East Greenbush CSD Voters Approve School Budget and Capital Project

East Greenbush Central School District residents approved the proposed school budget for 2024-25 earlier today, as well as a $116 million capital project and the purchase of eight new school buses with the highest voter turnout since 2017 (excluding mail in vote of 2020).

Vote Results

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Nicholas Pugliese receives an award at the 2023 Columbian Awards.

Nicholas Pugliese ’23 receives a Science Research award at the 2023 Columbian Awards.

EDITOR’S NOTE: The Columbian Evening Awards, which were held on June 12, were added to the bottom of this story.

Columbia High School students were recognized for their achievements in academic subject areas, research, athletics, the arts, community service and more at the 2023 Columbian Awards on Friday morning in the school auditorium. The event was hosted by Student Council.

Special performances included the Columbia Chamber Singers and CHS Talent Show winner Cheyenne Bott.

The CHS Jazz Band provided music throughout the awards show.

“This is a special event and important to acknowledge the hard work of our students who earned the awards today,” said Principal Michael Harkin. “I’m always impressed with our Student Council who organizes and runs the Columbian Awards. I always tell people we have the greatest student-run award show on the planet.”

Additional awards, including Valedictorian and Salutatorian, were given out on June 12 at the Columbian Evening Awards. (These awards are listed below).

Congratulations to all of the award winners!

Columbian Day Awards

Excellence in Art Award Sophia Arduini

Allison Beattie

Laney Broglio

Zoe Collins

Isabelle Crossman

Sofia Fruggiero

Brooke Hadley

Tanner Malone

Thomas Molloy

Jenna Prescott

Michelina Rowny

Lillian Thomas

Katelyn Watts

Edward L. Witko Scholarship

Edward Witko lived for his family, friends and chosen profession.  In his ten year career in law enforcement, he served with honesty, integrity and loyalty and was admired by all.  He trained with an intensity that gave all who knew him comfort in knowing that he was part of us.  In August of 2010, Officer Edward L. Witko died tragically while participating in a motorcycle benefit run for Combat Veterans.  This scholarship will be dedicated to the memory of Edward Witko, #29

Natalie Herkenham
Perfect Attendance

Perfect Attendance – All Four Years of High School

Dawson Cimijotti

Henry Heeps

Participation in Government 

The following PIG Projects were selected as the winners at our Fall and Spring Assemblies.

Winning Bill – Fall 2022

Closing the Gap

Winning Bill – Spring 2023

$600 1099 Form Reversal

Zachary Booth

Emma Hart

Alaina Marino

Grace Muamba

Logan Bradshaw

Sean-Paul Charland

Henry Dreisenstock

Colby Hoffman

Distinction in Economics

In recognition of their academic excellence in Economics.

Fall Semester

Madison Arsenault

Jack Bennett

Hayden Brady

Sarah Donovan

Christian Goodermote

Naim Greenberg-Nielsen

Julia Harbour

Jenna Lallier

Isabella Marte

Nicholas Pugliese

Mylah Rosbozom

Kathleen Szczesniak

Justine Senecal

Jescyka Thompson

Spring Semester

Akshat Arinav

Jacob Baker

Harinisri Conji

Julianna Demers

Madeline Epping

Austin Ernst

Naim Greenberg-Nielsen

Theodore Howard

Emily Koenig

Dylan Marx

Akkhil Morkonda

Kaelyn Pagones

Shea Thorpe

Jake Tucker

Maile Wargacki

Seana Weerakoon

The Key Club Award 

Best demonstrated the ideals of Key Club through service and leadership. 

Molly Graiff

Maha Khair

Anna Reilly

The Key Club Service Award

This award is presented in recognition of your enthusiastic commitment to Key Club

Jayla Dudley

Madison Groves

Lauren Prusky

Eva Roberts

Talent Show Winner Shea Thorpe
Red Cross Community Service Award

Presented to a student member of the blood drive recruitment team for his or her dedication and hard work in assisting Columbia with its blood drive goal for the 2022-2023 school year.

Isabelle Crossman
Student Council Constant Contributor Award

Presented to a Student Council member who has demonstrated exceptional leadership for all four years of high school.

