Class of 2019 celebrates at commencement ceremony

June 30, 2019

The 2019 graduating class from Amsterdam School High School turned their tassels right to left as they celebrated at the 211th Commencement Exercises on Saturday, June 29 at Fulton-Montgomery Community College.

Board Members, administrators, teachers, staff and most importantly family members filled the gymnasium and cheered as nearly 250 AHS students crossed the stage. 

Principal O’Meally welcomed everyone and encouraged the class of 2019 to create their own meaningful content as they write the next chapter in their story.

This year’s Valedictorian Serge Desbiens told his peers to take what they have learned and give back something to their community. 

Jeffrey Brennan, AHS 2019 Salutatorian said “We should cherish the memories we have made here for the rest of our lives. We need not be sad that our high school journey is over, but be happy for everything we have gotten out of it.”

Dr. Michele Downing, Assistant Superintendent of schools was this year’s Keynote during the program. Her inspiring address encouraged students to think about what makes them happy and try to find meaningful work in that. She also told them that you don’t have to go far to find it. 

Downing spent 34 years with the district. During her time she spent 24 years teaching mathematics and computer classes at Lynch Literacy Academy. She was appointed Coordinator or Data and Personnel for GASD in 2009.  Since then she has spent the last 10 years in the positions of Director, High School Principal and lastly as Assistant Superintendent. Downing is set to retire on July, 5. 

Interim Superintendent of Schools, Dr. Raymond Colucciello brought the house down during the ceremony with a rap letting students know that it’s time to go.  “Air drop us a pic once in a while, send us a text with your great big smile.” 

Other highlights of the program included:

  • Gradute Rofyda Algabyali delivered the student address sharing her personal story of when she immigrated to the United States not knowing English as she started her education journey at AHS;
  • Board of Education President Dr. Nellie Bush addressed the class and recognized student Andrew Giamo for serving on the Board of Education for the 2018-19 school year;
  • Nancy Rad, Community Schools Coordinator for GASD awarded the first ever Community Inspiration Award to Ladan Alomar for her timeless efforts and positive impact on the Greater Amsterdam Community;   
  • Class President Jose Fernandez presented the 2019 Class Gift; and 
  • Two high school diplomas were awarded under Operation Recognition which recognizes the devotion and sacrifice of World War 11, Korean War, and Vietnam Era Veterans who left school early, by presenting them with a high school diploma.

Click here for photos of the event,