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38th Annual Capital Region Students and Teachers Who Make a Difference Recipients

  • Academy of Holy Names
    Carolyn Stum Carolyn has been a student at Academy of the Holy Names for the last four years and is the oldest of three children. During her time at Holy Names, Carolyn has demonstrated a passion for and a dedication to learning. She participated in our three year Science research program and presented her research, "Effect of inhibiting nuclear export on glial and fibrotic scar formation as related to wound healing during spinal cord injury in rats," at our Science Symposium. Carolyn completed her senior service project at St. Kateri where she assisted the library in reorganizing the collection. Carolyn was selected to participate in the Trustee Program at Grove City College where she will matriculate in the fall. Carolyn plans to major in molecular biology and hopes to continue her research in the area of regenerative medicine. ____________________________________________________________________________ ​ Deborah Baxter Mrs. Baxter has been a constant mentor and guide for Carolyn during her time at Academy of the Holy Names. She has nurtured Carolyn's interest in biology and research.
  • Berne-Knox-Westerlo CSD
    Jodie Howland Jodie is not only an excellent student but supportive of her school community and peers. She has been involved in both bowling and volleyball at the Varsity level and a valued member of the Masterminds team. Jodie is also active outside of school in fencing and ballet. ____________________________________________________________________________ ​ Brian McCoy I’ve had many wonderful teachers while at BKW, but none have had as much of an impact on my education as Mr. McCoy. He’s been such an excellent teacher that I’ve taken all four of his classes, two of which are AP Chemistry and AP Environmental Science. The classes were very fun, encouraging my love of learning while still being challenging enough to be interesting. They’ve also inspired me to pursue chemical engineering in college.
  • Bolton CSD
    Daniel Cooper Daniel is Valedictorian of the Bolton Central School Class of 2024. Earning a Regents Diploma with Advanced Designation and an endorsement in Math and Science. Daniel is a peer mentor to 6th grade students and can be counted on to tutor younger students that need additional support. He also volunteers at all of our PTO events, including outdoor cooking and lego robotics. Daniel will be attending the Crane School of Music where he will study Music Education and Business. ____________________________________________________________________________ ​ Mr. DeLappa Mr. DeLappa is the teacher who has had the most significant impact on my education. His unmatched dedication to helping students be the best they can be, and his countless hours of extra work he put in to help me is the reason I made it into the college of my choice. I couldn’t have asked for a better teacher.
  • Cairo-Durham CSD
    Alexander Gouza This year's valedictorian, Alex Gouza, is an awesome student who has demonstrated outstanding qualities of curiosity, intelligence, and focus throughout high school. Over the past four years, he has excelled in a rigorous selection of AP and honors courses, and has excelled in all of them. Beyond academics, Alex is such an asset to our school community as he is very active in numerous extracurriculars including various sports, the school musical and the National Honors Society. Alex's commitment to excellence and unwavering effort here at Cairo- Durham has set him apart as an exemplary student. ____________________________________________________________________________ ​ Susan Boyle Throughout my years at Cairo-Durham, I have had the opportunity to work with many teachers, each having a profound impact on myself and others. One teacher that stands out amongst the rest, is Mrs. Boyle. Mrs. Boyle has been an influence in my life since I was little, attending her farm camp during the summer, to guiding me through the AP Bio exam. Her kindness and dedication know no bounds making her a positive influence on everyone around her. Her unwavering dedication is evident in every task she undertakes, earning her deep respect and admiration amongst the community. Mrs. Boyle embodies the principles of hard work and perseverance. She taught me that success comes through patience, determination, and relentless hard work. More than just a kind, dedicated, and hardworking individual, Mrs. Boyle is a mentor and an inspiration to me. Her influence has profoundly shaped my life, and I am grateful for the invaluable lessons she has taught me.
  • Cambridge CSD
    Kateri Murphy Kateri Murphy is a graduating senior at Cambridge Central School. She is president of her schools chapter of National honor society, president of Environmental club, a member of the Glee Club, VOSCA (Volunteers of South Carolina), and Drama club. Kateri will be attending SUNY New Paltz in the fall and majoring in Political Science on a pre-law track. ____________________________________________________________________________ ​ Stephanie Gifford Mrs. Gifford has helped me navigate my Senior year by always providing encouragement, a hug, or fresh baked banana bread. She cares about her students beyond a test score, although will also put forward all her time and effort to making sure her students are capable of getting a good test score. She is warm and kind, but also educated and ambitious.