Emma Marchiony
Student Council Outstanding Contributor Award

Presented to an active Student Council member who has not held an elected position but has demonstrated extraordinary dedication to the school community above and beyond her peers.

Naim Greenberg-Nielsen
Peer Leadership Award

Awarded to students who have displayed exceptional leadership qualities in club functions and meetings.

Ellie Keenholts
Devil’s Advocate Award for Excellence in Journalism:

Outstanding Service Award for Layout and Design Editor in Chief

Outstanding Service Award for Contributing Editor

Certificate of Appreciation

Lena Bromberg

Maya Derico

Sydney Gier

Molly Graiff

Joshua Trop

Drea VanVranken

Smith College Book AwardAwarded to an outstanding junior female student who exemplifies academic achievement, leadership qualities and concern for others. Allison Hedgepeth
Williams Book Award

Awarded to a junior in the top 5% of the graduating class who has demonstrated intellectual leadership and has made a significant contribution to the extracurricular life of the school.

Roan Butterfield

Caitlin Weinheimer

The Traditions of Drama Award

Awarded to a senior who has contributed significantly to an understanding of a love for dramatic works within our school and/or community.

Aidan Halsey
English Department Distinguished Scholar Award

Awarded to the senior who has consistently demonstrated a passion for the English Language and achieved excellence within English studies for four years.

Shea Thorpe
Harvard University Book Award

Awarded to a junior who has achieved excellence in academic studies while participating in worthwhile extracurricular activities

Commitment to Advancement in English Language Arts Award

Awarded to a student who has demonstrated a concerted effort in all English classes and has shown significant advancement in reading, writing and analytical skills.

Luke Savage

Madeline Hansen

Student Sage College Scholarship

Awarded to the juniors who exhibit characteristics of academic excellence, student leadership and community involvement.

Kylee Church

Molly Graiff

Elmira College Key Award

Awarded to a junior in recognition of high school achievement, leadership, citizenship and participation in extracurricular activities.

Sophia Cunningham
St. Bonaventure Reilly Scholarship Award

Awarded to those that have a keen interest in service, celebrating diversity, students who demonstrate an interest in acquiring a great depth of broad knowledge at a liberal arts institution, and those who will embrace the mission and values of St. Bonaventure.

Colin DeMarco

Samuel Desany

Hailey Jakielaszek

Abigail Prusky

Alfred University Scholars Award

Awarded to one student in recognition of outstanding character and academic curiosity.

Jillian Bennett
Alfred University : Inamori School of Engineering/Ceramic Association of New York Scholastic Recognition Award

Awarded to a student who demonstrates a solid mathematical and scientific background while also excelling in English. 

Brendan Kurimsky
High Point University

Nominated junior who has established a strong academic record and is an engaged member of their school and community.

Presented to a sophomore who embodies strong performance in the classroom and who wants to make a difference in this ever-evolving world.   

Alexis Szemplinski

Giovanni LaPietra

St. Michael’s College Book Award

This is awarded to students who exhibit the characteristics of an ideal St. Michael student, based specifically on achievement in academics and community service.   

Henry Collins

Kamilla Conboy

St. Lawrence University Book Award

Awarded to a high school junior who has displayed a significant commitment to community service.

Mandy Sheehan
UNIVERSITY OF VERMONT: Citizen Scholar Book Award 

Awarded to a junior who has demonstrated both outstanding dedication to scholarship inside the classroom and impressive duty to citizenship outside the classroom.

Taquasha Jones
Hudson Valley Community College Book Award

Recipient is chosen because of his or her hard work and individuality.

Kaitlin Childs
Clarkson University High School Awards

Presented to members of the junior class who demonstrate outstanding leadership qualities and have made positive contributions to both school and community.  They will qualify for a tuition scholarship should they choose to enroll at Clarkson University.

Shane Baker (Achievement)

Aiden Dailey (Leadership)

Columbia High School Chamber Singers The Call
Wells College 21st Century Leadership Award

Each year a distinguished group of students are selected and recognized by Wells College for their leadership ability, community involvement and academic excellence.  This award honors commitment to academics and student leadership.  This program is designed to honor these students who embody the spirit, integrity and intellectual qualities of a strong leader.

