title picture News
Albany High news for the 2017-18 school year

Follow the links at the bottom of the page for news from previous school years.


Winter scholar-athletes earn state recognition

More than 50 members of Albany High School’s winter varsity athletic teams have earned scholar-athlete recognition from the New York State Public High School Athletic Association. The student-athletes each maintained an academic average of 90 or higher during the second marking period this school year.  


Congratulations to all of our student-athletes!



Diavion Brown

Jasmin Harrison

Diandra Hennessy

Bria Holloman

Zslone Mantica

Zsofia Mantica

Lamaya Nelson


Boy’s basketball

Caleb John

Trevor Johnson


Girls’ basketball

Abigail Scheuermann

Bridget Whelan


Boys' hockey (with Niskayuna/Schenectady)

Yoni Eligberg


Boys’ indoor track

Sven Ceniza

Jason Eveleth

William Eveleth

Noah Greenblatt

Max Heller

Asa Mohammed

Graham Richard

Pratik Saha


Girls’ indoor track

Sarahi Diaz De la Cruz

Sofia Fasullo

Tracy Gaa

Aniah Hamilton

Aine Haugh

Dalia Levy

Syaira Liverpool

Lina Morse

Faith O’Toole

Claire Patnaude

Alyrah Pettiway

Gabrielle Rodriguez

Emma Russell

Victoria Saunders

Tina Shi

Elli Sol Strich

Casey Su-Morrill

Tamera Thomas

Sarah Tierney

Khadijah Tillery

Nicolette Ucci

Boys’ swimming

Barak Binyamin

David Dimase

Venn Engstrom

Aaron Murray

Michael O’Neil

Sean O’Neil

Othman Othman

John Rosenzweig

Miles Rosenzweig



Nicholas Joslin

Chai Kam

Maxwell Kendall

Ilan Kligerman

Jaden Tesch




Jazz groups score two Golds

The Jazzmanian Devils – Albany High School’s advanced and intermediate jazz bands – both received the highest rankings Feb. 15 at the 15th annual Fonda-Fultonville Jazz Festival.


Under the direction of Albany High music teacher John Halvorsen, each ensemble earned a Gold ranking from four judges who are masters in jazz performance.


The advanced group performed For Minors Only by Jimmy Heath, In a Sentimental Mood by Duke Ellington and Moanin’ by Charles Mingus (arranged by Halvorsen). The intermediate group performed Cantaloupe Island by Herbie Hancock, Strasbourg St Denis by Roy Hargrove and Birdland by Joe Zawinul (arranged by Halvorsen).


Members of Jazzmanian Devils 1, the advanced group, are:

Robert Ackerman, drums

Matan Adler, keyboard

Ness Anderson, baritone saxophone

Richard Andrews, drums

Logan Bennett, trumpet

Ian Boldiston, vibes

Matthew Flynn, drums

Ryan Ginnan, clarinet

Ian Gutierrez, guitar

Max Heller, guitar

Mike O'Neil, bass

Toussaint Santicola-Jones, alto saxophone


Members of Jazzmanian Devils 2, the intermediate group, are:

Julia Azarian-Kozer, alto saxophone

Polina Cassela, bass and flute

Elena Fasullo, drums

Aejay Gonzales, soprano saxophone

Marc Manantan, keyboard and melodica

Sean O'Neil, alto saxophone

Themba Pieterse, trumpet

Lee Reh, guitar

Sam Weinstein, drums


Congratulations to these outstanding musicians!




Seniors named National Merit finalists

Albany High School seniors Matan Adler and Max Heller have been named finalists in the competition for prestigious National Merit Scholarships, ranking them among the best students in the United States.


The two are among some 15,000 finalists – in the top one percent of high school students nationwide – vying for the scholarship in 2018.


The National Merit Scholarship Corporation, which selects the winners, will evaluate Adler’s and Heller’s individual academic records, information about the school's curricula and grading system, two sets of tests scores for each, the school's written recommendation for each, information about each one’s activities and leadership and an essay writer by each.


Adler and Heller will learn this spring whether they are among the 7,500 National Merit Scholarship winners


Congratulations to both!




Varsity girls' basketball team hosts scrimmage with Sweden

In the international Olympic spirit, the Albany High School girls’ varsity basketball team hosted a Swedish team in a Jan. 13 scrimmage.


The Lady Falcons went up against the girls’ varsity team from Marks High School in Skene, Sweden. After more than an hour on the court, the two teams broke bread together and had a dance-off.


The meetup of the two teams was orchestrated by longtime Falcon booster Bernie Mulligan.


The Lady Falcons head into the 2018 Section II Class AA playoffs with a 13-7 record. 


Click here to see a Facebook album of the scrimmage. (It's not necessary to have a Facebook account to view the pictures. A window may display the text, “To see more from Albany schools on Facebook, log in or create an account," but you can dismiss it by clicking "not now.




Young adds to bowling superlatives

Albany High School senior Jahlil Young added to an exceptional varsity career Feb. 12 by becoming the first member of the Falcons bowling team to qualify for the state tournament in at least two decades.


Young, whose resume already included a perfect game in his junior season, rolled a six-game series of 1,258 in the Section II Class A tournament at Boulevard Bowl in Schenectady. He finished among the top six individuals out of 320 bowlers competing at all levels in Section II.


His high game of 269 also was the high game out of all 100 competitors in the Class A tournament.


The state bowling tournament is March 10 in Syracuse.


“I am extremely proud of Jahlil for reaching his goal of making it to the state tournament,” said coach Nancy Madsen said. “I have had the pleasure of coaching him the last six years and have watched him grow and mature as a bowler and a student-athlete. He is a natural leader in his own quiet way to all his teammates.


“He has worked extremely hard to improve his game and I am so happy all his time and effort has paid off with a trip to the state tournament. He is such a gentleman and very well-deserving of this honor to be representing Albany High School at this event.”


Young led the Falcons to a fifth-place finish in Class A, also the team’s top sectional finish in at least two decades, Madsen said.


Delon Dean had a six-game total of 1,175, followed by Jedrek Arasim (1,152) and Eliza Arasim (1,026). Michael McNeil rolled a 530 three-game series, and Philip Stone added a 516 three-game series.


“I am very proud of our entire team for their amazing performance (at sectionals),” Madsen said. “To finish in the top five of the Class A sectionals is a tremendous feat. This team worked hard together and kept grinding throughout the day.




Lawson passes the century mark

Decky Lawson holds basketballDecky Lawson got a special shout-out Feb. 13 for hitting a 100-win milestone in his six-year career coaching Albany High School girls’ varsity basketball.


He was presented with a commemorative ball before a home scrimmage against Marks High School from Skene, Sweden.


Lawson made the breakthrough when the Lady Falcons won the final game of their Suburban Conference season at Schenectady on Feb. 9. He’s the second coach in school history to reach that plateau.


Lawson, who won a sectional championship as a member of the Albany High boys’ basketball team in 1993, will enter this year’s Section II Class AA playoffs with a 102-25 coaching record over six seasons, including the 2013 Class AA championship.


Albany High’s career leader in coaching wins in girls’ basketball is Albany School of Humanities (ASH) physical education teacher Leslie Bogucki. She compiled a 214-181 record in 26 seasons before retiring from coaching in 2009. That included back-to-back sectional titles in 1997-98 and the 1997 state large-school title.


Congratulations, Coach Lawson!




JROTC cadets earn spots at Girls State

Two female students in uniform standing together in a hallwayAlbany High School JROTC cadets Irene Nelson and Christina Black will represent the City School District of Albany this summer at the 2018 American Legion Auxiliary Empire Girls State program.


Empire Girls State is a hands-on week-long educational workshop focusing on the traditions, institutions and ideals of America and the political process. Nelson and Black, both juniors, will have the opportunity to network with peers from across the state and meet with political dignitaries from various levels of government when they travel to the State University of New York College at Brockport for the event this July.


Members of The Joseph E. Zaloga Post 1520 selected and sponsored Nelson and Black to attend.


Congratulations to both!          




Albany High grad rate continues to rise

Albany High School’s graduation rate increased to 65 percent in 2017, the school’s fourth consecutive year with an increase and its highest rate since the state started measuring graduation under its current methodology in 2005.


The Class of 2017’s four-year graduation rate surpassed the 62 percent rates for Albany High’s classes of 2007, 2008 and 2016, according to data the State Education Department released Wednesday.


The 65 percent rate represents a 30 percent increase since Albany High’s 50 percent graduation rate for the Class of 2010.


“While we recognize there is more work to do on behalf of all of our students, we are pleased to see this continued steady progress at Albany High School,” said Superintendent Kaweeda G. Adams. “It is a testament to the dedication of the leadership and staff at Albany High over a sustained period of time. We look forward to continuing these gains.”


Please visit State Ed's public data site for more information. You also can visit State Ed's website to read more about statewide graduation trends.


Wednesday’s announcement follows the State Ed report in December that the school also met all of its goals under the state’s receivership law in 2016-17. Albany High’s receivership goals included more students passing Regents exams, a higher graduation rate, improved safety and improved attendance.


Adams credited former Interim Principal Dale Getto for her strong leadership over 2½ years, as well as the school's new principal, Jodi Commerford, a member of the school’s administrative team for seven years, and Assistant Superintendent for Secondary Instruction Lori McKenna, who joined the City School District of Albany in the summer of 2016. 


