Skip to Main Content
Skidmore College

Community service key in Skidmore Pre-college Program

Republished with permission from The Saratogian
Originally published Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Story and Photos by Marcella Jewell

SARATOGA SPRINGS — Fifteen high school students enrolled in Skidmore's Pre-College Program got up early Saturday morning to get their hands a bit messy to help the Saratoga County Economic Opportunity Council prepare dough for a fried dough fundraiser.

The group gathered at the Presbyterian New England Congregational Church, where EOC runs its soup kitchen, to stretch dough for the EOC's fried dough stand at the Saratoga Race Course open house that took place Sunday.

The proceeds from the fried dough sales help fund the many programs run by the EOC, including the soup kitchen and the Latino Community Advocacy program.

This year, Skidmore College's summer Pre-College Program includes 65 students living in the dorms and 12 commuter students. The intensive five-week program offers high school students the opportunity to engage in college-level study in the liberal and studio arts with Skidmore faculty. It also includes a community service project.

"We started the community service project last year since we felt it was important to give the students an opportunity to feel a part of the Saratoga community, in addition to the Skidmore community," said Michelle Paquette, who is directing the Pre-College Program for a third year.

The students lined three long tables and stretched globes of dough into small circles as they chatted with each other. Despite their diverse backgrounds and experiences, the students share a common interest in exploring the academic and social aspects of college life — on and off campus.

"We knew there were so many organizations that could benefit from the students' positive energy," Paquette said.

The Pre-College Program sponsors optional Saturday events for the students, such as trips to Great Escape and Lake George. But the students seem to respond most enthusiastically about the opportunity to volunteer.

"Knowing that the EOC usually spends hours stretching the dough, and the fact that we could shorten the time for them made it worth it," said Martiza Ortega, a high school senior from Manhattan. "It was a fun bonding experience."

Choudhury Islam, 17, from Queens signed up to improve his culinary skills and to try something new.

"All these years and I've never touched dough," Islam said.

"It was their choice to get up early this Saturday and participate," Paquette said, adding that she was thrilled with the positive spirit the students brought to the morning's chore.