Alexis Kandakai

Christopher Uttendorfer 

World Language Department Awards

This award recognizes academic achievement in the study of world language.

Lillian Alessi (French)

Camdyn Erwell (German)

Shea Thorpe (Spanish)

World Language Department Awards

This award recognizes effort, commitment and enthusiasm to the study of world language.

Zoe Sheridan (French)

Julia Harbour (German)

Isabella Marte (Spanish)

Faculty Consideration

This award is presented to the most considerate senior in the graduating class.

Nicholas Pugliese
Faculty Service Award

Awarded to the student who has shown significant assistance to Columbia staff.

Isabelle Crossman
Columbia High School Future Business Leaders of America Outstanding Leadership Award

Awarded to students who have been active participants in Columbia’s chapter of FBLA and have successfully led the members to reach the goals of this National Organization.

Zachary Booth

Tori Patrissy

Jescyka Thompson

Achievement for Top Sales for FBLA FundraiserRecognition of Leadership Role in Future Business Leaders of America

Successful Completion of a Technical Endorsement in Business

The following students have successfully completed 3.5 credits of business courses (some of which students earned Hudson Valley Community College credits). Students have completed a Pathway in Accounting/Finance, Business Management Administration and/or Computer Applications for Business to obtain a Technical Endorsement on their Diploma through the New York State Education Department.

Tasyanna Reynolds

Jescyka Thompson

Henry Collins

Jake Baker

Kyle Blake

Joseph Demarest

Jescyka Thompson

Peyton Walters

Business and Marketing Honor Society Award Inductees

The following students have demonstrated high academic achievement in business courses.  In addition, these students have proven good character, leadership, and service in business education.

Jake Baker

Kyle Blake

Alyssa Cronkhite

Joseph Demarest

Madeline Hansen

Grayson Przybylek

Arricca Silliman

Jescyka Thompson

Peyton Walters

SRP Outstanding Business Student Award

Given to a senior business student who has excelled in Business education in memory of all departed members of the East Greenbush School Related Personnel support staff.

Jake Baker

Kyle Blake

NFP – Dignum and Bame Insurance Agency Awards for Excellence in the Field of Business

Recognition for Achievement in Business Courses

Recognition for Most Improved in Business Courses

Peyton Walters

Alyssa Cronkhite

Rensselaer Medal Award

To recognize the superlative academic achievement of young men and women as well as promising juniors who have distinguished themselves in mathematics and science.

Shannon Breimer
US Air Force Excellence in Math and Science Award





Caleb Curtis

Evan Rainville

Shane Baker

Akshat Arinav

NYS Mathematics League Award for Excellence

Columbia High School has participated in the NYS Mathematics League for more than 25 years.  There are six contests during the school year which draw problems from a wide range of high school topics.  Out of more than 140 Columbia students who participated, this student achieved the highest score.

Theodore Howard

Akkhil Morkonda

Columbia Players Award

Best Actor

Best Actress

Best Actress

Best Supporting Actor

Best Supporting Actress

Best “Best Friend”

Best “Best Friend”

Best Ensemble Member

Best Ensemble Member

Best Stage Manager

Aidan Halsey

Emma O’Kane

Lucia Soliman

Kaden Witte

Molly Graiff

Allison Hedgepeth

Elianah Kong

Reid Schiermeyer

Shaylee Hanshe

Luke Savage

First Place Winner of the CHS Talent Show Cheyenne Bott
Ethnic Coalition Inclusion Award

Presented to a senior who demonstrates an overwhelming desire to promote equality, acceptance and respect for all within our school community.

Estreya Bennett

Niyah Ventrice

PE Student of the Year Award Jake Tucker

Maile Wargacki

Columbia Strength and Conditioning  Award Zakkary Ciliberti

Piper Gardner

CAP Achievement Award

Presented to the student who has shown excellence in academics, citizenship and exemplifies kindness to others.

