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Back to Communications Home

District lauds great students

ALBANY, N.Y. (Oct. 4, 2017) – The outstanding students who appear in the City School District of Albany’s annual calendar were recognized on Oct. 3 at a special reception in Academy Park.

 

The calendar features students who stand out in a variety of ways. Some excel in academics, sports, fine arts, visual arts or performing arts. Others are actively involved in community service. Whatever their interests may be, they are all exceptional students who proudly represent their schools and the district as a whole.

 

The students were chosen last spring by their principal, and you can read more about their accomplishments below.

 

You can view pictures from the reception here. (A Facebook account is not necessary to view this content. A window may display the text "To see more from Albany City Schools on Facebook, log in or create an account," but this can be dismissed by clicking "not now."

Xavier Allen

William S. Hackett Middle School

Emerson Denno

New Scotland Elementary School

Theotis Johnson

Albany High School

Noman Al-tiri

Edmund J. O’Neal Middle School of Excellence

Eleanor Farrell

Stephen and Harriet Myers Middle School

Jessica Minaya Mejia

William S. Hackett Middle School

Khadija Astif

Pine Hills Elementary School

Zakirah Fiddemon

Albany High School

Shan’cere Morton

Philip J. Schuyler Achievement Academy

Roiyel Babb

North Albany Academy

Jasmine Flanagan

Giffen Memorial Elementary School

Vashti Sooknanan

Albany High School

Deshawn Caldwell

Stephen and Harriet Myers Middle School

Estrella Galindez

Sheridan Preparatory Academy

Sebastian Tenempaguay

Delaware Community School

Zaeqwan Cancer

Albany High School

Jazlyn Gorousingh

Albany School of Humanities (ASH)

Curtis Watson

Arbor Hill Elementary School

Christopher Cedeno

Albany High School

Junior Htoo

Thomas O’Brien Academy of

Science and Technology (TOAST)

Sophie Wilson

Montessori Magnet School

Reeve Churchill

Albany High School

Elijah Ivy

Eagle Point Elementary School

Clark Zafran

Albany High School

 

Xavier Allen

William S. Hackett Middle School eighth-grader Xavier Allen is a model student. He excels in everything he does, whether it be his academic work or one of the many extracurricular activities he is involved in. He is enrolled in the honors and music programs at Hackett, and his hard work and positive attitude consistently earn him a spot on the honor roll each quarter.

 

Among Xavier's greatest talents are his musical and theatrical abilities as an actor and performer. His talents have stolen the show in Hackett’s production of The Lion King as well as in his starring role in a community production of Charlie Brown. He has also brought the house down with performances during school concerts and at Hackett’s talent show.

 

More than just a student, Xavier is an ambassador who exemplifies to newly arriving students exactly what Hackett is all about. He is a great student and a great friend who loves his family and values his education. Xavier has continuously been a positive role model to his peers and it is these attributes that will undoubtedly provide him with the great future he deserves.

 

Hackett Middle School is proud to recognize Xavier as an exceptional student for 2017-18.

 

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Noman Al-tiri

Edmund J. O’Neal Middle School of Excellence is honored to count seventh-grader Noman Al-tiri as one of the first students to walk its halls.

One of seven sons in the Al-tiri family, Noman is a respectful, determined and intelligent scholar.

 

Noman approaches his education with a sense of diligence and perseverance that allows him to achieve success while challenging himself along the way. He is a good friend and polite gentleman who leads quietly by example, offering his assistance to students and teachers whenever needed.

 

Like his brothers before and after him, Noman is proud representation of the hard-working, driven and focused students in the City School District of Albany. His presence at O’Neal will bring nothing but great things for the district’s newest middle school.

 

That’s why Edmund J. O’Neal Middle School is proud to recognize Noman Al-tiri as an exceptional student for 2017-18.

 

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Khadija Astif

Second-grader Khadija Astif is a bubbly and kindhearted leader at Pine Hills Elementary School who is always enthusiastic about learning. She takes great pride in her education and enjoys learning about any and all subjects that help increase her already impressive base of knowledge.

 

Whether it be reading, writing, science, math or anything else, Khadija loves to let her creativity and artistic ability shine through in her work. Her willingness to tackle any problem in a creative manner is an inspiration to her peers and often helps motivate them to succeed alongside her.

 

Khadija is an outstanding role model who leads by example, and her hard-working nature, caring heart and outgoing personality make her a true ray of sunshine in the Pine Hills community.

 

Pine Hills Elementary is proud to recognize Khadija Astif as an exceptional student for 2017-18.

