Seventy Two Years in Troy Lions Club
by Jane Chouiniere
Ever since August 1925, The Troy Lions Club has been a leader among its peers. We received our charter from the International Association of Lions in June of 1926, when Dr. D.A. Calhoun was starting his term as president.
In 1937, we sponsored and hosted the New York State Lions Convention. Two years later we sponsored the Waterford Lions Club. In 1956, the Troy Lions became incorporated by the State of New York. Thirty one years later, in 1987, the group voted to accept qualified women members and has had three women presidents to date.
Our activities are geared to accomplishing the goal of sight preservation as well as aiding the blind and community betterment. Over the years, the Troy Lions Club has sponsored awards at local high schools, collected Christmas donations by bell ringing for the Salvation Army, supplied visual testing and screening for pre-school children and senior citizens as well as eye examinations and eyeglasses to needy individuals, assisted in providing and training a guide dog, provided eight special receivers for RISE listeners, donated two Braille's as transcribes, and collected eyeglasses and hearing aids for re-use and fund raising. Each year, the Club hosts the nurses from the Troy area schools at a dinner in order to provide them with the latest information regarding pediatric ophthalmology.
Last year, the Troy Lions Club collected over 3,250 discarded eyeglasses. These glasses were reprocessed and sent to needy persons in third world countries throughout the world. The Lions are seeking more glasses since the need continues to be critical in many countries. Anyone having used eyeglasses, no matter what the condition, can drop them off at one of the following locations:
Highlights of Early Public Education in the City of Troy
by Mike Esposito
One of the first matters of concern to the people of Troy shortly after it was incorporated as a city on April 12, 1816 was to provide for the education of their children. A Board of Trustees was authorized to manage schools. The population of the new city was 4,200. It consisted of four wards in the center of what is now our downtown. At that time there was much discussion of a school system known as the Lancasterian, a pupil-teacher system of education, being introduced in this country by a British educator, Joseph Lancaster. The first State Superintendent of Schools, Gideon Hawley, did much to introduce this system of schools, which was very popular in the early Nineteenth Century. By September 16, 1816 children of the city could enroll in a Lancasterian school which was located at a site on the northeast corner of State Street and what is now Sixth Avenue (the present site of the Troy Police Department). Common schools were maintained by the payment of rates prior to the establishment of free schools. A small tuition was charged, determined according to the age and the studies of the pupils running from 25 cents to two dollars each quarter. Books and supplies were furnished by the trustees of the school. In 1817 the trustees reported to the newly organized common council that 355 pupils were enrolled. It soon became apparent that a program of advanced studies, beyond the "rule of three" (reading, writing and arithmetic) was needed.
At the time the sellers of lottery tickets were licensed by the city. The trustees successfully
appealed to the common council asking that the fees realized from the lottery licenses be used to help support a public school system. On April 3, 1828 on the second floor of the State Street school, the "Monitorial School" was opened and, in the tradition of the Lancasterian school system, the more advanced pupils helped to instruct the less advanced and the "high school department" was well on its way with 47 students.
In the summer of 1828 a two story brick building was erected on a lot near the school for an "Infant School" for children from 4 to 7 years old. Between 1832 and 1838 five district schools were established. On April 4, 1849 free schools were established in Troy. Each ward in the city was constituted a district, and the school in each was free to all pupils between the ages of five and sixteen years residing in the ward. Within a year there were 12 such ward schools educating over 2,500 students. District school taxes were established about this time.
On April 25, 1849 the Board of Education was organized. Troy High School was opened on January 2, 1854 in the old Third Ward School Building on the east side of Sixth Avenue between State Street and Broadway.
A few weeks ago I took a huge bundle of styrofoam "peanuts" to Tim Stowell at Common Ground, a lovely shop on River Street. They use them for packing breakable gifts. Recycling them in this fashion gives me something worthwhile to do with them other than having them float all around the floor of the garage every time the bag springs a leak. It also keeps them out of the landfill. And it keeps the recipient from having to purchase them from some other location. Tim wrote me the nicest note of thanks, he was thrilled to get the pesky things - and here is the story as written in his noteŕYesterday on my way to the store I encountered a woman on her way to work who thought the parking lot was a mess. So she borrowed a broom from Café Dolce and started sweeping the parking lot. A gentleman passerby also joined her example. I thanked her and she said "I saw a problem and realized there was no one to complain to so I decided to clean it up myself!" Aren't Troy and it's people great! Yes Tim, they are. This is the attitude many people see when they first move to Troy. This is what keeps people here! Thanks for writing me that good news!
My husband and I moved from Ithaca in August 1994. We found ourselves in a bit of culture shock. The two cities are very, very different. I don't want to make Troy something of the image of Ithaca, but clearly Troy has some rich history and some great possibilities as a city, which our family would like to be part of.
My main thought in dealing with developing the interested audience is to present articles that draw out the history. Telling of what Troy once was, showing the resources that are present now and casting a vision for what the city of Troy can be. There must be long-term residents of Troy who have memories of Troy's booming days and the rest undoubtedly are transplants, mostly boomers or busters looking for meaningful community, who can be taught to use and develop Troy's resources and dream of great things for the future. The newsletter is already doing this!
You've probably spent MANY, MANY hours brainstorming, focusing, talking with others. These notes are just to say I want to be part of the vision for seeing Troy through to a position of strength again. Since you have the vision and experience, tell me what your hopes and ideas for the future are in using the newsletter as a tool for building community.
You are doing a great job. We would still be sorely discouraged, not knowing the resources like the Junior Museum, Prospect Park, Community Gardens and the Community Calendar! This newsletter was an encouraging help for getting us connected to the area. I'd love to see Troy be free from discouragement, too, and to do that it seems we'd need to reach more of the residents.
Thanks for the work and the initiative you've put in to this.
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