  • Chatham CSD
    Jenna Palubeckis Throughout my time at Chatham, I have participated in many activities including National Honor Society as President, Tri-M as Vice President, and I was the Student Representative for the Board of Education. Additionally, I have taken part in Model Congress and the HOBY State Leadership Seminar. I have also been involved in music and athletics. Musically, I have been in band as a clarinetist and choir ever since elementary school and have also participated in All County for these ensembles. Athletically, I have done cross country for two years and track for four years. I have also been an avid part in the community, volunteering and working at the Morris Memorial as well as working at Crellin Summer Camp. Finally, I have received many awards over the years including Student of the Quarter, Excellence in Effort, Highest Average, Scholar Athlete, and the Capstone Award for Problem Solving Skills. I will be attending Colgate University in the fall with the intended major of psychology and/or political science. ____________________________________________________________________________ ​ Katharine Curtis Mrs. Curtis has been a math teacher at Chatham High School for twenty years. In addition to teaching, she has coached Cross-Country and Track for nineteen years. One of the things she most enjoys about teaching is sharing her love of math with her students and inspiring them to think about math after they graduate high school. She enjoys building relationships with the students through both teaching and coaching. In Jenna's words: I chose Mrs. Curtis for this recognition because of the support I have received from her these past four years of high school and for the kindness she has shown me. She has been my track coach for four years, my cross-country coach for two, and my math teacher for two. Over the course of this time, I became comfortable speaking with her about my own issues and felt truly heard when I spoke with her. She is a teacher who has left a lasting impact on me and has always displayed a strong commitment to her students and their well being. Overall, I am glad to call Mrs. Curtis my teacher and coach.
  • Cobleskill-Richmondville CSD
    Brae Dunham Brae is valedictorian of the class of 2024 and is highly involved throughout the school. He is in the National Honor Society, French and Spanish Honor Society, and serves as class president. He is also vice president of Future Farmers of America and was selected as a Boys State representative for his high school. Brae is also one of the Schoharie County Youth as Leaders, a member of Odyssey of the Mind, and plays three varsity sports (basketball, tennis, and soccer). He was a recipient of the RPI Medal and FFA Empire Degree for Supervised Agriculture Experience in Dairy Animal Management and received the Arlene McClenon Memorial Award for outstanding youth dairy representative. During his senior year, Brae attended the highly selective Questar III New Visions STEM Program in preparation for a career in engineering. Next year, Brae plans to attend Cornell University to study Environmental Engineering. ____________________________________________________________________________ ​ Robin Hahn Mrs. Hahn and her infectious smile are what made me realize my love for learning as well as the importance of a good laugh.
  • Cohoes CSD
    Kyle Smith Kyle is the Class of ’24 Valedictorian for Cohoes High school with an overall GPA of 101.10. He has been a member of our Future Ready Pathways Program at Cohoes High School where students work to complete 60 college credits before graduating from high school. The commitment to this program is significant, including taking dual credit courses in the summer. As a senior, Kyle took all of his classes at Hudson Valley Community College. He accumulated 71 college credits throughout high school. Kyle is a well-rounded young man. He has been a member of the soccer, basketball, and baseball programs throughout high school. Kyle has been an ambassador with the Real Kids Wear Pink Organization which raises money and awareness for the American Cancer Society. He will be attending SUNY Buffalo in the fall, where he will be majoring in engineering. ____________________________________________________________________________ ​ Jeff Huneau Mr. Huneau not only goes above and beyond for the athletic programs but I feel as if has been a good role model for me and many students with in the district. He is someone who tries to bring the best out of students not only as athletes but as people and will go out of his way to do things such as open up the weight room for students interested and help whenever possible.
  • Corinth CSD
    Emily Dingmon I am a senior at Corinth High School and Valedictorian for the CHS Class of 2024. I am attending Castleton University next year to study Physical Education with a minor in Health. I have been captain of our girls varsity basketball team for the past 2 years along with Adirondack League MVP. In addition, I was awarded the Scholar Athlete award for my school and Adirondack League. I am a member of the National Honor Society, Spanish Honor Society, and Science Honor Society. I have and continue to volunteer to coach various basketball camps and clinics. I've also held a book drive to collect books for our local libraries as well as a snack drive for snack packs to be sent out to kids in my district. ____________________________________________________________________________ ​ Shannon Terry Mrs. Terry is the chemistry and abnormal psychology teacher. In addition she teaches our college level Intro to Pharmaceuticals class at CHS. I took chemistry with Mrs. Terry sophomore year and we continue to regularly talk to this day. Mrs. Terry has left such an impact on not only me but all of her students. She truly pushes us to be our very best and challenges her students to want more out of their education. Mrs. Terry embodies what it means to be an exceptional teacher. The connections she makes with her students are indisputable and I am grateful for the bond we share. Mrs. Terry convinced me to continue taking upper level sciences which made me confident to pick my major in Physical Education which is heavy in sciences.
