CASDA Celebrates Capital Area Scholars

May 22, 2018


The 32nd Annual Scholars Recognition Dinner was held on May 16th at the Albany Marriott Hotel to celebrate students who demonstrate both outstanding scholarship and deep commitment to their school communities. More than 120 public, private and parochial schools from throughout the Greater Capital District nominated scholars who in turn honored a teacher who had made a significant impact on their education. The evening celebrated both the scholars’ high school achievements and their great potential to pursue their passions and shape their communities after graduation.


One of the highlights of the evening came when Dr. Lori Caplan, Superintendent of Watervliet City School District honored teachers who have been chosen by students more than five times during their careers as educators. Aileen Dirtadian of North Colonie, Andrew Welkey of Brunswick-Brittonkill and Laurie Darling-Guthiel of South Glens Falls received their 6th nominations. Janice Balogh of Maple Hill, John Styles of Schoharie and Michelle Szakmary of Troyreceived their 7th nominations. Bridget Galarneau of Shenendehowa and Kimberly Sabo of North Warren were recognized for an 8th time.  Glenn Giumarra of New Lebanon received his 9th nomination while Gary Gnirrep of Averill Park was chosen for a tenth time. Finally, in her last year of teaching Lorraine Ferrara of Catskill was chosen by a student for a 13th time!

Dr. Havidán Rodríguez, President of the University at Albany delivered a keynote address that celebrated the talent and dedication of the scholars and emphasized the relationships that support their success. He acknowledged the critical role that parents and family members play in supporting students and remarked upon the importance of altruism, determination and perseverance. Dr. Rodriguez urged students to “think globally and act locally,” emphasizing that remarkable gifts are accompanied by a responsibility to address the challenges of the future. His inspiring message was delivered with humor, warmth and candor, leaving an indelible impression upon students, family members and educators.


The Scholars Recognition Dinner celebrates the best that education has to offer. Dr. Rodriguez rightly emphasized the fact that education is fundamentally an exercise in community building and students, however talented, require the support of teachers and family members to help them fulfill their boundless potential.

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