Albany High’s Class of 2017 had gains for nearly every major student subgroup (with the percentage-point game from 2016):

  •         --Female – 72 percent (+3)

     --Male – 59 percent (+4)

     --Economically disadvantaged – 65 percent (+8)

     --Black students – 61 percent (+4)

       --White students – 83 percent (+7)

     --Asian/Native Hawaiian/other Pacific Islander – 71 percent (+4)

     --English-language learners – 38 percent (+26)

     --Students with disabilities – 36 percent (+1)


Adams pointed to the following as key factors in Albany High’s progress


     --Better use of data to target instruction and supports for each student

     --Targeted tutoring in literacy and math

     --Continued investments in social-emotional supports

     --Enhancing the school’s culture and climate – boosting Falcon Pride – among all students, staff and families.  

     --A continued emphasis on parent and family engagement through the Parent Information Resource Center.


Moving forward, the school also is working on the following areas:


     --Continuing to focus on the needs of each student, including an emphasis on data-driven instruction and decision-making.

     --Increased differentiation in instruction and a focus on critical-thinking skills

     --Continued training for all staff in trauma-informed care for students

     --Expanded community partnerships to provide students with more opportunities for real-world, hands-on learning and service experiences that support both their academic progress and their overall growth and development.


“Moving forward, it’s really about maintaining the focus on the systems that we’ve built because they are working, and keeping that laser focus on individual students,” Commerford said.


“The use of data in all of that has really gotten us where we are, and each year we’ve gotten better at refining those systems. That’s how we’re making those gains every year, looking at all of our students’ data on a daily basis, and that’s how we plan to continue our work so that we are sustaining that growth in the years to come.”




Librarian Abdul named to influential national committee

For the last decade, librarian Alicia Abdul has strived to assure that quality books are on Albany High School shelves.


Her scope of influence will expand substantially now that she’s been appointed to a prestigious committee of the American Library Association (ALA).


Abdul is a member of the committee that will determine the ALA’s 2019 William C. Morris Young Adult Debut Award. The honor goes to a book published by a first-time author writing for teens and young adults.


“This is a big deal,” said librarian Kristen Majkut, who works alongside Abdul at Albany High. “It speaks to Alicia's professionalism, her content area knowledge, and her contributions to our field.”


In short, Abdul will be identifying the best in young adult literature and influencing the choices made by readers throughout the country and world.


“Only the best in our profession are asked to serve on these national committees and it takes some significant time, grit and effort to even be considered. Alicia has put in the work,” Majkut said. 


The award's namesake is William C. Morris, an influential innovator in the publishing world and an advocate for marketing books for children and young adults.


Learn more about Abdul in a spring 2015 profile in Capital Education, the City School District of Albany’s award-winning newsletter.




Falcons bowling achievement

Albany High School freshman Jedrek Arasim had the high game and second-highest series at the Schenectady New Years Bowling Invitational on Jan. 12.    


Arasim rolled a 280 in his second game, tops among the 120 bowlers who competed. Arasim also had games of 235 and 221 for a 736 series. Both the high game and three-game total were personal bests for Arasim.    


The Falcons finished eighth overall out of 20 teams that competed in the tournament at Schenectady’s Boulevard Bowl.




Drive helps avert critical blood shortage

Albany High School on Jan. 11 held a blood drive to help avert critical blood shortages locally and nationwide. Rolling up their sleeves alongside students and staff were Mr. Eric Adams, husband of Superintendent Kaweeda G. Adams, and Albany Mayor Kathy Sheehan.


The school hopes to help the Red Cross make up for local and national shortages from a drop in donations due to severe weather that caused blood-drive cancellations throughout the country.


According to the Red Cross, a single donation can save as many as three lives. Stay tuned to find out how much blood was donated!


Albany High holds blood drives three times each school year. The school will be in the running for scholarship money from the Red Cross for the seventh consecutive year if it collects enough pints during the three drives. Thursday’s drive was the second of the three.


Click here to see a Facebook album of the drive. (It's not necessary to have a Facebook account to view the pictures. A window may display the text, “To see more from Albany schools on Facebook, log in or create an account," but you can dismiss it by clicking "not now.”)




Talented musiciams to perform at Suburban Council Fest:

Attention music lovers: A dozen outstanding Albany High School vocalists and instrumentalists will perform alongside top local high-school musicians Saturday at the Suburban Council Music Festival.


The annual festival will be held at 2 p.m. Saturday 13 at Columbia High School, 962 Luther Road, East Greenbush. Ensembles will include a high-school band, chorus and orchestra and a middle-school jazz band.


Albany High performers follow.


In band:

·         Ness Anderson, senior

·         Ryan Ginnan, senior

·         Elizabeth O’Toole, senior

·         Fiona Streznewski, junior 

In chorus:

·         Robert Ackerman, senior

·         Richard Andrews, senior

·         Davi Ginsburg, senior

·         Nancy Lundberg, junior

·         Alexandra Sipos, senior

·         April White, junior

In orchestra:

·         Amelia Colafati, sophomore

·         Faith O’Toole, sophomore 


Students were chosen based on audition scores, teacher recommendations and needs for the upcoming concert program.


Congratulations to these talented musicians!




2018-19 course books to be distributed Jan. 4-5

Albany High School students will receive course listing books in homeroom on Thursday, Jan. 4 and Friday, Jan. 5. Students, please review the course books to prepare for upcoming appointments to plan your schedule for the next school year. Click on the highlighted text for a snapshot of next year's course offerings or to download the full course catalogue. You also can view information here about Albany High's "Seal of Biliteracy" program for students that can speak, understand and write in more than one language.




Albanettes perform for governor

The Albanettes once again shared a stage with Gov. Andrew Cuomo.

Albany High School’s all-female a cappella singing group sang at the governor’s 2018 State of the State message on Jan 3. 2016  The event marked the third time the Albanettes have performed for Gov. Cuomo. They also sang for the 2016 State of the State and at his New Year’s Day swearing-in ceremony in January 2011.


Under the direction of teacher Brendan Hoffman, members of the group performed “The Star Spangled Banner” and "New York State of Mind."




Albany High's Heller nominated for national distinction

Albany High School senior Max Heller was among the short list of nominees for the 2018 U.S. Presidential Scholars program that the New York State Department of Education released Nov. 30.

Out of all high school seniors across New York State, only 25 had the honor of being nominated for this highly prestigious award. Of those, 20 students were selected for their outstanding work in academics and the arts, and five for their success in career and technical education programs.


Heller was among those nominated in the academic and arts category. Assemblymember Patricia Fahy nominated him for this distinction.


"What Max has accomplished at such a young age is truly remarkable, including completion of 13 Advanced Placement and International Baccalaureate courses, and serving as captain of the track and cross-country teams,” Fahy said.


“He has done all this while maintaining a 99.76 percent average, and earning the top academic ranking in his class entering senior year. I am confident his hard work will continue to lead to success, and congratulate him on his nomination.”


Each year two students from every state, one young man and one young woman, are selected as Presidential Scholars, one of the nation’s highest honors for high school students. Through his hard work and dedication, Heller is now in contention to receive this honor.Albany High was one of only three schools in the Capital Region to have a 2018 nominee.



State recognizes fall scholar-athletes

Nearly 100 members of Albany High School’s fall varsity athletic teams have earned scholar-athlete recognition from the New York State Public High School Athletic Association The student-athletes each maintained an academic average of 90 or higher during the first marking period this school year.


The girls’ cross country team also earned recognition as a scholar-athlete team, with at least 75 percent of the members achieving a 90 average or higher. Please visit our Athletics News section to read more. Congratulations to all of our student-athletes!




Basketball standouts Hart, Whelan announce college choices

Albany High School girls' basketball standouts Haille Hart and Bridget Whelan announced their college decisions Monday, Nov. 13 surrounded by family, friends, teammates and coaches.


Both student-athletes are four-year varsity players for coach Decky Lawson.


Hart, a 6-foot foward/center, signed a National Letter of Intent to continue her basketball career at NCAA DIvision II Clarion University of Pennsylvania. She announced her decision during the NCAA's early signing period for women's basketball so that she could concentrate on school and the upcoming season.


A strong defensive presence, Hart (at right in the photo) averaged 9 points, 6 rebounds, 2 blocks and two assists per game as a junior last winter.


Whelan, a 5-foot-8 shooting guard, announced that she will attend SUNY New Paltz, one of the state's top NCAA Division III programs.


Whelan, who will be out until January with a knee injury, has averaged 13 points and 2 assists over her first three varsity seasons and lead the team in 3-pointers each year. She hit a school-record seven 3-pointers in a game against Guilderland during her freshman year, and holds the school recrod for 3-pointers in a season and in a career.


To view more pictures from the announcement, click here. (A Facebook account is not necessary to view this content. A window may display the text "To see more from Albany City Schools on Facebook, log in or create an account," but this can be dismissed by clicking "not now.")


Congratulations to both student-athletes on their achievement!




Lady Falcons swim to sectionals

After one of its strongest regular seasons in recent years, the Albany High School girls’ swimming team will send 10 student-athletes to compete in 16 events at the Section II Division I championships at Shenendehowa this weekend.