  • Fort Ann CSD
    Aidan Echeandia Aidan Echeandia is a senior from Fort Ann Central he has been doing theater most of his life and will be pursuing it as his major at Russell Sage College in the fall. He is involved in many school activities and events held at each year, whether it be hosting bingo nights or announcing at basketball games, Aidan volunteers for as much as he can. This includes being a representative of Ft Ann Central at leadership conferences and was a keynote speaker at this year's event. He has been performing shows with several theatre companies in our region as well. Even with a busy schedule he always makes sure to check in on his fellow students and doesn't just sit back and watch when people are being hurt or misused. Aidan is strong-headed and will lead those who choose to follow and wants what's best for everyone. ____________________________________________________________________________ ​ Maria Laurenzo I have chosen to nominate my teacher Maria Laurenzo who has been a teacher at Fort Ann for a little over 10 years and has been my teacher for most of that time. Over the years Mrs. Laurenzo has been more than just a teacher, she is a role model, a leader, and a friend. She inspired my love of Musical Theatre which has become my life passion. She is my biggest cheerleaders aside from my parents and made me believe I could do whatever I put my mind to. She's gotten me through some of the hardest times in my life, like my Moms battle with cancer and grieving the loss of pets, or not getting an award I was after. She was the person that sat down with my mother and I so we could discuss my future. Even when I was just having a bad day, she has always been there and deserves to be recognized for her dedication to every student that is blessed to have her as their teacher. Mrs. Laurenzo is the epitome of what an educator should be and I am so grateful for her.
  • Greenville CSD
    Shea Landversicht Shea Landversicht is a leader among her peers, she is brilliant, compassionate and humble. She is currently our Valedictorian and is maintaining a 101 cumulative grade point average. She is President of National Honor Society, President of her class, Vice President of the FFA and President of Interact and the Yearbook clubs. She is also a talented scholar athlete and captain of the Varsity Volleyball and Softball teams. ____________________________________________________________________________ ​ Erin Sharkey While being a student at Greenville, many teachers have inspired me and had a positive impact on my life, but specifically this year, Ms. Sharkey has inspired me. She has had to deal with so much in her personal life this year and despite being out of school a lot and immensely stressed, she has put in so much effort to help my IB Biology year 2 class with our internal assessment and preparing for our exam. Multiple times throughout the year, she even surprised my class with bagels and a breakfast to celebrate our hard work as seniors after being absent for a week. She never hesitates to ask us how we are doing each day and is always willing to give advice and encouragement in whatever we are stressed about. She also tries her best to be present as our NHS advisor even when she is out of school and was always there when I reached out to her with questions. After witnessing her strength and perseverance in making sure her students were okay while she wasn’t, I want to make sure I also give 110% to my students when I become a teacher even when I am going through personal challenges. Thank you for being an inspiration to us all about how to persist through hardships while staying dedicated and compassionate to your school community.
  • Greenwich CSD
    Elizabeth Marci Elizabeth Marci makes a difference in our school in so many ways. However, it is Elizabeth herself that makes the biggest difference. She is kind and enthusiastic about all she does, day-in and day-out. It does not go unnoticed and we are so grateful to have had her a part of our community. ____________________________________________________________________________ ​ John Nevins I am very grateful to have had Mr. Nevins for two years of my time spent at Greenwich Central School. Mr. Nevins has not only shaped me into the student and person I am today, but also the person I hope to be in the future.
  • Guilderland CSD
    Emily O'Connor Emily is an outstanding student who thrives under pressure. She has immersed herself in the life of the school and is involved in the Student Voice Club, Chemistry Club, March for Our Lives Club, Environmental Club and Sources of Strength. Emily strives to fill leadership roles and is able to organize and present information effectively. For example, through the March For Our Lives Club (about gun control), she is very comfortable leading groups and talking about difficult issues. Emily hopes to enter the medical field and has involved herself in related activities to explore her interests. She is Secretary of the Med Cross club and she also completed an EMT certification course. I am confident that Emily's compassionate, hardworking and ambitious personality will help her continue to positively impact the world around her. ____________________________________________________________________________ ​ Teresa Wood-Irvin Senora Wood-Irvin has been my Spanish teacher for two years and I have noticed how she constantly checks in with her students, takes into consideration their lives outside of school and makes a personal effort to get to know everyone in her classroom. She also gets involved outside her classes, with student organizations like Feminist Club and Alliance Club. Senora Wood-Irvin also helps students use their Spanish skills by volunteering at the food pantry to help community members who do not speak English get the food assistance they need.
  • Guilderland CSD
    Conor Webb Conor Webb is a student like no other. He is compassionate toward his peers, he is incredibly hard working and he fiercely advocates for what he believes in. He is curious, insightful, supportive and inspires others to make a difference. His passion for March For Our Lives as well as Student Voices have impacted our community in meaningful ways. His efforts have effected change at the school level through redesigning our peer tutoring program. He has also worked on gun violence prevention at a national level. His determination and positive attitude set a high standard for others to follow. ____________________________________________________________________________ ​ Colleen Petroff Ms. Petroff is a brilliant chemistry teacher, but her passion for building a class of students informed about the community around them is equally commendable. Her genuine interest in the daily lives of students is infectious, and I am incredibly grateful to her for that.
