for more effective classroom activities, so we set up a petty cash fund they could draw on. We gave our usual donation to the music departments even though there was no concert on the lawn. In addition, we replenished the fund to be used at the discretion of the administrators to provide for individual students. We also contributed to a fund to help students pay for related graduation expenses. The Chatham and Ghent Food Pantries also received donations from the association.
We continued to make our annual donation to the Chatham Education Foundation that provides grants for special enrichment programs. We provided monetary awards to four seniors who demonstrated outstanding school spirit and gave a donation to the Eighth Grade Moving Up ceremony.
So now it is time to begin to replenish our coffers. See Page 6 for more details of our expenditures. When you pay your dues, won't you add something extra this year?
Chatham Alumni Association School Spirit Awards for 202
The School Spirit Award signifies that selected students demonstrated personal qualities that made the school a great place for kids to be educated.
Kylie has dealt with substantial personal challenges throughout high school. Through it all, she has remained energetic, enthusiastic, and optimistic. She is always smiling and enjoys being involved in school academics and extracurriculars.
Calli is an outstanding student who demonstrates school spirit in the classroom and on the Varsity Track Team. Not only is she an outstanding runner, but she can often be found helping out younger athletes and encouraging all of her teammates. Her quiet demeanor can be misleading; this young lady is a force!
Like Calli, Nick has a quiet disposition, but demonstrates school spirit through his genuine interactions with others. He is sincere, kind, and seeks to be the best he can be every day. Nick enjoys being involved in extracurriculars, especially Varsity Track. He demonstrates love of school by being actively involved, encouraging others and demonstrating good sportsmanship.
It has been interesting to see Caiden's school spirit develop over his four years at CHS. Recognizing his leadership potential, he was selected to attend HOBY, a large-scale leadership program. From there, he has flourished. He has brought the motto of HOBY (service and leadership) to the Chatham high school community, through his active participation, respect for all, and positive attitude.
Added by the Guidance Office:
"Through their involvement, values and good character, all of these students demonstrated Panther pride every day, They exemplify school spirit!"
We Made A Difference in 2020-2021
We made the following donations to the school district:
The Alumni Scholarship Fund updated to $1,500 every September for discretionary use
8th Grade Moving Up Day $600
School Spirit Awards $400
Alumni annual donation to Chatham Foundation $500
Village of Chatham Food Pantry $500
Ghent Food Pantry $500
Music Dept in lieu of lawn concert $300
Helping fund student expenses for high school graduation events $2,500
Teachers' Petty Cash Fund: supplies reimbursement $500
Newsletters Mailed to Our Members: Priceless!
In the 2020-2021 Year we received more than $4,000 in contributions in addition to the annual dues, thanks in part to the Class of 1969. You can show YOUR support and help us continue to make a difference by adding $$$ to your dues.
REUNIONS AND SUMMER GATHERINGS
CLASS OF 1971 50TH REUNION SCHEDULED FOR AUGUST 28TH
Plans are under way for the 50th reunion of the Class of 1971. It will be held at the Ghent VFW on August 28th. According to Sallie Friedman, there are approximately 75 people left in the class. The original graduating class of 101 students were called the Dalmatians. (Remember the Disney hit about the dogs?) Seventy-five letters were sent to classmates. Replies are coming in.
ANNUAL ALUMNI PARTY --- AUGUST 8TH
We are gathering again August 8th, Sunday noon to 5 p.m. at the POLISH AMERICAN CITIZENS CLUB, 110 Commerce Avenue, Albany. Rain or shine. We’ve had a great time for the last three years so let’s continue this opportunity.
Contact or text Bob Goo at (518) 221-7635 or Jeanne Westover at (518) 755-0751 to learn how to buy tickets. Still only $20 per person. We are limited to 25 tickets this year.
This is a party for All Chatham Central School District class years. The $20.00 entry fee per person includes food, drink and music. We share the venue with great veterans, but we have a separate picnic area for all of us to relax and visit.
CLASS OF 1972 LOOKING FOR INTERESTED ORGANIZERS
It's time for members of the Class of 1972 to start thinking about coming together in 2022. Something simple. Something fun. Contact Jeanne Westover with your ideas and get something going. It's not too early. Planning is half the fun!
(518) 755-0751 firstname.lastname@example.org
CHATHAM GRADUATION 2021
There was nothing usual again this year
2021 Chatham High School Graduation Ceremony was held at 6:00 pm on June 25 at the Chatham Fair Grounds on a beautiful warm evening. The formal event was preceded by a dessert reception for graduates and their guests.
The traditional program was then presented to the graduates and their families with each graduate given a minimum of six tickets for guests. Lots of balloons, cheers and car decorations added to the festivities.
The new graduates departed with their awards and scholarships and their coveted diplomas and joined in the parade of cars down Hudson Avenue, through Main Street and Woodbridge Avenue, ending at the high school.
There were cheering friends and family all along the parade route that included some of us alumni yelling and waving, stationed on the front porch of Yianni's Chatham House and another crew with the Alumni banner in front of the Tracy. We're not many, but we do what we can to show our support!
Graduation Awards highlighted the qualities of leadership, kindness to others, volunteerism, and sportsmanship, in addition to academic excellence.
Ryan Graziano was named Valedictorian, and Sonam Verna was named Salutatorian. They were introduced, presented with a medal to honor their achievements, and addressed the gathering.
Ryan was the president of the National Honor Society and is a member of the CHS Band and Tri-M Music Honor Society. He received an additional twelve awards in recognition for excellence. Ryan plans to attend Cornell University and major in Applied Economics and Management.
Sonam’s high school career included being a member of the National Honor Society, National Art Honor Society, Business and Marketing Honor Society, Students Against Destructive Decisions (SADD), Model Congress, and Yellow Ribbon. Along with those engagements she was also the founder of Chatham’s first Med Club, and the president of Student Government and Class of 2021. She received six additional awards in recognitions for academics, sports, and community activities. Sonam will be attending Stony Brook University to study biology.
SPECIAL SCHOLARSHIPS AND AWARDS AND MEMORIALS
The Graduation Awards were presented in two major categories: Special Scholarships and Awards And Memorials. In total there were 39 special scholarships given to 66 students (some duplication). There were 58 items under Awards and Memorials given to 70 students (some duplication).
When the award descriptions were viewed more closely, a pattern emerged that showed many were awarded to the students because they were just "good people". Academic accomplishments were important. Sports and musicianship were honored. Future plans for career earned a number of awards. But what really stood out were the number of awards that were given to students because of their character, helpfulness and caring for others. More than 50% of the graduates received an award for who they were and what they contributed to the well-being of others and the community.