Qualifying to compete in two individual events are:

·         Freshman Maggie Carroll (200-meter freestyle and 500 free)

·         Sophomore Adina Kligerman (200 free, 100 free)

·         Sophomore Mackenzi Stevenson (200 free, 100 backstroke)

·         Junior Olivia Hampson (200 individual medley, 100 breaststroke)

·         Junior Brogan Monroe (200 IM, 100 butterfly)

·         Senior Barbara Delaney (50 free, 100 free)


Also qualifying for sectionals in individual events are Stephen and Harriet Myers Middle School eighth-grader Delia Weinstein (100 fly), freshman Kiana Yrrah Samonte (100 fly) and sophomore Faith O’Toole (100 back).


The Lady Falcons also qualified three relay teams for sectionals:

·         200 medley relay –Carroll, Delaney, Hampson, Monroe

·         200 free relay – Myers eighth-grader Grace VanBowen, Hampson, Monroe, Kligerman

·         400 free relay – Delaney, Carroll, Stevenson, VanBowen

This is the most swimmers Albany High’s girls’ team has sent to sectionals in more than a decade, as well the most events the Lady Falcons have competed in during that time. Preliminaries begin at 3:30 p.m. today (Friday), and finals start at 3 p.m. Saturday. Good luck to all of our student-athletes!



Albany High teacher named 'STEM Master Teacher'

An Albany High School teacher has joined the ranks of City School District of Albany teachers recognized as STEM master teachers.  


Shannon Stevenson, an English-as-a-new-language living environment teacher, was recognized Oct. 18 in the state’s STEM Master Teacher Program, celebrating her work to deliver innovative science, technology, engineering and math education to their students.  


The Master Teacher Program network includes more than 900 outstanding teachers statewide. Stevenson is among 23 new STEM Master Teachers from the Capital Region. In addition to their dedication to their students, the teachers are recognized for their commitment to professional growth and their enthusiasm for sharing their successful practices with colleagues in their schools and district-wide.  


The district’s other STEM Master Teachers are:

  •              Andre Castagna, Albany High School, math

  •            Erin Erickson, Albany High School, math

  •            Melissa Hirt, Stephen and Harriet Myers Middle School, technology

  •            Michelle Huckins, Albany High School, math

  •            Margot Wyan, Albany High School, math  


To learn more about the state’s Master Teacher Program, click here.


To view pictures of Stevenson, click here. (A Facebook account is not necessary to view this content. A window may display the text "To see more from Albany City Schools on Facebook, log in or create an account," but this can be dismissed by clicking "not now.")



Student safety reminders

Please read the following letter from Albany High School Interim Principal Dale Getto with important reminders for families regarding the school's status as a closed campus. You also can click here to download the Oct. 18 letter.


Dear Families:


The health and safety of all of our students at Albany High School and throughout the City School District of Albany is a top priority for all of us. I am writing to ask for your partnership in an important matter in these areas at our school.


Albany High is a closed campus. Once students arrive for the school day they are not allowed to leave unless they have permission from a parent or guardian, or for an approved school-sponsored activity. Examples of reasons for students to leave school during the day with permission from home include illness, medical or dental appointments, family emergencies, religious observances or jobs.


Leaving school during the regular school day to buy food or beverages at local businesses – with or without permission from home – is an unexcused absence. Of greater concern, it is a serious safety risk. Students cannot leave school for these reasons at any time during the regular school day, which begins at 7:50 a.m. and ends at 2:50 p.m. Students leaving school during the regular day without appropriate permission from home are violating our Student Code of Conduct. Much more importantly, they are putting themselves at risk while also creating serious safety concerns for others. 


For example, if a school emergency happens and a building evacuation is necessary while students are away from school without permission, they would be counted as absent or missing when their teacher is taking attendance following the evacuation. This could lead to a safety risk for a school staff member or emergency responder, who may return to a dangerous situation in the building to try to locate and rescue the missing student. In this case, the student’s unexcused absence to buy food or beverages could result in injury or even loss of life for another person charged with their protection.


Our staff at Albany High are responsible for more than 2,500 students on a daily basis. We take this responsibility to each and every student, and each and every family, very seriously. Please talk with your students at home about the important safety concerns for themselves and others that are created when students leave campus without permission. Please discourage them from taking part in this practice. We appreciate your cooperation and partnership in our efforts to ensure the safety and well-being of every student, every day.




Dale A. Getto

Interim Principal




Bravo! Albany High musicians chosen for festivals

Eleven Albany High School virtuosos will represent their school on Nov. 18 at the Area All-State Music Festival of the New York State School Music Association (NYSSMA).


The annual eventl features outstanding music students from high schools throughout the Capital Region performing in band, chorus, jazz band or orchestra. Students were selected based on scores they received at a NYSSMA auditions last spring.


Performing at the Nov. 18 festival, which will be held at Saratoga Springs High School at 2 p.m., are:


• Robert Ackerman (chorus, tenor)

Richard Andrews (chorus, bass)

Logan Bennett (symphony orchestra, trumpet)

Reeve Churchill (symphonic band, French horn)

Sofia Fasullo (symphony orchestra, clarinet)

Anna Kennedy (symphony orchestra, piccolo)

Elizabeth O'Toole (symphonic band, flute)

Alexandra Sipos (chorus, soprano)

Elli Sol Strich (symphony orchestra, French horn)

Mara Strich (symphony orchestra, flute)

Fiona Streznewski (symphonic band, trombone)


Three of the students – Sofia Fasullo, Elli Sol Strich and Mara Strich – also were selected from among thousands statewide to perform in the highly selective Conference All-State Festival, which will be held on Dec. 2-3 at Kodak Hall in Rochester. The Strich sisters will play in the Conference All-State Symphonic Band and Fasullo will play in the All-State Symphony Orchestra.


Congratulations to all!




Albany High lottery applications available

Applications are available for the lottery to determine placement in Albany High School’s four academies for the 2018-19 school year.


Click here to download an information booklet and application.


Each of Albany High's four unique academies has its own theme. Each offers electives specific to that theme, and the themes also are woven into the core curriculum. However, students also can take electives in different academies and the electives are equally available to all. (MORE)




Falcons celebrate Homecoming 2017

Homecoming 2017 dawned on an unusually balmy Sept. 23, with temperatures in the mid-80s by the time the Albany Falcons took the field against the Colonie Raiders.


The day's events began with the unveiling of the City School District of Albany Wall of Fame. The wall contains names of the 79 members of the Hall of Fame, including the eight that were inducted on Friday night. Learn about the the 2017 Hall of Fame class here.


Hall of Famers joined students, sports teams, staff and community members for the annual Homecoming Parade throughout the neighborhood. The Junior ROTC and Albany Marching Falcons led the parade, which wound through the streets around the school and ended up at Albany High’s new turf field.


Kickoff for the Homecoming football game was at 1:30 p.m. Halftime activities included introducing the newest Hall of Fame inductees and performances by the Albany Marching Falcons and Albany High’s varsity cheerleaders.


In the end, the Garnet Raiders defeated the Falcons 41-0.


Check out a Facebook photo album from Homecoming 2017 here. (You don't need a Facebook account to view the pictures. A window may display the text, "To see more from Albany City Schools on Facebook, log in or create an account," but you can dismiss it by clicking “not now.”)




Early dismissal for all district schools Oct. 6

All City School District of Albany schools will dismiss 15 minutes early Friday, Oct. 6 to participate in the annual Go Home Early emergency preparedness drill. The State Education Department requires all schools to conduct this test each year.


All after-school activities will be cancelled. However, student-athletes will be permitted to return to their athletic venues at 3:15 p.m. At early dismissal, Albany High School student-athletes should report to the bleachers on the main field (adjacent to the Washington Avenue parking lot). For more information related to after-school programs, please visit our district website.


Please also note that all district schools and offices also will be closed Monday, Oct. 9 in observance of Columbus Day.




Seniors earn National Merit semifinalist status

Albany High School seniors Matan Adler (left) and Max Heller (right) have been named semifinalists in the 2018 National Merit Scholarship Competition.


 Their outstanding scores on the PSAT/National Merit Scholarship Qualifying Test placed them in the top 1 percent of the 1.6 million students nationwide who took the test. (Adler, left, and Heller are pictured with Albany High School Interim Principal Dale Getto).


 In order for the students to become finalists for a scholarship, they must have outstanding academic records throughout high school, be endorsed and recommended by the high school principal and earn SAT scores that confirm their earlier performance on the qualifying test.


National Merit Scholarships are awarded in the spring.


Congratulations to both students (pictured with Albany High Interim Principal Dale Getto). Great job!




Albany High's summer graduation

Albany High School’s Class of 2017 gained 21 new members on Aug. 22 as students crossed the stage to receive their diplomas during summer graduation.


The most recent graduates successfully completed Albany High’s summer school program, which is just one of many programs offered by the City School District of Albany helping students stay on track academically.


Surrounded by friends, family and staff, the seniors celebrated their accomplishments and prepared to embark on the next chapters of their lives.


As they do so, Albany High assistant house principal and summer school coordinator Suzann Cornell offered words of encouragement.


“You will experience the enormous joy in creating your own life and enjoying the benefits of it. Of course, there will be challenges ahead, but when you are determined to succeed you will handle anything that gets in your way. I hope you create a future that you are completely passionate about; certainly you deserve it,” Cornell said.


Congratulations to these graduating Falcons for their hard work and perseverance!


To view pictures from the graduation, click here. (A Facebook account is not necessary to view this content. A window may display the text "To see more from Albany City Schools on Facebook, log in or create an account," but this can be dismissed by clicking "not now.")