  • HFM BOCES Career and Technical Center
    Ryleigh Fonda Fonda Fultonville’s Ryleigh Fonda attends HFM Career and Technical Center’s New Visions Health Careers program. Maintaining a 99% GPA in the program, she will attend FMCC’s Nursing program. Ryleigh is a three-season athlete, an active participant in Student Government, and the Spanish and yearbook clubs. She volunteers at school with tutoring, biddy basketball and The Yellow Roses Club. Ryleigh fundraises avidly for breast cancer research and cheers up those who are ill, with handmade cards. ____________________________________________________________________________ ​ Erika Bucenec Ms. Bucenec is personable and kind. She consistently makes sure that we are all okay mentally, physically, and emotionally. I am so grateful for her.
  • Hudson City CSD
    Alyssa Harp Alyssa Harp is a stunning student inside and out. I have had the honor to teach her as her world language teacher in American Sign Language. She displayed innate natural skill to acquire language quickly and accurately. She honed her skills throughout her time in the program modeling commitment both inside and outside of the classroom. She approaches each challenge with focus and compassion modeling inclusivity for all. With her dedication to the ASL program Alyssa completed college level coursework attaining the seal of biliteracy with an advanced level of proficiency. I could not be more proud of Alyssa as she moves on to her newest chapter of becoming a teacher. She has taken every opportunity to build her character as an athlete, student, friend and now as a future educator. Alyssa has a drive that will inspire others for years to come and I look forward to seeing her build up our future generations. ____________________________________________________________________________ ​ Kayani Ilse I chose Mrs. Ilse for this award. Throughout the years she has been a mentor, a role model, and a second mom. The first day of eighth grade I came home knowing I was in good hands. From that first day of knowing each other our bond has grown tremendously. She treats me as if I am one of her own children by helping me navigate through life and school. When in her room you know you're safe. She will do anything to help her students. She has had such an impact on me and I wish to be as good of a teacher as her one day. She has shown me what it means to love the job of teaching and how to provide for those who need it.
  • Hudson City CSD
    Vivi Li Vivi is a hardworking, well-organized, responsible student. She is definitely one of the top students in her class. She is a vocal and enthusiastic student who is respected by both fellow students and the faculty. She has been a member of the Varsity Tennis team, Multicultural club and is the president of the Varsity club. Academically, Vivi s a high honor roll student and has been chosen as a member of the National Honor Society. She will be attending Stonybrook University in the fall. ____________________________________________________________________________ ​ Michael Antonelli In my years at Hudson High School Mr. Antonelli has left a huge impact on my education. Out of all the teachers I've had Antonelli is the one who I've had a very strong bond with. He is the reason why I have chosen to study in the field of chemistry because I fell in love with the subject because I took his classes. From the moment I stepped into the classroom on my first day at Hudson I knew he would become one of my favorite teachers here. I always joked around with Mr. Antonelli and even on my bad days he would make me feel happy even if he didn’t know. Mr. Antonelli is like a father figure to me; he always helps me no matter what and cares for all his students like his own. Mr. Antonelli is someone I can always count on for help and go to when I'm feeling down. When I received this award I knew immediately who I was going to choose. Mr. Antonelli has been there for me since the first day I was at Hudson. He has helped in ways I will forever be thankful for.
  • Hudson City CSD
    Tanjina Rahman One of Tanjina’s biggest attributes is her personality. She is a well-liked individual that always has a smile on her face. In high school, Tanjina has done extremely well in all of her classes and has taken a number of college credit courses that will earn her college credit prior to graduation. She is also a high honor roll student, and is a member of the National Honor Society. Outside of her academics, Tanjina was a member of the Varsity Tennis team, Model UN, Multicultural club and the school newspaper. She has taken on a number of leadership role and has served as a class representative on student council. She will be attending Albany College of Pharmacy in the fall in order to pursue a doctor of pharmacy degree. ____________________________________________________________________________ ​ Michael Antonelli I chose Mr. Antonelli because of his incredible qualities, both as a person and as a teacher. He does an amazing job in his profession, showing remarkable patience with all students, including me. Furthermore, he maintains a high level of fairness and never displays any type of favoritism. Mr. Antonelli’s kindness and compassion can be seen from miles away. He gives a warm welcome from the moment we enter his class, creating a supportive environment for everyone. I’m very grateful to have met him and hope to see more teachers like him in the future.