Fun Observations about the Awards:
1. The Tom and Nancy Hay Neatness Counts Award given to Autumn Ferrier, the senior whose work over four years was the most legible in all subjects.
2. The most popular female name among the graduates: Hanna. (4) They garnered 26 awards. Talented people!
3. Special Award for Unsung Heroes:
THE HIGH SCHOOL GUIDANCE DEPARTMENT
They had the monumental task of making sure the 109 awards and scholarships went to the most deserving students for a total of 149 individual awards. Kudos to all involved!
CHATHAM ALUMNI CONNECTIONS Summer 2020 Newsletter
CONGRATULATIONS TO THE CLASS OF 2020*
Chatham Central Alumni Association sends our congratulations and our very best wishes as you begin the next exciting chapter of your lives.
This may be the end of your days as a Chatham High School student but your connection to Chatham will last you a lifetime.
We want to take this opportunity to welcome you to the Chatham Central Alumni Association. We want you to know that this association can be your connection to your school as you go forward.
The Chatham Central School Alumni Association is devoted to establishing and sustaining communication between the school district and its graduates through periodic newsletters and conducting fundraising for scholarships and financial support for specific programs.
You are encouraged to check out the link to the alumni association on the district website to learn more about us and how to contact us.
Please contact us and tell us where you are, what you are doing, and how you are doing. Submit your stories, questions, ideas to email@example.com, newsletter editor, so we can add them to the website and include them in an upcoming newsletter.
Let us know if you are interested in getting involved in the alumni association. There is not a lot to do, but we need more recent graduates to become involved to keep the association functioning.
The association, through the newsletters and the website, can help announce reunions, find lost friends, celebrate important events, find volunteers for school events such as the spring concert on the lawn, and just make you feel good that this is a chance for you to give back.
* This message was included in the senior packets given out at graduation.
Chatham Graduation 2020
There was nothing “as usual” this year!
The Booster Club honored each graduate with a photo display sign on Hudson Avenue.
The signs attracted lots of attention for our 68 graduates.
The Graduation Ceremony was held on June 26 at the Chatham Fair Grounds on a
beautiful warm evening. Each graduate was allowed one vehicle with family members
inside. The event was scheduled to last a couple hours with pre-recorded speeches and
presentations and time for photos and receiving of diplomas.
The usual program of events was presented to the graduates and their families in their
cars enjoying snacks from home and many of the graduates perched on top of the
vehicles through the sunroof or in the open trunk. There were lots of balloons and car
decorations adding to the festivities.
They all left with the senior packets that included the awards and scholarships, and their
The ceremony concluded with a parade down Hudson Avenue, through Main Street and
Woodbridge Avenue, ending at the high school.
There were cheering friends and family all along the parade route that included some of
us alumni yelling and waving. We were stationed on the front porch of Yianni's Chatham
House and the crew with the banner in front of the Tracy. We're not many, but we do
what we can to show our support!
Graduation Awards were given without the usual ceremony
The Graduation Awards for the Class of 2020 highlighted the 68 graduates with 16 Honor
Students and the Valedictorian and Salutatorian.
Heather Damia, Valedictorian, and Julia Rose, Salutatorian, each gave a pre-recorded video
speech of inspiration played at the ceremony.
The Graduation Awards were included in two major categories: Special Scholarships and
Awards and Memorials. In total there were 38 special scholarships given to 57 students (some
duplication). There were 62 items under Awards and Memorials given to 80 students (some
When the award descriptions were viewed more closely, a pattern emerged that showed many
of them were awarded to the students because they were just "good people". Academic
accomplishments were important. Sports and musicianship were honored. Future plans for
career earned a number of awards. But what really stood out were the number of awards that
were given to students because of their character, helpfulness and caring for others. Almost
50% of the graduates received an award of some magnitude for who they were and what they
contributed to the well-being of others.
A big surprise gift to each graduating senior was the special graduation gift of $500 courtesy of the Ellsworth Kelly Foundation, "in recognition of all the meaningful events and gatherings associated with their final year of school that this class missed out on due to the COVID-19 crisis. Jack Shear, Foundation President, provided every graduate with a note of congratulations in addition to the check for $500 to be used for something meaningful to them. (I’m sure Mr. Shear would enjoy hearing how the individual students used the gift.)
The Chatham logo shows the importance of everyone every day. The awards given highlighted that this idea is important throughout the school and community.
Chatham Central Alumni Annual School Spirit Awards
Each year the Chatham Alumni Association awards scholarships to two senior girls and two senior boys who excel at showing school spirit. The scholarships include a certificate and a check for $100.
The students are selected by the high school administrators and guidance counselors, people who really know the students best. The following students were awarded the 2020 School Spirit Awards;
Morgan has served as the student representative to the Board of Education this year, which is a large commitment. Throughout high school, she has been active in athletics and clubs, and this year, she has really found her stride as a leader. During the closure her name has come up time and again as the person who is rallying the seniors – encouraging, offering hope, and constantly communicating. She plans to attend SUNY Oneonta in the fall.
Alexander Tuthill Alex has always been known as a school contributor. Unfortunately, this year he was not able to participate in athletics as usual due to a knee injury. This did not stop him, however, as he continued to attend practices, and volunteered his time to score keep and help at practices. Beyond athletics, he participated in Spirit Week and other school-based activities. He always has a smile and is known to be a friendly and kind member of the student body. He plans to attend college after graduation, with his final decision yet to be announced.
Always in his scooter due to some physical needs, Jonathan may be CHS’s most recognizable character. He is friendly to everyone and has a kind and gentle spirit. He attends a multitude of school and community events and spreads the Chatham spirit wherever he goes. He plans to work after graduation.
“Veah” is a skilled athlete who works hard as a team member and takes younger teammates under her wing. In addition, she supports other Chatham teams through her attendance and encouragement. She is recognized among the student athletes as a positive force. She plans to attend Columbia Greene Community College in the fall.
The valedictorian and the salutatorian had very busy high school careers
Heather Damia graduated first in her class, with a Regents Diploma with Advanced Designation with Honors. She was an honor student with a Distinguished Portfolio. She demonstrated Mastery in Mathematics and Mastery in Science. Heather was a member of the National Honor Society. At the Award Ceremony she received 15 awards for her many accomplishments for academics, musicianship and leadership. Julia Rose graduated second in her class with a Regents Diploma with Advanced Designation with honors. She was an honor student with a Distinguished Portfolio. Julia demonstrated Mastery in Mathematics and Mastery in Science, She was a member of the National Honor Society. At the Award Ceremony Julia received 10 awards for her many accomplishments including her leadership, helpfulness and caring for others throughout the school community.