Time to schedule senior portraits

Attention Class of 2018, it's time to schedule your senior photos!


Portraits will be taken between 9 a.m. and 7 p.m. through July 21 at Lauren Studios, 50 Colvin Ave. You can call Lauren Studios to make an appointment at 866-696-8142. You also can make an appointment at www.LaurenStudios.com; follow the prompts and create an online account.


There also will be photo sessions in the Albany High auditorium July 24-28 from 9 a.m.-3 p.m., and additional opportunities in August and September. You will need to schedule an appointment with Lauren Studios for these sessions, as well.

Photos need to be selected by Oct. 31.




August Regents signup deadline July 12 

Albany High School students have until July 12 to sign up for an August Regents exam.


Students can register in the guidance office between 8 a.m. and 1 p.m.  Monday through Friday.


Students cannot register after July 12. 




Cancer, Lawson deemed 'Men of Valor'

Congratulations to Albany High School alums and staffers Issac Cancer (’82) and Decky Lawson (’93) for being named 2017 Men of Valor by the Frank Chapman Memorial Institute.


Cancer, left, has worked in Albany schools for 20 years, most currently as the senior hall monitor at Albany High. or He was a radio DJ for a total of 40 years at Siena College WVCR 88.3 and JAMZ 96.3, retiring in 2014. He also is a 26-year member of the Metropolitan New Testament Baptist Church and serves as its vice chairman of the Diaconate Ministry.


Lawson, a teaching assistant at Albany High, is coach of the girls’ varsity basketball team and an active member of Albany’s Arbor Hill and South End communities. He is commissioner of the Arbor Hill softball field and founder of the “Decky Lawson Bring ‘Em Out” basketball tournament. Through softball and basketball, he provides opportunities for both youth and adults. He runs from coaching both the Junior Falcons youth team and the Lady Falcons varsity team to his singing gigs. In between, he prepares the softball field so it is playable every night.


The Frank Chapman Memorial Institute is devoted to providing Albany residents with life skills, work training and personal development resources through after-school enrichment, a computer lab, summer day camp, mentoring, a community garden and a basketball program.




Albany High news for the 2016-17 school year

Class of 2017 graduation: a great day to be a Falcon!

The 506 members of the Albany High School Class of 2017 celebrated graduation day on June 25 with family, friends, teachers, administrators and other guests. It was truly a great day to be a Falcon! Click here to learn more about the day. You also can click here to see a Facebook photo album(You don't need a Facebook account to view the photos. A window may display the text, "To see more from Albany City Schools on Facebook.com log on or create an account," but you can dismiss it by clicking "not now.") Congratulations to the Class of 2017!




Graduation: what students and families need to know

This year for the first time, Albany High School will hold graduation ceremonies at the Times Union Center.


Graduation is Sunday, June 25. Students should plan to be at the Times Union Center at 12:30 p.m. All guests will have to abide by the arena’s regular safety procedures, so family members and others may want to consider arriving between 12:30 and 1 p.m. to allow time to proceed through security.


Ceremonies will begin promptly at 2 p.m.


Times Union Center staff will follow these rules:

      • All guests will be required to walk through metal detectors as they enter. If needed, security will perform pat-downs.

     • Bags and containers that are larger than 13 inches by 15 inches will not be permitted inside. This includes but is not limited to pocketbooks, backpacks, diaper bags, coolers and packages.

     • Any child 16 or under must be accompanied by an adult.

     • Doors will close at 2:45 p.m., and no one will be allowed in the building after that time. There will be no re-entry if you leave.

     • No balloons are allowed in the building. Balloons will be confiscated at the door and not returned. 


Click the highlighted text for more information about the Times Union Center's security rules.


Students must be dropped off at the Beaver Street entrance to the Times Union Center. Family members and others should plan to enter the arena either through the front entrance on South Pearl Street or the parking garage entrance at the end of Beaver Street. Free parking is available in this garage on a first-come, first-served basis.


Click the highlighted text to see a map of the Times Union Center, including the designated student drop-off area.


We look forward to celebrating members of the Albany High School Class of 2017 on June 25!




Sprint relay team leads Albany High team at state track meet

The Albany High School boys’ 4x400-meter relay team is headed to the state track and field meet after dominating the event in Section II this spring.


The team (pictured L-R) of seniors Kevin Mitchell, Jarrell Chaney and Syeed Holtzclaw, and junior Blaize Umuhuza took first place at the state qualifiers at Shenendehowa High School on June 1-2. They also won the event at the Division 1 sectional meet May 23 at Guilderland High School, and at the prestigious William F. Eddy Invitatational on May 20 at Schenectady High School.


They will lead Albany High’s contingent at the state meet June 9-10 at Union-Endicott High School near Binghamton. Felix Correa, a junior, is the team’s alternate.


Holtzclaw also qualified for states in the 400 meters after winning the event at qualifiers. Holtzclaw also won the 400 at the Eddy meet. Kevin Mitchell finished second in the 400 hurdles at qualifiers and also will compete in that event at states.


For the girls’ team, senior Eileen Bequette qualified for the state meet in the pentathlon for the third year in a row. Bequette finished second at state qualifiers by one point – 3,085 to 3,084 – after dominating the five-event competition at the Division 1 meet May 23.


Good luck to all of our student-athletes!




Students play Carnegie Hall

It’s a sure sign of success and talent when a musician plays Carnegie Hall.


And three Albany High School musicians did just that on June 4 in an Empire State Youth Orchestra performance at the famous New York City concert hall.


The students, starting at left in the photo, are junior Mara Strich, who plays flute and piccolo, sophomore Elli Sol Strich, who plays French horn, and junior Sofia Fasullo, who plays clarinet and bass clarinet.


“Performing at such a premier venue is certainly not something that happens every day and we in the music department are so proud of what they have accomplished,” said Albany High teacher John Halvorsen, director of the Wind Ensemble.


The Empire State Youth Orchestra is an ensemble of classical musical performing groups that provides musically advanced students with an opportunity to perform with other talented musicians. The three Albany High students are members of the most advanced group, the Youth Orchestra, considered to be one of the premiere youth orchestras in the country.




Scholars' program recognizes three outstanding seniors

The Business and Education Partnership has selected three Albany High School seniors for the 2017 Scholars’ Recognition Program.


The partnership selected Eileen Bequette, Ridhwana Haxhillari and Nicholas Rosado for the program, which recognizes seniors from all area high schools based on their achievements in scholarship, leadership, citizenship and service.


Each student then identifies a teacher or other school staff person who has had the most significant influence on her or him. All of the scholars are recognized at an annual dinner and in a special “Times Union” section, which the newspaper published May 18.


Bequette, who will attend the University of Rochester, selected track and field coach Jeffery Barnes. “Coach Barnes has been critical to my success in track and field,” she wrote. “While demanding a lot, he is always patient, positive and encouraging.”


Haxhillari, who will attend Harvard University, selected English teacher Megan Donohue. “Ms. Donohue has believed in me through my self-doubt, encouraged me to leave my comfort zone and introduced me to methodologies that expand my academic abilities,” Haxhillari wrote.


Rosado, who will attend Hudson Valley Community College, selected guidance counselor Kristy Koldis. “Ms. Koldis has had an enormous impact on my academic career at AHS,” Rosado wrote. “She made me realize my full potential through motivation and encouragement.”


Pictured (L-R): Rosado and his mother, Elizabeth; Koldis; Barnes; Bequette and her mother, Patricia Fahy; Haxhillari and Donohue.




Twins selected for prestigious language program

Albany High School seniors Sydney and Taylor Kimbrough have been selected to take part in the National Security Language Initiative for Youth's scholarship for language study this summer in Chengdu, China.


This six-week course of study emphasizes language instruction and cultural immersion. The program is supported by the U.S. Department of State.


Both Sydney and Taylor will be attending Northeastern University in Boston this fall and majoring in international affairs.




New Albany High pool makes a big splash!

Albany High School celebrated the long-awaited completion of its new pool May 10, punctuated by a joyous ceremonial first dive by members of the school’s swimming teams.


"It is a great day to be a Falcon!” said Interim Superintendent Kimberly Young Wilkins, Ed.D., “Our celebration this morning represents yet another step forward for Albany High School, for our school district and for our entire community.” Click here to read Dr. Wilkins full remarks.


Closed since a portion of the exterior wall collapsed during a period of extreme cold in March 2015, the pool officially will return to service when the girls’ swimming team begins preseason practice in mid-August. The boys’ team will return home officially when the winter sports season begins in November.


The City School District of Albany also will reinstate the learn-to-swim program for second-graders when the 2017-18 school year begins.


“I can still remember the thud my heart made back in March 2015 when I learned that a large section of the pool wall had collapsed here at Albany High,” said Board of Education President Sue Adler. “It was hard in that moment to envision a space like this, or to imagine a day like this.


“But here we are, with so much to be thankful for and to celebrate, and with so much to look forward to.”


Click here to read Adler's full remarks.


The pool renovations were completed thanks to a tax-free referendum voters approved in May 2015. The $4 million pool project was part of a $14 million package of renovations at 14 buildings district-wide, all completed with no additional impact on taxes.


Construction on the pool building began last October.


The ribbon-cutting ceremony marked an important day for the school and district “because we know the completion of our pool represents not just the end of a long-awaited facilities project, or the beginning of a new era for our student-athletes,” Dr. Wilkins said.


