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'Launching' kids to the next level

To celebrate a decade of drama, Launching Pad is holding a 10th Anniversary gala and Silent Auction on Saturday, Nov. 20, from 6 to 9 p.m. at the Ballston Spa Elks Lodge. Tickets are $30 and includes dinner that features a carving station, pasta station and chocolate fountain. Local businesses have provided items and gift certificates for the silent auction and teachers from the district have contributed artwork, jewelry and quilts. Proceeds will go toward purchasing materials for sets and costumes.

"We were looking for fun way to celebrate 10 years. We thought since it's the week before Thanksgiving, getting everyone together during holiday time was a good way to do it," said Shaver. "We wanted kids to perform but wanted to do something different than just use the stage and auditorium. This seemed like a fun way to do that."

Part of the night's entertainment will come from Launching Pad alumni now in high school who will perform songs of their choosing, with a couple current Launching Pad members mixed in.

"The kids in the high school love to come back. We call it part of the Launching Pad family; once you're part of it, you're always part of it," said Shaver, who added many former members help with makeup, hair and costumes.

Shaver said the connection students make with one another during their time with Launching Pad has become one of its greatest assets and is a big reason why he continues to stay involved.

"A lot of the middle schoolers don't have a place where they feel they can belong and I think theatre opens up to so many different kids; we have athletic kids, book smart kids, every walk of life is part of it and somewhow they all get along and are in it for the same thing," said Shaver. "It's neat to see everyone get together and fit in and be part of a family."

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