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2018Giddings Foundation
Scholarship Recipients

The Board of the Alice and Murray Giddings Foundation selected nine graduates of public high schools in Columbia County as Giddings Foundation Scholars for 2018. Each recipient will receive a $5000 scholarship applicable to his or her post-secondary certificate or college degree program. The 2018 Giddings Scholarship recipients, along with their families and school representatives, were honored at a luncheon reception at the Winding Brook Country Club on Sunday, June 10, 2018. Recipients of the 2018 Giddings Scholarships have all demonstrated leadership, community service, and high academic standing during their high school years.

Habib Affinnih

Habib Affinnih, son of Yahya Affinnih and Felicia Adjei, was born in Ghana. He is a 2018 graduate of Ichabod Crane High School. He is ranked 7th in his class. Habib was a member of the Ichabod Crane High School Cross Country team as well as both the Indoor and Outdoor track teams. He began his involvement in running sports in the 9th grade and was named Captain of the track team in his junior year. He also participated in the Interact community service group at ICC, which focuses on local efforts to help community members in need. He was the recipient of the University at Albany Multicultural High School Achievers Award, Rochester Institute of Technology Computing Medal, Rotary Youth Leadership Award, and the Fredrick Douglass and Susan B. Anthony Award. He was named an Emerging Leader of the Hudson River Valley Conference. Habib was on the high honor roll every quarter of his high school career. He worked part-time at a local restaurant during his high school years. Habib plans to study computer science next fall at the University at Albany.

Kaleb Bradley

Kaleb Bradley is the son of Sarah Race and Bryan Bradley. He is a 2018 Graduate of Germantown High School and the Questar program In Hudson, where he participated in the Questar Culinary Arts program. Kaleb was a member of the Student Council, and participated in a variety of culinary events through Questar over the course of his schooling. He regularly volunteered for events at Questar, including the annual Veterans' Day Luncheon in 2017 and 2018 at Questar III Columbia-Greene County Educational Center. As a member of the Pro Start Culinary Arts Team, he competed in the National Invitational Culinary Competition at the Culinary Institute of America in Hyde Park, NY. Previous to his enrollment at Questar, Kaleb was a short order cook at Skidmore College, where he helped to prepare food for over 2000 student at every meal. Kaleb's interest in the environment and his involvement in outdoor activities led him to seek a degree in Environmental Science at Paul Smith's College in the Adirondack area of NYS. Kaleb hopes to become a Park Ranger.

Riley Decker

Riley Decker, the daughter of Mark and Lori Decker, is a 2018 graduate of Taconic Hills High School. Valedictorian of her class, Riley received multiple academic awards, including the 2016 Scott Retersdorf Memorial Essay Award, the 2017 Taconic Hills Faculty Association (THFA) Science Department Award, the 2017 (THFA) Math Department Award, the 2017 (THFA) English Department Award and the 2017 (THFA) Academic Excellence in Social Studies Award. Riley was a regular participant in Drama Club during her high school years, and was involved in various choirs and music festivals since middle school. She participated in Middle School and High School Drama Clubs. She served as Class President for four years, and is a member of National Honor Society. She established and led a Key Club at THCS, where she developed her own "Kindness Project", volunteering to benefit local children. Riley worked as a lifeguard / supervising lifeguard at the Taconic Hills School Pool during the school year, and summers as a lifeguard and counselor at a camp for children with developmental delays. Riley plans to study PreMed at Colgate University, and to eventually train as a surgeon and researcher.

Karissa Garbarini

Karissa Garbarini, daughter of Andrea and James Garbarini, is a 2018 graduate of Hudson High School. Near the top of her class, Karissa was involved in many academic and extracurricular activities over her high school years. She is a member of the National Honor Society and the Tri-M Music Honor Society, an RPI Medalist, and credentialed as a Level 1 Google Certified Educator. Karissa was on the varsity volleyball, swimming and softball teams at HHS; and was awarded Most Improved Player, the Bluehawk Award and All-star Conference Team membership for softball. She was the secretary for the school's SADD club, and co-treasurer of the Varsity Club; she helped organize educational programs, raised funds for SADD, and a Red-Cross Blood Drive. Karissa participated in All-County Band this year and last year. She volunteered at the Writing Center at HHS to assist younger students to improve their writing skills. Her interest in environmental issues was apparent from her participation in the Cornell University Invasive Aquatic Species Program eDNA collecting and Ornithology Nest Watch Programs; and some volunteer work with NYS Department of Environmental Conservation. Karissa raised funds for a number of years for the Ronald McDonald House of Albany, a program for families of children who are hospitalized with serious medical problems. She was employed as a Softball Umpire, and at several local restaurants. This fall, Karissa will study biology at SUNY Geneseo, with a plan to become a medical researcher.

