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December 16, 2013

Bells ring again for old Mineville, Moriah schools

MORIAH — The bells that once summoned students to Mineville and Moriah schools are ringing again, thanks to Moriah Middle School student Brooke Mildon.

Brooke, 12, discovered the historic bells had been in storage since their removal from the old school buildings decades ago.

A Cadette Girl Scout, she decided that restoration and display of the cast-iron bells would make a great Silver Award project, the highest honor available to Cadettes.

The bells were recently rededicated during a ceremony outside the school.

PROMOTED TEAMWORK

The Mineville, Port Henry and Moriah school districts merged in 1968, the last time the Mineville and Moriah bells were used until now.

“I pursued the project because I had a passion for the historic bells,” the seventh-grader said. “I learned a lot about being a team leader and what teamwork really means.”

She had to hold fundraisers to finance restoration of the bells and construction of two gazebos outside Moriah Central School in which to display them.

People assisted by “baking for bake sales, donating bottles and cans, purchasing food from bake sales or the spaghetti dinner,” she said.

She thanked the Mineville Veterans of Foreign Wars Post for letting her use their facility for the spaghetti dinner.

RESEARCH

Brooke got display construction assistance from Volker Husel at Synthesis Architects LLP of Schenectady, as well as support from retired Moriah Town Historian Joan Daby and current Historian Betty LaMoria.

“They (the historians) shared their knowledge of the bells and helped me research the bells,” Brooke said.

She interviewed them and former students and pored over old yearbooks to get information on the bells for plaques that are affixed to each display.

Her parents, Robert and Valerie Mildon, also assisted her, she said, and, along with Linda Stephen and Dee Streeter at Girl Scouts of Northeastern New York, were supportive of her project.

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