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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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
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