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Rachael Ray captivates audience at local show, raising cash for her alma mater

Rachael Ray cooks up a dish to demonstrate an easy, healthy recipe during the annual Rachael Ray Show held April 11 at Lake George High School. The show is presented annually to benefit the school's alumni association. Gloria Gilman (left), an official with the organization for many years, watches Ray demonstrate her craft as the celebrity chats with the audience.

Rachael Ray cooks up a dish to demonstrate an easy, healthy recipe during the annual Rachael Ray Show held April 11 at Lake George High School. The show is presented annually to benefit the school's alumni association. Gloria Gilman (left), an official with the organization for many years, watches Ray demonstrate her craft as the celebrity chats with the audience. Photo by Keith Lobdell.

— Talking about her crush on her former Lake George Central teacher Mr. Tromblee and the quality of education she received, celebrity chef and television host Rachael Ray thrilled crowds April 11 attending her 12th annual local cooking show, a fundraiser for the school alumni association.

At the event, Lake George High School Principal Fran Cocozza said that Ray was remarkably generous in presenting the show which benefits her alma mater.

“The money raised goes toward funding graduate scholarships along with special projects at the school,” he said. “We have been able to provide tech equipment, furniture, lighting for the cupola and our front sign for the school — the list is endless.”

Gloria Gilman of the Lake George Alumni Association introduced Ray to the audience and talked about the early years of the fundraiser.

“In 2002, we sold 100 tickets for the show,” Gilman said. “The second year we doubled that and the third year people were standing at the door at 4:30 a.m. to try to get tickets. We have been sold out ever since.”

In the time, the event has raised $153,940 to go towards scholarships and projects at the school.

“I want to help give the kids the education experience that I got for free,” Ray said. “I am glad they are able to do whatever they can with the money and it is something I am glad to take a few hours out of my life to do for my school.”

Ray said that she is very proud of the school from which she graduated in 1986.

“I think this is one of the most understanding and progressive communities to be a part of,” she said. “You really learn here very early in life that the family you choose is very important as is the family you are a part of.”

Ray gave a cooking demonstration to the delight of the crowd filling the Lake George High School auditorium while answering questions from the audience and telling a few stories along the way.

“Rachael was in top form this year,” show organizer Pam Morin said. “One indication was how she ran up into the audience to deliver goods to raffle winners. She stayed until 10:30 p.m. to accommodate all the people who wanted a photo with her.”

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