Seventeen high school students from GASD’s first Pre-K class set to graduate

June 24, 2019
It is the last week of school for students at Amsterdam High School, and it is a bittersweet end of the year for Universal Pre-Kindergarten Instructional Coach, Trish Garner.

Fourteen years ago, Garner welcomed the very first Pre-K students to the district at McNulty Academy for International Studies and Literacy. She has been instrumental in the growth and development of the program.  Seventeen of the original 36 students are set to graduate this

student and faculty stand together and pose
AHS Student Tori Gonputh with Universal Pre-Kindergarten Instructional Coach Trish Garner

“For me, these students graduating is a milestone in my educational career,” Garner said. “When we started this program in 2005, we only had 36 spots available. It’s so incredible that we now provide Pre-K for 288 children in our community each year.  I am extremely proud of the program we have built.”

The Universal Pre-K program is offered in six classrooms in the district and provides support to students and teachers at both Head Start and Whispering Pines Preschool. The program aims to ensure that three and four-year-old children receive a high quality foundation that promotes their development and readiness for kindergarten.

“There is a need in our community,” Garner said.  “We have a waitlist every year.”

Garner moved into her new role as a district Instructional Coach for the Universal Pre-K program this school year after thirteen years working in the Pre-K classroom. Her office is located at the high school.

“It has been wonderful for me seeing these students come full circle,” Garner said. “As an elementary teacher, you don’t get the opportunity to see them when they are older most of the time. This year, having my office in the high school, has allowed me to reconnect with so many of them.”

Two Pre-K students side by side, and two high school graduates side by side
Duncan McClary and Elena Fudello as Pre-K graduates and high school graduates

Garner prides herself on being a support system for her students throughout their education. “It’s important to me that all my former students know they have someone in their corner. Graduation will be a very special day. It is a pleasure to have been part of their 14-year journey,”  she added.

GASD’s graduation will be held on Saturday, June 29.  The following seventeen students of the original Pre-K class are set to graduate that day.

Elena Fedullo
Jael Irizarry
Juliana Garand
Julianna Busseno
Jamarris Cintron
Tyler Braender
Richard Gannon
Ariana Gonzalez
Jayshawn Bier
Tori Gonputh
Duncan McClary
Jaccob Fabrizio
Katie Gonzalez
Chanelle Pena
Taylor Krawczyk
Mackenzie Chinchilla
Declan Burtt