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Longtime Columbia High School Principal John Sawchuk, who joined the school in 1999 and became principal in 2006, spent his last day in school on Thursday. He is retiring and moving to North Carolina.

We asked students and staff to reflect on Mr. Sawchuk’s career and posted some of those messages below. You can share your own reflection on Mr. Sawchuk or send him well wishes on Facebook.

“On behalf of the East Greenbush Board of Education, I want to thank John for his many years of service to the school district and our students. His dedication to education is unsurpassed, especially to his ‘kids’ as he refers to the many students that have attended Columbia High School during his tenure there. He has been a terrific leader in providing opportunities for all students, but especially in supporting programs for students that give them hope to graduate. His motto of “Never, ever give up” will remain as a testament to the need for all students to know that we are here to support them and if they can stay true to that motto, they can be successful. We wish John and his family all the best in retirement.”
– Michael Buono, Board of Education President

“The Columbia PTSO would like to thank Mr. Sawchuk for all he has done for Columbia and its students!  Thank you John for putting kids first! Happy Retirement!”
– Alex DeMarco, Columbia PTSO President

“One of my favorite memories of John Sawchuk is one day he ‘fixed’ the sleeves on my t-shirt so I looked more ‘cool’ by rolling them up. Honestly, he is the most motivated and student oriented principal I have ever met.  We will miss him at Columbia, especially in the Reading Department, and will work to keep his programs alive.”
– Melissa Dupont, Columbia Reading Teacher

“Wishing you lots of relaxation and fun in your retirement. Thank you for all of your support and for caring so much for kids!”
– Chelsea Dyer, Columbia English Teacher

“Congratulations on your retirement! Don’t catch too much sun at the beach!”
– Christine Kawczak, Columbia Mathematics Teacher

“Mr. Sawchuk, Congratulations on an outstanding career! You have made a major positive impact on many students’ lives. Best of luck in your retirement.”
– Michael Leonard, Director of Athletics

“In my 30-year career, John has been the guy that has invested himself in kids!  He’s saved more kids than anyone I have been around.”
– James McHugh, Assistant Superintendent of Curriculum and Instruction

“Thank you for making such a huge impact on not only me but all of your students at Columbia. I’ll miss being able to say ‘good morning’ to you every day.”
– Nicole Presti ’19

“I wish Mr. Sawchuk many happy years in retirement and I hope that he looks back on his days as Columbia High School Principal with the fond memories of the students, staff members and families whose lives were positively influenced by his leadership.”
– Jeff Simons, Superintendent of Schools

“John, As you walk out to embrace your new journey, I offer a thank you for your dedication and commitment to the staff and students at Columbia, as well as to the community. You have led the way in good times and bad and put others ahead of yourself. You will be missed at Columbia High School. I wish you success in your next adventure and I know you will always support us from the outside as you did from the inside. You truly have made a difference.”
– Fran Sprague, Columbia Teaching Assistant

“Enjoy retirement!”
– Maddie Washock ’18

Congratulations! Enjoy the Carolinas. You will be missed!”
– Jess Winter ’18