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2017 Columbia graduationColumbia High School’s Class of 2017 graduated on Saturday afternoon, leaving behind guide rooms and gym class, clubs and concerts, proms and pep rallies. Most will move on to college, others will enter the workforce and some will join the military, but they are all be prepared for the next step in life.

Gianna Fiacco speaks at 2017 Columbia graduation

Class President Gianna Fiacco ’17 speaks at graduation.

“We have new futures awaiting us to make just as many wonderful memories at new locations and succeed in new ways,” said Class President Gianna Fiacco ’17. “Although many of us believe we will put our experiences at Columbia behind us, there is no denying that pieces of our amazing memories here will remain with us through our next endeavors. It feels like an end, but I promise it’s a beginning.”

The Class of 2017 left its mark in so many ways, whether it was in academics, athletics or the arts. But it was their leadership and service to others that seemed to outshine everything else.

Seniors mentored younger students in a new pilot program, they participated in a peer-to-peer anti-bullying program, led a 9/11 remembrance ceremony and supported a number of worthy causes throughout the year, such as CoNSERNS-U, the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, the Mohawk Hudson Humane Society and the Ronald McDonald House.

“This is one of the very best classes we have graduated,” said Principal John Sawchuk. “They have excelled in many areas, but most of all, I will remember them as really great people who never stopped caring about each other.”

Other speakers included Student Council President Devin Neal ’17, Valedictorian Anna Sesonske ’17, Salutatorian Yang Yang ’17, English teacher Meagan Asenbauer, Board of Education President Dr. Shay Harrison and Superintendent Jeff Simons.

2017 Columbia graduation

Mr. Simons congratulates a graduate on stage.

Mr. Simons, who is completing his first year leading East Greenbush Central School District, shared some life lessons with the graduates based on recent conversations he had with a few seniors, such as, draw strength from family and friends, count your blessings, choose something you love and pursue it with passion, and to believe in yourself.

He concluded by telling the new alumni that they always have a home in East Greenbush.

“Please know that you have friends, that you’re never alone, wherever you go, far or near, there are people right here in East Greenbush who care, who want to know how you’re doing, who will be watching your successes and who will be waiting right here if and when you need us.”

Congratulations to the Class of 2017!

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