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2015Giddings Foundation
Scholarship Recipients

The Board of the Alice and Murray Giddings Foundation awarded Giddings Foundation Scholarships to eight 2015 graduates of public high schools in Columbia County. Each recipient was awarded a $5000 scholarship applicable to his or her post-secondary certificate or college degree program. The 2015 Giddings Scholarship recipients and their families were honored at a luncheon reception at the Winding Brook Country Club on Sunday, June 14, 2015. The 2015 Giddings Scholars are all accomplished young adults, and have demonstrated leadership, participated in community service, and achieved high academic standing. They are:

Angelica Clements

Angelica Clements, the granddaughter of Richard and Deborah Clements of Elizaville, is a 2015 graduate of Germantown High School. During her years at Germantown she was on High Honor Roll, and received Academic Awards in US History, English, Forensic Science, College Basic Drawing, and Social Studies. She was a member of the National Junior Honor and National Honor Societies. She was involved in Students against Destructive Decisions, the Debate team, Health Club, and Cheerleading. Her musical interests are evident from her participation in Chorus, Women's Chorale, NYSSMA, the A Cappella Chorus, and All County A Cappella. She participated in Drama Club. She served as President of International Club and Vice President of the Student Council. She was involved in her Church Choir and Vacation Bible School. Over her high school years, she provided community service for a variety of activities, including Animalkind, Relay for Life, Stop Hunger Now, Germantown Apple Fest, Peer Tutoring, Sean's Run, Schoharie Clean-up and the Salvation Army. She will attend SUNY Ulster.

Samuel ("Sam") Engel

Samuel ("Sam") Engel, son of Steve and Karen Engel of Chatham, is a 2015 graduate of Chatham High School. Sam was involved in many community and school activities during his time at CHS. As an athlete, he participated in Golf, Basketball, and Baseball, serving as Captain of both Golf and Basketball. He held leadership positions as treasurer of National Honor Society, Student Government, and CHS Community Service Club. During his senior year, Sam acted in both the Fall Festival of Shakespeare's Hamlet and the CHS Drama Club production of The Wiz. He was recognized with the Coach's Award for Varsity Golf, Most Valuable Player award for Varsity Golf, and Basketball Scholar Athlete Award. Sam was also been awarded the DAR Good Citizens Award and the Sean Patrick French Memorial Scholarship. He logged many hours of community service, including activities with youth sports programs, support for veterans, and the Columbia Film Festival. He worked part time in various positions since 2007, including as a camp counselor, Intern for Congressman Gibson, and at the Ghent Wildlife Rehabilitation Center. Sam will study Political Science and Anthropology at Gettysburg College, Pennsylvania.

Benjamin James Gardner

Benjamin James Gardner, son of James and Sandra Gardner of Craryville, is Salutatorian of the 2015 graduating class of Taconic Hills Central School District. He is a member of the National Honor Society and was named a Scholar Athlete Hall of Fame Honoree. He played on the JV Football and Baseball teams, and served as the Varsity Football Equipment Manager. Benjamin served as Class Representative and Vice President of the Student Council. He was active in Area All-County Jazz Vocal and Area All-County Chorus, and was selected for Area All-State Chorus. He served as Secretary and Vice President of his high school's Choir. He is active in various agricultural organizations, including4-H, Farm Bureau, American Jersey Cattle Association, and is a founding member of the Taconic Hills HARVEST Future Farmers of America. The Harvest FFA works to develop leadership skills, personal growth, and career success through agricultural education. During his involvement with this extracurricular club, Benjamin wrote grants, managed several projects and presented public awareness forums and educational outreach. He received the RIT Medal of Honor for Outstanding Achievement in Science and Math, the Rotary Club Youth Leadership Award, and the New York State Farm Bureau District Award. He will attend Albany College of Pharmacy.

Keith Hejnal

Keith Hejnal, son of Lorraine Hejnal, is a 2015 graduate of Questar III Career and Technical Education (CTE) programs and Germantown High School. He attended the Academy of Information Technology Program at Questar III. Keith was involved in Students against Destructive Decisions throughout his high school years, and Drama Club for the past two years at Germantown High School. He also played Varsity Volleyball, participated in Student Council, served as Class President for two years, and was the lighting and audio technician for his school's Drama Club. His community activities include Dutchess County 4-H and Vacation Bible School. Keith is OSHA certified. He helped to rebuild computer labs at Germantown High School and Elementary School, deployed student laptops, and provided troubleshooting for computer problems for his teachers and fellow classmates at Germantown High School and Questar III. Keith will attend Hudson Valley Community College, where he will be working toward an Associate's Degree in Computer Information Systems: System & Network Administration; and then transfer to a 4-year college to complete a Bachelor's Degree in Computer Science.

