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  • Passion for reading leads to semifinalist win in international competition 

    Posted by Alicia Smith on 9/30/2022 1:00:00 PM

    Alexander Hamilton High School Sophomore Brianna Rose was having a casual dinner with her aunts when she took a gander at her phone, a common thing for a teenager to do. 

     

    She scrolled through her school-issued email; after all it was Friday, and she would have assignments to complete over the weekend. What she didn’t expect to find was an email from the Ayn Rand Institute. Girl in pink sweater

     

    As a freshman in Keith Egan’s Honors English class at Alexander Hamilton High School, the class had been assigned to read Ayn Rand’s “Anthem” and submit an essay to an international competition that was sponsored by the institute. 

     

    The email informed her that she was a semifinalist in the competition that had students submitting their work from countries including Canada, Nigeria and South Korea. 

     

    “For the rest of dinner, it was all I could think about,” Brianna said. She notified her parents immediately, who shared her excitement.

     

    “When we entered the competition, I didn’t expect anything to come out of it. But as soon as I finished the book, I began to write my essay. I really liked the book. It’s such a different point of view. It stayed with me.” 

     

    “Anthem” is a dystopian novella first published in 1937. It tells the story of a man named Equality-7-2521 who lives in a society where technology and individualism have been suppressed. The man rebels and escapes with his girlfriend, who he was forbidden to fall in love with. The two plan to create their own society. 

     

    In describing the story, Brianna said that the main character uses his selfishness for his own self-interest - something that is strongly discouraged in society. 

     

    “It’s such a different point of view from what we are used to,” Brianna said. “We are told that selfishness is a negative. From my point of view, sometimes you need to be selfish to get by in life.” 

     

    The book is one that Mr. Egan has his freshmen class read, in part, because “Rand referred to her book as a ‘hymn to man's ego.’ It is the story of the struggle of the individual versus the collective, totalitarian society. The novella asks students to question which philosophy of life allows a human being to be truly free and a society to truly progress. ‘Anthem’ offers the opportunity for deep thought and complex debate.” 

     

    It also affords students an opportunity to write and to share their writing. Mr. Egan stressed that that was the point of writing. 

     

    “Publishing is the natural, final stage of writing,” he said. “Entering the contest every year supplies many students with the impetus to write their best and the drive to push themselves beyond what even they may think themselves capable.” 

     

    Additionally, Mr. Egan said that the competition is judged fairly and that the institute supplies the books to his class. There are also cash prizes. If they win, he said, students can include the achievement on their resumes. 

     

    English and history are Brianna’s favorite subjects, and she loves to read more than write. She recently read “The Priory of the Orange Tree,” by British author Samantha Shannon, and the fantasy novel “Legendborn,” by Tracy Deonn. She has recently begun to read the “Game of Thrones” series by George R.R. Martin. 

     

    “I really liked Mr. Egan’s class,” Brianna said. “You can tell he is really passionate about English.”  

     

    Outside of school, Brianna’s interests include Greek mythology, which she enjoys discussing especially with Mr. Egan during free periods. “I can talk about it until other people are sick of it,” she said. 

     

    “I was thrilled, but not shocked, when I heard that Brianna had become a semifinalist,” Mr. Egan said. “She worked diligently last year to improve her already strong writing style. When working with her partner on a writing assignment in class, I would often hear the two young ladies brainstorming ideas for the perfect word they needed for a sentence. Their attention to connotation and tone was inspiring.” 

     

    Mr. Egan is also impressed with Brianna’s love of reading.


    “Brianna also happens to be a bibliophile. She and a small group of her peers burn through unassigned books faster than Guy Montag in ‘Fahrenheit 451.’ The diverse titles they choose all spring from the pages of The New York Times bestseller list. These ladies mean business.” 

     

    His students hard work and interests have made her a standout student.

     

    “Brianna is one of the most soft-spoken, unassuming, kind and intelligent young ladies I have had the pleasure to teach over my 24-year career at Alexander Hamilton,” Mr. Egan said. 