Wyatt Gibbons

Wyatt Gibbons, son of James and Heather Gibbons, is a 2018 graduate of Germantown Central School. A gifted math student, Wyatt completed every math class the school has to offer, including two college courses. He received many awards for his academic and extracurricular activities including the Clarkson University Leadership and Achievement Award, and the Johns Hopkins University Center for Talented Youth--Honored Study of Exceptional Talent (SET). Wyatt was honored as one of the brightest middle school students in the world, and continued to show academic talent and achievement throughout his high school career. He received the Rensselaer Medal and the Innovation and Creativity Award from the Rochester Institute of Technology. He is a member of the National Honor Society. He served as Class Treasurer throughout high school, and participated in All County Band, Jazz Band, GCS Pitt Orchestra, and NYSSMA. He was also a member of the Varsity Soccer and Basketball teams at GHS. Wyatt was a soccer camp counselor, a referee for Southern Columbia County Soccer League, and volunteered at First Baptist Church Soccer Camp throughout high school. He plans to pursue a major in Physics at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute.

Megan Gilligan

Megan Gilligan is a 2018 graduate of Chatham High School. She is daughter of Allen and Karen Gilligan. A tri-athlete, Megan held positions as captain on Varsity Softball, Captain of Varsity Soccer, Captain of JV Basketball, and Vice President of Varsity Basketball. She did community service to support local sports activities by assisting the Little League Softball in various activities, and worked at the Chatham Softball Camp for 3 years. Megan served as vice president of the Tri-M Music Society, and participated in the All County Band in 2015. She has a love of animals, evident from her involvement in 4-H since 2008. She made dog and cat toys for a local humane society through HOBY, fostered rabbits for Double-H Ranch, and served as the 4-H Silver Eagles President for two years. Employed at local farms since 2014, Megan worked as assistant Calf Manager at Dutch Hollow farm since 2017. She was honored as New York Farm Bureau Scholarship District winner. She is an Elmira College Key award winner, NYSPHSSA Scholar Athlete, and attained high honors from 2014-2018. Megan plans to study Animal Science at SUNY College at Cobleskill.

Suman Humagain

Suman Humagain, son of Sharad and Samila Humagain, was born in Nepal. He is a 2018 graduate of Hudson High School. As class president in his Junior and Senior years, Suman organized and participated in numerous fundraisers and meetings. As a member of the Student Council since his sophomore year, he coordinated pep rallies as well as field day activities and spirit weeks. He was named to the National Honor Society in grades 11 and 12; and was a recipient of the University at Albany Multicultural Award and the Emerging Leaders of the Hudson Valley Conference Award. Suman was on the Varsity Soccer and Track & Field teams for all four years of high school, and on the Varsity Swim team as a senior. He volunteered at the school's Writing Center and participated in the Poetry Cafe. Suman was also part of the Cornell University Bird's Nest Study last year, where students observed and collected data on nests at a local conservatory for the university's research. He was also member of the Environmental Club. As a senior, Suman was part of the Gay Straight Alliance at HHS, working to create a safe and open environment for the LGBTQ community. For the past two summers Suman worked at local restaurants in Hudson. In the fall, he plans to major in Business Marketing with a minor in Computer Science at the University of Rochester.

Dakota Kubli

Dakota Kubli, daughter of Holly Kubli and William Trong, is a 2018 graduate of New Lebanon High School. She is a member the National Honor Society, and has consistently been on the high honor roll during high school. She received the Clarkson University High School Leadership Award, the Wells College 21st Century Leadership Award, the Williams College Book Award, the Frederick Douglass and Susan B Anthony Award, and the Elmira College Key Award. During her high school years, she served as both Secretary and Vice President of New Lebanon's Student Council, and as President of both the Spanish Club and Literary Arts Club. Dakota participated for four years in the Senior and Jazz Choir, and for two years in the Yearbook Club and Varsity Volleyball team. She was part of the Students Together Opposing Prejudice (STOP) Conference in her junior year. Dakota was named School Girl Queen at the Columbia County Fair in 2017. She volunteered for four years at the Pittsfield Food Pantry and contributed over 500 hours of volunteer service over the past five years to the Tsatsawassa Fire Company. Dakota worked as a barista at Starbucks and at the Bee Happy After School Program. She plans to major in pre-med and minor in music theory at Simmons College.

Madison Newton

Madison Newton, daughter of Irene and Richard Newton, is a 2018 graduate of Chatham High School. Over the course of high school, Madison received numerous recognitions for her academic, community service, and leadership activities. She received numerous "Excellence in Effort" and Student of the Quarter awards at CHS, and was a member of the National Honor Society and National Art Honor Society. She participated in JV Basketball, JV Soccer, Varsity Tennis, Varsity Track, and held leadership roles as Captain on both Varsity Tennis and JV Girls Soccer. She participated in the Photography Club, Service Club, and the Fall Festival of Shakespeare. She regularly volunteered at the semi-annual Fire House Breakfast since 2012, and at Crellin Park Community Fields for four years. Madison volunteered at Pack Forest DEC Summer Camp for four summers, consistently earning a Certificate of Merit for Potential. She was regularly involved in the Citizens' Climate Lobby and the CHS Ecology Club, which was the 2016 Envirothon winner in 2016. Madison plans to major in Environmental Science and Policy at Stony Brook University.

Awards Reception


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