“This event also represents our continued progress here at Albany High School and throughout the City School District of Albany. It represents the fulfillment of another important piece of our vision for the future.”


Along with about 30 Albany High student-athletes and several parents, the gathering for the ribbon-cutting ceremony also included board members Adler, Vice President Anne Savage and Sridar Chittur, Ph.D., Mayor Kathy Sheehan, Assemblymember Pat Fahy (also an Albany High parent!), Albany Common Council member Daniel Herring and Albany County legislators Frank Commisso Sr. and Wanda Willingham.


Albany High Acting Principal Dale Getto summed up the morning perfectly in her opening comments at the start of the event: "It's a great day to be a Falcon!" she said.


Following the ceremonial ribbon-cutting, members of the Albany High swim teams officially opened the pool with a ceremonial first dive (pictured above).


The district now is looking ahead to the start of construction on the major Albany High rebuilding project. That work will begin with the groundbreaking for a new academic wing in the spring of 2018. That new building is expected to open for students at the start of the 2019-20 school year.


Albany High senior Sedric Tello (pictured at right), a member of the boys’ swimming team, said the completion of the pool project “goes to show how much the Albany city school district can accomplish when it comes together, and what happens when everybody prioritizes what’s best for our students and our athletes.


“Because when things like this happen, it proves that there’s no limit to what we can accomplish.”


To view a video documenting the renovations and ribbon-cutting, click here. (A Facebook account is not necessary to view this content. A window may display the text "To see more from Albany City Schools on Facebook, log in or create an account," but this can be dismissed by clicking "not now.")




Cosmetology students to host Mother's Day Spa Day

Treat Mom (or yourself!) to some high-end pampering at a bargain price on Saturday, May 13 during a Mother's Day Spa Day at Abrookin Career and Technical Center.


The event is from 9 a.m. to noon. Any two services are $20 and the event is open to the community.


Services include:

Crochet weaves and extensions



Finger waves



Roller set


  • Wash and set


Please call 475-6412 before Saturday to schedule a crochet weave or hair extensions.


Students from Albany High School's Cosmetology Program at Abrookin will perform the services under the supervision of Abrookin staff. Funds raised will be go towards costs associated with the Cosmetology Program and a percentage also will be donated to a local charity.


Abrookin is located at 99 Kent St., three blocks north of Albany High.




Albany High teacher joins PAL Hall of Fame

Congratulations to Albany High School physical education teacher Ashley Chapple, whose hard work and dedication to the youth of the city have earned her an induction to the Albany Police Athletic League (PAL) Hall of Fame.

Chapple, also an Albany High graduate, first became involved with PAL as a teenager when she joined its Youth Leadership Council during her senior year. She then worked for the organization’s summer camp, becoming a camp director. She continues to play an active role in assisting with PAL events, perhaps most notably when she brought members of the Albany High girls’ basketball team overseas to the country of Georgia on a 20-day trip sponsored by the Department of State.

Her involvement in the community extends beyond PAL and the classroom as well, as Chapple is currently the assistant coach for the Albany High girls’ varsity basketball team, president of the Albany Junior Lady Falcons Youth Basketball Program and a member of the Albany Fund for Education Board of Directors.

PAL recognized Chapple for her efforts along with former Albany Mayor Jerry Jennings and local business leaders Jim and Kathy Morrell at its Breakfast of Champions ceremony April 12.

Chapple is pictured with Albany High student-athletes (L-R): Tyson Jones, Supreme Webb, Noah John, Jaden Gary, Caleb John, Ben Morton, Jarrell Chaney, Elysse Bennett and Dashanna Tanksley. Each of these students also have participated in PAL programming.





Senior a Presidential Scholar semifinalist

Albany High School senior Santos Otero has been named a semifinalist in the 2017 U.S. Presidential Scholars Program.


That means he is in the running to be one of up to 141 scholars from throughout the country selected for the prestigious program, one of the nation’s highest honors for high-school students.


Of the total number of Presidential Scholars to be selected, about 20 are career and technical education scholars and 20 are arts scholars. One male and one female student from each state make up the rest of the scholars chosen from throughout the country.


Otero was been nominated to be a career and technical Presidential Scholar by Assemblywoman Patricia Fahy through the New York State Department of Education. Otero's area of expertise is carpentry and he has a deep interest in giving back to his community. (He is pictured at right working in the carpentry shop at Albany High's Abrookin Career and Technical Center.)


Decisions on Presidential Scholar finalists will be made in early May.




Select choir earns top marks

They sang three pieces of challenging music at the most difficult level of competition. And the judges gave their performance the highest possible rating.


Led by Director Brendan Hoffman, Albany High School's Select Choir earned a "gold with distinction" rating – the highest given to any performing group – at the New York State School Music Association's Choral Festival on April 13 at Niskayuna High School.


The Select Choir performed at competition Level VI – the highest degree of complexity. They sang "Great Day" arranged by Marques Garrett, “Come to Me, My Love,” by Norman Dellow Joio and “Twa Tanbou” by Sydney Guillaume.


Performances are graded as "bronze," "silver" and "gold," with a gold rating going to performers who demonstrate outstanding technical and artistic skill. A "gold with distinction" award is a rare designation meaning the performance of all three songs was exceptional. (MORE)




Albany High math teachers earn prestigious state recognition

Four City School District of Albany teachers, including three from Albany High School, have been recognized in the state’s 2017 STEM Master Teacher Program, celebrating their work to deliver innovative science, technology, engineering and math education to their students.


The Master Teacher Program network includes more than 800 outstanding teachers statewide. Albany’s representatives are among 37 2017 STEM Master Teachers in the Capital Region. In addition to their dedication to their students, the teachers are recognized for their commitment to professional growth and their enthusiasm for sharing their successful practices with colleagues in their schools and district-wide.


Albany’s 2017 STEM Master Teachers are Andre Castagna, Albany High School, math; Erin Erickson, Albany High School, math; Melissa Hirt, Stephen and Harriet Myers Middle School, technology; and Margot Wyan, Albany High School, math.


Albany High math teacher Michelle Huckins also was recognized in a previous STEM Master Teacher cohort before joining the district in 2016.


To learn more about the state’s Master Teacher Program, please visit https://www.suny.edu/masterteacher/cohort/




Winter scholar-athletes earn recognition

Forty-five students that competed on eight Albany High School varsity winter sports teams have received scholar-athlete recognition from the New York State Public High School Athletic Association.


Each achieved a grade-point average of 90 or higher for the second-quarter marking period and will receive a lapel pin. Click here for a list of students.




Masterminds team playoff-bound after division title

Congratulations to the Albany High School Masterminds team for winning its division during the regular season!


The team went 10-2 and now is preparing for the playoffs, which begin later this spring.


Masterminds is a team academic competition for high school students. There are 30 teams competing in five divisions throughout the Capital Region. Albany High’s Masterminds division includes Burnt Hills-Ballston Lake, Waterford, LaSalle, CBA and Watervliet. Check out the Masterminds website for more information.


Albany High’s JV Masterminds team also won its division this season with a perfect 12-0 record.


Members of the varsity and JV teams pictured are (L-R): Front row, Ferit Brace (sophomore, JV), Adam Aleksic (sophomore, JV), Alexandra Sipos (junior, JV), Juliette Geraghty (junior, varsity), Erin Lippitt (junior, varsity) and Jean Powell (sophomore, JV). Back row, Mat Adler (junior, varsity), David Powell (senior, varsity), Jacob Citone (senior, varsity), Liam Leary (senior, varsity), Jason Eveleth (sophomore, JV), faculty advisor John Sawyer, Francis Criscione (senior, varsity) and Kassi McTague (team assistant). Not pictured: Nicholas Hillengas (freshman, JV) and faculty advisor Lawrence Bizzaro.




Chefs-in-training to vie for best chili

Savor chili prepared by aspiring Albany High School chefs and support disabled veterans at the same time on April 1 at the annual Watervliet Chili Cookoff.


Two teams of students from Albany High’s culinary program at Abrookin Career and Technical Center – the Fiery Falcons and the Jalapeno Fireflies – have spent the week preparing for the event, which will be held from 2 to 6 p.m. Saturday at the Dome, located at 13th Street and Second Avenue in Watervliet.


Tickets are $10 for adults, and children under 16 get in free.


Area chefs vie for the title of best chili at the event. Last year the Fiery Falcons took second place with their spicy recipe and the Jalapeno Fireflies took third with their mild recipe. Led by Chef Lisa Valentine, each team hopes to outdo its showing from last year.


The event is a fundraiser for the David Fisher Upper Hudson Heroes of Watervliet, an organization devoted to teaching kayaking to disabled veterans. The organization was created to honor the memory of Sgt. David Fisher, a Watervliet native who was killed in Iraq in 2004.


To see pictures of the prep work, click here(A Facebook account is not necessary to view this content. A window may display the text "To see more from Albany City Schools on Facebook, log in or create an account," but this can be dismissed by clicking "not now.")




Check out Albany High’s jazz talent

in April on Channel 18

The Albany High School Jazz Ensemble will celebrate Jazz Appreciation Month with appearances throughout April on Channel 18, one of Albany’s three public access television stations.


The ensemble will perform on the show “Albany Tempo Spectrum.” The show will air at 5 p.m. Saturday and run Thursday-Sunday at 5 p.m. during April.