     

    For all her love of English and history, Brianna also leans toward the sciences. Thinking about her future, she hopes to become a veterinarian, especially after having worked at a horse stable this past summer while visiting family in Jamaica. She is also thinking of the possibility of becoming a gynecologist, lawyer or journalist. 

     

    “Being a veterinarian is first,” she said, adding that she has a dog and several fish. “I need to be with animals more than humans,” she said with a laugh. 

     

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  • A beautiful day to spend time with Dad or a special friend

    Posted by Alicia Smith on 9/21/2022 2:35:00 PM

    The busses were there delivering children, there were cars lined up dropping children off, and a few students did the shuffle along the sidewalk. By all accounts it was a typical start to the day at school. But there was a new group in the mix: Dads and male caregivers!


    Today the Elmsford Union Free School District recognized Dads Take Your Child to School Day, an annual event celebrated at the Alice E. Grady Elementary School and Carl L. Dixson Primary School. This is the fourth year the schools have hosted the event. Man walking with boy

     

    “I love bringing them to school,” Dad Nick Quainoo said, as he walked his second-grade son, Kester, to school.

     

    “Mmm-hmmm,” a tired Kestor noted as he nodded his head in response to whether he liked having Dad come along to start his day.

     

    As the morning continued, Dads and caregivers helped their son or daughter with their backpacks. One Dad walked twice, first bringing his daughter to the front door at Grady before returning a few minutes later with his son. Several Dads at Dixson hung out for a few minutes before their day chatting about youth sports or enjoying the snacks that were available.

     

    “This is just a wonderful way to celebrate our families,” Superintendent Dr. Ron Gonzalez said. “It’s such a simple way for children to spend time with their Dad or a special mentor in their lives. We appreciate all the men who came out with their son or daughter to share in a simple, but meaningful event.”

     

    “In order to make sure all of our students are supported and adults from our community feel valued, we’ve opened the day as a F.U.N. Day to include Fathers, Uncles or Near Relatives. There is space for all representatives in Elmsford,” Dr. Gonzalez continued.

     

    Man standing with girlThe DTYCTSD initiative began in 1996 following the Black Start Project Million Father March. In 2006, New York gave the event its current moniker and school districts throughout the state have been inviting fathers and other male caregivers to take part ever since. 

      

    According to the website, dadstakeyourchildtoschoolday.com, “research indicates that children whose fathers take a more active role in their lives have better outcomes related to academics, behavior, and social skills.” 

     

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  • New AHHS Assistant Principal has academic history with the district 

    Posted by Alicia Smith on 9/19/2022 9:00:00 AM

    They say you can never go home again, however, there are some who manage to do just that. Samone Grixti, an Alexander Hamilton High School graduate, Class of 2004, is one of those special people. She was recently appointed as the new assistant principal of Alexander Hamilton High School and will begin in this role on Sept. 28. Woman

     

    “My experience there was so amazing and wonderful for me,” she said of her time as a student in the Elmsford Union Free School District. “It was the main factor for why I wanted to come back.” 

     

    At school, Ms. Grixti recalls a loving environment, great teachers and great relationships with classmates and teammates. Those memories are what attracted her to returning to Elmsford as assistant principal and were a big influence on her choosing a career in education. 

     

    “The idea was to offer that sense of support and community that I had  to other students when I got older,” she said. “To be able to do that a Hamilton is amazing.” 

     

    During her incoming first year at Hamilton, Ms. Grixti said that she hopes to reestablish herself at the school and build relationships with AHHS staff members, students and families. 

     

    “I walked away from my time as a student in Elmsford with great memories,” she said. “I want to set up the current students’ lives to be successful so that they can reach their goals. I have a strong sense of equity. I want to bring that to the curriculum so that all of our subgroups of students have a path to college and a career.” 

     

    Additionally, as a former athlete on the track and field and volleyball teams, Ms. Grixti is excited to attend games and support Hamilton’s teams. 

     

    The sense of community created at her alma mater stayed with her as she pursued her career in education. She initially attended SUNY Stony Brook but found it too big for her liking, so she transferred to Iona College and later earned a master’s at Manhattan College. 

     

    “I loved having a small community,” she said. “I got to know everyone in my grade and the staff made you feel like you could accomplish anything. The then-principal allowed students to have a voice.” 

