The Dawgs: Rochester’s best friends

It’s a Friday night in Rochester and the ice has been covered at the Tim Hortons iceplex. The rink is packed with local vendors like Jon’tae EatsJonJohns Bakery, and the Rochester Music Hall of Fame. Food and wine samples are being given out to the ticket holders who have donated to the Holy Childhood school.  

The Dawgs are on stage, playing “What I Like About You,” as an interpreter signs the lyrics. Dressed in matching hockey jerseys with their band nicknames on their backs, these musicians put the fun in fundraising. A crowd gathers, and people can’t help but dance as the band plays “Let’s Go Crazy” while Prince’s music video is projected up on the big screen.  

As Rochester’s premier fundraising party band, these bandmates don’t take themselves too seriously, except when it comes to the causes in their community. This is their third year performing at the Wegmans Wine at Center Ice event, and, just like every other concert they play, they do not accept any form of payment for their performance. […] [July/Aug Issue]

What’s Cooking?

“It’s a beautiful place to work. It’s extraordinary.” 

Head chef Lou Ruscitto-Donato authors the dinner programs at Aurora Cooks!, a culinary experience nestled in a picturesque town at the Inns of Aurora Resort and Spa. During peak season, she offers a different experience for every night of the week, utilizing food and wine from the Finger Lakes area. 

From a panadería in Los Angeles to the shores of Cayuga Lake, her career has taken her from coast to coast. When the pandemic devastated the restaurant industry, Ruscitto-Donato was left wondering how she fit into that picture anymore. She saw an ad for Inns of Aurora and decided to throw her hat into the ring […] [May/June issue]

ROC the Eclipse!

Do you know where you’ll be on April 8 at 3:20 p.m.? Many of us have made plans to gather with friends and don special eyewear. Schools will close as Rochester hosts a one-of-a-kind celebration. Thousands will travel to our area from far away just to be in the path of totality under Rochester’s first full solar eclipse in nearly 100 years! 

Our city is situated to provide a perfect view of the eclipse, and experts are estimating up to half a million out-of-towners will be visiting our area. The predicted height of totality will happen at 3:20 pm., when the sky gets cool and dark, and the sun, moon, and Earth form a perfectly straight line. This syzygy, or alignment, blocks the solar light from reaching the Earth. The entire eclipse will last from 2:07 p.m. to 4:33 p.m. in Rochester.

According to the Haudeosaunee, the world’s oldest confederacy began under a solar eclipse. With the nations at war with one another, a man named Hiawatha attempted to unify the chiefs of the OneidaCayugaMohawkSeneca, and Onondaga into one grand council. It was ultimately the voice of Jigonhsaseh that brought them all together. […] [March/April issue]

The legacy of Fannie Barrier Williams

If you’re from Brockport, you probably know about Fannie Barrier Williams. But most of us don’t recognize the name, despite her former status as a national celebrity. Barrier Williams was a suffragist, civil rights leader, orator, and changemaker. She was born and raised in Brockport, and hers was one of the only Black families in the community. In 1870, she would become the first Black woman to graduate from SUNY Brockport.

After college, Barrier Williams took a teaching position in Mississippi and experienced a level of racism she had never before encountered. It broke her spirit and led her toward a life as an activist. She moved to Boston to study piano but was asked to leave after her presence made white students uncomfortable. She met her husband, Samuel, and moved to Chicago where he started a law practice, and she became active in the local community.

Barrier Williams started by fighting for women’s rights in the workplace and pushed for housing and health facilities for women and children in poverty. She fought to become the first […] [Jan/Feb 2024 Issue]

What I learned about Fannie Barrier Williams:

and how the legacy of this change maker is being kept alive by local students.

I was so honored to visit an incredible group of scholars at SUNY Brockport last fall. They were all recipients of the Fannie Barrier Williams Scholarship. Jianna Howard is their teacher, advisor and mentor. She’s the reason they call themselves a family. 

Michael Hanlon did a fantastic job photographing the students and the buildings around campus.

I am embarrassed to admit that I had never heard of Fannie Barrier Williams when asked to write about these scholars. I have a Masters Degree in education and I had never once heard her name in any class I took or book I was assigned to read. Before sitting down to write this article, I did a ton of research and read Fannie Barrier Williams: Crossing the Borders of Region and Race by Wanda A. Hendricks. Wanda is a history professor at the University of South Carolina and an expert on Fannie’s life.

I wish more children had the opportunity to learn about the life Fannie led and the achievements she made despite being met with opposition at every turn. It’s up to all of us to share the stories of change makers like Fannie.

Please enjoy this article on Fannie Barrier Williams and the students who are achieving their dreams in her honor.

About Me

Sarah grew up surrounded by books and loved her notebooks and pens. She loved writing plays and performing them with her siblings. Her long stories won her the future author award in elementary school. As a fourth grade teacher, Sarah earned a Masters degree in writing curriculum, but decided that writing children’s books was much more fun! When she isn’t writing or reading, you can find her dancing to old records, playing board games or watching movies with her husband and three kids. She has a mini-goldendoodle named Oliver who likes to sleep on her feet while she writes. Sarah lives with her family in Victor, NY.