 

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Roiyel Babb

Out of the many friendly faces and smiles at North Albany Academy, third-grader Roiyel Babb’s is surely one of the brightest. Although she may speak quietly, her message is consistently one of positivity and success.

 

AVID, or Advancement Via Individual Determination, is the cornerstone of North Albany Academy. Roiyel exemplifies what AVID is about: She is Always responsible, Very respectful, Intentionally safe and above all else, Determined.

 

As she moves forward through her academic career, she displays a level of caring and friendship towards students and staff alike that genuinely warms the heart. Roiyel is always ready to help a friend with kind words and motivate them to achieve success alongside her.

 

Roiyel Babb is a proud AVID student and exceptional in all regards, and North Albany Academy is honored to recognize her as an exceptional student for 2017-18.

 

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Deshawn Caldwell

Stephen and Harriet Myers Middle School eighth-grader Deshawn Caldwell is both a scholar and a gentleman. He is committed to his education and works hard in the classroom, pushing himself daily to achieve the success he knows himself to be capable of.

 

Along with his academic work, Deshawn’s kindness and caring personality are pillars of the Myers community. A compassionate young man, Deshawn is always will to help out anyone in need, whether it be a fellow student or staff member.

 

Deshawn quietly leads by example at Myers, and regularly demonstrates to his peers the value of kindness and caring. Polite, friendly and having an overall positive approach to his education, Deshawn is an exceptional student in every sense of the word.

 

Myers Middle School is proud to recognize Deshawn Caldwell as an exceptional student for 2017-18.

 

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Zaeqwan Cancer

Albany High School senior Zaeqwan Cancer is an outstanding student-athlete whose leadership on the football field and dedication to his community have already earned him numerous recognitions.

 

Along with his academic achievements, Zaeqwan earned a Random Acts of Kindness Award from the Albany County District Attorney’s Office. He also was recognized as Athlete of the Week on WNYT-Channel 13 and Athlete of the Week on ESPN radio 104.5. In addition, he delivered a speech to the Board of Education about the importance of the My Brother’s Keeper mentoring program.

 

While his impressive work as a linebacker has certainly helped him earn these many awards, what truly distinguishes Zaeqwan is his dedication to helping others and giving back to the community, all done with a genuine smile and open heart.

 

Albany High School is proud to recognize senior Zaeqwan Cancer as an exceptional student for 2017-18.

 

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Christopher Cedeno

Albany High School senior Christopher Cedeno is a kind and intelligent young man who excels academically and pushes himself to make the most of his education at Albany High.

 

He takes multiple advanced placement courses and has a passion for learning. After the school day ends, he helps to instill the same passion for learning and discovery in younger students by working at the New York State Museum. His job there is to help students with their homework and to teach them about a wide variety of topics that they can experience in-depth at the museum.

 

After leaving his job at the museum, Christopher returns home where he continues to motivate others to learn, this time in the form of helping his little sister with her homework. Christopher is a thoughtful and well-rounded scholar whose passion for knowledge will help him continue to achieve great things throughout his life.

 

Albany High School is proud to recognize senior Christopher Cedeno as an exceptional student for 2017-18.

 

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Reeve Churchill

Albany High School senior Reeve Churchill is a model student-athlete who has achieved great successes both in the classroom and on the field. For the past two years she has served as captain of the girls’ lacrosse and tennis teams, motivating and inspiring them along the way.

 

She is a leader off the field as well, excelling in the upper-level classes she has taken during her years at Albany High School. In addition, she is an outstanding French horn player and singer who performs in the school wind ensemble and all-female Albanettes choir.

 

Her vibrant personality and compassion have positively affected her classmates, teachers and everyone she comes into contact with at Albany High.

 

Reeve plans to study environmental law at college, and counts foreign languages, candy and dogs among her other passions.

 

Albany High School is proud to recognize senior Reeve Churchill as an exceptional student for 2017-18.

 

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Emerson Denno

Despite his young age, New Scotland Elementary School student Emerson Denno shows compassion and kindness that is not often seen in a second-grader. Although opportunities may be limited for students his age to be community leaders, Emerson's community is his classroom and within this environment, he is truly a leader.

 

Emerson notices a sad classmate, or a classmate with special needs who struggles, and he helps them along the way. He befriends the child whose behavior and choices cause others to tease or shy away. Emerson comes to school with a beaming smile and an attitude that makes everyone at New Scotland have a better day for having seen it.

 

On top of his positive attitude, Emerson’s report card shows he exceeds every standard. He is never bored, however, because he challenges himself and always strives to be his personal best and to push himself further. He is exceptional in every sense of the word.