     

    Ms. Grixti started her career as a math teacher in the Bronx, beginning at St. Raymond’s High School for five years before moving to Jonas Bronck Academy for almost eight years where she served as the math team lead for three years. She is currently finishing her tenure at Mount Vernon High School as the math and science department chair, where she has been since January 2021. 

     

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  • New administrator to focus on equity and belonging and so much more

    Posted by Alicia Smith on 9/14/2022 10:35:00 AM

    Keturah Proctor is a dreamer. She dreams big and having been appointed as the district’s first Director of Curriculum, Instruction, Equity and Belonging, she has big ideas and plans.

     

    “I appreciate the opportunity to be a dreamer,” she said of her new position. Woman

     

    “It’s an opportunity to continue to dream and reset, in a way, as we are moving forward,” she continued.

     

    It could be said that Ms. Proctor began dreaming big right here in the halls of Alexander Hamilton High School, where she was a student. Her family moved to Elmsford in 1960. Her mother, aunt and several uncles all attended the school, and her daughter graduated in 2021.

     

    “That matters to me,” she said. “I actually feel so humbled and a bit nervous. I don’t want to let the community down. I went to high school here. I’m always coming to work thinking that I am repaying what I received.”

     

    Even before she graduated from Syracuse University where she studied Inclusive Elementary & Special Education and African American Studies, she was being recruited by the then-superintendent to come to work for the district. She began her career here as a special education teacher and later taught math at the Alice E. Grady Elementary School. She went on to earn degrees in Curriculum and Teaching, M.S.E. at Fordham University and another master’s in Educational Leadership-Future School Leaders Academy, Ed. M at Bank Street College.

     

     

    Last school year she was appointed as a teacher on assignment, helping to “manage our equity journey,” she said. She and her colleagues worked with the New York City based Metropolitan Center for Research on Equity to help steer the district’s equity work.

     

    “They gave us a great foundation,” she said. That, combined with her completing the Leadership Academy at Putnam Northern Westchester BOCES, was beneficial.

     

    “I really had to engage all the learning in the classroom space and what that means and become a systems thinker as well as a systems doer,” she said. “This is s structured process. You don’t always see the immediate results of your work.”

     

    “And it was also having to think really, really big,” she added.

     

    The work is not something that will be complete in three months, she said, but you have to think of the work as continuing out six months, three years, six years.

     

    “It’s an incredible responsibility, and there is an advisory component,” she said of her role.

     

    It is a in which she can be of service, Ms. Proctor said.


    “It’s not work,” she said. “It is a purpose. It is who I am. It is literally my community, and it matters that much more to me.”

     

    Ms. Proctor will lead the district in this work based on New York State Department of Education guidelines, along with the district’s equity statement and vision. Additionally, she will use the five recommendations created by the district’s equity team. They consist of climate change, communication, student equity and leadership, curriculum, and professional development.

     

    “These are the five areas that will help guide me,” she said.

     

    She will also enlist the help of a network of DEI, or diversity, equity and inclusion experts in the region that she has worked with herself.

     

    Over the summer she presented at the Ossining Union Free School District’s New Employee Academy. She said her goal at the time, and in her work in her own district, is to create a space where everyone feels supported and safe in order to learn.


    “You have to be vulnerable to do that transformative work,” she said.

     

    She has also been involved with the group Action and Change in Elmsford, which consisted of going into buildings to talk about white supremacy. She said she was nervous, as she often is when discussing highly charged topics, but “in those moments you just have to stand on the side of right.”

     

    “Understanding anti-bias, anti-racism is just as important as other subjects,” she said.

     

    “I do think, in terms of dreaming big, of what this community, this district can be,” Ms. Proctor said. “You envision, then make it happen. It’s big, but necessary.”

     

    Among her many motivations is to develop a place for students, staff, and administrators to feel at home in the district, the way she has felt about her home here.

     

    She embodies that sense of community, whether it’s a former student stopping by her house because they needed assistance in registering their child for school or a current student who needs a few minutes to collect themselves in her office during the school day.

     

    “I love what I do. I love learning. I do love this space that has deposited so much into me,” she said. “We need to be a space where people can shine.”

