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GMS sixth graders skate for troops

Sixth graders at Gilford Middle School join together at Skate Escape in Laconia to skate for soldiers. Back row from left to right: Andrea Damato, Jordan Ladouceur, Ethan Carrier, Tom Pouliot, Chuckie Azotea, and Seth Valpey. Bottom row: Catherine McLaughlin, Kassy Weston, Annabelle Nowack, Keely Peluso, JoJo Morris, and Kimmy Langlitz. Standing: Laura Scribnet and Kaitlyn Mancella. Erin Plummer. (click for larger version)
February 23, 2011
An afternoon of roller-skating benefited a group of sixth graders in socializing and relaxation, but the real beneficiaries of a recent trip to Skate Escape were troops overseas.

On Tuesday, sixth grade students from Gilford Middle School traveled to Skate Escape in Laconia for a skating trip that also collected money and supplies for troops, a project called Skating for Soldiers.

Language arts teacher Kristin Ellis said there are a few students in sixth grade who have fathers who have been deployed. The sixth grade started collecting money and taking donations of supplies for troops overseas. Ellis said many of the students go to Skate Escape on the weekends and the idea came about to have a benefit at Skate Escape.

"It would be a nice social event, have fun and support our troops," Ellis said. "The kids can see the benefit to it. They'll be able to see all that stuff coming in to get shipped out.

Skate Escape co-owner Erica Duncan once worked at Gilford Middle School.

"I wouldn't have expected anything else from these sixth grade, they are an amazing group of educators," Duncan said.

Students collected money and simple items, such as toothpaste, gum, socks, drink mix, and other items on a regularly updated wish list for soldiers. During their trip they skated, playing games, hung out with each other.

"It's fabulous, we're getting more kids exposed to an activity," said Skate Escape co-owner Janine Page. "They seem to be excited and they seem to be doing a fabulous job skating."

Annabelle Nowack and Chuckie Azotea understand the benefit first hand as their fathers are serving in the Army. Nowack's father has been in Iraq for the past year and Azotea's father is in Afghanistan.

"I think it's really good, it supports them, it lets us know they're okay," Azotea said of the benefit.

"That it's helping them a lot," Nowack said.

Other students enjoyed the afternoon while fully understanding the benefit of it.

"I think it's good because it teaches us that you can do something good for other people and have fun while you're doing it," said sixth grader Catherine McLaughlin.

Codey Lesnewski said he liked the event "because it raises money and people will do it again because it was so much fun."

Lesnewski is a regular visitor at Skate Escape and called it a good place.

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