“Albany Tempo Spectrum” is produced by Donald Hyman, who heard the jazz ensemble perform in October and wanted them on his show. The Albany High musicians were supposed to share the bill with other acts, but Hyman was so impressed by what heard that he decided they would be the solo performers.


Pictured left to right are senior Aaron Shields, drummer; senior Noah John, clarinet player; freshman Toussaint Santicola-Jones, alto sax player; sophomore Sam Weinstein, drummer; Donald Hyman; junior Ness Anderson, baritone sax and piano player; junior Matan Adler, piano player; junior Logan Bennett, trumpet; senior Austin Smith, guitar; and teacher John Halvorsen, director.




Adler recognized among Capital Region 'Kids Who Care'

Congratulations to Albany High School junior Mat Adler, who has been selected as one of WNYT/Ch. 13's "13 Kids Who Care."


For the past four years, Adler has volunteered in a music instruction program through Boys and Girls clubs in the Capital Region. His older brother, Class of 2013 salutatorian Hillel Adler, started the program at the Boys and Girls Club of Albany. The younger Adler has recruited additional high school volunteers to expand the program to serve Schenectady and Troy as well.


Ch. 13's story about Adler's efforts ran March 27.




AP Environmental Science students raising money for clean water

Students in Albany High School’s AP Environmental Science class are raising money to help with one of the world’s most urgent needs – clean water.


The Charity Water Project 2017 aims to raise $3,000 to help establish a water project in a part of the world where access to clean, safe water is limited. “Please donate to our campaign – anything you can give is a huge help, not to mention billions of people in need would be extraordinarily grateful for your act of kindness,” the Albany High students wrote on their fundraising page.


To read more about the project and make a donation, please visit https://my.charitywater.org/ahs/apes. The deadline to make contributions is March 29.




`Dream job' for new Albany High football coach

The last time Albany High School had a championship football season, Mike Ware was excited to see it end.   


Ware was a freshman on the Yonkers Roosevelt team that beat the Falcons 34-27 in the 1996 state quarterfinals, the last time Albany High won the Section II title. Ware didn’t get into that game, but he played a part in helping Roosevelt, the eventual state champion, prep for the high-scoring Falcons.


Twenty-one years later, Ware is now in charge on the other side of the field and hoping to build on the resurgence the Albany High program has enjoyed the past two years.


“Football is back,” said Ware, promoted earlier this month from assistant to head coach. “We’re trying our hardest to develop these kids academically, physically and as men. It’s our mission to produce the best product on Saturdays, and the best product after graduation.”


A former assistant for five years at Hudson Valley Community College, his alma mater (he also played linebacker for the Vikings), Ware joined the Albany High coaching staff last season as an assistant under coach Joey DiPiazza.


The Falcons finished 5-4 last fall, their first winning season in 12 years, and were 8-11 in DiPiazza’s two seasons. That marked major progress for a program that had gone 3-69 over the previous eight seasons, including five consecutive winless seasons from 2007-11.


DiPiazza stepped down following the breakthrough season last fall and the Falcons will graduate an outstanding group of seniors, led by electrifying All-State performers Ky’ere Tillery and Jarrell Chaney.


But the Falcons have a solid core of returning players, and Ware has been impressed by the level of participation in offseason workouts. He will keep the rest of last fall’s coaching staff intact to provide important continuity, and he’s also actively trying to infect more students with the Falcon football bug.


“Joey sparked it, and it’s my job to continually try to change the culture and the perception of the football player in Albany,” Ware said. “Last year we had some success and now the attitudes have changed.”


Taking over the top job for an urban high school football program has been Ware’s goal since his playing days at Yonkers Roosevelt, a school and city similar to Albany.


“This is literally, verbatim, my dream job, minus not being in Yonkers,” he said. “It’s almost unreal.”


Ware played at Roosevelt for iconic coach Tony DeMatteo, whose 318 career wins are the most among all active coaches in New York (DeMatteo led Somers to the 2016 Class A state title in addition to the '96 Class AA title with Roosevelt). As a kid growing up in Yonkers, Ware dreamed of being part of the respected program DeMatteo built at Roosevelt. He had bigger dreams, too.


"Every other kid wanted to play in the NFL. I wanted to be coach DeMatteo," Ware said.


Now he has a chance to build that culture in Albany.


“When I was growing up, they would say, ‘He played for coach DeMatteo. He’s a great kid.’ That meant something to me in my community,” Ware said. “If I can give that to our kids and our community, I will feel that I have done my share.”




Dale Getto to return to lead Albany High in 2017-18

Dale Getto will continue for a third year as principal at Albany High School in 2017-18, providing consistent veteran leadership as the school continues its work to meet the state’s receivership requirements.


In her 30th year working in the City School District of Albany, Getto has led Albany High for the past two school years and has been an administrator at the 2,500-student school since 2010.


“This is an important time for Albany High School in our ongoing efforts to get off the state’s receivership list and to continue to increase the success rates for all of our students,” said Interim Superintendent Kimberly Young Wilkins, Ed.D. “We are grateful to Ms. Getto for agreeing to stay to lead that critical work for another year.”


Getto (pictured at right at Albany High's 2016 graduation) had planned to retire at the end of the current school year. She agreed to postpone her retirement for one year to allow the district to conduct a thorough search for Albany High’s next principal, and to provide a smooth leadership transition.


As an additional responsibility in 2017-18, Getto also will take on leadership of the district’s alternative-education programs for students in grades 7-12.


“Our work at Albany High School is so important and so rewarding, I am honored to have this opportunity to lead our exceptional team of educators and staff for another year,” Getto said. “We are looking forward to continuing to build on the gains we have made in recent years.”


Getto served as Albany High’s school improvement manager for four years and then as principal at Albany High’s Abrookin Career and Technical Center in 2014-15 before taking over in her current role.


In every role, she has been an integral part of an Albany High team that has worked to increase the school’s four-year graduation rate from 50 percent for the Class of 2010 to 62 percent for the Class of 2016.


Albany High met the majority of its state-mandated goals in the first year of receivership in 2015-16 and is striving toward completion of a second consecutive successful year under those requirements. If the school does not meet its receivership goals it could be at risk for a state takeover.


Prior to joining the administrative team at Albany High, Getto served as principal at North Albany Academy, the district’s only prekindergarten-grade 8 school, from 2005-10.


She also served as an administrator at William S. Hackett Middle School and Abrookin for four years, as the first district-wide behavior specialist from 1997-2001 and as a special education teacher for 10 years at Giffen Memorial Elementary School and Albany School of Humanities (ASH).




Albany High student-athletes participate in regional leadership event

Twenty Albany High School student-athletes participated in the first-ever Suburban Council Leadership Conference in Troy on March 13.


The day-long event brought together student leaders from each conference school to discuss a wide range of topics that included sportsmanship and the commitment necessary to be a student-athlete in high school.


Renowned author and motivational speaker Jay Rifenbary delivered the keynote address. A graduate of the U.S. Military Academy at West Point and a former Army Ranger, Rifenbary is the author of the award-winning book, “No Excuse! Incorporating Core Values, Accountability and Balance into Your Life and Career.”


Congratulations to the Albany High student-athletes selected to participate in the conference (pictured below at the event with Director of Health, Physical Education and Athletics Kathy Ryan):


--Jonas Cabahug

--Creedence Cameron

--Zaeqwan Cancer

--Jordan Cartwright

--Reeve Churchill

--Felix Correa

--Paul Criscione

 --David Dimase

--Alaina Guidetti

--Aubrey Halloran

--Haille Hart

--Max Heller

--Diandra Hennessy

--Caleb John

--Jeffrey Lembo

--Alexandra Sipos

--Sarha Smith-Moyo

--Elli Sol Strich

--Bridget Whelan

--Jahlil Young




Juniors earn playwriting kudos

Two Albany High School juniors have received regional awards for scripts they wrote from the Alliance for Young Artists and Writers.


Emma Colton-Heins and Cliodhna Thayer each wrote a dramatic script that earned a Gold Key award. Both their scripts have been submitted for national review; national medalists will be announced on March 14.


Colton-Heins’ script is called “An Open Book.” Thayer’s script is called “A Royally Grim Mistake.” Both young women were students in Ward Dales’ playwriting class.


The Alliance for Young Artists and Writers is a national organization that identifies students with exceptional artistic and literary talent through its scholastic art and writing awards.


Colton-Heins and Thayer’s scripts were among more than 330,000 art and literary projects from across the country submitted for review in 2017.


Congratulations to both of them!




Falcon team heads to regionals

The Albany High School robotics team will use 21st-century technology to meet a 19th-century challenge at the 2017 New York Tech Valley Regional FIRST Robotics Team competition.


The event will be held March 17-18 at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute.


FIRST robotics competitions are held throughout the region, state, country and world. Each year, teams of high school students are presented with the challenge of building a robot that can complete a specific task. Every team has the same task, which changes from year to year.


This year, students assume the roles of members of 19th century adventure club that is preparing a blimp-style airship for a long-distance race. Their charge? To design and build a robot that will build steam pressure, gather material to start the airship’s rotors and eventually board the airship.


The Falcon team has spent the past six weeks building, programing and tinkering with its 2017 creation, which is made primarily of aluminum. The Falcon robot, named “Beta,” has eight drive wheels and four drive motors.


When tricked out with bumper and battery, Beta weighs about 140 pounds. It’s emblazoned with “Team 1493,” the moniker of the robotics club made in the Albany High machining shop. Get a sneak peek of Beta on this YouTube video. You also can click here to learn more.