 

That’s why New Scotland Elementary School is proud to recognize Emerson Denno as an exceptional student for 2017-18.

 

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Eleanor Farrell

Seventh-grader Eleanor Farrell shines at Stephen and Harriet Myers Middle School each and every day, and she is truly an exceptional student. Academically, she is an intelligent young woman who is dedicated to her education and the pursuit of knowledge.

 

Eleanor challenges herself daily and displays a constant commitment to learning through hard work and determination. She applies this same sense of dedication outside the classroom as well. Eleanor is an active participant in chorus, band, athletics and numerous other extracurricular activities, and she strives to achieve her best in all fields.

 

Her positive attitude and friendly demeanor help make her a friend to students and staff alike, and her wonderful personality is a treasure valued by the Myers community. A role model to her peers in every sense, Eleanor is already busy laying the groundwork for the successes she will find in life through her sharp mind, bright outlook and strong work ethic.

 

Myers Middle School is proud to recognize Eleanor Farrell as an exceptional student for 2017-18.

 

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Zakirah Fiddemon

It’s an understatement to say that Albany High School senior Zakirah Fiddemon is dedicated to her education.

 

In an impressive display of motivation and determination, she will graduate in June of this year, one year ahead of schedule, after taking a broad base of honors and upper-level classes. She is a resilient learner who makes sure she excels in whatever area she applies herself, including an extensive catalog of volunteering and internship experiences.

 

This includes the mentorship program Zakirah founded for minority middle-school girls interested in the fields of science, technology, engineering and mathematics. She is a strong believer in the power of giving back, and aspires to become a physician so that she can continue to help the community.

 

Albany High School is proud to recognize senior Zakirah Fiddemon as an exceptional student for 2017-18.

 

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Jasmine Flanagan

Fourth-grader Jasmine Flanagan makes the honor roll nearly every quarter, but what truly impresses her teachers at Giffen Memorial Elementary School is her strength of character.

 

When Jasmine’s teacher nominated her for this award last year, she described knowing her as an “absolute pleasure.” Her teacher went on to say she began and ended each day by asking that Jasmine never change her incredibly positive outlook on life – which Jasmine promised she would not.

 

Jasmine is extremely polite towards her peers and her teachers, and never forgets a single “please,” “thank you” or “you’re welcome.” She is also very responsible and is trusted by her teachers to independently help with important tasks around the classroom and the school.

 

She also applies her caring personality to assist in mediating disagreements between her fellow students, and often takes control in group settings to calmly diffuse situations and make sure everyone’s voice is heard.

Jasmine is always ready to help out a fellow member of the Giffen community, all while continuing to push herself academically to meet her goals.

 

Giffen Memorial Elementary School is proud to recognize Jasmine Flanagan as an exceptional student for 2017-18.

 

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Estrella Galindez

Sheridan Preparatory Academy’s Estrella Galindez is a hard-working third-grader with a true dedication to learning. She will try her best on everything she does and often goes beyond what is required of her in all her efforts.

 

Aside from her motivation, Estrella is a loving, caring and compassionate student, and this is reflected in her attitude every day. She displays all these attributes in her friendships with her classmates, and she greets them every morning with a big hug and a beautiful smile.

 

Estrella tries to build a positive relationship with every single member of the Sheridan community, and is always willing to help a friend in need, especially if they are hurt or sad. She also has a deep admiration for her family members, and talks about them often.

 

In addition, Estrella loves to read, and she can regularly be found with a new chapter book in hand, reading to herself or to one of her peers. She enjoys creating her own detailed stories as well, and her creativity shines through her writing and the beautiful artwork and illustrations that accompany it.

 

Sheridan Prep is proud to recognize Estrella Galindez as an exceptional student for 2017-18.

 

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Jazlyn Gorousingh

Albany School of Humanities prides itself on instilling a sense of creativity and global citizenship in its students, and sixth-grader Jazlyn Gorousingh is the perfect example of the embodiment of these traits.

 

Jazlyn is a kind, caring and compassionate student who is always willing to help a friend and improve the day of everyone she passes in the halls at ASH. She works extremely well with others and is a leader in her classroom, with a positive attitude and upbeat spirit that inspires her peers. By doing these things, she helps improve the world around her each and every day in the spirit of global citizenship.

 

In terms of creativity, Jazlyn absolutely adores playing the ukulele, and is an enthusiastic participant in the school’s ukulele club. Along with her musical talents, she is an avid reader, who can frequently found with a new book in her hand. A truly well rounded student, she also enjoys athletics and enjoys playing volleyball and running track.

