Ayla Brehse is Salutatorian of the Class of 2023 at Germantown High School. She is the daughter of Claudia and Joshua Brehse. Always involved in music and theater activities, Ayla was a member of the GHS Drama club for 6 years, and served as president of the club. She was a member of the school’s acapella group for five years. She began participating in NYSSMA (New York State Music Association) festivals beginning in 6th grade, and was in the All-State Choir in 9th, 11th and 12th grades. Ayla was selected for the Junior NHS and the National Honor Society, and served as vice-president of NHS during her senior year. She was on the Germantown modified and varsity soccer teams. Apart from her school curriculum, Ayla pursued piano and vocal studies. She taught herself French and studied abroad in Toulouse, France for a month in 2022, earning the Global Seal of Biliteracy for fluency in French. Ayla tutored younger students in a variety of subjects, mostly math and science, beginning in 2019. She worked as a nanny / babysitter for local families, and as a camp counselor at Olana Art Camp. In 2022, Ayla received the Northeastern National Recognition Program Scholarship for her scholastic achievements, personal motivation, and leadership potential. She will major in architecture at Northeastern University in the fall.
Jonathan Hesler is a 2023 graduate of Ichabod Crane High School. He is the son of Susan Hesler and Brian Hesler. At ICCHS, he was a member of the Crane Acting Troupe and stage crew. He participated in Envirothon, and was active in the Science Club, Garden Club, and Habitat for Humanity. He also participated in Ski Club and Varsity Indoor Track and Field. A member of the National Honor Society, he was awarded an AP Scholar award, the University of Rochester Xerox Award for Innovation and Informational Technology, and the Rochester Institute of Technology Innovation and Creativity Award and Scholarship. His computer expertise led to a student internship with the Ichabod Crane IT Department beginning in 2022. Jonathan was a member of the No Place for Hate group, where he served as VP and president, and the Pride Club. Beginning in January 2021, he volunteered at the Columbia County chapter of the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) on a weekly basis and then as a 2021 summer intern. Jonathan’s work with that agency involved identification and documentation of available mental health resources for churches, families, and law enforcement. Jonathan will major in Computer Exploration at Rochester Institute of Technology.
Kamryn LaPage is a 2023 graduate of Hudson High School. She is the daughter of Megan Lawrence. Kamryn is Secretary of the National Honor Society, of which she is a member. She was on the High Honor roll every quarter while taking AP or College Level Courses in History, Science, English, Psychology and Sociology. In addition, she studied American Sign Language for 3 years and reached an intermediate skill level. Kamryn played on the JV and Varsity Volleyball teams and served as Captain of the Varsity team during her senior year. She was also a valued member of the basketball, soccer, and softball teams. Kamryn served as Student Government Treasurer and Treasurer of her class, helping to raise money for class events. She was active at class events including the car wash, several barbeque sales, golf tournament, and the concession stand. Over the last 2 years, she was employed at the Dairy Queen, Walmart, and McDonalds. Kamryn plans to attend the University of Buffalo to major in Psychology with a minor in Criminology. She hopes to earn a doctorate in Psychology and become a forensic psychologist.
Olivia Raechel Smith is a 2023 graduate of New Lebanon Junior/Senior High School. She is the daughter of Shelly and Bruce Smith. Olivia achieved High Honor Roll every quarter since the fifth grade and was awarded the New York State Triple “C” award which recognizes courage, character, and commitment. This year she received the William’s College Book Award and was named a Sage Scholar. She is an outstanding member of the Construction Technology class at Questar III’s Robert H Gibson Technical School. Olivia was chosen for a summer apprenticeship at San Rubin Construction in Albany through the highly competitive Youth Apprenticeship Program. In addition, Olivia participated in Band and Choir throughout high school and was a member of All County Band for three years. She played French horn and trumpet with the Jazz Band and participated in many volunteer choir performance for senior citizens. She belongs to various clubs at NLJSHS including Skills USA, Makerspace, Yoga Club and Manga Club. Olivia plans to attend Hudson Valley Community College to pursue an Associate’s Degree in Construction Technology, with a long-term goal of becoming a construction manager.
Miranda Elliott is a 2023 graduate of Taconic Hills High School. She is the daughter of Amy and Todd Elliott. Miranda is a high honor roll student and a member of the National Honor Society. Since 2008. She was regularly involved with the school’s FFA (Future Farmers of America) club, won a number of awards from FFA, and held club positions as treasurer, president and vice president. During high school, Miranda combined her interest in educating children with her knowledge about farming and agriculture. She brought together parents and their young children to learn about herb gardening and cooking; and visited elementary school classrooms, where she read to the students about sustainable gardens and organized hands-on planting projects. Miranda played field hockey and varsity tennis at Taconic Hills. She worked as the wrestling team bookkeeper and sold concessions at JV and varsity basketball games. Outside of school, Miranda worked as a lifeguard at the Ancram Town Pool and in the office at a seasonal campground. During the summers of 2020 and 2021, she worked with livestock, and learned how best to present them for judging at the county fair. She plans to go to SUNY New Paltz in the fall and major in early childhood education.
Samantha Hoffman is a 2023 graduate of Chatham High School and daughter of Michelle and Michael Hoffman. On High Honor Roll throughout high school, Sam is a member and serves as Vice President of the National Honor Society. She won the Capstone Skill Award for Situational Awareness as well as Honorary Mention in Bridging Divides, “Healing Communities Youth Film Challenge.” Her film he/she/they was screened at the Daniel Arts Center at Simon’s Rock in Great Barrington and at the Crandall Theater in Chatham during her junior year. Sam’s interest in theater and theater design was evident in her participation in CHS Drama Club and Fall Festival of Shakespeare. She is a member of the Tri-M Music Honor Society, Debate Club and Robotics Club. She advocated for equality and inclusion for everybody as a member of DEI (Diversity, Equality and Inclusion) Club at CHS. Sam played JV Volleyball for three years. She also volunteered at the Spencertown Academy and New Lebanon Library. She worked as a library page at Chatham Public Library and a technical intern for Columbia County Youth Theater. She is a Trumpeter with the Ghent Band. Sam will attend Ithaca College next year to study theater production and design.
Hannah Schermerhorn is a 2023 graduate of the Questar III Aviation Program and Ichabod Crane High School. She is the daughter of Brian and Brenda Schermerhorn. Hannah was on the high honor roll throughout high school. She is a member of the National Honor Society, the National Technical Honor Society, and was awarded the Achievement Award for her aviation class at Questar III. She recently passed the Federal Aviation Administration test, which is a prerequisite to pursue training as a private pilot. Hannah was a member of the JV basketball team; and the varsity track team, varsity basketball, and varsity cross country teams. She was also active in the No Place for Hate Club for a year. Hannah participated in community services as well, volunteering over many years at the North Chatham Methodist Church for their annual auction and the Columbia Greene Humane Society. She travelled to West Virginia on two separate occasions with the Appalachia Service Project to work with other volunteers to repair and update housing for two families, and raised funds to support these n trips. She began working at her current job at Golden Harvest Farms beginning in her freshman year. Hannah intends to major in Aviation Science at Dutchess Community College.