Tyler DiLallo
The Labyrinth Award 

Presented to a student for their Dedication to the Club and Publication

Molly Graiff
Science Department Awards Madeline Epping (Biology)

Evan Rainville (Chemistry)

Aneira Bailey (Earth Science)

Kyle Hebler (Environmental Science)

Theodore Howard (Physics)

Akshat Arinav (Cumulative Excellence in Science)

Austin Ernst (Cumulative Excellence in Science)

Theodore Howard (Cumulative Excellence in Science)

Alaina Marino (Cumulative Excellence in Science)

Tori Patrissy (Cumulative Excellence in Science)

Science Research

To be a graduate of this program, students must create and perform authentic research experiments under the direction of a supervising scientist.  Science research is a rigorous program which requires time management skills, presentation and writing skills, and research skills in a laboratory or field setting.  Students have spent hundreds of hours on their projects and they should be very proud  The following seniors have stood the test of time and completed the three year program in grand fashion.

Jacob Baker

Zachary Booth

Laney Broglio

Harinisri Conji

Emily Koenig

Alaina Marino

Nicholas Pugliese

RIT Awards

This award recognizes high school juniors who have distinguished themselves academically, are active and involved members of their school and community, and demonstrate outstanding achievement in:

Art and Design

Business and Leadership

Humanities and Social Sciences

Science and Math

Women in STEM

Emma Gentile

Matthew Kardash

Rachel Clarke

Neil Paul

Shannon Breimer

Keuka College: George Ball Community Achievement Award

Awarded to students that demonstrate academic excellence, leadership, service, social responsibility, integrity, and an appreciation for diversity.

Christiana Curtis

Berlinda Fleurimond

Teagan Kreshik

Rachel Skumurski

Len Michon Memorial Social Studies Department Award 

Honors the memory of Leonard Michon who was a beloved teacher and Supervisor of Social Studies in East Greenbush for many years.  Given to the student who has demonstrated outstanding character, scholarship, leadership and service.

Shea Thorpe
Mayflower Award

Awarded to two students who have demonstrated proficiency in the study of U.S. History and understanding of its Constitution.

Madeline Epping

Brian Tobin

RHO KAPPA National Social Studies Honor Society 

Membership in RHO KAPPA is an honor bestowed

upon a student by a local chapter for his or her

accomplishments in the field of social studies and

overall academic achievement.

Raychelle Adadjo

Madison Arsenault

Jacob Baker

Jake Baker

Zachary Booth

Laney Broglio

Hariharan Conji

Harinisri Conji

Sarah Donovan

Christian Goodermote

Naim Greenberg-Nielsen

Julia Harbour

Natalie Herkenham

Emily Koenig

Joshua McKinney

Grace Muamba

Tori Patrissy

Zachary Teresco

Shea Thorpe

Brian Tobin

Jake Tucker

Seana Weerakoon

Evan Witte

Aidan Yonally

Columbian Evening Awards

Board of Education Pepsi Awards

Seniors demonstrating academic excellence and exemplary citizenship in the high school community and who are interested in pursuing post-secondary education in one of the designated areas.

Art/Fine Arts

Social Studies/English Language Arts


Career and Technical Education/Business

Laney Broglio

Julia Harbour

Henry Heeps

Laney Broglio

Timothy J. Murphy Foundation Scholarship

Awarded to a student who is either a child or grandchild of a public safety officer or pursuing a career in law enforcement in honor of Police Detective Timothy J. Murphy of the Albany Police Department.

Garrett Silvernell
NYS Comptroller Achievement Award

Student who has excelled academically and shown leadership potential by volunteering time to serve the school or community.

Julianna Demers

Tanner Silvernell

NYS Attorney General Triple “C” Awards

Recognizes students who, by their character, courage and commitment, reflect the highest values in their school and the community.

Nicole Donah

Jarius Scott

EGCSD Education Foundation Awards 

Awarded for academic achievement and community service 

Rachel Ostiguy
Assemblyman Ashby Service in Action AwardTo recognize students who demonstrate a commitment to

volunteering and are actively serving their community with their time and talents.  We honor these students who exhibit sustained commitment to service to their community.