  • Hudson City CSD
    Magdalena Ramos Maggie is a highly motivated and hardworking student. She is a very strong-willed individual, but is still respected by her peers and is seen as a leader by the faculty. Maggie has challenged herself and has done extremely well in all of her classes. She is a high honor roll student, and is a member of the National Honor Society. Maggie has been actively involved in a number of activities outside of her academics; such as Environmental club, the school newspaper and yearbook and she has also competed in the Model UN debates and Envirothon competitions. On top of all of this, she is a multi-instrumentalist and plans on pursuing a career in music education. ____________________________________________________________________________ ​ Michael Antonelli For me, Mr. Antonelli was an obvious choice. Mr. Antonelli has supported me and me made a much better person. I was a quiet yet angry student the first year he taught me. I was not outgoing, and I had lost my spark. But he saw a fierce character inside of me. He harvested a sanctuary in his classroom where students could build their characters. Mr. Antonelli has a very sarcastic humor, and I could connect with him on that. It was not long before I branched out from my hard shell to become a competitive student and attain an easygoing character. His positive attitude encouraged me to self-reflect. He allowed me to see attributes in myself that I couldn't identify. He was always promoting a higher good for me. I soon found myself bursting into his classroom anytime I was unsure of a minor detail. I became a better person and a thriving student, and he deserves much credit for my transition. Mr. Antonelli is an exceptional teacher. He doesn't just teach, but he helps his students grow. I am entirely grateful he was my teacher.
  • Mechanicville CSD
    Sophia Mills Sophia is the Class of 2024 Valedictorian. She has been an outstanding leader throughout her years at Mechanicville Jr/Sr High School. Sophia is involved in Cross Country and Indoor and Outdoor Track. Through my tenure here as Principal, Sophia has been a staunch advocate for our entire student body. Sophia's future plans are to attend Worcester Polytechnic Institute (WPI) and will study Aerospace Engineering. ____________________________________________________________________________ ​ Daryl Jerabek Mr. Daryl Jerabek was chosen by Sophia Mills due to his plethora of positive character traits and effective teaching style. Mr. Jerabek is always the first to jump into action when he recognizes an issue, has unmatched patience and empathy, and is always extremely enthusiastic to share his lessons and interests. He takes a very strict and hands-on approach to most lessons which makes them memorable, even five years later Sophia can still recall the giant pendulum they made with a bowling ball, or the pulley the entire class collaborated on and took turns using. Overall, Mr. Jerabek is recognized and respected by those around him, his presence never goes unnoticed, and he is the first person Sophia thought of as being extremely influential throughout her middle and high school career.
  • Mohonasen CSD
    Grace Macturk Grace Macturk is an exceptional individual and student. She is currently third in her class, was team captain of the Mohonasen-Schalmont Girls Varsity Swimming and Diving team, and is going to attend Hamilton College! Grace is very involved in both her school and community, giving her time and efforts to those around her. She is more than deserving of this honor. ____________________________________________________________________________ ​ Alex Niedbalec Mr. Niedbalec is a Chemistry teacher at Mohonasen High School. Grace chose Mr. Niedbalec because he always looks out for his students and cares about them more past just the school work. He is kind and understanding about how much they have on their plates as high schoolers.
  • Mohonasen CSD
    Kylie Slater Kylie has been actively involved in Peers for Peace throughout her four years of high school. In her junior and senior years, she took on leadership roles as vice-president and then co-president. Kylie was instrumental in planning and executing school wide activities that have helped Mohonasen earn No Place For Hate Gold Star School Award every year. Activities include Black History Month, Womens' Her-story Month, the Day of Silence, our annual Holocaust Remembrance Day and also bringing awareness to Unified Sports. Kylie was also on the planning committee for and student facilitator and participant int he Capital District Elevating Student Voices initiative since summer 2022. As a result of her involvement, Kylie spoke at the BOE conference in Albany summer 2023. Kylie cares deeply about human right issues and is a change agent for social justice at MHS and in the larger community! ____________________________________________________________________________ ​ Kathleen Sacks Mrs. Sacks has been in my life since my freshman year. Parenting class introduced me to FACS, where I then proceeded to follow a pathway for the opportunity to become a student teacher intern. The internship is called CEIP (Career Exploration Internship Program). She guided me throughout my early years of high school and then through my internship experience. Her influence on my education is what inspired me to push towards the internship. I'm eternally grateful for her. This is the reason that I chose Mrs. Sacks - because without her I wouldn't have the ambition that I do today. Thank you Mrs. Sacks!
  • New Lebanon CSD
    Gabriel J. Kalisz Gabriel “Gabe'' Kalisz is the Valedictorian of the Class of 2024 at New Lebanon JRSR High School. He will attend RPI in the fall to major in Electrical Engineering. Gabe competes in Varsity Cross Country and Varsity Track & Field. He is an active member of the Student Leadership Council, Spirit Club and “Outspoken!” student groups. Gabe is also a vital participant in All County Senior Band and All County Jazz Band. ____________________________________________________________________________ ​ Aaron Kanofsky Throughout high school I have known Mr. Kanofsky as both a track coach and US history teacher. He is someone who has inspired me to think deeper and remain about the world, to push through my toughest experiences as an athlete, and to smile and have a good time no matter the day.
