May 2011 Issue
May 01, 2011

Locals in action

Source: NYSUT United
Caption: Members of the Pine Valley Teachers Association, led by Shawn Howard, and members of the NHL Buffalo Sabres Alumni team played a floor hockey game in a packed Pine Valley High School gym to raise scholarship money.

Pine Valley TA

When big name professional hockey heroes come to play local school teachers to raise money for student scholarships, you can expect fun and funds in equal amounts.

Both goals were met as the Pine Valley TA played the National Hockey League's Buffalo Sabres alumni team in a floor hockey showdown at the Pine Valley High School gym.

"We realized we had no chance to beat them, but the experience of playing them in hockey would be great," said PVTA president Shawn Howard.

The Cattauragus County local was raising scholarship money, and also wanted to give district families an affordable night out. "The event was a huge success as we filled our gym, raised about $1,000 for our fund and people got to meet some former Sabres," Howard said. Proceeds were split between the teachers' scholarship fund and the Sabres scholarship fund.

The Sabres beat the faculty 10-6, but, as the local paper reported, "... the real winners were the fans and the local scholarship winners."

South Glens Falls FA

When the South Glens Falls school community talks about getting in full swing, well, they mean, full swing — a dance marathon, to be exact. Supported by the South Glens Falls Faculty Association, the annual student-run event has raised $2.4 million dollars for needy community residents in its 33-year history.

The 24-hour marathon is held each winter at the high school. More than 800 students participate, led by teachers Jody Sheldon and Tom Myott. Students get sponsors, raise money and dress in themed costumes for a parade during the marathon. The event features silent and live auctions.

Laura van Guilder, president of the 297-member South Glens Falls FA, said the teachers union donates $1,000 a year for the marathon. "We're a very strong unit and we have a lot of pride in our community," van Guilder said.

Students decide how funds are spent. Past recipients include individuals and families struggling with illness, needing surgery, or dealing with a disease. Funds also go to students who want to attend a summer camp for grieving children and to families who could not afford a headstone after the death of a loved one.

"In high school, students get so caught up in the concept of the marathon and working as a group that it's a lifelong commitment," said van Guilder, noting that many alumni come back to help out at the dance.

Central Islip TA

Every local union looks for ways to connect with community needs. The generosity coordinated by some local unions spills out school doors and into the community — literally.

When the Central Islip TA conducted its annual food drive for the PRONTO food pantry that serves Brentwood, Bay Shore and Central Islip, the local collected so much food a second pantry vehicle had to be brought in to hold the overflowing donations.

"Every time I reach out, you come through for our community," Jennifer Caruso, of the local's community liaison committee, told members in the CITA newsletter. "Whether you brought in one can of food or a bagful, it means a lot to the people of