     

    “Elmsford is an awesome, awesome place,” she continued. “To be able to highlight the brilliance of young people and to highlight their cultural identities—it’s a risk, but it’s worth it. It’s part of that giving back.”

     

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  • Welcome back! Students arrived at school for another year

    Posted by Alicia Smith on 9/6/2022 3:15:00 PM

    Back-to-School time can bring with it a mix of emotions: Students are excited, nervous, and ready to show off their new clothes. As for parents, well, they can be both happy and sad, or as one parent expressed, “relieved” at her families’ new circumstances. Students walking in to school

    “I’ve got two kids in the same school now!” the mom said as she dropped off her children at Elmsford School District’s Alice E. Grady Elementary school, noting how her morning routine just got easier.


    Elmsford families were in full back-to-school mode on Sept. 6 as they returned to a familiar routine. They pulled up to the drop-off line then waved to their children as they walked into one of the three schools in the district. Some parents wrestled umbrellas as they carried their child’s bag of school supplies while managing to take the proverbial first day photos. Amid all this organized chaos, buses dropped off many more excited children.

    Students at Alexander Hamilton High School, who were first greeted outside by Principal Joseph Engelhardt and Interim Superintendent Dr. Ron Gonzalez, met in the cafeteria before being dismissed to their classes.

    Hatim Abdullah was all smiles, with reason. This is his senior year at AHHS.


    “I am really excited to be here,” he said. “My aunts and uncles and a brother went to school here.”


    Hatim was looking ahead just a bit, and said he wants to study computer science in college but is not sure where yet.


    Freshman Elaiah Francis was sitting quietly. It was not only her first day at AHHS, but her first in the district having moved to the area from Charlotte, North Carolina.


    She admitted she was nervous, but said she was looking forward to meeting new friends.


    “I want to be here,” sophomore Malayija McFadden said. “Every day here is just cool.”


    girl getting off of school busIt was not long before a crowd had gathered outside the main doors of Alice E. Grady Elementary School. Students greeted friends they may not have seen over the summer as parents posed their children under a decorative balloon arch for a photo. Principal, Dr. Andrea Hamilton then directed students where to go once inside.

    “I am happy about it being my last year at Grady,” said sixth grader Brookelyn Burch, who was glad for school to start.


    “I get to learn more,” she said, adding math and science are her favorite subjects.


    Her brother, Kisem Burch, who is in third grade, was waiting with his sister.

    “I’m hoping it is fun,” he wished for this school year.

    Their friend, sixth-grader Kiara Surrell, said she was nervous about meeting her teachers.


    At the Carl L. Dixson Primary School, parents and students waited in one of two places. The youngest students gathered in the gym before being led to their respective classrooms while the first graders next door gathered outside before being greeted by one of their teachers. Two boys in balloon frame


    “It looks a bit hectic to an outsider,” Interim Superintendent Dr. Ron Gonzalez said, after participating in the morning routine for EUFSD families. “However, it did go well, and we are just so glad to be welcoming our students and their families back for another year of learning. No amount of rain was going to dampen this day.”


    “It really was wonderful to be a part of this annual ritual,” he continued. “I think I might be just as excited as the students."

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  • “Snowball fight” part of the reflection process during superintendent convocation

    Posted by Alicia Smith on 9/2/2022 11:15:00 AM

    Latest instructional shifts have called for innovative ideas for student engagement. The same can be said for adult learning. That’s why crumpled up pieces of paper, or “snowballs,” were thrown around the gymnasium at the Alice E. Grady Elementary School. There were lots of laughs that went along with the exercise, in addition to encouragement from the superintendent of schools himself! Man speaking into microphone

     

    Before the paper balls went airborne, those gathered for the Superintendent’s Convocation, had undergone a serious reflection, writing on the pieces of paper three thoughts they were asked to share: “Today I am grateful for…”, “What is something the district goals did not address?” and “How will I contribute to our state of purpose?”

     

    The snowballs were collected, and Superintendent Dr. Ron Gonzalez will review them as a way of learning more about his staff.

