COLUMBIA HIGH SCHOOL NAMES 2004'S VALEDICTORIAN

Section: CAPITAL REGION,  Page: F5

Date: Thursday, June 24, 2004

Brienne E. Engel, daughter of Stephen and Terri Engel of East Greenbush, has been named valedictorian of Columbia High School's Class of 2004. Engel is a member of the National Honor Society, Columbia Players, wind ensemble, and chamber singers. She is the recipient of many awards including National Merit Scholarship Letter of Commendation, NYS Regents Award, R.P.I. Rensselaer Medal, U.S. Air Force Award for Excellence in Math, principal's honor roll, Who's Who and best supporting actress. She is a member of the Isabelle School of Dance competition team and faculty. This fall she will be attending Brandeis University on a full-tuition honors scholarship to study biochemistry.


Anna Wadsworth, the daughter of Richard and Kathleen Wadsworth of Rensselaer, was named to the dean's list at Hope College, Holland, Mich. Ross Nhin was elected into the Hamilton College chapter of Phi Sigma Iota, an international foreign language honor society that recognizes outstanding ability and high standards. A graduate of Lansingburgh High School, he is majoring in Asian studies. He is the son of Nip and Nhoe Nhin of Troy.


Kelly K. Palka of Wynantskill was inducted into Phi Kappa Phi, a national all-discipline honor society at the State University at Oswego. The English writing arts major is the daughter of Wayne and Marlies Palka.


Gina DeBonis, the daughter of Tina and Michael DeBonis of Wynantskill, was named to the dean's list at LeMoyne College, Syracuse. The Troy High School graduate is majoring in business administration.


Carmen Villanueva of East Schodack received her degree from Plymouth State University on May 22.


Michael O'Leary, the son of Joanne and Michael O'Leary of Nassau, received a bachelor of arts degree in music from Hamilton College on May 23.


Douglas Moscowitz, the son of Ann Hutchinson and Gary Moscowitz of East Greenbush, received a bachelor of fine arts in illustration and animation from Lesley University, Cambridge, Mass.


Robert Fiato and Casey Willigan of Rensselaer, Christina Holmes and Danielle Lagace of Troy, and Allison Hennigan of Wynantskill received degrees from Syracuse University on May 9.


Stefan Sayles of Castleton received a bachelors of arts in finance from Bryant College, Smithfield, R.I.


Jennifer Boyle, the daughter of Dennis and Stefanie Boyle of East Greenbush, was named to the dean's list at LeMoyne College, Syracuse. A graduate of Columbia High School, she majors in business administration.


Emily Lanzara of East Nassau received a bachelors of arts degree from Bard College on May 22.


Hartwick College junior Elizabeth Mesick of Castleton received the John Dewey Award. The department of education established the award which is given to an outstanding undergraduate who best exemplifies the philosophies and goals of the department. A music education major, she is the daughter of David and Melody Mesick.


Jonathan Lak, the son of Mr. and Mrs. Leslie Lak of Nassau, is the recipient of this year's Greenbush Garden Club's Scholarship. He is a member of the class of 2004 from Columbia High School. In addition to being a member of the National Honor Society, he participated in lacrosse, cross country, interact, key club, peer leadership and various community service organizations. For two summers, he was employed in the landscaping trade. In the summer of 2003, he initiated his own successful business in the same field. He will be attending the SUNY College of Environmental Science and Forestry of Syracuse in a landscape architectural program this fall.


Hartwick College freshman Jamie McGrath of Castleton is the recipient of the Peter D. Junemann Memorial Award. This award was established to recognize excellence in music. It is presented to a student who demonstrates excellence and who contributes to college life and campus activities. A music education major, she is the daughter of David and Joanne McGrath.


Lauren Ferguson, a Rensselaer High School senior, is the recipient of the 2004 Ruth Hodges Memorial Scholarship. She will receive $1000 for her exemplary academic and extracurricular participation. The late Ruth Hodges, a graduate of South Colonie High School, Spellman College and American University, died in a car accident. Her parents, Virgil and Verna Hodges, and Carson and Joyce Carr, finance this scholarship yearly. Ferguson plans to enter Siena College this fall. Among Ferguson's honors was the recognition by the University at Albany as one of their Capital District High School Achievers of Color. She is ranked fourth in her high school class with a 91 accumulative grade point average. She is the daughter of Anita and Lionel Ferguson.


Joanna Simon of East Greenbush accepted membership in the National Society of Collegiate Scholars and will be honored during a campus ceremony this fall at Northeastern University. The NSCS recognizes first- and second-year undergraduate students who excel academically. A 2003 graduate of Columbia High School, she was listed on the dean's list for the fall and spring semesters.


-- Compiled by Adrienne Freeman