These last few weeks of June mark the culmination of what was perhaps the most eventful and unforgettable year the Hudson City School District has had in recent memory. During the 2015-16 school year we saw our Bluehawks earn three Patroon Conference Championship titles (for boys’ and girls’ varsity basketball as well as boys’ varsity baseball), multiple school sports records broken, and significant progress toward our Destination Graduation goals.

And that is where we are now: graduation. It is a bittersweet time when we say goodbye to another class of Bluehawks, but not before celebrating student achievements and successes–of graduates and returning students.

This year, many Bluehawks participated in regional, state and national events in realms such as robotics, environmental science, art, all-county music and mock trial. Furthermore, numerous students received awards, honors and scholarships for their excellence in academics, leadership and community service.

At HCSD’s Senior Awards Night on June 2nd, nearly 100 awards and scholarships were presented to the graduating class—recognizing students for achievements in science, technology, creativity, citizenship, determination, performing arts and academic excellence. More than $73,000 in scholarship funds were awarded to graduating seniors this year.

On behalf of HCSD, we extend our sincerest gratitude to the organizations and individuals who make these awards and scholarships possible.

Additionally, 36 Bluehawks were inducted into the National Honor Society in May. This honor requires a dedication to academics (students must have a minimum GPA of 85) as well as leadership, service and overall good character. It demonstrates the educational balance of academics and character-building for which we strive to achieve at HCSD.

Congratulations to the newest members of the National Honor Society: Siddique Ahmed, Sharmin Akther, Shimran Alam, Maya Alvarez, Abdula Badon, Samaria Barnes, Gabriel Barrientos, Antonia Bellamy-Talbot, Kierstin Colloton, Sheila DeJesus Pineda, Michael Dolan, Jacob Ebel, Ummeh Era, Karissa Garbarini, Thomas Gallean Manuel, Maison Goldstein, Matthew Haigh, Saima Hannan, Suman Humagain, Most Islam, Sabrina Johnson, Sifath Khan, Kayleigh McCagg, Nadia Miah, Shelbi Neal, Daniela Rivera, Samuel Romano, Alicia Salvatore, Jessica Sherman, Tahrima Siha, Devon Sweatt, Annaliese Tampasis, Kristian Tampasis, Tayjul Tonmoy, Brianna Tsitsera and Isabelle Waldron.

Congratulations are also in order for the 34 Bluehawks who were recently inducted into the National Junior Honor Society (for students in grades 6-9): Mackenzie Alexander, Theodora Avramidis, Matthew Bowes, Kobi Buffa, Isabella Canevari, Giavanna Chiarito, Halima Chowdhury, Tori Colarusso, Morgan DePasse, Aidan Doto, Matthew Gower, Jahid Hasan, Jacob Hoffman, Miftahul Huq, Abigayle Jepsen, Katherine Jepsen, Mollie Keeler, McKenna Krager, Elijah Kudlack, Aaron Li, Danielle McDonald, Joshua Meicht, Neil Mingua, Kasey Moore, Ahmed Mufti, Caleigh Parmentier, Ainsley Pizza, Tanner Race, Nicole Rivette, Hannah Schunk, Tanner Shook, Vada Simmons, Deja Squire and Dewan Tamika.

I would like to acknowledge a few graduating Bluehawks who were honored beyond our district and community. Each year, the Capital Area School Development Association (CASDA) hosts the Annual Scholars’ Recognition Dinner to honor local graduating seniors. This year, two of our students were recognized for their outstanding academic achievement.

What makes this recognition so impressive is that there is no application process and no specific eligibility requirements—in addition to academics, students are selected by their schools based on leadership and service to their schools and communities. Congratulations to Sheila DeJesus (who also attends the Culinary Arts program at Questar III) and Jahed Miah on this honor, as well as Meghan Abitabile for being acknowledged as a teacher who makes significant impacts on her students.

Our graduates are not the only Bluehawks being honored at this time of year. In addition to Mrs. Abitabile, two other teachers in our district were recognized for their inspiration and dedication to education. On June 9th, Lisa Dolan and Michelle Nowak were presented with 2016 Teacher of Excellence Awards by New York State Senator Kathy Marchione. We are lucky to have so many teachers in our district who strive to inspire and make a difference in the lives of our students.

Next week, students at John L. Edwards Primary School and M.C. Smith Intermediate School will be recognized during their own awards and Moving Up ceremonies.

To close out a memorable school year, we congratulate our 2016 valedictorian, Olivia Waldron, and our salutatorian, Jenifer Rosete-Garcia, and the entire graduating Class of 2016! We hope they embrace what they have learned and experienced at HCSD—in the classroom and on the field or court—as they continue to grow in their colleges and/or careers of choice. Once a Bluehawk, always a Bluehawk.

This has been a year for the history books for many reasons, and it has been a joy to share these accomplishments with our community. We are looking forward to the 2016-17 school year and moving along with Capital Project plans and breaking ground for the new athletic fields (for those interested in receiving email updates about the status and progress of the project, please visit the district website to sign up for the eNewsletter), and to building on the strong momentum from this past year to continuously improve the learning experience of our students. But first, let’s enjoy the summer!