Kylie Pecord

Kylie Pecord, daughter of Robert and Vicky Pecord of Elizaville, is Valedictorian of the Class of 2015 at Germantown High School. She was a member of the Drama Club, Students against Destructive Decisions, National Honor Society, and the International Club, where she served as President for two years. She also contributed to the School Newspaper. Kylie was involved in a range of musical and performance pursuits while at Germantown. She participated in Germantown High School's A Cappella Group, Women's Chorale, and Concert Chorus; and was a member of the All-County A Cappella Choir and the All-County Chorus. She actively pursued her interest in ballet as a student and assistant teacher at a local ballet studio since 2008; and performed dramatic readings and acted in a short film. She waitressed and worked as an office and teaching assistant at her ballet studio. Kylie won several awards in the American Legion Oratorical Competition, including First in School, County and District. She was awarded 1st and 2nd Prizes in the American Nuclear Society Essay Competition in 2013 and 2014, respectively. She will attend Columbia College at Columbia University, where she plans to study Neuroscience and Behavior.

Lauren Stone

Lauren Stone, daughter of Janet and Thomas Stone, is Valedictorian of the 2015 graduating class of New Lebanon Junior/Senior High School. Lauren excelled in academics and consistently participated in a variety of school and community activities. She served for two years as the Chief Editor of her school's literary arts magazine. She served in the same capacity for the Yearbook Club as a senior. During her high school years, she was Treasurer for the Yearbook Club, Class Secretary and Class Vice President. She participated weekly for thirteen years as a violinist at the Berkshire Music School. Lauren volunteered weekly at the New Lebanon Library. She and her team of peers were awarded first place by the 2011 National Engineers Week Regional Future Cities Competition. She received NYS School Music Association ratings of "outstanding" and "excellent" for her violin solos; and was 1st place in a painting competition sponsored by the New York State Federation of Women's Clubs. A member of the National Honor Society, she demonstrated academic excellence in Geometry, Spanish, Global Studies, English, and Pre-Calculus. Lauren will study Pre-Medicine at Saint Michael's College in Burlington, VT.

Adriana Tampasis

Adriana Tampasis, daughter of Kristian and Angie Tampasis, is Salutatorian of the 2015 graduating class of Hudson High School. Adriana was involved in numerous school and community service activities during high school. With her passion for music and the arts, she was a member in All-County Choir, All-County Jazz Band, Area All-State Band, and All-County Band. She also participated in Shakespeare & Company and school musicals. Adriana was involved in Model Congress at American International College, Mock Trial, Scrub Club, Students against Destructive Decisions, and Berkshire Festival of Women Writers. She is a Scholar Athlete, and participated in JV and Varsity Volleyball and Varsity Track & Field. Outside of school, Adriana worked at Our Daily Bread and Hannaford. Her volunteer work included Sean's Run, participation in a benefit concert for a family in need, and "Garbage Run", which entailed running and picking up litter found on the streets of the community. Adriana will attend Bard College to pursue her interests in the Sciences and the Arts.

Marissa Vecellio

Marissa Vecellio, daughter of Francis and Karen Vecellio of Kinderhook, is a 2015 graduate of Ichabod Crane High School. She received the National Merit Scholar Commendation Award, the AP Scholar Award, RIT Computing Award and the NY State Senate Youth Leadership Award. Marissa served as the Treasurer for her class. She was a Student Representative in the ICC School District Strategic Planning Committee. She performed in a variety of musical activities, including the Empire State Youth Orchestra's Melodies of Christmas Concert at Proctor's Theater, which benefitted Children's Hospital. She also performed with the Area All-State Woman's Chorus, Spectrum Select Choir, All-County Chorus and All-County Jazz and Pop. She was a member of the JV Field Hockey Team, the JV and Varsity Basketball teams, and served as Captain for the JV Basketball team. She volunteered to help teach the sport to younger students at the local CYO and at the Booster Club Summer Basketball Camp; and assisted with the Hurricane Irene Clean-up in 2011. Marissa works part-time at Samascott's Garden Market. She will study Finance and Accounting at Clarkson University.

Awards Reception
2015 Giddings Scholars




RECIPIENTS of  20182017201620152014201320122011201020092000-08