What has the Alumni Association Been Doing
The Chatham Area Silent Food Pantry donation
The Chatham Area Silent Food Pantry was highlighted in an article in the Albany Times Union and attracted our attention as something we should support. We made a $500 donation to the pantry.
Ann O’Neill is the point person in the Chatham Area Silent Pantry in the basement of Tracy Memorial Village Hall, in Chatham. Before the coronavirus, customers could walk into the pantry and pick out the food they wanted themselves. Now O’Neill and her co- workers take orders over the phone, pack bags with food and bring it outside the building for pickup. This spring, she was looking forward to planting her garden. Alongside her usual flowers, O’Neill plans to plant vegetables to donate to the food pantry
An ad to honor the 2020 graduates
The Association took an ad in the local paper special edition honoring this year’s graduates with the following message: “THE FUTURE IS EXCITING. LOOK FORWARD TO IT. MAKE THE MOST OF IT. ENJOY IT!”
The Ghent Food Pantry Donation
We also made a donation to the Ghent Food Pantry in honor of the 2020 graduates for $175. The gesture for the ad looked good. This gesture to the food pantry made us feel good.
Chatham Education Foundation
We made our annual contribution to the Chatham Education Foundation for $500. The foundation-funded activities will be reassessed when school reopens.
The Annual Concert on the Lawn
The Concert on the Lawn was cancelled this year so the alumni didn’t get to grill hotdogs to donate the proceeds to the music departments. So we decided to donate the amount we usually made from our food sales – $300 – to be shared by the three music departments.
JOIN THE CHATHAM CENTRAL ALUMNI ASSOCIATION
We encourage all graduates of Chatham High School to join the Alumni Association and show their love, support and appreciation for this wonderful school district. We need you and your fellow alumni to keep the association going. We need you to get involved. We don’t do much but it’s nice to know we have people to call on when there is something to be done. (Not to scare you, but the treasurer and the newsletter editor are both 85. We need to know there will be someone around willing to take our places when the time comes for us to retire.)
Chatham alumni tee shirts are available in red or gray.
$25.00 (incl. postage)
They can be ordered from
Alumni Association President
Is it time to pay your dues?
Dues for 2020-2021 due in July but are accepted any time during the year. Your additional contributions are also welcome at any time and enable your alumni association to provide even more assistance to the students in the Chatham schools. Please fill out the form below and send it with your check:
YES, I WANT TO JOIN OR RENEW MY MEMBERSHIP IN THE CHATHAM CENTRAL ALUMNI ASSOCIATION AND I ENCLOSE MY ANNUAL $10.00 DUES
Maiden Name ____________________________________________
Yr. of Graduation _____
Telephone: (Home) or (Cell) _________________________________
Email Address: ____________________________________________
DUES: ______ CONTRIBUTION: _______
Please mail this form to:
Chatham Central Alumni Association,
P.O. Box 208, Chatham, NY 12037.
CHATHAM ALUMNI CONNECTIONS Winter 2020 Newsletter
The Alumni Association is turning fifteen…. and we’re all getting older
It doesn’t seem possible our association has been in existence for 15 years.
We have accomplished a lot in many ways, except one.
We have not expanded our membership.
If the association is to continue, we need everyone to help find new members. We need members who pay their dues. We need members who give that little extra so we can do a little extra. We also need more people who are willing to take an active role in the operation of the organization.
The treasurer and the newsletter editor are 85! We live in Albany and care a great deal about the school district. It’s where we met as freshmen in 1948. But we realize that we won’t last forever.
Our faithful group of workers have also been with us for most of the 15 years, but they will also tire of carrying the load without more support.
I’d like to say we will give a trophy to the person or family or year of graduation that bring in the most new members. We won’t do that but we will thank you in the next issue of the newsletter and give you bragging rights.
Have you seen the district website lately?
You’ll want to go back to school!
Go to chathamcentralschool.com
In addition to the usual class work, all grade levels manage to incorporate exciting projects that provide all the students with a quality and fulfilling education. Go to the website for more photos and information. Here’s just a few samples:
“E-M-P-H-A-T-I-C” Spells Win for 6th Grader
Liam Drowne, a sixth grader at Chatham Middle School, is Chatham Central School District’s newest Spelling Champion. During CCSD’s Spelling Bee December 12, Liam correctly spelled “emphatic” to clinch the title and earn a spot at the Capital Region Spelling Bee at Proctor’s Theatre in Schenectady on February 4! Eighth grader Lucia Bigelow and fourth grader Ava Lombardi were our co-runners-up.
Service Club Visits Senior Living Center
The CMS Service Club took a trip to the Whittier Place Assisted Living Center in Ghent to spend time with the residents there. Together they made door hangings, played bingo and talked about the holidays, school activities, and their memories of Chatham.
Main St. Mural
We thought it would be fun to take a look back at the Village of Chatham using this mural of Main St. students at MED painted here in the early 2000’s – sort of a snapshot in time kind of thing. Though the turn of the century may not seem too long ago for many of us, if you look closely, you can see how downtown has changed or stayed the same since then. This is one of several large murals fourth graders painted under the direction of author and illustrator Jacqueline Rogers during the late 1990’s and early 2000’s. Are you someone who helped paint it, and do you remember what part of it is yours?
NJHS Holiday Senior Luncheon
Chatham Middle School’s National Junior Honor Society (NJHS) served up a holiday treat for area seniors on December 13. Their annual Holiday Senior Luncheon is a long-standing community favorite – with 75 guests visiting the Middle School this year to enjoy music, food, and holiday atmosphere. The day began with a lively holiday concert in the auditorium, where the Grade 7/8 Band, Chorus, and Orchestra performed some selections from their upcoming Winter Concert. Then it was on to gymnasium where the NJHS students served up a turkey feast (prepared by our kitchen staff) along with some
holiday fun – mood-setting music performed by strings students, a visit from Santa (eighth grader Dayton Harvey), and a game of bingo where the seniors could win prizes that the students had purchased and wrapped.
Chatham Education Foundation has awarded $20,628 for the 2019-2020 school year
Six Grants were awarded to the Elementary School for a total of $6,150
Main Street Exhibition
Panther Paws Community Art Program
Columbia Youth Theatre Tall Tales and Heroes
Five Grants were awarded to the Middle School for a total of $5,665
Science of Addiction and Recovery
What Lifts You Schools’ Mural Project
Video History of Village of Chatham
Chatham Middle School Film Club
CMS Life Skills Outdoor Garden and Mural
Seven Grants were awarded to the High School for a total of $8,813.