     

    The “snowball fight” offered a moment of levity on this morning as district administrators and teachers focused on the serious business of teaching children as they prepared for the start of a new school year.

     

    In his first address to staff as interim superintendent, Dr. Gonzalez shared elements of his own childhood that helped direct him to where he is today. He was raised by a single parent, spending early days between the Bronx and New Jersey, he admitted to developing a bit of a chip on his shoulder by the time he was in middle school, which drives his leadership stance. Things could have gone differently, he said, but he had teachers, administrators and coaches who supported him not only academically, but emotionally as well.

     

    “I want you to fully understand the experiences I have had that helped me, so we can do this work together,” he said.

     

    “Being an educator is a job you either love or you don’t do,” he told those gathered. “You have to go back to that place that motivated you.”

     

    “We have an obligation and moral responsibility to make sure we are pulling the very best out of students,” he continued.

     

    The district appears to have had a good start with this, as shown by student performances that were included as part of the presentation. A group sang the National Anthem, another recited a poems, and Alexander Hamilton High School junior Yuriy Kryvoruchko performed two pieces on his saxophone.

     

    “Our duty is to make an impact,” said Board of Education President Paul Hood, after he welcomed Dr. Gonzalez to the district.

     

    “This is a very special place to work. We have to prepare them to be the best they can be,” he said of the district’s students. “You bring the best because our children deserve the best to make this year the best.”

     

    Dr. Gonzalez discussed his goals for the year. Among them are providing a safe and secure environment for students and staff, establishing systems and structures that support student success, increasing family and community engagement and continuing the equity and social and emotional learning going forward.

     

    “I want to hit the ground learning,” Dr. Gonzalez told the Board of Education upon his hiring. “I want every interaction with every student, family member, staff, board and community member to know that we are driven by our purpose.”

     

    He announced that by the end of September he will present the community with his “30 - 1st,” an update to be provided after the first 30 days of school where he will outline progress towards those goals.

     

    Towards the end of the presentation, Dr. Gonzalez had his staff engage in one more airborne activity. This time they were tasked to work in groups and fold a piece of paper into a paper airplane. Teachers and staff were then asked to write an affirmation on the airplane before throwing it across the gymnasium, again, defying all classroom management protocols. Among the things that were written on them were, “We are fiercely capable,” “Everything is fine, keep going and growing,” and “The words we tell our children become their voice.”

     

    “This is going to be a great year,” Dr. Gonzalez concluded. “I hope you keep this spirit going.”

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  • Elmsford Union Free School District Names Interim Superintendent

    Posted by Alicia Smith on 7/7/2022 3:10:00 PM

    The Elmsford Union Free School District’s Board of Education has named veteran educator Dr. Ronald Gonzalez as interim superintendent, effective July 18, 2022.

    Dr. Gonzalez was appointed as interim superintendent for one year at a special board meeting on July 6. Carl L. Dixson Primary School Principal Jeffrey Olender had been named acting superintendent at an emergency board meeting on June 30 and will continue in this role until Dr. Gonzalez officially begins work in the district.

    Man in suitDr. Gonzalez will succeed Dr. Marc Baiocco, who served the district for 13 years as high school principal and later superintendent. Dr. Gonzalez will be formally introduced to the community during a meet and greet preceding the Board of Education Reorganization Meeting on July 12 at 5:30 p.m. in the Alexander Hamilton High School Library

    “I’m very much looking forward to it,” Dr. Gonzalez said during the July 6 meeting. “It’s a special thing to be able to lead the schools within the same district I reside in. I’ve been looking forward to this for quite some time and I’m extremely humbled and welcome the opportunity.”

    Dr. Gonzalez has enjoyed a 25-year career in education. Currently he is serving as the Assistant Superintendent for Administration, Curriculum & Instruction in the Public Schools of the Tarrytowns, where he led the district’s equity work.

    During his tenure in the Tarrytowns, a diverse district of about 2,900 students, Dr. Gonzalez has led all aspects of curriculum for grades pre-K through 12. He served as chair of the District Equity Team and the District Strategic Planning Team.

