LAKE GEORGE - One of the winningest and most respected coaches in the region will be honored during a cruise to be held in several weeks.
Lake George Central's Athletic Director Cathy Stanilka, known for a commitment to excellence and for inspiring athletes throughout her lengthy career, will be honored by the Lake George Scholarship Association during its annual Showboat Cruise set for May 14.
Stanilka has announced her intention to retire in June.
Scholarship Association president James Mathis noted Monday that Stanilka, teacher and coach at Lake George for 29 years, has been a valuable and popular teacher and an outstanding coach.
"She has earned the respect of school officials, fellow teachers, students, and parents," he said.
Stanilka is known through the community for not only having high expectations of her students and their performance, but inspiring them through her encouraging, charismatic style.
She also knows how to win sports matchups, having amassed a record that few have accomplished over their careers. All these characteristics have prompted awards including regional Coach of the Year no less than six times.
Her softball and volleyball teams at Lake George have won state championships - 1992 for softball and 2001 for volleyball. Her career wins in volleyball is 594 matches, and in softball it is 329 games, a number that's increasing week by week. Also, her volleyball teams have won 12 regional championships - a remarkable number.
For the past six years, Stanilka has served as Athletic Director of Lake George High, during a time when the sports programs have not only excelled but increased in scope. Last year, the school launched a new wrestling program that has already tallied notable accomplishments.
Contacted Monday, Stanilka deferred credit for her success to the students, parents, other coaches and administrators.
"I'm fortunate to have had great student athletes and strong parental and administrative support," she said. "Our students spend a lot of time on fundamentals, and many of them get sent to sports camps. Also, I've had great Junior Varsity and Modified coaches."
Characteristically modest, Stanilka credited her hundreds of coaching wins to her lengthy tenure.
"The kids work hard - they buy into the school tradition of achievement, and they like to put their stamp on each year when it's their turn. I'm blessed to have opportunity to work with such an abundance of talent."
The Scholarship Association's annual cruise has often honored individuals in the Lake George area whose contributions to students and to the Association have been noteworthy, Mathis said.
The Cruise on May 14 will be held on the Adirondac, a vessel operated by Shoreline Cruises. Boarding will begin at 5:30 p.m. and the boat will launch at 6 p.m., returning at about 8 p.m. The cruise will feature hot and cold hors d'oeuvres and desserts from local restaurants, as well as an extensive silent auction and door prizes. Entertainment will be provided by the Lake George High School Jazz Ensemble,
Tickets for the event are $15 per person when purchased in advance, and $20 at the dock. They're available at the Lake George High School, the Elementary School, and from members of the Scholarship Association. Call Jim Mathis at 668 5851 for details.
The group raises the majority of its funds from a winter phonathon and the Showboat Cruise. In 2009, about $60,000 was awarded to students, $20,000 of which was from the fundraising events. The remainder of the scholarships were funded through special appropriations and memorial awards. Information about the Association is available at: www.lgscholarship.org.