Structured Work Systems (Task Boxes)
Theatre Production Class to see at the REP
Guest Speaker for Theater Production Class
“The Point” Art and Literary Magazine
Fort Ticonderoga Trip
CHATHAM EDUCATION FOUNDATION GRANT GUIDELINES
WHO CAN APPLY
Applications will be accepted from students, teachers and administrators, visiting artists, scholars and members of the community.
WHEN TO APPLY
The application form is available year-round. Grant applications are read between September 20 and October 20 annually at which time the applications for the upcoming school year are closed.
The Chatham Education Foundation (CEF) provides funds to supplement and enrich the educational experience of students and teachers. CEF hopes to be a catalyst for innovative thinking and thoughtful experimentation that generates excitement about learning.
Established in 2002, CEF is supported by two endowed funds: the Arts and Humanities Fund and the Alexander M. White Fund. Through its larger Arts and Humanities Fund, CEF supports a wide variety of projects in the arts and humanities. The second endowed fund provides funding for projects across all disciplines.
Grants from the Chatham Education Foundation will fund projects for which funds are not available in the Chatham Central School District. Possible projects include, but are not limited to: independent study; extracurricular activities; individual creative projects; visiting speakers; artists-in-residence; new and innovative technology that is project-related; professional development for teachers; and program costs for field trips (traditionally the school district covers the cost for the use of school buses for transportation).
All projects are reviewed on a case-by-case basis. New projects are strongly encouraged and successful projects are encouraged to re-apply for funding.
THE CEF GOVERNING BOARD
The Chatham Education Foundation Governing Board, comprised of community members, parents, teachers, students, Superintendent and a member of the district’s Board of Education and a representative of the Chatham Alumni Association. Henry Binzer is CEF Treasurer and our alumni representative.
It’s 2020 and time to plan reunions
But first …. THE 50TH REUNION OF THE CLASS OF 1969
Our thanks go out to the Class of 1969!
Last spring it was reported that the CCHS Class of 1969 was planning their reunion for July 27th at Jackson’s Old Chatham House to celebrate 50 years since graduating from Chatham High School. The alumni decided that any funds remaining at the end of the event would be donated to the Chatham Alumni Association.
The thought was nice, but the donation was even better. In December 2019 the Alumni Association received a check for One Thousand Three Hundred Sixty-five Dollars and Forty-one cents ($1,365.41). Thank you to the Class of 1969. What a wonderful thing to do.
And congratulations to the planning committee for a very successful event: Elizabeth Gerrick MacFarlane, Jim Dunavin, Fred Capazzo, Steve Legere, Van Calhoun, Linda Reynolds Laurange, and Gail Behrens Day.
But wait …. There’s more ….
Our thanks also go out to graduates of the class of 1957!
Mary O’Connor sent the Alumni Association a check for One Hundred Sixty Dollars ($160) for two classmates who just turned 80.
Does that mean the Binzers should send a check for $170 for turning 85?
This could be the start of a trend.
Celebrate your big milestones with a donation to the Chatham Alumni Association.
Don’t wish to plan a big reunion, then join the Annual Alumni Party
Date: Sunday, August 9, 2020
Time: 12:00 – 5:00
Place: POLISH AMERICAN CITIZEN’S CLUB
Address: 110 Commerce Avenue, Albany, NY 12206
The 2020 gathering will be the fourth year for the Annual Chatham Alumni Party. Bob Goo and Jeanne Westover are the organizers once again.
This is a party for ALL Chatham Central School class years. The $20 fee per person includes food, drink and music. We share the venue with great veterans but we have a separate picnic area for us to relax, visit and catch up with each other.
The details will be repeated again in the next newsletter. If you want more information now, contact Jeanne Westover at 518-755-0750.
Email your reunion photos to: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Please Include names, date, occasion and location of the event
Changes are coming to our hometown to two of the landmarks
Major Grant to Shaker Museum and Library in Chatham
You may remember the building as the Abrams and Boright Car Dealership at the upper end of Main Street. The building has been vacant for years. Now it will be given a new life and so will the Village of Chatham.
The building has been given a major award for a new Shaker Museum and Library for Columbia County. The Shaker Museum and Library will receive $1,569,000 from Empire State Development to renovate the large 19th Century masonry building in downtown Chatham into a state-of-the-art museum facility to house its library and object collection. It will provide flexible space for exhibitions, community programming and educational activities.
The Tracy Memorial is getting repairs and improved functionality
The Friends of the Tracy Memorial is raising funds for building repairs. They are looking for volunteers to get involved to help preserve this historic treasure
Friends of the Tracy is a non-profit 501(c)3 organization established to promote the heritage of the Village of Chatham. Their mission is to work to enhance and preserve the architectural, historical and cultural heritage of the Village of Chatham for future generations.
With the help of the public, Friends of the Tracy hope to contribute towards the repair of specific features of the Tracy Memorial and update its functionality and accessibility. Everyone is welcome to help with grant work, fundraising, event planning, communications, and much, much more.
CHATHAM ALUMNI CONNECTIONS Spring-Summer 2019 Newsletter
WHY WE STAY INVOLVED IN THE CHATHAM ALUMNI ASSOCIATION
The Chatham Alumni Association began several years ago with a desire to provide students with “the extras” that weren’t part of the normal school budget. Soon after, we were approached by people from the Chatham Education Foundation (CEF) to join forces with them to accomplish similar goals. After careful thought and some negotiations, it was agreed that our association would have a seat at the table to oversee how Foundation funds were allocated.
The Alumni Association remains an independent organization. Each year the association donates $500 to the CEF and participates in the decisions of how the available funds are allocated. Henry Binzer, the Alumni Association treasurer was named to the Foundation board and became its treasurer.
As you will learn by reading our newsletters, the Alumni Association does a great deal more to support and enrich activities at all levels of CCSD. Our governing board is a small group of dedicated alumni and we have about 275 Association members. We stay involved because we see the benefits to the students of the variety of things we sponsor or support. We could use more people to help us. If you love Chatham as much as we do…. get involved and come to our board meetings, enjoy our company and help us keep going.
CHATHAM ALUMNI ASSOCIATION SCHOOL SPIRIT AWARDS FOR 2019
The School Spirit Award signifies that selected students demonstrated personal qualities that made the school a great place for kids to be educated.