    Dr. Gonzalez, who lives in Elmsford, began his career at George Washington High School in Manhattan, where he served as teacher, dean and interim acting principal during his time there. He continued his career working in administrative roles in schools throughout the Bronx, as well as an education administrator and principal with the New York City Department of Education. From 2011-2021, he served as principal at Mount Vernon High School.

    Dr. Gonzalez earned his bachelor’s degree in education from Manhattan College, his master’s in educational leadership from Bank Street College of Education and a doctorate in Executive Leadership from St. John Fisher University’s Ralph C. Wilson School of Education.

    “The entire Elmsford Union Free School District, Board and family look forward to working with you in the next year,” Board Vice President Dennis Rambaran said. “It’s going to be an exciting year. It’s going to be a new endeavor for both your side and my side.”

    Dr. Gonzalez, who is bilingual in Spanish, received a New York State School Administrator & Supervisor Certification and a New York School District Leader Certification. He has served as President and co-founder of the White Plains Tigers Youth Football League and was a board member and event organizer for the Mount Vernon Elite AAU Basketball.

    Throughout his career, Dr. Gonzalez has been recognized for his commitment to education. He is the two-time recipient of a Westchester County Proclamation for “Ronald Gonzalez Day,” along with the 2019 New York State Assembly Proclamation for outstanding service to the education community.

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  • ‘Today is your day Class of 2022,’ Commencement celebration sends class on its way

    Posted by Alicia Smith on 6/27/2022 8:40:00 AM

    ‘Today is your day Class of 2022’

    Commencement celebration sends class on its way

    The rain held off for the Class of 2022 who celebrated their commencement on June 22, 2022, on the Michael Arciolo Field at Alexander Hamilton High School. Earlier in the day some light showers threatened, but students were determined that come what may, they would graduate on this day, an attitude that has carried them through their entire high school experience, as noted by their principal.

    AHHS Principal Joseph Engelhardt told the class they showed “grit” throughout high school that included navigating a global pandemic.

    He encouraged them to achieve their goals “with grit and determination.”


    “Please do not let this pandemic define you,” Mr. Engelhardt said. “We have much to celebrate.”

    Among the class achievements Mr. Engelhardt celebrated were a large number of students who will be attending top ranked universities, including Vanderbilt, Villanova, Dartmouth and more. Several are enrolled in SUNY and CUNY schools; others will be working in the trades. There are those in the class who currently serve as volunteer fire fighters and others who broke athletic records and two who were among the first at the school to earn a Biliteracy Seal.

    “I am proud and impressed with each and every one of you,” Mr. Engelhardt said. “I empower you to find your role, never stand for any injustice, be curious and find what makes you passionate.”

    Salutatorian Erica Bailey shared the story of her grandmother, Melda Bailey, who she said gave her three pieces of advice she shared with her classmates — mind your own business, make your own decisions, and don’t let anyone stop you from achieving your goals.

    “Live a life that serves you,” Erica said.

    Although she sat on the dais with school administrators and other dignitaries, School Board President Yvette Eannazzo’s heart was with the parents sitting in the audience. Like them, she had a child graduating on this day.

    “Parents,” she said, “today is a major milestone in the life of our kids. Tell them you are proud of them because they will always be our babies.”

    Although Valedictorian Kathleen Praino said she didn’t believe her older sisters when they said the high school years fly by, suddenly she knew what they were talking about.

    “What were they talking about, I have seven years,” she recalled thinking after hearing this as a recently graduated sixth grader.

    “That statement is true, time really does fly by,” she said. “It seems like just yesterday we were walking through the doors as seventh graders.”


    Although the time seemed to have gone amazingly fast, Kathleen told her classmates that there are things they will hold on to from AHHS. Among them are the support they received from their teachers, the family they formed here among their friends and the community that was created here.

    “In these six years we’ve seen the world change,” she said. “Starting today, we are the next generation.”

    She encouraged her classmates to be involved in social activism, vote and “don’t be afraid to let your voice be heard.”

    In his final address to an AHHS class, Superintendent Marc Baiocco noted how when he came to the district in 2009 as principal of the high school, this class was in kindergarten.

    “I was energized by your smiles and eagerness for learning,” he said.

