Morgan Frisch/Recorder staff
From left, Marie Curie Institute of Engineering and Communications Principal John Penman, Tahinaly Negron, and Ewan Ford present Amsterdam Free Library Director Nicole Hemsley (center) a check Wednesday from the funds they raised during the Back to School Barbecue.


Recorder News Staff

Students at Marie Curie Institute of Engineering and Communications filled the gym Wednesday morning as principal John Penman distributed money raised at the recent Back to School Barbecue.

The school hosted a barbecue fundraiser for the Amsterdam Free Library on Sept. 26 and raised  $630. The event took place before the open house and included food, a bounce house, face painting and caricature drawings. In conjunction with the Parent Teacher Organization, there was a 50/50 raffle table with all proceeds raised going toward United for Puerto Rico. The 50/50 pot was $242, and $121 was donated.

Penman spoke to the third, fourth and fifth grade students who were present for the brief assembly before presenting a check to Amsterdam Free Library Director Nicole Hemsley.

“We had a Back to School Barbecue and a lot of you guys came,” Penman said. “At this Back to School Barbecue we raised money, like we always do here.”

Penman said the school has raised money for March of Dimes and the Make- a-Wish Foundation in the past. This year, Penman said, they earned money to donate to the Amsterdam Free Library and for Puerto Rico, which is going through recovery efforts due to Hurricane Maria.

Art teacher Donna Marek and instructional coach Rosanne Lybolt organized the barbecue.

Marek said the school decided to raise money for the library after the fire that occurred this summer. In June, a blaze engulfed a hydraulic lift in front of the library, destroying the machinery and damaging the exterior of the historic building. A portion of the library remains closed for repairs.

“We wanted to give back to the immediate community and help them,” Marek said.

Penman said more than 300 parents and children came to the event and it increased the attendance of the open house “exponentially.”

“Everyone was really psyched and interested and had a great time with it,” Penman said about the event.

Hemsley said it’s events like this one and the Amsterdam Police Benevolent Association approaching them that shows how deeply the community cares about the library and tries to help every way they can. A portion of the proceeds from the Amsterdam PBA’s fourth annual Cops and Joggers 5K held in September went to the library.

“We’ve had so many offers of help, and assistance, and just good wishes, that it made it much easier to get through knowing that we had everyone’s support,” Hemsley said.

She said the donation will most likely go toward their insurance deductible and the repair of the library.

“I think giving like this shows people that they can make a difference, especially in a institute that is an anchor for our city,” Hemsley said.