Isabelle Crossman

Isaac Ladd

Liza Warner Memorial Scholarship

This award recognizes graduating seniors who are pursuing further education in Cosmetology, Business and Criminal Justice.

Laney Broglio
Christopher Bascom Memorial Scholarship

Established in 2004 to commemorate Christopher’s life that was taken away so tragically by a hit and run driver.  To honor and perpetuate Christopher’s memory, financial assistance will be awarded to deserving seniors who possess and exhibit many of the same qualities that made Chris such a special and fine young man.  His spirit, which truly defined him, was his compassion and willingness to help others; his enthusiasm, delightful sense of humor and fun loving personality; his motivation that brought out the best in others; his love of history and great interest in sports and most importantly his loyalty, love and devotion to his family and friends.

Madeline Epping

Christian Goodermote

Jescyka Thompson

Alan G. Hall Outstanding Business Leader Award

Presented to a senior who demonstrates an outstanding work ethic, motivation to excel, personal integrity, compassion for others, and a strong interest in business or science.

Kyle Blake
The Mary Lally Memorial Scholarship

This scholarship was started in 2022 to honor the legacy of a beloved Special Education Teacher at Columbia High School. This award is given to a graduating senior from the Academic Skills Program that embodies the characteristics of kindness, patience, positivity, and acceptance.

Judah Berry
Van Rensselaer Star Chapter No. 256 Order of the Eastern Star State of NY

Awarded to a senior who exhibits charity, truth and loving kindness.

Estreya Bennett
Director’s Excellence in Technology Service Award (DEITSA)

Awarded to seniors who have volunteered their time in serving the technology needs of their fellow students and who intend to pursue a career in the technology field. 

Mark Poris
The Republican Women’s Club of Columbia and Rensselaer Counties Scholarship

Awarded to a student who exhibits the Republican values of freedom, individualism, and patriotism.  

Mylah Rosbozom
Julia O. Wells Memorial 

The foundation offers a monetary award to be given to a senior who plans to pursue a career in professional nursing. 

Adeline Nizer
The Jean M. Coon Humanitarian Award

Presented to a junior or senior student who performs outstanding community service.

Julia Harbour
The Doug and Lynda Porter Scholarship

The Doug and Lynda Porter Scholarship Committee will award one scholarship in the amount of $500 to a Columbia High School graduating senior who has excelled in and has a genuine interest in math and music.  This award was made possible by the generous gift of Mr. and Mrs. Porter who were longtime teachers in the music and math departments in the EGCSD. The recipient chosen best exemplifies a well-rounded academic and musical individual.

Jake Tucker
George Eastman Young Leaders Award  

Awarded to the student who has shown strong leadership, high grades with challenging courses and extensive involvement in extracurricular activities.  The award recognizes future leaders who may have an impact on our world.

Hailey Jakielaszek
University of Rochester – Xerox Award for Innovation and Information Technology

Presented to a student who shares in the pursuit of innovative approaches and has appreciation for the possibilities of technology.

Inara Ilse
Frederick Douglass and Susan B. Anthony Award

Awarded to a student who has demonstrated commitment to understanding and addressing difficult social issues as well as showing leadership and a dedication to community action.  Strong grades and rigorous courses taken throughout their years in the humanities and social sciences.

Drea VanVranken
Jack Stewart/Ann Collins Scholarship

Presented to students who exemplify the principles of the Elks, which is to bring charity, justice, brotherly love, and fidelity to your community.

Christopher Eldred

Amanda Shufelt

The Steve McLaughlin Rensselaer County Executive Scholar-Athlete Leadership Award

This award is given to two students who have demonstrated exceptional leadership on the field of play, in the classroom, and in the community.

Tanner Malone

Helen McHugh

Elks Most Valuable Student Award

Presented to a senior based on their academics, athletics, community service, extracurricular activities and essay.

Julia Harbour
Walter J. Freitag Memorial Scholarship

This scholarship is awarded to a student accepted to a college and major in an engineering field, who demonstrates high academic achievement, exhibits community involvement/volunteerism and is civic-minded.