    Much like Dr. Baiocco, who is leaving the district for the superintendency in another community, the class of 2022 will soon be experiencing a new beginning in their lives too.

    “Are you ready to accept it,” he asked. “It’s been an honor and a privilege being a part of your new beginnings.”

    “Life is about seeing new opportunities,” Dr. Baiocco continued. “As you face new beginnings, please remember that everything you do has an impact on others. Continue to represent Hamilton. Your life is a remarkable occasion.”

    The ceremony included several commencement traditions, including musical interludes from members of the AHHS Choir, and the announcement of awards and scholarships.

    And finally, the moment the graduates had all been waiting for —the pronouncement by the principal that they had completed all the requirements of the State of New York and the awarding of diplomas!

    Click here to see more photos!

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  • ‘Day of transition’ for Grady sixth graders who have “moved on up”

    Posted by Alicia Smith on 6/27/2022 8:35:00 AM

    A party like atmosphere prevailed in the Alice E. Grady Elementary School gymnasium as friends and family filed in carrying balloons and flowers. They were there to celebrate a milestone in their child’s life. Their sixth graders have completed their elementary school years and are moving on up to middle school.

    “Today is a day of transformation and change,” class representative Isabella Alvarez told her classmates in her address.

    “As we move forward, we can achieve many things in life,” Isabella said. Group of students

    In her speech, Principal Andrea Hamilton said this particular class “demonstrated a capacity to be resilient.”

    She encouraged students, who next year will be attending Alexander Hamilton Middle and High School, to “treat everyone the way you want to be treated, continue to keep your hands to yourself and listen, listen, listen.”

    “Ask for help when you need it,” Dr. Hamilton continued. “Be true to yourself, lead by what is right.”

    “We can’t wait to see all the wonderful things you are going to do!” she concluded.

    Several sixth graders were presented with awards including the Office of Attorney General Triple “C” Award, New York Comptroller Achievement Award, County Clerk’s Distinguished Student Award, the Alice E. Grady Excellence & Achievement Award and the Grady Citizenship Award.

    Although the honors and recognitions were an important part of the ceremony, the “party” ramped up when the sixth-grade teachers distributed the diplomas. Each student was called up one by one to receive their certificates.

    Soon after, Dr. Hamilton announced they were the new AHHS Class of 2028 as Kool and the Gang’s “Celebration” rang out and students received hugs and congratulations from excited family members.

    Click here to see more photos of the Moving Up ceremony!

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  • ‘Peace out first grade!’ here comes Grady, Dixson students are ready for what comes next

    Posted by Alicia Smith on 6/27/2022 8:30:00 AM

    They arrived at the Carl L. Dixson Primary School as scared, curious little people and are now seasoned scholars with impressive skills—they can read, do math, and understand the rigors of education. They are the Dixson Class of 2022!

    On June 22 each first-grade class individually assembled in the gymnasium with family and friends to celebrate their accomplishments and congratulate them on the first stage of what will be a lifetime of learning. First graders at graduation

    “I believe Dixson is the happiest place on earth,” Principal Jeffrey Oldender told those assembled. “I truly feel blessed to be down here at Dixson.”

    These young students, Mr. Olender said, have taken on reading, arithmetic, and science. They have dabbled in art and physical education and music.

    “They learned independently and learned how to work collaboratively,” he said. “And we had fun.”

    As the pandemic situation eased a bit, many of the Dixson traditions returned. Students this year did have fun with Applepalooza, 100 Days of School, Career Day, Building a Reading Buddy and more.

    “They’ve taught each other, and dare I say, taught you at home a thing or two,” Mr. Olender said.

    Superintendent of Schools Marc Baiocco said he noticed a decorated bulletin board in the gym that encouraged students to “be,” as in “be brave,” “be kind,” and “be silly.”

    “They bring that every day,” he said of the students.

    Students each received a certificate and had their picture taken with their teacher and teaching assistants. They also entertained those gathered with a musical number led by music teacher Christopher Funke.

    “Welcome to Grady!” Principal Andrea Hamilton announced to students who will be attending the elementary school next year.

    “I promise you the adventure continues at Grady,” she said, before leading students away from the ceremony.

    Click here to see more photos of the event!

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