EDUCATIONAL OPPORTUNITY: Golden Arrow to host Night at the Races

From left are Stephanie Gysel, Emily Rath, Andra Montag and Caitlyn Power. (Provided photo)

The race horses are warming up, and soon fancy hats will be streaming into Generations restaurant at the Golden Arrow Lakeside Resort for a fantastic night of mint juleps at the open bar, horse racing, hors d’oeuvres, and good friends — all to benefit the Educational Opportunity Fund for the Lake Placid Central School District.

On May 6, the Holderied family will be hosting the second annual Night at the Races fundraising event after a wildly successful first run last year. Long time owners of the Golden Arrow, the Holderieds had been looking for an opportunity to both gather the local community and support a worthy cause. They found a perfect match in the Night at the Races party.

“An event that supports the teachers is always something our family is proud to stand behind. The fact that we get to dress up and it’s open bar just adds to the joy,” Jenn Holderied said of the upcoming festivities.

Because of the generosity of the Holderieds, the Night at the Races raises money for the Educational Opportunity Fund, a non-profit that partners with school administrators and staff to identify and address economic, social, and cultural opportunity gaps facing students in the Lake Placid schools.

Almost 45% of Lake Placid students qualify for public assistance. Research shows that economic challenges can lead to lower proficiency in math and English, but that equal access to varied educational experiences both in and out of the classroom can improve those statistics. The EdOp Fund set out to do just that when it began over eight years ago.

“Over the years we have provided funding for dozens of ideas, large and small, and are now committed to an extensive program of annual experiences that we believe will make a difference in the lives of our students,” said former LPCSD Superintendent Roger Catania, board president and one of the fund’s founding members.

Those initiatives include a reading program providing free books to every student in the Lake Placid public schools.

“The Educational Opportunity Fund has been generously supporting the LPES Summer Book Shopping Day since 2016,” said Laura Coffin, a reading specialist at Lake Placid Elementary School. “This enables all students in LPES to choose between five and 14 books to take home and add to their personal library. It has become one of the most anticipated days of the school year for our students and would not be possible without the support of those who host and attend a Night at the Races as well as those who donate to the Educational Opportunity Fund.”

Proceeds from the event also fund initiatives like student visits to several regional colleges, a fifth grade cultural and educational field trip to Albany, and various student and teacher-generated projects. This school year alone, the board approved teacher grants for ideas like a music arts trip to New York City and several student grants including a student-driven expansion of the elementary school’s gardening and composting program.

With the support of the Holderied family, last year’s Night at the Races raised over $17,000 toward these initiatives.

Sibyl Quayle, a current board member, loves being a part of the EdOp mission.

“Because of the incredible generosity of our community, the EdOp Fund has been able to reach many students with new cultural opportunities and expanded literacy programs,” Quayle said. “Through our teacher grants, we have also been able to give teachers a chance to try out new and creative ideas which enhance learning for all students. It is exciting to be part of a group that is so committed to helping our Lake Placid students reach their full potential.”

A Night at the Races will take place from 5 to 8 p.m. Saturday, May 6. Tickets can be purchased through the EdOp Fund website at www.edopfund.org.

(Kate Wylie is a vice president at the Educational Opportunity Fund for the Lake Placid Central School District.)

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