As a strong student and an athlete, Garner displays enthusiasm for learning and for Chatham High School every day. As a five-sport athlete (soccer, volleyball, baseball, football and tennis), Garner brings his can-do attitude to every competition. As an athlete, he is a reliable team member, a trait which is also obvious in the classroom. Garner seeks to contribute to the school in positive ways, including recently serving as a tour guide for incoming 9th graders. He plans to attend Quinnipiac University in the Fall to study Finance.
Brooke-lyn is known for her athleticism. She is a leader on the soccer and softball fields, as well as the basketball court. Her positive attitude is contagious to her teammates. Through her work ethic, she has earned a place of leadership among her peers. She plans to attend Columbia County Community College in the Fall to study education.
Beyond the classroom, Patrick is a member of the soccer, volleyball and baseball teams. As an athlete and a student, he has earned the respect of his peers through his sense of humor, respect, and kindness toward others. He plans to attend SUNY Cortland in the Fall to study education.
Jenna is a very active member of our school and community. She has taken a leading role working with her class through student government. She has a positive attitude and takes every opportunity to make our school a better place. Beyond the classroom, Jenna is a talented athlete, and demonstrates the same positive traits and leadership on the field that she does in the classroom and school. She plans to attend St. John Fisher College in the Fall to study nursing.
REUNIONS AND SUMMER GATHERINGS
CLASS OF 1969 50TH REUNION SCHEDULED FOR JULY 27TH
A group of 1969 Alumni met in early May to plan for their 50th high school reunion. They have arranged for a gathering at Jackson’s Old Chatham House on July 27th from 5:30 to 8:30 pm. The cost will be $45 per person with a cash bar. They have been gathering addresses and emails and are planning to send out invitations very soon.
Responses and payment should be sent to: Jim Dunavin at 119 Albany Turnpike, Old Chatham, NY 12136. Funds remaining at the end of the event will be donated to the Chatham Central Alumni Association, P.O. Box 208, Chatham, N.Y. 12037. (Henry Binzer, Treasurer).
The Reunion Committee includes: Elizabeth Gerrick Macfarlane, Jim Dunavin, Fred Cappozzo, Steve Legere, Van Calhoun, Linda Reynolds Laurange and Gail Behrens Day.
ANNUAL ALUMNI PARTY AUGUST 11TH
We are gathering again August 11th, Sunday noon to 5 p.m. at the POLISH AMERICAN CITIZENS CLUB, 110 Commerce Avenue, Albany. Rain or shine. We’ve had a great time for the last two years so let’s continue this opportunity. Text Bob Goo at 518-221-7635 or Jeanne Westover at 518-755-0751 to give us a head count.. Thanks Bob for organizing the event again.
This is a party for All Chatham Central School District class years. The $20.00 entry fee per person includes food, drink and music. We share the venue with great veterans but we have a separate picnic area for all of us to relax, visit and catch up.
THE CHATHAM EDUCATION FOUNDATION ENHANCES THE LIVES OF THE STUDENTS OF CCSD
A Sampling of the 2019 Chatham Education Foundation Projects
Children’s Summer Garden
Columbia County Master Class
Cornell Lab of Ornithology Feeder Watch at CHS
Robinson’s Wildlife Lecture
Saving a Species Wolf Project
Spanish IV & V Trip to Repertoirio Espanol Theatre in NYC
Vivarium Part 2
Peloris Art and Literary Magazine
Fiction of Wharton & James
Art in the Library; An afterschool Program
Homespun Dance Residency
Longhouse Phase II
My Side of the Mountain
AN AMERICAN REVOLUTION
Author Visit: Gordon Korman
Chatham After School Film Club
The Alumni Association donates $500 annually to the Foundation to support the varied enriching projects.
AND THE CALL WENT OUT…
And the call went out to every Columbia village and town…those loyal to King George !!! were raiding villages in New York, notable among them were the raids on Cherry Valley and German Flatts. Thus, on a rain-soaked morning in May 2019—harkening back 260 years to 1759, the local militia of Chatham supplemented by a few continentals mustered for drill on the playing field next to the local Middle School. Alas, the fields were sodden, with the rain continuing so, the commander Colonel Will Richard decided to muster and drill inside the building.
These were “green troops” they are in seventh grade and this was their first drill. Therefore, more seasoned veteran militia gave them instruction in why they were called to be prepared to defend their village, how the muskets (non-firing replicas) they were carrying worked and finally they were drilled in military formation, marching, charging and the like.
Meanwhile, at another venue—Mr. Richard’s classroom—a woman of the period, dressed in period clothing gave instruction to the recruits in the dress, customs and hardships faced by the folks of the 18th century. She spoke especially to the female recruits when she pointed out that really, she was the property of her husband. She would not inherit their farm should her husband die before her; she could not choose her career path and certainly could not serve in the army.
Then the weather began to clear so it was time to go outside on the drill field for instruction in the firing of the canon. Neighbors were probably startled to hear the loud boom of the cannon as it was fired twice. Then it was time to muster for mess. that means lunch for you civilians.
After the recruits enjoyed their lunchtime chow, it was time to fall in for parade to the Elementary School where the fifth grade awaited and where the principal Mrs. Reno stood ready to review the troops.
And so, they fell into line of march–double file—and stepped off with two student drummers and four flutists the thirteen stars the stripes flying at the head of the columns. Down the hill and up the hill to the MED keeping in step to the march-time music (somewhat in step) halting at the entrance to the school greeted by the fifth grade and Mrs. Reno. And so, to end the day.
As time goes by, they will remember. Not the details, but day the classroom was fun, filled with uniforms and tricorn hats and fake muskets and cannon shot and about the founding of their country.
(Henry Binzer was a witness to this year’s American Revolution)
Palmer Jerome Westover, 95, passed away on July 2, 2019.
Through the years Palmer had his own plumbing and heating business, worked for GLF, drove a school bus for CCSD, worked at Chatham Bowl maintaining the machines, and retired from Sonoco, formerly Crellin Plastics, in 1984.
For Palmer a stranger was just someone he hadn’t visited with yet. He always had a story to tell about plowing, haying, hitching horses, milking cows, tractor pulls, one-room school houses, automobiles he once owned starting with the 1930s, tales of Austerlitz and Spencertown, working in Hartford, CT during WW II, the 1939 World’s Fair, camping in the Adirondacks and Eastern Canada. There were also the many places he lived including Maine, Colorado, and Albuquerque where he shared his tales. A life well-lived. A life well-loved.
Our condolences to the Westover Family. He was an interesting person. Bet he was a lot of fun!
