Cohoes High School seniors Sara Thaqi and Olivia McDonald, along with teachers Mr. Kloczko and Mrs. Ball, were recently honored with the 36th Annual Capital Region Students and Teachers Making a Difference Award by the Capital Area School Development Association (CASDA).
Both students were nominated by CHS guidance counselors. Sara is this year’s Class of 2022 Valedictorian and Olivia is Salutatorian.
According to her nomination, “Sara Thaqi is a very intelligent and driven student. She has spent her senior year taking classes at HVCC and she will be graduating high school with over 60 transferable credits. Sara is a member of the National Honor Society, Community Service Club, and has volunteered her time at Albany Medical Center. She will be majoring in pre-med at Siena. Sara has been researching the effects of structured physical activity on cardiovascular conditioning in high school students in her science research class.”
As an honoree, each student was able to choose a teacher who made a significant impact on their education. Sara chose Mr. Kloczko, who, she said, “made a major impact on me throughout high school by teaching me perseverance, dedication, and responsibility in order to achieve my goals.”
Similarly, Olivia McDonald has spent her senior year taking courses at HVCC and will also be graduating high school with 60 transferable credits. Her nomination notes her as an “outstanding student who has an amazing work ethic. Olivia will be double majoring in accounting and finance at the Rochester Institute of Technology (RIT). She is a member of the National Honor Society, the treasurer of the Student Council, has been a valuable member of the varsity volleyball team and competed in the equestrian national championships last year.”
Olivia credits Mrs. Ball for teaching her integrity, grit and kindness. “Teaching the curriculum is what all teachers do. However, the great ones foster personal growth as well.”