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Tue., Sep. 1
Serving the communities of Massena and Potsdam, New York
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Clarkson Skiers Help Norwood Skaters


NORWOOD - Grinds, aerial tricks and the occasional wipeout were the order of the afternoon Friday at Norwood-Norfolk School.
But the tricks weren't just to idle away a sunny winter day; they were to help some local youths raise some money for their dream of getting a better-equipped skate park at the village beach.
"We haven't really put anything together. We're just designing stuff right now," seventh-grader Nicholas S. Barney said. "It's something to do because the cops always yell at us for skating in the road."
The skate park now is little more than some homemade ramps of plywood.
"It's made with plywood, it's made with love, but it's not made to last," district Superintendent Elizabeth A. Kirnie said.
But with the help of a Clarkson graduate student, that all may change someday.
Steven J. Kennedy, a mechanical engineering student, began working with a group from Norwood-Norfolk over the summer, teaching the youths how to design and engineer a skate park to their wishes. He got involved with them through the National Science Foundation's K-12 program.
The community came together to form the Youth Skate Alliance to raise awareness and apply for grants.
Now the park is designed, but the group has to come up with $20,000 to buy the equipment.
"A lot of the grants require previous funds. This was one of the ways to raise money," said Mr. Kennedy, who will graduate in May. "It would be fun for the kids and it really shows initiative on the kids' part."
With the help of some equipment and a driver from the village's Department of Public Works, Mr. Kennedy, his roommate and some friends from the Clarkson University ski club worked for hours pushing snow around to make ramps and jumps. They molded it further with shovels and water to pack down the snow and then did some more finesse work in the morning before the skiers and snowboarders came out to show their stuff on the old pipes and barrel that were stuck in the snow.
More than 20 students from both Clarkson and Norwood-Norfolk came out with their boards and skis, and even more came to watch and munch on the pizza, doughnuts and hot chocolate the school provided to help with the fundraiser.
The Clarkson ski club also brought posters and stickers to give away, as well as DVDs to give to the people who did the coolest tricks.
"This was the brainchild of the Clarkson ski club," Mrs. Kirnie said. "They made the offer to make this an annual thing as a fundraiser."

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