Seven Albany High artists make regional exhibit

Seven pieces of artwork by Albany High School students have been selected for participation in 18th Annual High School Regional Juried Art Exhibition and will be on display at a local gallery March 21-April 23.


The exhibit, at the Opalka Gallery, will feature work by more than 130 high school students from 21 Capital Region schools. They were selected from almost 500 submitted.


The talented Albany High artists whose work were selected are:

Miguel Alcalde, junior, “Diamond”

Asani Brown, sophomore, “Painting with Light”

Aidan Manning, senior, “Heart in Your Hands”

Mishiel Paul, junior, "Mishiel"

Angel Pollydore, senior, “Tunnel of Mystery”

Vladimir Contreras Ventura, sophomore, “Daft Punk”

Immanuel Williams, junior, “Self-Portrait”


The gallery will hold a reception for students, their families and schools from 5-8 p.m. on March 24.


The Opalka Gallery at the Sage Colleges is located at 140 New Scotland Avenue. Gallery hours are 10 a.m.-7 p.m. Tuesday-Friday and noon-4 p.m. Saturday and Sunday.




Jazz groups shine at area competition

Albany High School jazz musicians played and sang their way to silver ratings at the 13th Annual Fonda-Fultonville Jazz Festival on Feb. 16. 


Albany High fielded a total of 22 members in two jazz ensembles under the direction of John Halvorsen. They competed against 15 area school groups in the annual contest, held at Fonda-Fultonville High School.


The Albany High B Flats performed Watermelon Man, Gee Baby Ain't I Good to You, and Pent Up House.


The Jazzmanian Devils – who earned the Best Rhythm Section Award – performed Seven Steps To Heaven, Autumn Leaves and A Night In Tunisia.


Individual All-Star awards also were presented to the following Albany High ensemble members:

  • Matan Adler, piano
  • Ian Gutierrez, guitar
  • Noah John, clarinet
  • Aaron Shields, drums
  • Alexandra Sipos, vocals
  • Austin Smith, guitar 

Congratulations to all our talented musicians!




Artwork selected for juried 3-D show

Two Albany High School students have had their artwork selected for the 2017 Art in Three Dimensions show.


The annual juried show is an opportunity for Capital Region schools to highlight and showcase their three-dimensional art programs. The show starts Feb. 27 and runs through March 17 at Mohonansen High School, and there will be an opening reception there from 6:30-8 p.m. on Feb. 28.


Both artists are seniors and students of Thea Resila. The students and their artwork are:

  • • Yineisha Andrades Pabon, "The Despair," and

  • Sion Hardy, "Divergent Gratuitous Elephant"


Congratulations to both!




Fledgling junior ROTC drill team tapped to compete in nationals

Members of Albany High School’s Sgt. Henry Johnson Battalion junior ROTC drill team will head to Louisville, Ky., at the end of March to compete in the official Army Junior ROTC drill championships.


Despite being the new kid on the block – it formed last September – Albany’s team won or placed in the top three in recent regional drill competitions.


Drill team members practice at school Monday-Friday from 7-7:45 a.m. All that early morning work clearly is paying off. Their outstanding performance prompted another drill team to nominate them to compete in Louisville.


“It’s unbelievable and unheard of that a JROTC gets nominated their first year to attend nationals,” said retired 1st Sgt. Dennis Palow, a junior ROTC instructor and drill team adviser.


The drill team will compete in four events in Kentucky: unarmed color guard, unarmed dual exhibition, unarmed inspection and unarmed cadet regulation.


Cadet Sgt. Maj. Emmanuel Tay, a junior, is drill team captain. (Tay is pictured above.) He also is captain of the unarmed color guard team.


Battalion Cmdr. Matthew Pickett, a senior, is captain of the unarmed dual exhibition team. Cadet Maj. Chantel Clark, also a senior, is captain of the unarmed inspection team. Cadet 1st Sgt. Khalel Hamlin, a junior, is captain of the unarmed cadet regulation team. (MORE)




Students lend voices to historic statewide symposium

Albany High School students Donald Gekonge and Zaeqwan Cancer participated in an historic statewide event Feb. 17, joining their peers from the Ithaca City School District for a panel discussion at the state’s first My Brother’s Keeper Symposium.


The New York State Education Department hosted the event at the State Museum.


The Rev. Alfonso Wyatt, D.Min., of The Greater Allen Cathedral A.M.D. Cathedral of New York, facilitated the morning panel that included Albany High’s students. A renowned author and mentor, the Rev. Dr. Wyatt served as vice president of The Fund for the City of New York for two decades and, among numerous professional achievements, is the founder of Strategic Destiny: Designing Futures through Faith and Facts.


During the panel discussion, the students addressed a series of questions about their goals, challenges they face, obstacles they have overcome and their suggestions about what could be done to assist students of color who are struggling and not engaged in school. (Gekonge is second from right in the photo, and Cancer is on the far right. The Rev. Dr. Wyatt is in the center).




First Geography Bee a success 

Senior Rhamel Bynum edged out junior Jack Berry to win the school’s first Geography Bee on Feb. 8.


More than 30 took part in the event, which was organized by sophomore Adam Aleksic, a self-described “etymology, cartography and geography geek.”


Aleksic took on the Geography Bee after surveying his peers in October and learning that many couldn’t identify the state capital or name two countries that border the United States. The Geography Bee was his effort to raise geographic awareness among students.


He also developed questions for the event, created all promotional materials, and actively recruited fellow students to participate.


Aleksic worked with Albany High psychologist Liz Gialanella, librarians Alicia Abdul and Kristen Majkut, teachers Matthew Pinchinat, Sean Fitzsimons and Larry Bizzarro and Innovation Academy Principal Julie Barber.


Bynum, standing in the photo, won the contest after a 20-minute sparring session with Berry, seated in front row, far left. Junior Sofia Fasullo took third place.


Albany High hopes to continue the event in future years.




Seniors tout IB opportunities at civic luncheon

Albany High School seniors Jacob Citone, Juliette Pluviose-Philip and David Powell provided a presentation about the prestigious International Baccalaureate program during the monthly Albany Roundtable civic luncheon Feb. 8 at The University Club.


Citone (right), Pluviose-Philip (center) and Powell (left) all agreed that the rigorous program and Albany High's dedicated teachers have helped prepare them for the next step in their academic journey when they head to college in the fall.


Pluviose-Philip, whose brother, Wesley, also was an IB student at Albany High and is now a pre-med major at Xavier University of Louisiana, noted that the program is "not just about memorizing facts."


"It's about incorporating discussions and research to gain a more worldly perspective," she said.


The internationally recognized IB program is open to all Albany High students beginning junior year. Students can enroll in the full IB diploma program, or take individual IB classes. Albany High is one of just five high schools in the Capital Region offering the IB program.


Students intersted in learning more about the opportunities the program offers should talk with their guidance counselor.




Abrookin Valentine's Day Spa Day on Saturday

Pamper a loved one (or yourself!) Saturday during the annual Valentine's Day Spa Day event at Albany High School's Abrookin Career and Technical Center.


Valentine's Day Spa Day will be held from 9 a.m. to noon at Abrookin, which is located at 99 Kent Street. For $20, community members can get any two of the following spa services:

  • Wash and set

  • Eyelashes

  • Facial

  • Trim

  • Finger waves

  • Roller set

  • Manicure

  • Pedicure

  • Crochet weaves and extensions (call in advance)


Students from the school's Cosmetology Program will perform the services under the supervision of Abrookin staff. Proceeds will benefit cosmetology-related field trips.


For more information, call 475-6412. 




School records for Albany High sprint relay team

Check out this excellent Jan. 31 extended CBS6Albany studio interivew with the members of Albany High School's record-breaking sprint relay teams: seniors Jarrell Chaney, Syeed Holtzclaw and Kevin Mitchell, and junior Blaise Umuhaza.


On Jan. 21 at the New Balance Games in New York City, the team brok the school record in the 4x200-meter and 4x400-meter relays. After the meet, the team was ranked sixth in the state in the 4x400 and 13th in the 4x200. These fleet Falcons have the fastest times in the Capital Region this year in both events -- and are aiming to go even faster through the current indoor and upcoming outdoor track and field seasons.




Weather cancellation forces January Regents rescheduling

The Regents exams postponed Jan. 24 due to the weather have been rescheduled for Friday, Jan. 27.All Regents exams scheduled for the morning of Jan. 24 will be given on the morning of Jan. 27 beginning at 8 a.m. All exams scheduled for the afternoon of Jan. 24will be given Jan. 27 beginning at noon.


All Regents exams originally scheduled for Jan. 27 will be given as scheduled. Click here for the week's full updated Regents testnig schedule.


Please note that this schedule applies to students at Albany High, students in grades 9-12 at the Alternative Learning Center and students in the Abrookin Extended Day Program (night school). Students should report for Regents testing to the school they currently attend at the times listed on the revised schedule.


Also, a reminder that there are no regular classes for Albany High, Abrookin and ALC students in grades 9-12 for the rest of the week because of Regents testing. All students district-wide also are off Monday, Jan. 30 because of Superintendent's Conference Day. Regular classes will resume Tuesday, Jan. 31.




Albany High tops blood-donation record

Albany High School students and staff on Jan. 12 rolled up their sleeves to donate a record amount of life-saving blood to the local American Red Cross.