Julianna Demers
The Ruth Hurr Memorial Scholarship

Awarded to a senior who has demonstrated academic excellence in social studies using effective writing and research as well as showing civic responsibility and good citizenship.

Laney Broglio
Christine Wurstlin, M.D.  Memorial Science Award

Presented to a student who has achieved outstanding accomplishments in the field of science and has demonstrated exceptional scientific curiosity or potential.

Alaina Marino
Wurstlin Family Memorial Science Scholarship

Awarded to a sophomore who has maintained a strong academic record in the sciences during the first two years of high school.

Ei Aung
Jean M. Tracy Memorial English Department Award for Excellence

To a senior who has consistently demonstrated excellence in English expression combined with a deep respect for the traditions of literature.

Kayla Simons
Susan Smetana Award

Awarded to an English 9R or 11R student who demonstrated high academic standards and a strong background in community service.

Kylee Church
East Greenbush Teachers’ Association Awards

4 year – Student enrolled in a 4 year program leading to a teaching certificate

2 year – Student enrolled in a 2 year program leading to an associates degree

Natalie Faas

Laney Broglio

Rotary Club Citizenship Award

Awarded to a student who excelled academically and volunteered in the community.

Tenley Soroko
C.T. Male Associates

Certificate of Excellence recognizing academic achievement, service in the community, and interest in pursuing a career in Engineering

Joshua McKinney
Dr. Lori A. Farnan Award

Presented to a senior who plans on entering the field of medicine and who has displayed exceptional academic ability and community service.

Tori Patrissy
Farnan Family Award

Presented to a senior who plans on entering the business or communication fields, who has shown commitment to volunteerism, and who has displayed extraordinary teamwork and dedication in athletics or other extracurricular activities. Presented by Ryan Farnan and family who are grateful for the support, lessons and friendships received as part of the East Greenbush community.

Kyle Blake
Shirley Kelly Scholarship

This scholarship is awarded to a student accepted to a college and major in an education and career in elementary education. 

Mylah Rosbozom
NextStep Federal Credit Union Community Service Award

Awarded to a senior who has demonstrated a continued commitment to community service.

Morgan Donnelly
Thomas Bellisario Scholarship

Awarded to graduating seniors who have navigated hardships, are dealing with adversity, or have overcome adversity.

Austin Ernst

Christian Goodermote

Knights of Pythias Award

Albany City Lodge No. 540 Knights of Pythias Achievement Award presented for extra-curricular activities and/or community endeavors.

Niyah Ventrice
The Hope Chapel Citizenship Award

Presented to students who have best exemplified not only being sensitive to those around them, but have gone out of their way to help. 

Madeline Gruber

Lucas Jensen

The 4-H Teen Ambassador Council Scholarship

Presented to members of the Cornell Cooperative Extension of Rensselaer County 4-H Teen Ambassador Council for their 

outstanding achievements and allegiance to Rensselaer County 4-H.

Kaylie Millar
The following Music Awards were given out at our Spring Concert:
John Phillip Sousa Band Award

For over forty-five years, thousands of US high schools have chosen this award to honor their most deserving senior band student.  The Sousa Award recognizes superior musicianship, leadership, dependability, loyalty and cooperation; qualities that directors strive to develop in all students.

Austin Ernst
Justin Russell Memorial Jazz Award

This award is given in the memory of a Jazz Band student who died in an alcohol-related incident and is given to the senior who best demonstrates the spirit that was Justin Russell – enthusiasm, dedication and a love for playing. 

Theodore Howard
National School Orchestra Award

Given to a senior who has shown outstanding performance and commitment to the orchestra.

Sarah Millet

Ava Zeolla

National School Choral Award

Given to a senior who has shown outstanding performance and commitment to the chorus

Madeline Epping

Aidan Halsey

East Greenbush Friends of Music Association Music Enrichment Award 



Shea Thorpe

Harinisri Conji

Lucy Nguyen

Eastman Award

The Eastman Award recognizes a high school junior who has demonstrated superior musicianship on his or her instrument and has contributed positively to the school musical environment.   

Caitlin Weinheimer
Salutatorian Shea Thorpe
Valedictorian Teddy Howard