  • Schodack CSD
    Luciano Marra Luc has been a wonderful student and young man throughout his high school career. An impressive testament to his outstanding academic abilities and potential was Luc’s recognition by the 2024 National Merit Scholarship Program as a Commended Student - quite an accomplishment! Luc was also recognized with the Rochester Institute of Technology Science and Mathematics Award and the Clarkson Leadership Award and is a member of the National Honor Society. Aside from academics, Luc has been a member of our Jazz Band throughout high school and our Guitar Club. He was a member of our tennis team, making it to sectionals this year. Luc will graduate with an Advanced Regents diploma, with Honors and Mastery in Math and Science, and the College Prep Designation and he will attend Clarkson University in the fall where he will study Computer Science. He is an upstanding young man and we wish him all the best! ____________________________________________________________________________ ​ Bill Segarra Mr. Segarra has been a crucial figure towards my education and growth as an individual throughout high school. I have had him for both Spanish II and IV in 10th and 12th grade. He is a great teacher who finds the balance between hard work and fun in his class, through the use of games that help the students learn, and he is always willing to help those who need it. Besides his teaching ability, he also created Guitar Club when I was in 10th grade, which I have been involved in ever since. He is a supporter of the band I am in, even trying to help us come up with a name. Mr. Segarra is an overall excellent teacher, with a great sense of humor, who is an avid supporter of all his students, which is why I chose him.
  • Schuylerville CSD
    Mallory Sickles Mallory Sickles is the Class of 2024 Valedictorian. She is an outstanding young lady who is very diligent, trustworthy, and goal driven with her work both inside and outside of the classroom. With a great head on her shoulders, Mallory has proven time and time again that she is a problem solver, a leader, a teammate, and a listener. Mallory is highly involved in numerous activities within our school and local communities ranging from FFA to band/chorus to athletics. With her exceptional work ethic, her insightful contributions, and her strong interpersonal skills, Mallory will continue to inspire others on her quest for knowledge. Mallory plans to study communications at Clemson University in the fall. ____________________________________________________________________________ ​ Mary-Elizabeth Foote Ms. Foote has been a mentor for me since I was a freshman. She convinced me to join FFA, and I quickly fell in love with the amazing trips and leadership opportunities that she has facilitated for us over the years. She has truly helped me grow into a confident public speaker and creative member of the officer team and the school as a whole. Thanks to Ms. Foote, FFA has opened so many doors for myself and all of the other graduating seniors as an amazing teacher and our biggest cheerleader.
  • Shenendehowa CSD
    Ankur Senapati Ankur Senapati, ranked 7 out of 717 students, boasts a remarkable 101.665 GPA over three years. Known for academic excellence, leadership, and community involvement, Ankur has received numerous awards and holds leadership positions in various organizations. His work ethic, dedication, and self-advocacy skills set him apart. An exceptional student with a proven track record of success, Ankur is well-equipped to excel in any future endeavors. ____________________________________________________________________________ ​ Kathleen Fey Mrs. Fey's dedication and depth in teaching Calculus helped me transform the seemingly impossible into achievable goals. I’m truly grateful for her incredible guidance!
  • Shenendehowa CSD
    Lindsey Malek Lindsay Malek is a stellar student with an impressive resume that speaks volumes to the way she intertwines her academic strengths and leadership qualities. She is top of her class, a scholar athlete, and respected community member. Throughout high school she has received numerous awards and accolades. She is passionate about women in STEM and has played an integral role in educating younger girls the many opportunities available to them in the field of STEM. ____________________________________________________________________________ ​ Daniel Anderson Mr. Anderson taught me to appreciate math and be curious about the "why?" behind what I learn. His investment in his students is evident in his teaching.
  • Shenendehowa CSD
    Archangelo Losee Archangelo Losee has exceptional academic achievements, leadership qualities, and community involvement. He excels in a rigorous college preparatory program, demonstrating dedication to his studies, athletics, and community service. His diverse talents include leadership roles in school clubs, participation in varsity wrestling, and involvement in STEM programs. His commitment to academic excellence and personal growth make him a standout in his class and in his future endeavors. ____________________________________________________________________________ ​ David Roe I’m choosing Mr. Roe as my teacher. He has inspired me with a love for engineering and technology. He has always encouraged me to take on new challenges and find innovative solutions.
  • Shenendehowa CSD
    Nitika Menon Nitika has demonstrated a strong commitment to academic excellence which is complimented by her linguistic abilities, speaking five languages fluently (English, Hindi, Malayalam, Dutch, and French). Throughout high school, she has led and contributed to important discussions on proactive approaches to addressing issues in high schools, particularly the sensitive topic of hate speech. Nitika has thrived in all academic areas ranging from STEM courses to Art. She is a passionate and creative student! ____________________________________________________________________________ ​ Erik Edson Mr. Edson is an amazing teacher who is able to instill a sense of passion and curiosity in students through the safe learning environment he has thoughtfully created.
