The primary mission of the Rochester Lapidary Society is
education in the Lapidary Arts. This includes finding or
collecting specimens, identifying and then, possibly using the
finds in projects.
Children and rocks go together like peanut butter and jelly, so
what could be better than encouraging this natural interest?
Over the past few years we have expanded our community presence
in the Brockport School District.
Two of our board members, Frank and Karen Rakoski, are long time
mentors at the Hill Elementary School, working with enrichment
specialist Archer Noble to offer opportunities to work on basic
skills such as reading, math and scientific concepts, in the
context of exploring fields of student interest such as optics
or robotics. Two years ago, additional activities were needed
for Science Fun Day, and the RLS sponsored a Crystal Dig using
quartz points from Arkansas orchestrated by another club member,
Hollis Heinzerling. This popular activity was repeated and
expanded last spring.
This past fall, Mr. Noble approached the Rakoskis with a
different request. Several students had formed a rock club,
meeting over their lunch hour to trade rocks. The kids called
themselves Rochester Rocks, or RO-RO, for short. Mr. Noble asked
if a several week program involving rocks and minerals could be
added to the enrichment curriculum. Karen took on the challenge,
with other RLS members, Toni Hill, Hollis Heinzerling and
out-or-town constituents, Cindi and Keith Newman, providing
specimens and equipment. What started as a once weekly, four
session, program turned into a 12 week exploration program with
the students already asking about next year. The children were
• Exploring mineral identification of specimens in their own
collections, using RLS club specimens, games, books and
• Traveling with their parents and club members to see the world
class mineral collection of RLS founder, William Pinch
• Learning the fundamentals of crystals and crystal growing as
they made 3D models, grew borax “snowflakes”, mixed up crystal
gardens, and investigated nature’s handiwork
• Polishing amber
• Teaching fellow students with a lighted hallway display and
mini presentations, using a showcase provided by the RLS
• Investigating tests to determine mineral hardness, specific
gravity and other helpful information
• Exploring rock vocabulary and geography by describing their
rocks and learning where they came from
• Posing for photos and interviewing for articles about their
efforts for the school district newsletter and the local paper.
This year, “RO-RO” took their work to a new level under the
tutelage and with the support of RLS club members. If asked,
many of these members will tell you that is how they got started
on this wonderful lifetime hobby.
Children, with their parents are welcome to join the RLS, and
those aged 10 and above can learn to use Lapidary equipment
under the direct supervision of a parent.
Come and visit us and see what new information you can learn.