 

Gifted academically, creatively, athletically and in her character, Jazlyn is an outstanding example of the students ASH strives to help shape. 

 

Albany School of Humanities is proud to recognize Jazlyn Gorousingh as an exceptional student for 2017-18.

 

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Junior Htoo

Thomas O’Brien Academy of Science and Technology fifth-grader Junior Htoo excels in academics and regularly earns a much deserved spot on the high-honor roll each quarter. In addition to his sharp mind, Junior works extremely hard throughout the day in all subjects and shows a true devotion to his education. He is also kind and caring to his peers and teachers, and is a role model of student behavior who encourages his classmates to make positive choices. 

 

Junior’s interests and activities are quite extensive as well. Junior enjoys playing violin and soccer, is a computer mentor and has been selected as “athlete of the month” in physical education class. His artwork has been featured in the First Friday exhibition as well as at the Empire State Plaza.  He is also active in the gardening club and Junior Lego League. 

 

Junior is a respectful, responsible, safe and kind student who is a model to his peers in our school.  On top of all this, he has great sense of humor, is always smiling and is always enthusiastic about school and willing to participate in any activity.

 

TOAST is proud to recognize Junior Htoo as an exceptional student for 2017-18.

 

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Elijah Ivy

Sixth-grader Elijah Ivy is a young man with a contagious smile whose positive attitude and eagerness to learn make him an extremely valuable member of Eagle Point Elementary’s learning community.

 

He is a focused and determined student who continuously works hard to achieve and surpass whatever goals he lays out for himself for the school year. He regularly makes double-digit gains on his assessments throughout the year.

 

Elijah excels when working with his fellow students as well, and is a positive role model. He makes a conscious effort to stay on task and provide helpful, insightful and productive comments to motivate his classmates to succeed.

 

This same sense of teamwork and support can be found in Elijah when he is engaged in athletics, where he exhibits good sportsmanship and balances the responsibility of being a student-athlete on a daily basis.

 

Elijah’s compassion and dedication to community service are just one more aspect of what makes him an exemplary student. When he was chosen for this distinction at the end of last school year, he shared that his favorite memory was when he and his classmates visited a nursing home to read to the elderly.

 

Eagle Point Elementary School is proud to recognize Elijah Ivy as an exceptional student for 2017-18.

 

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Theotis Johnson

Albany High School senior Theotis Johnson is a bright, respectful and responsible young man who enjoys a passion for history.

 

He is dedicated and hardworking, and balances his school work with his after-school job at Market 32.

 

Theotis takes great pride in being involved in community events, and goes out of his way to give back and help others.

 

A member of the Law Enforcement Explorer Program operated in conjunction with the Albany County Sheriff’s Office, Theotis plans to study criminal justice and sociology. His goal is to become a police officer so that he can continue to protect and help the community.

 

That’s why Albany High is proud to recognize Theotis Johnson as an exceptional student for 2017-18.

 

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Jessica Minaya Mejia

Jessica  Minaya Mejia is a seventh-grade student at William S. Hackett Middle School. She arrived to the United States from the Dominican Republic and enrolled in the Dual Language Program at Delaware Community school, where she excelled in not just one but two languages. Jessica transitioned to Hackett with ease, quickly becoming a role model for her peers in middle school.

 

She takes her education and her school work very seriously, and she never hesitates to seek out assistance if she needs it. As a result of her hard work and dedication, she has continuously made Honor Roll each quarter at Hackett.

 

Outside of school, Jessica enjoys singing, spending time with her family, being outside, riding her bike and drawing. On Sundays, Jessica sometimes will assist with teaching Sunday school lessons to the younger children who attend her church.

 

Jessica is an inspiration to others both in the classroom and the community, and she plans to continue to helping others in the future.

 

Hackett Middle School is proud to recognize Jessica Minaya Mejia as an exceptional student for 2017-18.

 

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Shan’cere Morton

Fifth-grader Shan'cere Morton is a diligent and kind student who always gives above and beyond what is asked of him at Philip Schuyler Achievement Academy. Over the years Shan'cere has blossomed into the caring and respectful young man he is today.

 

His good nature and positive attitude make him a friend to all around him, whether students or staff, and he is always willing to lend a hand to help make someone else’s day better.

 

Safe, kind, caring, responsible and respectful, Shan'cere is truly an exceptional student who serves as a role model to his peers. He is a shining representation of the potential of each and every one of the young scholars at Schuyler Achievement Academy, and could not be a more fitting recipient.

