Hudson City School District Launches Bluehawk Academy

February 3rd, 2023

HUDSON, NY – The Hudson City School District is excited to announce the launch of the Bluehawk Academy on Feb. 1, 2023, a pilot school within the Hudson Junior/Senior High School designed to emphasize the strengths and interests of students to prepare them for the real world.

This non-traditional pathway for students grade 7-12 will be centered around learning opportunities with local businesses, artisans and individuals who make a positive difference in the community. The Bluehawk Academy will start with 34 scholars who will have flexible schedules based on their strongpoints and passions built and monitored by three new staff members: Megan Amendola, a career guidance counselor, Michelle Donelley, a former social worker and Larry Walker, a professional focused in restorative justice. 

“The program will be centered around generating employability, establishing work ethic and developing life skills and techniques to become successful in life after high school,” Superintendent Dr. Lisamarie Spindler said. “In my experience as a school administrator, I have had the privilege of leading the initiative of three similar academies in New York State that have all found great success in providing new pathways for scholars to shine in fields they are attracted to and that are more fitting for their skill sets. With the Bluehawk Academy, I’m consolidating the best aspects of all three of those programs into this one and I couldn’t be more thrilled to establish relationships with pioneers and staples in our community who want to see our youth prosper now and in the future.”

The program, powered by stimulus funding, will be centered around generating employability, establishing work ethic and developing life skills and techniques to become successful in life after high school. The district has also been recently approved following an application process for $5,000 through the Fund for Columbia, a fund of Berkshire Taconic Community Foundation. This allotment of funds will also be directly involved in the launch of this pilot program.

“We’re going to build something here that everyone is going to line up to be a part of,” Donnelly said.

There was and will be an application and interview process for interested scholars and mentors and/or internship locations to take part in the Bluehawk Academy. Junior High School students in the Bluehawk Academy will be involved in learning opportunities within a similar timeframe as the normal school day while Senior High School students will have more flexibility in their schedule, similar to a college schedule or workday.

The mentors who will be serving as the supervisors for the Academy’s students have bought into the mission the district is trying to establish, to strengthen the skills and pursue the interests of scholars in preparation for future opportunities in and around Hudson. These individuals and businesses have taken the time to fill out applications to describe their goals for the scholars, where they see the program going and their passion for bridging the gap between the district and the community. 

Such vendors include Columbia County Youth Bureau Executive Director Daniel Grandinetti, Commissioner of the Columbia County Department of Social Services Robert Gibson, Michael Molinski of Molinski Photography, Circle of Queens Inc., CEO of Blake’s Design and manager of three pediatric offices Akilah Blake, Greater Hudson Promise Neighborhood Inc. and well over a dozen more businesses and/or individuals.

Fields in which Bluehawk Academy students will have the chance to study and work in include business, local government, youth recreation, marketing, musical and theatrical arts, technology, creative

writing and more.

To announce the launch of the Bluehawk Academy, the Hudson City School District held a formal press conference featuring Dr. Spindler, Board of Education President Willette Jones and Vice President Mark DePace, with media outlets, participating mentors and community members in attendance on February 3rd, 2023.

The Hudson City School District is located in Columbia County, New York and has roughly 1,700 students enrolled in K-12. The mission of the district, in partnership with our community, is to advance the intellectual, social and emotional development of all students to prepare them for college, career and citizenship.                    


Photo: Hudson City School District Superintendent Dr. Lisamarie Spindler, students and staff of the Bluehawk Academy cut the ribbon signaling the launch of the Bluehawk Academy on February 1, 2023.

For further information, please contact:

Austin Crosier, Communications Technician

518-828-4360 ext. 2142