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Winners claim cash prizes in St Agnes cemetery photo contest

St. Agnes Cemetery, in Menands, wrapped up its second annual three-month-long photo contest on Wednesday, Nov. 18, as the public was invited to Memorial Town Hall to view entrants' work and select a winner for the People's Choice award in the contest.

The contest was sponsored in part by the Town of Colonie and Trustco bank, which provided the prize money that was awarded to the winners.

Contest participants were separated into groups based on their age: there was an adult category and a student category.

At the end of a reception on Wednesday, Nov. 18, the winners were announced.

In the adult category, Peter Voelker, of Duanesberg, won first place; Barbara Walch, of East Berne, won second place; and Kelly Allard, of Troy, won third place.

In the student category, Mark Morrison Jr., of Menands, won first place; Meg Domblewski, of Fuera Bush, won second place; and Morgan Moak, also of Fuera Bush, won third place.

For People's Choice, Amelia Harter, of Castleton, took home a $50 cash prize.

Adult winners took home $400 for the first prize; $200 for second prize; and $100 for third prize. Students took home $200 for first prize; $100 for second prize; and $50 for third prize.

The photos had to be taken between July 4 and Oct. 16, according to Barbara Fitzgerald, a tour guide with the cemetery.

Participants were able to go into the cemetery and take photos of whatever they would like.

Fitzgerald said this is the second year the cemetery participated in the contest, and that it is a great way to show off the historic beauty that lies within the cemetery.

[It's] to get people in to see it, she said. "We get people who say, 'I didn't realize it was so beautiful.'"

Rick Touchette, director of Albany Diocesan Cemeteries and another tour guide at St Agnes, said the cemetery is 108 acres, all rich with history.

Who is buried in St Agnes?

"Really a who's who of Catholic Albany," said Touchette. "We have a governor, a number of congressmen, mayors, Civil War veterans, we have two Medal of Honor recipients."

During the tours, Touchette said he stops at the graves and explains the history of the person lying beneath the ground.

St Agnes and the Town of Colonie informed the public about the contest through fliers and the media. As a result, more than 160 adults and students participated in the contest, yielding seven winners.

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