 

Schuyler Achievement Academy is proud to recognize Shan'cere Morton as an exceptional student for 2017-18.

 

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Vashti Sooknanan

Albany High School junior Vashti Sooknanan is a quiet and reserved student who leads by example.

 

Although she may be soft-spoken, there is no mistake that she is kind and caring, and an academically gifted scholar. She is a good friend to those in need and is well-respected by peers and teachers alike.

 

She enjoys all areas of study, but Vashti names mathematics as her favorite. You may remember that VOSH-tee is the young woman peering out from under the hood of a car in her calendar photo. That’s only fitting, since she has a strong interest in automotive technologies that was nurtured at Albany High’s Abrookin Career and Technical Center. She’s now considering pursuing a career in the field.

Whatever profession she chooses, she is certain to succeed through her intelligence, dedication, and determination.

 

Albany High School is proud to recognize Vashti Sooknanan as an exceptional student for 2017-18.

 

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Sebastian Tenempaguay

Sebastian Tenempaguay is currently in fourth grade at Delaware Community School and has been an exceptional student since his arrival there in prekindergarten. Throughout the years, Sebastian has consistently proven to be an extremely driven student who always tries his hardest and puts forth his best effort.

 

Sebastian is often described as one of the politest, most caring and kind-hearted students to have attended Delaware. He has friendly relationships with all his fellow students and staff, and always follows expectations without any reminders.

 

And Sebastian is succeeding in not just one language, but two. Fluent in English and Spanish, he is a bilingual student whose family moved here from Ecuador after he was born. It is students like Sebastian who keep the Dual Language program thriving at Delaware, and he is the ideal role model of a successful bilingual student.

 

He and his mother always are always eager to be included in any extracurricular activity, and they both are truly an outstanding addition to the Delaware community.

 

Delaware Community School is proud to recognize Sebastian Tenempaguay as an exceptional student for 2017-18.

 

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Curtis Watson

Fourth-grader Curtis Watson is an exceptional student inside and outside the classroom at Arbor Hill Elementary School. A student of character and integrity, Curtis can always be counted on to do the right thing and inspire others to do the same.

 

He is always respectful and leads by example, demonstrating on a daily basis what it means to be a successful student. Curtis has been involved in reading enrichment groups as well as accelerated math, where his commitment and determination shine through.

 

Whether it be in art or music, in the classroom or on the sports field, Curtis is a hard-working individual who knows that through his determination and positive attitude he is capable of achieving great things in life.

 

Curtis is a wonderful role model for all of his fellow students and sets a great example each and every day at Arbor Hill. He exemplifies the values of hard work and strength of character, and helps inspire his peers to strive for success alongside him.

 

Arbor Hill Elementary is proud to recognize Curtis Watson as an exceptional student for 2017-18.

 

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Sophie Wilson

Second-grader Sophie Wilson is a student who embodies the spirit of Montessori Magnet School. She is the latest in her family to thrive in the City School District of Albany, following two older brothers and an older sister who proudly call themselves Albany Falcons.

 

Sophie challenges herself each day in school and always completes her assignments with impeccable neatness and accuracy. She is a risk-taker who is never afraid to try something new, and during her years at Montessori, her love for nature and science has flourished.

 

She is a strong advocate for resolving conflicts between friends peacefully, and regularly serves as a mediator. As a result, Sophie is often sought out by her classmates for help and support. ​

 

Montessori Magnet School is proud to recognize Sophie Wilson as an exceptional student for 2017-2018 school year.

 

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Clark Zafran

Albany High School sophomore Clark Zafran is an enthusiastic and talented young man whose upbeat personality brightens the day of those around him.

 

He is very active in Albany High’s music scene as a member of the Troubadors all-male choir and the symphonic concert band.

 

Clark has a history of musical talent within the City School District of Albany, and served as a wind ensemble band leader while in eighth grade at Hackett Middle School. There, he was shadowed by elementary students and he inspired them to pursue their musical ambitions.

 

Clark motivates youth outside the district as well, working as counselor assistant for 4H camp. Clark proudly represents the wealth of creative talent that exists at Albany High, and as he continues his time there, these talents will grow along with him.

 

Albany High School is proud to recognize Clark Zafran as an exceptional student for 2017-18

 

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The mission of the City School District of Albany is to educate and prepare all students for college and career, citizenship and life, in partnership with our diverse community. The district serves nearly 9,700 students in 18 elementary, middle and high schools. In addition to neighborhood schools, the district includes several magnet schools and programs, as well as other innovative academic opportunities for students, including four themed academies at Albany High School.

         
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