Giddings Foundation announces recipients of annual scholarships | Local Announcements

CHATHAM — The board of the Alice & Murray Giddings Foundation has selected the annual scholarship recipients for 2022. The not for profit organization was founded in 1995 to acknowledge and foster young adults who evidence high academic achievement, strong leadership qualities and involvement in service to their communities. Annually, the Foundation awards merit based scholarships to high school seniors graduating from each of the public schools in Columbia County. The eight 2022 Giddings Scholars will gather with their parents and representatives from their respective schools at an awards reception on June 5 at Kozel’s Restaurant in Ghent.

Anna Carroll is a 2022 graduate of Chatham High School. She is the daughter of Amanda and Jeremiah Carroll. Anna has won numerous academic achievement awards, including in advanced placement and college level work. Anna was captain of the JV soccer team, and a member of the varsity soccer and varsity track teams. She served as fundraising chair and secretary for the class of 2022. She won the Frederick Douglass and Susan B. Anthony Award, which recognizes leadership and dedication to community action to address social issues. Anna was a member of the Model Congress for three years, and attended Empire Girls State. In 2020, she volunteered as a Communications and Field Intern for the Brittany Vogel campaign for NYS Assembly. She also interned with the Columbia County Democratic Committee, and completed an internship for NYS Assembly Member Didi Barrett. Anna’s community service includes tutoring and mentoring in the school setting, and volunteering at the Payn Home and the community Thanksgiving dinner at the Chatham Fire Department. She has been employed at the Crandell Theater and Country Caretakers. She plans to major in International Studies and Spanish at Manhattan College.

Nina Meacher is Salutatorian of the 2022 Class of Germantown High School. She is the daughter of Tracey and Jason Meacher of Hudson. Consistently on high honor roll, Nina was a member of the National Junior Honor Society and served as president of the National Honor Society. She received certificates of outstanding achievement in Advanced Drawing and Design for Production and for outstanding achievement in CAD (computer aided design), along with recognition for achievement in a number of other academic courses. Nina participated in varsity volleyball, receiving Rookie of the Year in ninth grade and Varsity Athletic Award the next year. During high school, she was an assistant coach for the Southern Columbia Little League Soccer team, volunteered at the Sean’s Ride event, and tutored at school. She worked a summer for JBM Solutions in property management and did regular babysitting. Nina received the Gellert Cornell Admissions Invitation for Cornell University, the Dwight D. Eisenhower Leadership Award, Clarkson University High School Leadership Award, and the Rensselaer Polytechnic Medal Award. Nina plans to study Early Childhood/Elementary Education at Florida Southern College.

Olivia Plaia, daughter of Kristin and Peter Plaia of Hudson, is a 2022 graduate of Hudson High School. A High Honor Roll student and AP Scholar, she has gone well beyond the typical high school curriculum and completed a variety of college level classes at Columbia-Greene Community College and SUNY Cobleskill. Active in Student Council, Olivia also served as Class of 2022 vice president and treasurer. Olivia was on the varsity softball and soccer teams, and was a member of a travel softball league from 2013 to 2021. She was awarded the University of Rochester Frederick Douglass & Susan B. Anthony Award and the NYS Senate Youth Leadership Recognition Award. Olivia has volunteered at the National Inventors Hall of Fame in the district’s elementary school, worked at the high school concession stand during football games to raise money for class activities, and mentored 8th graders in the Hudson school district. Outside of school, she was a student instructor at the Sternfeld Dance Studio and worked as a hostess at The Greens at the Copake Country Club. She plans major in Communication Sciences and Disorders at Sacred Heart University.

Brett Richards, son of Eric and Sara Richards of Kinderhook, is a 2022 graduate of Ichabod Crane High School. Brett has pursued a rigorous academic program including Advanced Placement courses in English, World History and US History as well as honors classes in Biology, Chemistry, Pre-Calculus and Statistics. During his senior year, he attended the competitive, college-level New Visions Medical Program and obtained his EMT certification. In addition to academics, Brett was a valued member of the varsity basketball and tennis teams as well as the president of the Varsity Club. He served as treasurer of both the National Honor Society and the Class of 2022. For three years, Brett acted as Student Liaison to the Superintendent, monthly meeting to discuss student concerns. Outside of school, Brett was involved in numerous community organizations, including the Valatie Rescue Squad, and volunteered for the Make-A-Wish Foundation and Ronald McDonald House. Brett plans to pursue a career as a Physician Associate and has enrolled to study biomedical technology at the Albany College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences.