MOVING UP DAY AT CMS
Exciting … and We Helped
The Alumni Association donated $600 for Moving Up Day at the Middle School. The gift was used to purchase $25.00 checks for 8th grade students that have demonstrated strength in academic, character, and leadership traits.
Each year the 8th grade team issues 24 of these awards that are presented to the students at the moving up ceremony. Principal, Mike Burns, expressed his appreciation to the alumni for their continued support.
Go to the District website and see all the pictures of new high school students enjoying themselves.
MEET ONE OF OUR NEWEST MEMBERS
Zoe Dyer, Class of 2018, is now a member of the Alumni Association. She will receive copies of our newsletters. She will also have the satisfaction of knowing she is giving back to the school that gave her an education. Are your friends members? It’s a great way to stay in touch.
THE CHATHAM VILLAGE HISTORICAL SOCIETY SESQUICENTENNIAL YEAR PLANS
The village historical society has been serving the community for over 25 continuous years.
In 2018, numerous community meetings were held to determine the interest in participation for the Village of Chatham 150th anniversary of incorporation. The Chatham Village Historical Society volunteers will be involved in several activities.
First, a sesquicentennial history book that looks to Chatham’s past while standing in the present was created and designed as a walking tour book by the historical society president and Gail Blass Wolczanski, author of the Arcadia Publication, Around the Village of Chatham, It is in full color and provides captions and stories relating to village history and is available at the Bank of Greene County, Video Visions, and the Chatham Book Store. This book is a must-have for anyone who grew up in Chatham.
Second, the historical society is organizing the community sesquicentennial celebration section of the July 27th parade. It is to follow the firemen’s county parade that culminates on the fairgrounds. All chartered historical societies and established organizations (eg. Rotary, American Legion, Boy or Girl Scouts, VFW, Columbia County Historical Society, the City of Hudson) are encouraged to join us and be creative with your entry.
A third activity is the opportunity to take a tour of the village with guides who will be using the sesquicentennial book as a reference. There will be a variety of tours with the longest walk around two hours in length. Civil War enthusiasts will want to follow the reenactor at the Chatham Rural Cemetery as he honors the Chatham Civil War veterans with their stories. Watch for time postings, as the Friday, July 26th date gets closer.
The Summerfest Saturday, July 20th, has grown in size and length of time for the 2019 celebratory year. Do not miss the opportunity that day to commemorate the date with a cancellation stamp that has been approved by the U.S. Postal Service and is officially provided by the village postmaster. On that day you can have a post card or envelope with the recently released Ellsworth Kelly stamps, cancelled with the special Sesquicentennial cancellation stamp!
The Chatham Village Historical Society is working to bring Cady Hall Opera House alive again with opera singer Nellie Rustick. Not only is the 19th century hall famous for its music and films but a number of entertaining activities that drew the community together. Nellie plans to vary her music to include popular songs from the 19th century as well as opera. It will be worth the Monday, July 21st visit to Cady Hall just knowing that nationally known artist, Ellsworth Kelly, once used the space as a studio.
Seventh graders, guided by their librarians and Chatham historian, Gail Wolczanski, produced village history projects that will be on display. Railroad artifacts from the historical society’s collection are also going to be viewable to the public.
And don’t forget to stop by the Pulver farmhouse Sunday, July 21, for a peak into our mini-museum that just cannot wait to expand into the farmhouse. And again, stop by our display at the fairgrounds after the parade on July 27th.
Chatham Village historical society trustees look forward to making our history an interesting and enjoyable learning experience that week of July 20 – 27, 2019, as always.
We Are Making A Difference
The Alumni Scholarship Fund updated to $1,500 every September .for discretionary use
The Annual Concert “Music on the Lawn” proceeds of $300 given to the music department
8th Grade Moving Up Day $600
School Spirit Awards $400
Alumni donation to the Chatham Foundation is $500 annually.
Financial support for the Weekend Back Pack Program $360
Summer Theatre Program $200
Village of Chatham $200
Newsletters Mailed to Our Members: Priceless
Is It Time to Join or Pay Your dues?
Dues for 2019-2020 due in July but are accepted any time during the year. Your additional contributions are also welcome at any time and enable your alumni association to provide even more assistance to the students in the Chatham schools.
Please fill out the form below and send it with your check:
YES, I WANT TO JOIN OR RENEW MY MEMBERSHIP IN THE CHATHAM CENTRAL ALUMNI ASSOCIATION AND I ENCLOSE MY ANNUAL $10.00 DUES.
Maiden Name _______________ Yr. of Graduation ___
Telephone: (Home) or (Cell) ___________‑___________
Email Address: _____________________________________
Dues: __________ Contribution: __________
Please mail this form to: Chatham Central Alumni Association,
P.O. Box 208, Chatham, NY 12037.
CHATHAM ALUMNI CONNECTIONS Fall-Winter 2018-2019 Newsletter
Chatham Education Foundation
For Special School Programs
The Alumni Association plays an active role in the allocation of money to support the special projects funded by the CEF. The association donates $500 annually to the fund. Interest earned during the year becomes available to be awarded for special projects that would not be included in the school budget but were considered of educational value. We are represented on the Board of Directors by Henry Binzer, treasurer.
Each year the projects cover a wide range of creative ideas that provide experiences that would not otherwise be provided. For 2018 – 2019, a total of 17 projects were funded in amounts that ranged from $200 to $2,500.
Some of the projects funded for this school year included:
An American Revolution
Art in the Library – An After School Program
Author Visit – Gordon Koman, creator of numerous series such as The Mastermind Series and The Swindle Series
Children’s Summer Garden
Saving a Species – Wolf Project
My Side of the Mountain
Homespun Dance Residency
Longhouse Phase II
REUNIONS ARE LOTS OF FUN!
WHO WILL PLAN YOUR NEXT BIG EVENT?
IT’S TIME TO GET STARTED FOR 1999, 1994 1979, AND 1969.
PLANNING A REUNION CAN BE REALLY BIG
OR JUST FUN AND SIMPLE AND INEXPENSIVE
Check out how the Class of 1978 did a pot luck, no fuss event and had a great time in Spencertown.
The Class of 1972 met in 2017 at the Polish American Citizens Club for $20 each and tagged along with the Vietnam Era Veterans and had so much fun they did it again in 2018.
On the other side of easy no-frills reunion was the event planned by the Class of 1952 for their 60th reunion in 2012! My Class! We planned months in advance to contact every one of our original 65 classmates we could find. Thanks greatly to Betty Nutting Powell, keeper of info about our classmates. We then had everyone complete an information sheet updating interesting facts about their lives. We combined their responses with information we had from 2010 and our yearbook including the photos. The result was “a yearbook” with information about all of our class given to all who attended and mailed to those who could not join us.
