Fake news, I tell ya, fake news.
I saw yet another social media post lamenting the poor attitudes, lackluster work ethic and lack of compassion displayed by “the younger generation,” and I am here to tell you that such a perception is, if not fake news, an incomplete picture. There are plenty of young people working hard to bring some joy and color into a world that needs those things, and the Glamour Gals chapter at Ithaca High is a great case in point.
Maddie Hall is a sophomore at IHS, and she learned about the Glamour Gals via the organization’s website. She also learned that the founder of Glamour Gals, Rachel Doyle, is a Cornell grad who started GG in 2000, when she was 17 years old.
According to the website, “The Glamour Gals go into nursing homes to offer makeovers for residents, using makeup as a tool for conversation between generations.” This connection is vital to many of the residents, as, again, according to the website, 60 percent of them receive no visitors.
Maddie, a sophomore and a Little Red varsity lacrosse and junior varsity basketball player, started the local movement, now comprised of about 15 girls.
“I have always loved doing my own nails, so I thought I’d try something new and start the Ithaca High chapter,” Hall said. “We remind ourselves that it’s not about how great their nails look, it’s about their stories. I think it’s important to give them an outlet to share those stories.”
All of the GG members are also student-athletes, and when asked about the time-management component of balancing academics, athletics and community service, Maddie offered, “I think it’s good practice for later in life.”
Faculty advisor Stephanie Valletta said, “I found it amusing that such a non-glamorous coach was asked to be the advisor, but I know it’s not about the glamor as much as the connection. This is such a well-rounded group of kids: sports, other club involvement. They’re an amazing bunch of good humans.”
At this time, the Glamour Gals visit Oak Hill Manor and Bridges at Cornell once or twice a month, and they hope to expand both in numbers and in frequency. I asked Maddie to share an example of a compelling story that has stemmed from this effort, and she shared, “We saw one lady at Bridges every time we went, and when we saw that she was not there, her aide told us she was in the hospital, and that she had replaced a necklace/locket she had worn for many years with a Glamour Gals locket that we had given her.” Clearly moved by that story, she stated, “It made me so happy that one hour of our time can make such a big difference.”
The group has been resourceful in pulling in others to get involved, as the JV basketball team tagged along to help, as did several members of the Cornell women’s lacrosse team.
Maddie expressed the Glamour Gals’ gratitude to Lynette at Satori Salon for donating supplies and for helping with fundraising. She invites those interested to check them out on Instagram @glamourgalsithaca. Also, good luck to the Little Red girls lacrosse team, which won the league title and is now heading into the postseason.
Hats off to the Ithaca College baseball team (and the coaching staff) on yet another stellar season. The Bombers wrapped up the year earlier than they had hoped, bowing out in the NCAA Division III Regionals to Shenandoah University. Nonetheless, the Bombers surpassed the coveted 30-win plateau again. They went 31-9 and won the Liberty League title, again. It was the 48th all-time appearance in the NCAA Tournament for Ithaca, which owns a 126-97 overall record in postseason games (including two national championships, in 1980 and 1988).
I will someday ask head coach George Valesente if he ever thought, upon graduating from Ithaca College in 1966, that he would play some pro baseball, try a few coaching gigs around the country, then land back at his alma mater to take over the baseball program in 1979 and coach for 41 seasons. I believe I will wait until next year, change the number to 42, and ask him.