  • South Colonie CSD
    Grace Conley Grace is an outstanding student, both academically and personally. She consistently achieves grades in the high 90's across all subject areas. She takes rigorous courses, and values her education. Grace is very involved in extracurricular organizations and clubs. Some of the highlights include being a Scouting Captain and Controls Lead on the Robotics Team, team member of MasterMinds and Academic WorldQuest, and Treasurer of the Executive Club. Grace also is a senior volunteer at the William K. Sanford Library. She is an NHS member and a recipient of the AP National Scholar Award. Grace is excited to continue her education at RIT, majoring in Computer Science. ____________________________________________________________________________ ​ Thomas Casey I've had Mr. Casey as a tech teacher for every year of high school, but he has been so much more than that to me, always being my biggest motivator, supporting my interests, pushing me to keep doing more, and shaping what it is I want to do after high school. I know I can always count on him to believe in me and he has helped me to strive for who I am today and who I wish to be in the future.
  • South Colonie CSD
    Ryan Staley Ryan is outstanding...he is a focused and highly motivated student. He excels academically, particularly in his tech, science and math courses. He's taken a rigorous course load throughout high school, including many college level and AP level courses. Ryan has participated in many activities at school and in the community. Highlights include MasterMinds team member, Asian Alliance club member, Model UN Team and STEM Club. Ryan is also a violinist with our Chamber Orchestra, earning the position of 1st violin (Concert Master). He has moved on in the National Merit Scholarship competition as a Finalist for 2024. Ryan will be attending Wentworth Institute of Technology in the fall to study Electromechanical Engineering. ____________________________________________________________________________ ​ Robert Shafer For me, getting the opportunity to learn and explore U.S. history with Mr. Shafer was one of the greatest shifts in perspective during my time at CCHS. To him, history isn’t just a collection of stories or facts to memorize - it’s a roadmap to the present. Before taking Mr. Shafer’s APUSH class, I never really appreciated all the people, work, and seemingly random events that shaped the world as I know it. Now, I cannot help but see inklings of our past in everything that goes on today. From his excited rants about oddly specific events, to his enthralling stories of his life experiences, to his end-of-year speech about life after high school, Mr. Shafer’s dedication to education, to truth, and ultimately to his students has inspired me both inside and outside the classroom.
  • South Colonie CSD
    Mukundan Thanigaivelan Mukundan is a great example of an all-around wonderful student. He achieves academically, in the highest order, while taking rigorous courses through AP and college credit. He values his education. Mukundan has been active in school and community activities as well. Highlights include being a member of Student Senate, Model UN, MasterMinds and STEM Club. He is an accomplished violinist, playing in the Chamber Orchestra and performing solos at the annual NYSSMA festivals. He was selected as section leader of the 2nd violin section by audition in the Zone 7 Area All-State Orchestra. Mukundan is active in the NYATS (New York Albany Tamil Sangam), volunteering at events held at the Hindu Cultural Center. He is looking forward to college, and will be attending Union College to study Computer Science. ____________________________________________________________________________ ​ Peter Cannistraci I would like to recognize Mr. Cannistraci for all of his dedicated efforts. Mr. Cannistraci has always been there for me and makes me smile no matter how I feel. Aside from his great sense of humor, he is always there for us and open to conversation when we might not be feeling the best. Mr. Cannistraci greatly inspired my passion in music and playing violin. I look forward to seeing him every day and I will miss him very much after high school. I would like to deeply thank Mr. Cannistraci for making me a better musician as well as a better person.
  • Stillwater CSD
    Leanny Castro Leanny Castro is a graduating senior at Stillwater High School, and the Early College Career Academy at the Business & Entrepreneurship Program. She is involved in several extracurricular activities such as Track and Field, where she is one of the Captains, Friends of Rachel Club, Drama Club, Chambers Singers, and many others. She is also a member of the National Honor Society and National Technical Honor Society, and an outstanding student-delegate of the Puerto Rican/Hispanic Youth Leadership Institute (PR/HYLI) Capital District Delegation. She will be continuing her academics and athletic pursuits at Ithaca College, double-majoring in Business Administration: International Business Concentration, and Politics. ____________________________________________________________________________ ​ Lisa Luskin Mrs. Luskin is not only an amazing teacher but also an extraordinary person. Throughout my high school years at Stillwater, she has been a pillar of support in countless ways. She’s always there when you need her, consistently offering her assistance generously, even when it is clear she’s going above and beyond. Her kind and loving personality is ever-present, she’s always ready to step in whether her help is requested or simply needed. She’s always open to a conversation, and no matter how many times she has encountered the same topics, she is always willing to lend an attentive ear. I’m deeply grateful for everything Mrs. Luskin has done for me, for other students, and for the school community as a whole.