Yes it was a lot of work but well worth the effort. We are all in our mid-eighties now. Our revised yearbook in a real treasure! Some of our classmates are no longer living but their lives are still fond memories to us through the efforts of our 60th reunion.
NOTE: This special edition is still resident in my computer! If you or a family member or friend would like a copy I can email it to you or if that is a hardship for you, I can make a paper copy and mail it to you.
Email: email@example.com or
Patricia McKern Binzer
100 White Pine Drive, Apt. 124,
Albany, NY 12203.
CHATHAM ALUMNI TEE SHIRTS FOR SALE
Modeled by Hank Binzer (’52 )
Order yours now from Jeanne Westover
$25 – includes postage
Contact Jeanne Westover
Alumni Association President
IMPACT OF THE ALUMNI ASSOCIATION
A few years ago the Association was asked if it could provide some funding to supplement funds for a field trip. Another request came in for some assistance for a child in need. Each request was for a nominal amount of money but made a big difference in the life of a child. After some discussion with the administration regarding how we could be most helpful, the Association decided to create an on-going scholarship fund that could be used by the faculty for special purposes to anonymously help students. Each September the fund is brought up to $1,500 with money raised through dues and additional donations to the Association. So far this year, we have been able to provide a saxophone rental for a very talented student.
ALUMNI ASSOCIATION DOES NOT USE FACEBOOK
We have been made aware that some commercial companies are trying to make it look like our alumni association uses Facebook. NOT SO. We use the school district website and our mailed newsletter to keep our members informed. Some individuals have posted some photos, etc. and mentioned the alumni. That’s fine, but we do not post anything on behalf of the Alumni Association.
Performed as this year’s school production
The Two Sides of Prospero (Lauren Wriggly and Kenneth Fay) conjure up a shipwreck
“Shakespeare & Company’s Fall Festival has been a tradition in the Berkshires Ten Schools mounting full productions of Shakespeare. The festival includes schools across Berkshire county, Springfield and Columbia County. Each year the festival celebrates the commitment and collaboration of over 500 students, their parents and teachers, the school liaisons and custodians, the businesses and funders that join together to make this outrageous adventure possible….”
The audience, comprised of students, parents, relatives of all ages and even alumni who graduated 60+ years ago, were invited to appreciate the many achievements that have happened behind the scenes including production crews, stage managers, researchers and so many others who worked tirelessly to provide this opportunity for the Chatham students. The list of supporters and helpers was long and showed the enormous amount of teamwork it took to bring about this professional production. The Full Company List included 44 students. What an accomplishment!
Unlike many theatrical production programs, everyone who participated was listed in alphabetical order in the program; there were no stars; all participants were equally important. At the end, the bows were taken as a group; applause was given to everyone. Each student felt proud about his or her contribution. What an achievement! We gave the standing ovation to everyone, adults and students, who took part.
Side note: A capital district high school said they put on Romeo and Juliet last year and it was a disaster. They found it too hard. The students had difficulty with the language and the production. I think Chatham should invite some of the neighboring non-participating schools to come to see how well our kids handle this difficult material so well!
CHATHAM HIGH SCHOOL CLASS OF 1978 HELD 40TH REUNION
Gennifer Rommel Westover and Jeff Westover reported on the Class of 1978 40th reunion at the Spencertown Firehouse held on Sunday September 2, 2018. They offered special thanks to the Spencertown Fire Department commenting it was a perfect venue.
Luke Nelson later posted, “It was a blast.”
Thanks to the amazing organizers: Lynne Verenazi Michaels, Lori Wadsworth Wood, Cindy Skinner Crellin, Donna Whiteman Starron, Sue Kittle Madsen, Sue Silvernale, and help from Joan Krohn, Mark Frederick, Dan Crellin, Matt Verenazi, Alan Silvernail and others. (Apologies for any omissions.)
The committee provided the flowers, beverages and food. Attendees brought assorted appetizers. So there was plenty of good food.
Classmates made their way in from far flung locations: California and Missouri, just to mention a couple. We got to see people we haven’t seen in 40 years. It’s amazing how none of us had aged in the least. Right! Many classmates were unable to attend due to prior commitments or family obligations. We’d like them to know they were missed.
The good news, if you are on FaceBook, check out the group. “CHS Class of 1978: 40 Year Reunion.” Lori Wood posted a lot of good pictures and you will get to read the comments and see all the smiles for yourselves.
Hope to see everyone next time around.
– Gennifer Rommel Westover and Jeff Westover
THE SPRING 2018 EDITION OF THE CHATHAM ALUMNI CONNECTIONS (Edited for the online edition)
WHAT HAS THE ALUMNI ASSOCIATION ACCOMPLISHED THIS YEAR?
As you read through the short articles that follow, you can be proud that you are a member of the Chatham Alumni Association.
For such a small group, we really accomplish a great deal. We have about 275 dues-paying alumni. Think what we could do if there were more. You can send your fellow alumni to the district website to find a membership form. Tell them that the benefits include the satisfaction that comes from knowing they helped improve the lives of the Chatham students.
To keep things running, we have about nine hardy souls who attend the meetings a few times a year and provide ideas to promote the association for the good of the student body. They show up when needed to help with our public events.
We would sure like more folks to join us. There’s no “heavy lifting”, just add camaraderie and support to the already loyal team.
Email Joan Sherman Simard, Association Secretary, if you think you want to be part of the leadership group. We even have beautiful tee shirts for sale to add to the team spirit. (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Class of 1972 to meet again on August 12th, 2018
12:00 p.m. – 5:00 p.m.
at the Polish American Citizens Club (PACC)
ALL ARE WELCOME!
Last year’s reunion was so much fun that folks have decided to meet again on August 12, 2018 to continue the friendships renewed in 2017. This event is sponsored by the Vietnam Era Veterans (China Beach Event).
The entry fee is $20.00 per person and benefits veterans. The fee includes food, drink and music. We share the venue with these great veterans but have a separate area for all of us to visit and catch up.
We had a fabulous time last August. Pass this invitation on to people we haven’t seen in years. Everyone is welcome so brings friends from other classes to join us.
Text Bob Goo (518-221-7635) or Jeanne Westover (518-755-0751) with your intentions to allow us to get an estimated head count. We must thank Bob for organizing this for us again.
