The Board of Regents and the New York State Archives selected Skaneateles High School student Maureen Meyer as the recipient
of the 2010 Laura and Robert Chodos Award for Excellence in 'Student Research Using Historical Records,' Grades 9-12 for her entry "Sarto
Major: Law Enforcement during the 1920s."
A framed certificate and a cash gift was presented to Meyer at a luncheon ceremony at the Cultural Education Center in Albany on Oct. 12. Her teacher, Susan Pingel, was also recognized at the luncheon.
Using a variety of historical records and artifacts, Meyer researched the life of Sarto Major, a police officer in Skaneateles during the Prohibition. Meyer actually lives in the home of the late Sarto Major. She developed an interest in Officer Major after seeing artifacts left behind in the house, such as; name plates from his years as sheriff and bloodstained police batons. Her detective work led her to discover a man of great conviction whose career was shaped by the Prohibition. Her documentary does an excellent job of showing the effect a national law had in a town in central New York.
She also discusses the national effects of the Volstead Act. For example, the documentary mentions the increase in funding for police departments, the
drastic increase in population in the federal prisons, and the beginning of organized crime.
The Student Research Awards are named for Regent Emerita Laura Chodos and her late husband, Dr. Robert Chodos, who created an endowment to
encourage the educational uses of historical records in the classroom. The awards are presented annually to a student or group of students in New York who have made outstanding use of historical records in their research. They recognize student work for demonstrating excellence based on specific criteria: using a variety of historical records, drawing on information from those records, and interpreting and integrating that information with creativity and imagination.