  • Troy CSD
    Satya Groff Satya Groff is the Valedictorian of her graduating class. With a remarkable GPA of 99.28%, she has excelled in the New Visions Performing Arts Program, actively participating in the Drama Club, Music Club, and Honor Choir. Satya's dedication is also evident in her academic pursuits, as she has completed 5 Advanced Placement courses and earned 19 college credits. Her hard work has not gone unnoticed, with accolades such as the AP Scholar Award, RIT Art and Design Award, and the prestigious 2024 US Presidential Scholarship. Additionally, Satya was recognized as a National Merit Scholarship Commended Student and took part in prestigious events like the Albany Pro Music High School Choral Festival and Pro Musical International Choral Festival. Her commitment to service is reflected in her membership in the National Honor Society and her volunteer work with United Allies. ____________________________________________________________________________ ​ Mr. Macaluso Although I’ve only had Mac as a teacher for this year, it feels like he’s been my English teacher forever. I was so excited to sign up for AP Literature at the beginning of senior year, and taking that class with him has only reinvigorated my excitement. For starters, he has the kind of genial personality that, upon meeting him, makes you feel like he’s someone you’ve known for years already. His endless patience and contagious laughter make for amazing classes in which many conversational tangents are pursued, but despite our deviations he was able to foster an amazing passion within all of us. It’s easy to tell that he finds so much fascination talking about any and all kinds of literature, and it’s hard not to be inspired to feel a similar way when taking classes with him. Thanks to Mr. Mac, our class has not only gained the tools to process literature better, but also to process life and the world around us. I can speak for the class when I say he has greatly influenced and enriched our academic experience for the better.
  • Troy CSD
    Maia Rua Maia has earned 24 college credits through Hudson Valley Community College. She has a grade point average of 97.47. She has taken advantage of all Troy High has to offer both academically and with extracurricular activities. She is a member of National Honor Society, Student Council Treasurer and Varsity Soccer Captain. Maia is also involved in our Journalism program doing the School News Broadcast. As a Junior Maia received the Lela B. Capron Scholarship which is given to an outstanding member of the Junior Class. ____________________________________________________________________________ ​ Mr. Kennedy The teacher that inspired me the most at Troy High School was Mr. Kennedy. Mr. Kennedy was my 11th grade US History teacher, which has become one of my favorite classes I’ve taken at Troy. He was an amazing, engaging, and a hilarious teacher and made me excited to learn every day. He was also extremely supportive during my college application process, providing me with advice and even a letter of recommendation.
  • Waterford-Halfmoon Jr/Sr High School
    Cassidy McClement Cassidy is an active and involved student in her school and community. She volunteers at community events including the annual dragon boat race, food drives and road races. She volunteers at the school's annual blood drive, toys for fundraisers and Thanksgiving food drives. She is also called upon to tutor her peers on a regular basis. Cassidy enjoys assisting others and is always quick to lend a helping hand. Cassidy has proven herself to be a true leader and role model in her school community. She readily takes on a leadership role in anything she is involved with. She is the president of National Honor Society, a captain of the varsity soccer team and treasurer of her class. Cassidy is graduating as the valedictorian of her class. She will be missed next year! ____________________________________________________________________________ ​ Helene Clinton Mrs. Clinton is always available to listen and give advice. She helped me to gain confidence in myself and become a better public speaker. She is more than just a teacher to her students and for that I am grateful.
  • Watervliet CSD
    Maria Barsoum Maria is an extremely hard worker. She pushes herself to do her best in all of her classes as well as extra curricular activities throughout the school community. Maria is a great contributor to the class and she sets a positive example for students to follow. She models respect, organization and diligence in her work. Maria is very respectful and has positive relationships with teachers, administrators and her peers. She is also very kind, always willing to look out for others and lend a helping hand. ____________________________________________________________________________ ​ Rebecca Sweeney Mrs. Sweeney has influenced me by making me realize that I don’t have to take things so seriously and she made me a happier person. She inspired me to work harder and she is an outstanding teacher. She’s compassionate, kind, and caring. She does everything in her power to help and we are honored to have her at our school.
  • WSWHE BOCES & South Glens Falls CSD
    Kierra Skaarup Kierra Skaarup is a graduating senior from South Glens Falls high school. She is also graduating from the Early College Career Academy's Business and Entrepreneurship program. She will be continuing her education at SUNY Geneseo with a major in Accounting. Over the past 4 years of high school she has been involved with various extra curriculars. Kierra held president position of No Place for Hate, a club she has been involved in since she was in 4th grade. Kierra was also restorative justice certified and a student facilitator all 4 years of high school. She helped plan different events over the course of her time as a facilitator. She is also a member of National Honor Society. ____________________________________________________________________________ ​ Megan Diehl Megan Diehl is the CTE instructor for the Early College Career Academy's Business and Entrepreneurship program. Mrs. Diehl is very dedicated to her students and molds her teaching style based off what the student needs. She is always available and willing to help. She goes above and beyond to help her students succeed, whether it be inside of the classroom or out. She has made an impact on my life in many ways. I have gained more than a teacher or a reference on a resume, I has gained a friend.
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