Marilyn Roque is a 2022 graduate of Taconic Hills Junior/Senior High School. She is the daughter of Dunia Velasquez and Jose Ventura of Hillsdale. A member of the National Honor Society, she participated in the Hispanic Leadership Program at Taconic Hills, and served as Vice President of the Model UN. She joined an innovative collaboration with the NYS Assembly/Senate, the Puerto Rican/Hispanic Task Force, where issues pertinent to the Hispanic population are identified and addressed to improve the lives of Hispanic families and communities. Marilyn was active on the junior varsity and varsity field hockey teams, both at school and in summer programs. She won the Coach’s Award in her senior year. Throughout high school, Marilyn had responsibilities at home and worked to be a role model to her younger sisters. She was employed at Catamount Ski Resort during her senior year. She has an active resume of volunteer work, including the Haunted House and Pow Wow events at THHS, the Milk Bar at the Columbia County Fair, and tutoring a younger student in Algebra. Marilyn plans to major in Political Science at Providence College, and hopes to attain a Law degree.

Holly Schafer, daughter of Barbara and Robert Schafer of East Nassau, is a 2022 graduate of New Lebanon Junior/Senior High School, where she earned a Regents Diploma with Honors. Holly achieved an excellent academic record including university level classes in English, Precalculus, Statistics, Biology and US History. Holly was a member of the Senior Choir and participated in the Black Tie Affair for four years. She took an active role in class activities and served as Class Secretary in 8th grade and Class President in grades 9 through 12. She also participated in the Student Leadership Council. Holly particularly enjoyed planning and participating in the annual Memorial Day Assembly honoring military personnel from her community de ella, seeing this as a way to recognize their service and their sacrifices. The last few winters have found her working at the Jiminy Peak Mountain Resort Ski Rental Shop where she sets up skiing and snowboarding equipment for customers. She was the high honor roll every quarter during her high school career and received both the Clarkson University High School Achievement Award and the Williams College Book Award. Holly plans to study business administration at the State University of New York at Albany in the fall.

Rafia Tasnim, daughter of Mohammed Ali and Sayeda Akther of Hudson, is a 2022 graduate of Hudson High School. She was a High Honor Roll student who was recognized with the Rotary Youth Leadership Award, the UAlbany Multicultural Award and the Western New England University Book Award. Active in Student Council, Rafia also served as class president throughout her high school years. She was editor of the yearbook, a member of the Scrub Club (Health Careers Awareness) and Poetry Club. She played on the school’s varsity soccer and track teams. Rafia was the one of the original coordinators of the Hudson Muslim Youth, a non-profit that organizes community events including an annual Ramadan Fast-A-Thon. She also volunteered at the Salvation Army, the Hudson Youth Center, the Hudson Area Library, the Annual Bangladeshi Festival and Olana State Historic Site. Outside of school, Rafia worked at Operation Unite Education & Cultural Arts Center and the Oakdale Summer Camp. She plans to study Nursing at Stonybrook University.

Larry Walker Jr., is a 2022 graduate of Hudson High School and the Questar III Columbia-Greene Educational Program, where he majored in Criminal Justice. Larry is the son of Lakia and Larry Walker of Hudson. Since the 7th grade, Larry was active in the My Brother’s Keeper program, which offers various programs and activities to support young men of color to reach their potential. In that setting, I have mentored younger classmates and participated in the Power of Peace program. Larry also traveled with the Rock Solid Church Youth Group on a 10 day mission to Guatemala during his junior year; and he contributed to that group’s community work, including a food pantry, church clean up and community outreach. His extracurricular activities at Hudson High included JV basketball and four years as a member of the HHS Drumline Band. In the Questar III program, Larry served as a Platoon Leader for the Criminal Justice Program and was a member of the National Technical Honor Society. He has consistently placed on the Honor Roll and High Honor Roll as a high school student. He worked as a staff member at the Hudson Blue Hawk Nation After School Program since 2018 and at the Hudson Youth Center during the 2020 summer program. Larry intends to major in Criminal Justice at Columbia Greene Community College.

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