I hope to see everyone there and those that couldn’t come last year. Everyone is welcome
Four Graduating Seniors selected for School Spirit Awards by the Chatham Alumni Association
For several years the Chatham Alumni Association has honored four seniors with a School Spirit Award. The award signifies that the students selected demonstrated the human qualities that make our school a great place for kids to be educated. Our thanks to the high school guidance department for assisting in the selection and description of this year’s honorees. Each of the students was presented with a letter of congratulations, a framed certificate and a check for One Hundred Dollars.
Haleigh McKay can be seen at a variety of school events. She is a three season athlete, participating as a valuable member of the volleyball, basketball and softball teams, as well as the cheerleading squad. She is also a kind and warm person who is happy to cheer others on. I have noticed that she takes younger students under her wing, and supports them in the school and athletic environment.
Kayla Ruff has grown into a tremendously generous leader in our school. She has been actively involved in student government, and was instrumental in bringing new microwaves, coffee makers, and a mini-fridge to the student cafeteria, for the purpose of collecting unwanted food that others are welcome to take. Recently, she was a key coordinator for our high school faculty appreciation day. She helped to provide faculty with breakfast and lunch, and offered her thanks on behalf of the student body.
Tom Cozzolino has what it takes to succeed. He is independent, goal-oriented, and a great communicator. He knows what needs to be done, and is willing and able to take the necessary steps to complete a task. He is the kind of person CHS strives to send out into the world, and he will undoubtedly represent Chatham well.
Aidan Jackson is a friendly face to everyone. He demonstrates Panther Pride every day, through the respect and warmth he displays toward others. Aidan was selected for this award based on his good character, strong work ethic and participation in extracurricular activities. This year, he impressively rose to the top of our most challenging class, Advanced Placement Calculus, where he has consistently worked hard to master difficult material.
Impact of the Alumni Association Scholarship Fund
A few years ago the Association was asked if it could provide some funding to supplement funds for a field trip. Another request came in for some assistance for a child in need. Each request was for a nominal amount of money but made a big difference in the life of a child. After some discussion with the administration regarding how we could be most helpful, the Association decided to create an on-going scholarship fund that could be used by the faculty for special purposes to anonymously help students. Each September the fund is brought up to $1,500 with money raised through dues and additional donations to the Association.
A letter of gratitude from Lucas Christensen, Administrator of Educational Services for the district.
“I am writing to express our sincere thanks and gratitude for you extremely generous support of our students. This year we were able to help 37 individual students through the use of your financial gifts. You helped us provide a variety of field trips, educational opportunities, and rites of passage to youngsters who would not otherwise have been able to participate due to financial constraints. These trips, proms, awards, and experiences help to make up a well-rounded and experience-rich school year for all of our Chatham kids. I know that I speak for the entire administrative team when I say that we would not do this without you. Thank you so much.
Moving Up Day at the Middle School
The Alumni Association donates $600 each year for Moving Up Day at the Middle School. Mike Burns, Principal, expressed his appreciation to the alumni for their continued support. This year the gift was used to purchase $25.00 checks for 8th grade students that have demonstrated strength in academic, character, and leadership traits. Each year the 8th grade team issues 24 of these awards that are presented to the students at the moving up ceremony.
A thank you from one of the recipients:
“I was fortunate to be selected for the 8th grade Girls Faculty Award. Thank you for donating the money for my award.
At CMS I am an NCBI member, key communicator, and NJHS member. I also take accelerated classes and have been on the high honor roll 6th grade through 8th grade, I will continue to work hard at CHS.
Thank you again!
Anna Carroll, Class of 2022
Village of Chatham will be celebrating 150 years in 2019 – We plan to join the celebration
Chatham Alumni Connections will be putting together a special edition next spring to join the Chatham School District in the celebration of the history of the Village of Chatham.
We are looking for some interesting stories about some of our families who have many generations of Chatham graduates. Are there some teachers out there who would like to share their stories from a different era.
Are there athletes who starred on some of the teams that excelled back in the day who would like to retell some of their exciting moments.
How about choir members or band members who want to share some memorable concerts. (Remember the concerts we used to have on Thanksgiving with alumni?)
Don’t forget to reminisce about all the preparations for Arbor Day or Proms that were decorated and held in the gym.
What were some of the great after school activities or hangouts?
We can arrange for interviews and amateur photos to help you develop your good ideas. Help us make this special issue really special!
Send your ideas to Patricia Binzer (Class of ’52), Chatham Alumni Connections newsletter editor. email@example.com
The BackPack Program Feeds Hungry Kids
The Alumni Association heard about the BackPack Program this spring and decided to contribute $300 to this program for Chatham families for the 2018-2019 school year.
The BackPack Program, sponsored by the Regional Food Bank of Northeastern New York, is designed to meet the needs of hungry children at times when other resources are not available, especially on the weekends. The program provides backpacks filled with food that the child-friendly shelf-stable, and easily consumed. Bags are packed each week by school staff and discreetly distributed to participating children every Friday afternoon. The cost to sponsor a child for a full school year is estimated at $167.00.
The BackPack Program started in 2007 with one partner school. Since then, the program has expanded to 25 schools throughout 8 counties, serving over 525 children each week. Each bag includes: 2 breakfast items, 3 entrees, a loaf of bread, 2 shelf-stable milks, 2 juice boxes, fresh fruits, fresh vegetables, 2 snacks (cookies, popcorn, pudding, etc.)
The MED Elementary School and the Middle School participated in the BackPack Program in 2017-2018 school year in collaboration with the Regional Food Bank of NENY. The program is now in its third year in Chatham. In 2016-17 30 backpacks to 27 families at MED and 14 families at the middle school were sent home each week. In 2017-2018 at MED they sent 30 backs to 25 families (1 family got 3 backpacks for 6 children; 3 families got 2 backpacks. In 2017-2018 the middle school had an increase from 10 to 18 bags going home each week.
The food was provided by the Regional Food Bank in conjunction with the Ghent Food Pantry. (Ghent helps defray the cost of the program.) The program starts in early October and runs through the second week in June. The food arrived on Thursday morning. Staff stayed after school to pack the backpacks and added any supplemental food that staff brought in (fresh fruit and vegetables, milk cards, etc.) The food was sent home at the end of the day on Friday and the backpacks were returned early in the next week by the students.
Kevin Botsford (teacher) is currently in charge of the BackPack Program for MED. Originally the program was initiated by Michael Stead (teacher). Diane Hammon (administrative assistant) and Jackie Hoffman (School Counselor) will be coordinating it in the middle school. Students are recommended by staff, the school nurse, or at a parent request.
A letter goes home to all recommended students letting parents know about the program and, that unless we hear from them, their child will be enrolled. Students enrolled in the backpack program are kept confidential, just staff members know.