As part of the process of restoring the Slyboro Schoolhouse, Hicks Orchard will host a spaghetti dinner, with all funds going towards the revitalization of the century-old structure.
Scheduled for May 28 at 6 p.m. at 18 Hicks Road in Slyboro, held rain-or-shine with a suggested donation of $10 upon entry, Hicks Orchard business development manager David Garvoille has reeled in an army of 12 volunteers who are assisting with the family-style served event and have already begun work on reconstructing the building.
Garvoille explained to everyone where the project stands financially and what he’s hoping to accomplish with a goal of raising $10,000. In just under a month, $2,505 has been raised through nine donors via GoFundMe.
“The goal is to raise $2,000,” Garvoille said. “It would tip us over the halfway point.”
The dinner will be able to serve roughly 112 individuals, with seating partially inside, under the two covered outdoor locations at the orchard, and some picnic tables set up in the barn. Raffle tickets will be available for purchase as well.
The meal will consist of spaghetti, meatballs, tomato sauce or meat sauce, garlic bread, salad and apple cobbler or crisp for dessert, made with apples from the orchard. Additionally, cider donuts and both apple and hard cider will be served.
“This would be a good use of our apples,” Garvoille said.
The fundraiser will be RSVP only; reservations can be made by calling the Hicks Orchard at 518-642-1788 or by emailing Garvoille at [email protected]
Gathering on April 27 to organize the event and assess the progress of the old schoolhouse were Garvoille, former student at the schoolhouse Mary Ann Scribner, former Alcoholics Anonymous attendee at the schoolhouse Henry Vladyka, and volunteers Kristen Wescoat, Elaine Daigle, Art Moyer and Michelle and Maddie Wilson.
The event will be “honoring” Scribner, as she attended the school in Slyboro from 1946 to 1950, with her aunt, Helen McHenry, serving as a school teacher.
Garvoille, who has been with Hicks Orchard since 2010, has grand ideas of what to convert the deteriorated building into.
He said he’d love to create a center for AA groups to meet once again, as well as school group tours from the surrounding area and New York City to come and learn about the history of the agricultural area.
Speaking of his connections to New York City, Garvoille said he was a teacher in Brooklyn for a few years and also worked for an after-school program for the non-for-profit company, Publicolor, for five years. Publicolor encourages students to stay in school through designed mentoring and enrichment programs for three days a week for four to six years.
Garvoille said he is excited to get his hands on a 15-passenger van to drive down to the city and retrieve Publicolor kids who will engage in enrichment activities and programs while learning about the Granville area and painting the exterior of the schoolhouse.
“This has been a dream of mine since I left the city,” Garvoille said.
When Garvoille first visited the orchard in 2006, he knew he wanted to expose the urban-lifestyle children to the rural way of life and especially how their food is made.
“Immediately, I wished I could bring the kids up here and experience this,” he said. “So, here we are, 11 years later.”
Before any painting or events commence at the old schoolhouse, some repairs need to be made to secure the structural stability of the schoolhouse.
On April 24 and April 25, Moyer, Dwayne Daigle (Elaine’s husband) and others took a look at the integrity of the flooring and roofing of the century-old building.
“It’s pretty structurally okay, but there’s still some issues with it,” Moyer said.
The first priority is to replace the support beam underneath the floorboard in the entranceway of the classroom the correct way.
Through a process of repeatedly becoming wet and dry over the years and constant pressure being applied, the support beam has dry rotted and needs to be replaced from the entranceway to the middle of the classroom.
Following the replacement of the support beam in the floor, the support beams in the roof will need to be raised slightly so the walls can be pulled back in and properly secured.
With an accumulation of heavy snow over decades, the slate roof on the schoolhouse has bowed the walls outward.
“What we need to do is build a solid base here (floor support beam), put a (roof) jack in the center and pull the walls back in,” Moyer said while in the hole created to expose the structure’s weaknesses. “Once we have the structure straight, there’s not that much (left to do).”
Moyer, along with the other volunteers donating their time on weekends to assist Garvoille, feel a strong sense of pride and community.
“It’s just part of me,” Moyer said. “Nothing fixes itself.”
Here is the link for the GoFundMe page:https://www.gofundme.com/f/help-revitalize-the-slyboro-schoolhouse?sharetype=teams&member=9830016&pc=fb_tco_campmgmtbnr_m&rcid=r01-161774225519-7bdb6b3d097340c5&utm_source=facebook&utm_medium=social&utm_campaign=p_lico%2Bbanner&fbclid=IwAR3PEpHlhpXfGGoaLJjabYM_hPDEj5nOsh8BOwZok-mjCaGJB9eQDtgoNfY