C-R gets request to name theater after Blair Hartman


By Jim Poole

There's a campaign to name Cobleskill-Richmondville's high school theater after Blair Hartman.
And although school officials generally support the idea of memorializing the popular late teacher, they're not quite sure how to go about it.
Mr. Hartman taught math at Cobleskill and Cobleskill-Richmondville for 33 years, and even after he retired in 1998, he continued to work on stage productions at the high school.
It was shortly after Mr. Hartman died on May 19 that Gail Sheehan and her stepson, Phillip Sheehan came up with the idea of naming the theater for him.
"He devoted his whole life to kids in the high school," Ms. Sheehan said. "He worked quietly, behind the scenes."
Mr. Sheehan was a Cobleskill senior in 1976-77, and there was no class advisor, Ms. Sheehan said.
Mr. Hartman "jumped right in," and her stepson never forgot it, she said.
His continuing work drew Ms. Sheehan's admiration.
"It was always understood that Mr. Hartman would take care of the lights, the speakers, plants for the stage," she said.
Ms. Sheehan's sister, Gwen Coons, is a retired C-R teacher, and she supports the effort.
"It's a great idea," she said. "Blair did way too much. Not just the musicals, but graduation, National Honor Society, everything.
"Wouldn't it be fitting? It would be a tribute to him."
School board President Bruce Tryon agreed that he "couldn't think of anyone more deserving" than Mr. Hartman but added the school board hasn't been formally approached with a proposal.
As far as Mr. Tryon knows, C-R has no policy about naming buildings or rooms in honor of educators or others.
He did point out that three of the district's schools--Ryder, Radez and Golding--memorialize past school leaders, and Bud Gunzinger Field at Golding honors the late coach.
The theater might be different, Mr. Tryon said.
"We have to give it a lot of thought," he said. "We have no policy about naming. We're talking new territory."
Superintendent Carl Mummenthey said this year's senior class offered to put up a plaque memorializing Mr. Hartman. Like Mr. Tryon, he's willing to listen to proposals about the theater--or other projects--before acting.
"We want to assess the best way to memorialize Blair," Mr. Mummenthey said. "We're definitely looking to do the right thing, and we'll consider every possible option.
"If people have ideas, I welcome phone calls or emails."
Mr. Mummenthey can be reached at 234-4032 or mummentheyc@crcs.k12.us.