SARATOGA SPRINGS – As always, this is an excellent event – on several levels. But the 39th Annual Polo by Twilight Gala, to benefit Skidmore College’s Palamountain Scholarship Fund on Tuesday, July 24, at the Saratoga Polo Fields, was distinguished by a very interesting backstory about this year’s honoree.
Skidmore alumnus, Eleuterio “Ele” Martinez Ramirez, class of 2018, is the fifth Anne T. Palamountain Scholar Award recipient. In 2008, Ramirez made the difficult choice to leave his family and community in Oaxaca, Mexico because of political violence and lack of educational opportunities to pursue a better life.
When he came to Saratoga Springs at age 14, Ramirez did not speak English. He worked for two years before deciding that he needed to resume his education to meet his goals in life. He was accepted into Skidmore’s Pre-College Program while he was a senior at Saratoga Springs High School.
Ramirez, who graduated in May from Skidmore with a major in math and minor in physics, plans to pursue a career in engineering. He completed a summer internship with General Electric in his sophomore year, and last summer he went back to his hometown in Mexico to teach young students photography skills. This summer he will go back to teach math and computer skills to students at his childhood school, truly following Anne Palamountain’s example of always giving back to the community.
“Behind every success, there is hard work and sacrifice. My time at Skidmore College has been a hard journey, but thanks to my mentors and professors, and to self-motivation, I am where I am today,” Ramirez said.
Ramirez’s plans to teach young students in his hometown will be supported by funding he received from a SEE-Beyond Award from Skidmore, which will bring much-needed resources to his community and allow him to significantly improve the education offered to students. SEE-Beyond Awards invite students to apply their academic learning to real-world challenges and aim to help them clarify the interrelationship between their educational and post-baccalaureate goals.
“I have not forgotten my roots and the need to give back to my community in Oaxaca, Mexico. I give my most sincere thanks to Anne Palamountain and all who have contributed to the Palmountain Scholarship Fund for these great opportunities that I have had at Skidmore College,” Ramirez said.
Another distinctive aspect of this event is that, as noted in previous years – if you are a “foodie,” this is the event for you! Skidmore’s dining services, led by Director Mark Miller (at left in the photo above) and the entire team has distinguished itself for years – taking gold medal after gold medal in intercollegiate competitions. On this night, you can bet that they kick it up a notch, or two or three, to proudly strut their stuff in front of alums, executives and big donors.
I sincerely kid you not!
In other words, you could ‘dig in’ with confidence – which people did indeed. But then the real digging began, in the form of live auctions and other donations. Somehow I got outbid on my first choice again!
The numbers were flying, and as usual, were completely staggering. Kudos to Auctioneers Chris and Sarah Ward, along with Mary Solomons and other volunteers for keeping it all straight.
Ultimately, what distinguishes this gala – a highlight in a stellar gala calendar every season, is the collaboration.
On this night, Skidmore College comes to the fore, to be recognized as a crucial cornerstone of our community. On this night, ‘Town’ and ‘Gown’ are truly one.
GALLERY: POLO BY TWILIGHT
July 30, 2018