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Now in 85th year, Burnt Hills women's group still thriving

Sue Kapusta plays a shot as members of the Burnt Hills Volleyball Group look on at the Charlton School for Girls in this Nov. 1 photo.
Photographer: Peter R. Barber
Sue Kapusta plays a shot as members of the Burnt Hills Volleyball Group look on at the Charlton School for Girls in this Nov. 1 photo.
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The last time the Burnt Hills girls volleyball team lost a Suburban Council match, George Bush — that’s George Bush the elder — was president of the United States. Not a bad streak by any measure, but when it comes to longevity there’s another currently active group, the Burnt Hills Women’s Recreation Class, that was around when Calvin Coolidge was president. Begun in 1925 by Gertrude Rice, a fourth-grade teacher in the Burnt Hills-Ballston Lake ...

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tomsmith1
November 16, 2010
6:54 a.m.

[ Flag Post ]

Thanks to Bill Buell for writing this feature. It reveals to me an exceptional accomplishment of Gertrude Rice's with which I was wholly unacquainted.

I do not exaggerate in saying, however, that before I knew of this additional feather in her cap, it would be fully appropriate to erect a staute of Miss Rice outside of the Stevens Elementary School.

My fourth grade teacher, and my father's before me, rumor had it that Miss Rice kept a rubber hose in her classroom closet to whip those who misbehaved. I never saw evidence of that, but what I did see was a woman who was iron solid in her convictions about right and wrong, and tolerated nothing but the pursuit of the former.

She established that quickly, then dared to show the twinkle in her eye at the amusement she saw in her charges fumbling through the travails of learning what she believed important to teach them.

On reflection, I've no doubt that those who left her class and later on lived productive lives would be monument enough for that humble, strong-willed presence that Burnt Hills can count itself as fortunate to have had in its midst for such a long time.

- Tom Smith

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