And senior Peggy Abdul-Korah, the driving force behind this year's blood drives, will earn a $2,500 scholarship from the Red Cross. (At right, Abdul-Korah, left, is pictured with librarian and faculty adviser Alicia Abdul).


The Jan. 12 blood drive was the second of three blood drives Albany High will host this school year. The 121 pints of blood collected exceeded the school's goal by 11 and topped the previous record of 117 donated in a single drive.


The next blood drive will be held May 4. Given the momentum established with the first two blood drives of 2016-17, the school likely will top previous records for total pints collected in a school year.


This will be the sixth time a student blood-drive coordinator from Albany High receives a Red Cross scholarship.




Falcon gets fabulous new plumage 

When Albany High School needed a new mascot costume, students in Lisa Osterman's school-to-work class channeled their Falcon pride and did something about it.


They raised money for, chose and purchased a new Falcon costume that arrived during the recently ended holiday break. The new bird in town has yet to make its debut at a game or school event, but it is a formidable creature sporting bright blue-and-white plumage.


To buy the costume, the class made and sold dog biscuits over the course of a year, hand-rolling the dough and baking the treats in the kitchen at Abrookin Career and Technical Center. The all-natural biscuits were a hit with people and pooches alike, and the class raised more than $1,000.


School-to-work programs prepare students for supported employment by providing them with job-skills training. (MORE)




Two Albany High students nominated for national recognition

Albany High seniors Jacob Citone and Santos Otero were among the short list of nominees for the 2017 U.S. Presidential Scholars program released Dec. 9 by the New York State Department of Education.


Out of all high school seniors across New York State, only 25 had the honor of being nominated for this highly prestigious award. Students are recognized for their outstanding work in academics and the arts, as well as their success in career and technical education programs.


Assemblymember Patricia Fahy nominated the students (Fahy is on the left in the photo, with, L-R, Otero, Albany High Acting Principal Dale Getto and Citone).


"I could not be more proud to have helped nominate and to see Albany High School students Jacob Citone and Santos Otero recognized as Presidential Scholars nominees," Fahy said. 


"Jacob is an exceptionally well-rounded student who participates on the varsity tennis and cross country teams, in addition to being a percussionist.  Santos, as a third-year career and technical education student, has been diligent in the craft of carpentry and is focused on improving his community. I commend both of these students and wish them success in their future endeavors."


Citone is one of 20 Academics and Arts nominees, while Otero is one of only five Career and Technical Education nominees.


Each year one young man and one young woman from each state are selected as Presidential Scholars, one of the nation's highest honors for high school students. Through their hard work and dedication, Citone and Otero are nowin contention to receive this honor.


Congratulations are in order for both as well as Albany High, which provided half of the four Capital Region nominees and was one of only two schools in the state to have multiple students selected.




Lottery application deadline Nov. 14

Applications are due Monday, Nov. 14 for the lottery to determine 2017-18 placement in Albany High School's four academies. The Albany High lottery is open to all incoming freshmen and new students, as well as to current Albany High students wishing to change academies for next school year. Students need to submit a lottery application to increase their chances of entering the academy of their choice.


The academies are enrolled through a lottery that will be held Dec. 8. The lottery application deadline is Nov. 14. Please visit our District News section for more information, including important dates in the application process.




Junior class to hold Giffy's fundraiser

The Junior Class is taking pre-sale ticket orders for an upcoming Giffy's Bar-B-Q fundraiser.


For $12, you get a half a chicken, baked potato, coleslaw, roll, cookie and lemonade. Click here to download an order form.


The barbecue will be held on Nov. 16 from 4-6 p.m. in the Washington Avenue parking lot. Limited dinners will be available that day so be sure to get your tickets ahead! Deadline for advance sales is Nov. 16.


For more information, contact Alex LaCoss at alacoss@albany.k12.ny.us.




New dismissal procedures beginning Oct. 17

Albany High School is putting in place important new practices to address safety for students after school. The school is taking these steps in an effort to reduce large groups of students and others gathering on the way home from school in the afternoon.


The safety of all of our students is a top priority at Albany High and throughout the City School District of Albany. School and district staff continue to work together with CDTA and Albany Police Department personnel to ensure safety for our students.


Beginning Monday, Oct. 17, the following practices will take effect:


CDTA buses will not pick up students from 3-4:15 p.m. on school days at the following two bus stops

  • Washington Avenue and Quail Street

  Quail and Benson Streets


Students who rely on bus transportation to get home from school are strongly encouraged to ride the CDTA "tripper" buses available in Albany High's back parking lot at dismissal. Please remind your student that this special service for Albany High students only is there for their safety and convenience.


Students who leave the building at dismissal will not be readmitted after 3:05 p.m. to participate in after-school clubs and programs.


The start and end times for students in all programs at the Alternative Learning Center, located at 50 North Lark St., will change Oct. 17 to better align with the start and end times at Albany High School.  Please visit the Alternative Learning Center page for more information.


"We appreciate your support and cooperation as we work together to ensure the safety of all of our students each day," said Acting Principal Dale Getto. "Please contact me or your student's academy principal at school anytime if you have additional questions or concerns about these new practices."




Homecoming Week Sept. 12-17

It's Homecoming Week at Albany High School!


A week of fun activities began Monday with Multiples Day (pick a friend or two and match your outfits!) and continues through the Homecoming dance on Saturday night. Click here to download a full schedule of activities.


A highlight of the week will be the first on-campus Homecoming football game in the history of Albany High! The Falcons (1-1) take on Guilderland (2-0) at 1:30 p.m. Saturday at Albany High's new athletic field.


Saturday's activities begin at 10 a.m. in the back parking lot. Activities will include face-painting, booths and a cookout leading up the Homecoming parade at noon. There will be a new route for the parade, which steps off from the back parking lot onto North Main Avenue at noon. The dance is at 7 p.m. Saturday.


It's also Hall of Fame Weekend.


The members of the Class of 2016 will be inducted on Friday night at the annual Hall of Fame dinner at the Italian-American Community Center on Washington Avenue Extension. The Wall of Fame ceremony will be held at 11 a.m. Saturday in the hall outside the Albany High gym. The inductees also will be recognized at halftime of Saturday's football game.


Have a great week, and let's go Falcons!




Senior named National Merit semifinalist

Senior Emily Ha has been named a semifinalist in the 2017 National Merit Scholarship Competition.


Her outstanding score on the 2015 SAT/National Merit Scholarship Qualifying Test placed her in the top 1 percent of the 1.6 million students in New York state and the United States who took the test during junior year.


In order for Ha to become a finalist for a scholarship, she must have outstanding academic records throughout high school, be endorsed and recommended by the high school principal and earn SAT scores that confirm her earlier performance on the qualifying test.


National Merit Scholarships will be awarded in the spring.


Congratulations and great job!




JROTC salutes 'Buffalo soldiers'

Seven cadets from the Henry Johnson Battalion -- Albany High School's Junior Reserve Officers Training Corps -- visited West Point on Sept. 4 to salute "Buffalo soldiers" who attended the military academy.


Buffalo soldiers is a general term used to describe African-American soldiers who served in the Army. Albany High's JROTC cadets met several Buffalo soldiers who were stationed at West Point through 1944. They also met with the superintendent of West Point, several West Point officers and other JROTC students.


Henry Johnson Battalion cadets that made the trip are pictured at right. They include, from left, Andre Solomon, Chantel Clark, Khalel Hamlin, Matthew Pickett, Emmanuel Tay, Malachi Brooks and Tishawn Austin.


They were accompanied by Maj. David Erickson, their JROTC instructor.





New operations and Discovery Academy leaders this year

Albany High School alum Jodi O'Connor is now operations principal of her alma mater.


The Board of Education appointed O'Connor, Class of '93, to her new position on Sept. 1. She will fill a position that had been vacant since January, when Michael Panetta was appointed interim principal at Stephen and Harriet Myers Middle School.


O’Connor was house principal of Albany High’s Discovery Academy for the last four years. Before that, she was a substitute principal for three months at Pine Hills Elementary School and taught at the former School 19/New Scotland Elementary School from 1999-2012.


As operations principal, O’Connor will oversee implementation of the district’s new Code of Conduct and the realignment of student support at the school. She also will monitor attendance and discipline data and is responsible for the safety and welfare of students and staff.


The board also appointed Michael Elliott as interim house principal of Discovery Academy. Elliott joined the district in 2002 and taught social studies at William S. Hackett Middle School then North Albany Academy. In 2011, he moved to Albany High School and taught there for two years before becoming a building data coach then the district’s data coach.




Albany High football kickoff barbecue Aug. 27

All are welcome to join the Albany High School football team for a preseason cookout at school Saturday, Aug. 27 from noon-3 p.m. The cookout will be held in the Falcons’ Nest tailgate lot adjacent to the Albany High field immediately following the Falcons’ 10 a.m. scrimmage with Mohonasen.


Hot dogs and hamburgers will be provided courtesy of ShopRite of Albany.


The cookout will help launch the Falcons toward the regular-season opener at home against defending Section II Class AA champion Saratoga Springs on Saturday, Sept. 3 at 1:30 p.m. Please join us for both events. Go Falcons!




Click here for Albany High news from the 2015-16 school year.

Click here for Albany High news from the 2014-15 school year.

Click here for Albany High news from the 2013-14 school year.

Click here for Albany High news from the 2012-13 school year.

Click here for Albany High news from the 2011-12 school year.