SCHROON LAKE - Although Schroon Lake Central School is no longer "on the hill above the lakeside," the alma mater still holds memories and admiration for many graduates.
More than 500 current and former Schroon Lake Wildcats gathered July 31 on the front lawn of the school to celebrate and rededicate the 1935 school building.
Dignitaries, who spoke highly of the school, included Essex County Clerk Joseph Provoncha (class of '77), former school superintendent Michael Bonnewell, and Schroon Supervisor Cathy Moses (class of '67).
State Assemblywoman Teresa Sayward presented a plaque honoring the outstanding achievements of the institution of learning for the past 75 years.
Both school board President John Armstrong and Interim Superintendent Gerald Blair addressed the on-going $14.7 million construction project with a pledge that the school will be opening again in September and the improved educational facilities will benefit many present and future students and their teachers.
The featured speaker for the afternoon was former teacher and long-time Schroon Lake resident Lillian Richardson (class of '47). Richardson reminisced about her changed perceptions as a Schroon Lake student, as a parent, as an elementary teacher for 26 years, and as an alumna.
She emphasized that the community rededicating a very significant building.
"But it's only a building, and more important are all the people who spent their time there learning, playing sports, and growing to become good friends and good citizens," she said.
Music was provided before the ceremony by Euanna Pigford, a former music teacher. During the program, Anita Masiello led a special chorus of Michael Jackson's "Heal the World."
The contents of the cornerstone's time capsule were unveiled by Roger Friedman (class of '68) and Moses. There were pieces of memorabilia from the original dedication of the school in 1935 and from the 1985 celebration of 50 years. Added to the contents will be several items from the 75th celebration including an anniversary booklet, a tee shirt from the weekend and a poster that was part of a school project by student Ben Wisser advertising the 75th rededication ceremony.
To cheers of celebration and a rousing rendition of the alma mater, "The Crimson and the White" by Clara Potter and Jennie Braman, the program concluded with a large cake releasing 75 balloons into the afternoon sky. The festivities continued with a chicken barbecue hosted by the Schroon Lake Fish and Game Club with many hours of effort provided by the Schroon Lake Teacher Association members.
All those participating noted the words of Paul Leavitt, the town supervisor in 1935 at the dedication of the new school, who penned the following for the 50th anniversary: "in our imagination let us open those doors and watch the graduates of the past 50 years. Who says a small school cannot function well!"
The weekend and ceremony were planned by a committee consisting of Michael Bonnewell, Lisa DeZalia, Wendy Sargent, Danielle Fosella, Roger Friedman, Joan Lawless, Cathy Moses, Lillian Richardson, Rosemarie Ritson and Dan MacGregor, chairman and former superintendent.