It is hardly believable that the end of the school year is upon us already. How quickly we progress from Opening Day to graduation always amazes us. On Opening Day in September, we consider the possibilities offered by a new school year. As we approach Graduation Day, we close out another year by reflecting on and celebrating the achievements of our Bluehawk staff and students.
Before giving an end-of-the-year wrap up and a sneak preview of next year, I would like to thank our district voters for supporting our 2017-18 school budget. We are grateful to be able to continue running all of the academic programs, athletic programs and support services available to our students. With your continued support, we can maintain our ongoing progress toward Destination Graduation and keep strengthening the educational and athletic opportunities at the Hudson City School District.
The best measure of the educational experience offered by the HCSD is the success of our students and faculty. During this school year, there were several noteworthy accomplishments from students and teachers alike.
The Hudson High School Robotics team had another successful year in regional competitions. Although the team did not qualify for the F.I.R.S.T. Robotics Championship as it did last spring, it still put on an impressive performance. In one regional competition, the HHS Robotics team placed fifth out of 48 teams from locations including New York, Connecticut, New Jersey, South Carolina, Turkey, India, Brazil, Ecuador, Canada and the United Kingdom. That is within the top 10% of all international participants!
The Mock Trial team at HHS saw improvement this year, making it further in competitions than they have in recent years. This year, the team advanced to the finals in the Columbia-Greene County Regional competition. Despite a loss in the finals, the Mock Trial team gained even stronger ambition to compete again next year.
Several of our Bluehawk athletic teams reigned supreme over other local school districts, winning championships in multiple sports. Four Bluehawk teams won Patroon Conference Championship titles, and three of the teams won back-to-back conference championships (boys basketball, girls basketball and boys baseball). The fourth team, the Hudson Boys Varsity Volleyball team, also earned the title of 2016-17 Section II, Class B champions when they beat Cobleskill-Richmondville during sectionals in March.
What would our schools be without stellar teachers? This year, high school science teacher Michelle Nowak was chosen to participate in the highly selective New York State Master Teacher Program (NYSMTP). The purpose of the NYSMTP is for regional Master Teachers to collaborate and develop STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) content, which they can bring back to their home school districts and use to strengthen their science programs. We are looking forward to what Mrs. Nowak will bring back to Hudson.
Another HHS science teacher, Jim McDarby, was honored with the WNYT NewsChannel 13 Top Teacher Award in April. One of 13 local teachers to be recognized, Mr. McDarby was nominated for the award by two students and another teacher.
We are grateful to have talented faculty like Mrs. Nowak and Mr. McDarby–and many others not mentioned here–who inspire our students every day.
Our school district will also receive some national attention due to the amazing Hudson Bluehawk Nation Afterschool Program (HBNASP). Kathy Clark and her HBNASP staff were selected by the National Association of Elementary School Principals (NAESP) to represent New York State in a documentary about successful after school programs. The HBNASP is one of eight programs nationwide to be featured. The goal of the NAESP film is to show school principals how to incorporate effective afterschool programs in their buildings. The focus of HBNASP is “Community Collaborations,” which are vital to many of the programs at HCSD.
While there have been many accomplishments this year, there will always be more accomplishments to look forward to. This fall, we are looking forward to the first class of second graders attending M.C. Smith Intermediate School. The Grade 2 wing at MCSIS is almost complete and we are working with Mr. Brenneman, building staff and the Transportation Department to ensure a smooth transition. Despite “shrinking” the number of school buildings in our district, our overall goal is to expand the educational and athletic opportunities available to our students.
We are also excited for the completion of the new athletic field and track. Construction of the new facility is currently under way behind Hudson Junior/Senior High School and will continue throughout the summer. We are hopeful to host one of our first football games of the season on the new Bluehawk field. If you are interested in joining the planning committee for a grand opening ceremony of the new track and athletic field (set to occur in late summer/early fall), please send your contact information to email@example.com.
To help you get the most out of summer, I encourage you to visit our website (www.hudsoncityschooldistrict.com) and download the “Hudson is a Summer Festival” booklet. Graciously put together by Dan and Mary Udell and Ohrine Stewart, the booklet contains information about numerous summer programs at the HCSD and other community organizations.
In closing, I extend congratulations and well wishes to this year’s valedictorian, Tyler Dellavechia, and salutatorian, Esrat Sumayya, as well as all the Bluehawks receiving their high school diplomas on June 23. Next week, students at John L. Edwards Primary School and M.C. Smith Intermediate School will also be recognized during their own awards and Moving Up ceremonies as they continue along their journey toward Destination Graduation.
The road to Destination Graduation is full of challenges and triumphs, and we are proud of each and every one of our graduates. We hope they embrace what they have learned and experienced during their time at the Hudson City School District — in the classroom and on the field or court — as they continue to grow in their colleges and/or careers of choice.
See you in September!