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Passing the Torch, Blazing the Trail! poster contest recognizes benefit of Title IX

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POTSDAM - This week offers several opportunities to celebrate the on-going legacy that Title IX has created since it was enacted in 1972. “Passing the Torch, Blazing the Trail!” is the theme for the 28th annual National Girls & Women In Sports Day (NGWSD) celebrated on Wed., Feb. 5 this year.

Female athletes and fitness fans are urged to celebrate by wearing a shirt, jersey or other symbol of the sports or activity you participate in or love, regardless of age. From summer T-ball to youth soccer to figure skating to ice hockey to basketball to softball to lacrosse or other sports, celebrate your participation and accomplishments of female athletes at all levels.

You can learn more about Title IX and how it works in public schools by watching the first show of the 2014 season of North Country Matters at 7:30 p.m. Tuesday on WCKN, Digital Channel 30. Potsdam’s Donna Seymour, the AAUW-NYS Public Policy vice president and a member of the St. Lawrence County Branch, sat down with St. Lawrence Lewis-BOCES administrator Carl Normandin, the Section 10 athletic coordinator, for a wide-ranging discussion of Title IX.

Title IX is best known for its impact on high school and collegiate athletics, although the original statute made no explicit mention of sports. The legislation covers all educational activities and applies to non-sport activities such as school band and clubs.

This year AAUW-St. Lawrence County collaborated with Section 10 Athletics to sponsor a Title IX Art Poster Contest. The posters, created by students in grades 7-12, will be on display at Cheel Arena starting at 5 p.m. Friday7. Judging will take place from 5:15 to 6:15 p.m. with a presentation to the winning entrants at 6:45 p.m.

Everything takes place before the 7 p.m. start of the Clarkson women’s hockey game vs. Quinnipiac University at Cheel Arena, so bring a girl to the game and view the posters beforehand. Parents, teachers, friends, family and sports lovers are encouraged to attend the poster presentation and the awards ceremony that evening. The young artists were asked to express their visions of what Title IX is and how it has impacted their lives in their school community.

Generous donations by AAUW and local colleges of contest prizes are both educational and fun, with a grand prize of a $100 savings bond or gift certificates from the area college books stores.

The upcoming Winter Olympics in Sochi will provide another opportunity to see how sports are achieving gender equity. The 230-member team is comprised of 105 women and 125 men – the largest athlete delegation for any nation in the history of the Olympic Winter Games.

The United States will be represented in all 15 disciplines across seven sports, and up to 94 of the 98 medal events that will be contested in Sochi. Thirteen athletes with close ties to the north country will be competing for the U.S.

The oldest and youngest Olympians on the 2014 U.S. Olympic Team – women’s curler Ann Swishelm, 45, and freestyle skier Maggie Voisin, 15, are separated by 30 years. Women’s bobsled push athletes Lolo Jones -– a two-time Olympic hurdler – and Lauryn Williams – a three-time Olympic sprinter – become the ninth and 10th Americans to compete at both the winter and summer editions of the Olympic Games.

Headlining the list of U.S. women’s athletes are three-time Olympic medalists Julie Chu (ice hockey) and Julia Mancuso (alpine skiing). Mancuso is already the most decorated U.S. Olympic female alpine skier with a gold and two silver medals, while Chu is looking to help Team USA reclaim the top podium spot for the first time since women’s ice hockey debuted at the 1998 Olympic Winter Games.

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