Answer to Question No. 1: Mike Sinicropi
After graduating as Salutatorian of his 1986 class, Mike earned degrees in mechanical and biomedical engineering and currently serves as a vice president of Matheson Gas in Irving, TX. His sister, Dr. Lisa Downing is the acting principal of Amsterdam High School and she invited her brother to present the keynote address at the Class of 2018 graduation ceremony.
Answer to Question No. 2: Donald Raila
Raila attended MIT after graduating from Amsterdam in 1967 as Valedictorian. He was a brilliant mathematician and a superb violinist as well. He is now a Monk at a friary in Pennsylvania.
Answer to Question No. 3: Going and Blanchfield were the Valedictorian and Salutatorian of the first class (1967) ever to graduate from Bishop Scully High School.
Answer to Question No. 4: Lukas Brower was the last male student to earn Valedictorian honors at Amsterdam High. He accomplished the feat in 2013. Since then, Maxine Petrosino, Kristie Kaczmarek, Meagan Brodie, Jessica Gardinier, and Molly Monge have made the top student award at AHS an all-girl affair
Answer to Question No. 5: Bob Cudmore, the long-time radio announcer at both Schenectady’s WGY radio station and WVTL in Amsterdam was the Valedictorian of Amsterdam High School’s Class of 1963.
Answer to Question No. 6: The athlete pictured above is Mark Olbrych, an outstanding basketball player and golfer for Bishop Scully in the late 1960’s. He was the son of Bernadine Pisano Olbrych, who was Salutatorian of the Class of 1941 at St. Mary’s Institute.
Answer to Question No. 7: Bill Ziskin
After earning the top student award at AHS in 1981, Bill Ziskin went on to become one of the great performing arts teachers in the history of Schenectady High School. He is now retired from teaching and doing freelance photography.
Answer to Question No. 8: The Petrosino’s
Victoria (2005), Tiffany (2006) and Maxine (2014) (pictured in that order from left-to-right above) became the first trio of sisters in history to earn Amsterdam High School Valedictorian awards. They are the daughters of Mr. and Mrs. William Petrosino, who own Bill’s Beverages here in Amsterdam as well as several residential rental properties in the city.
Answer to Question No. 9: The Gargiulo’s
Janet (Valedictorian 1959), Jeanne (Valedictorian 1963) and Marietta (Salutatorian 1964) (pictured in that order from left-to-right above) became the first and only trio of sisters to earn one of the two top academic honors at St. Mary’s Institute)
Answer to Question No. 10: Nancy Ann Aulisi Catena, who was the Class of 1949 Salutatorian at Amsterdam High School was the Mom of 1982 AHS Salutatorian, Dr. Tom Catena and she was also the aunt of the 1982 AHS Valedictorian, Felix Riccio, who was the son of her sister Rosalie Aulisi Riccio.
Answer to Question No. 11: In 1966, Slavik and Wytwral became the last Valedictorian and Salutatorian honorees in the history of St. Mary’s Institute.
Answer to Question No. 12: Rocco Petrone
After earning the Salutatorian award in 1943 and starring as a two-way lineman for the AHS football team, Petrone accepted an appointment to West Point, where he played for a national championship football team and then went on to a career in engineering that culminated with him being named program director for NASA’a Apollo program, which landed man on the Moon.
Answer to Question No. 13: Victor DeSantis
DeSantis left the priesthood after serving as assistant principal at Scully and got married. He became a college administrator and today, he again serves as a priest, this time as part of the Independent Catholic Churches movement which permits member priests to be married. DeSantis serves as a Chaplain at the Ellis Medicine facility in Schenectady.
Answer to Question No. 14: Both the West Main Street restauranteur and the 2005 AHS Valedictorian shared the name “Sam Pepe”.
Answer to Question No. 15: Bill Wills was the Bishop Scully Class of 1971 Salutatorian. After a 35-year career with the state of New York and long terms as first a Montgomery County Supervisor and then Amsterdam city councilman, Wills ran for Mayor in 2011 against incumbent Ann Thane and former mayor, Joe Emanuele. His bid was unsuccessful.
Answer to Question No. 16: Not only were Kevin Christian, Timothy Hawkins, Mark Siudy, Derek Snyder the first individuals to be part of a four-way tie for Amsterdam High School’s top student honor, they were also the last Valedictorians in the history of Wilbur Lynch High School, before the new High School opened on Miami Avenue in the Town of Amsterdam.
Answer to Question No. 17: Jerry Snyder was the Valedictorian of the Amsterdam High School Class of 1972. Always interested in local history, after retiring from a long and distinguished engineering career he became one of the founding members of the Historic Amsterdam League, an organization dedicated to preserving and celebrating the history of the city.
Answer to Question No. 18: Edward J. Kelly was a long-time resident of this Market Hill home and the president of the very successful Kelly Lumber Co. But before all that, he earned Valedictorian honors in the Class of 1925 at St Mary’s Institute.
Answer to Question No. 19: Now a big league catcher with the Toronto Blue Jays, Luke Maile came to Amsterdam, NY during the summer of 2010 to play baseball for the Amsterdam Mohawks. At the time he had just completed his first year in collegiate baseball at the University of Kentucky. It was during that same summer that he met Paige Archinal, who had just completed her senior year at Amsterdam High School and been named Valedictorian of her graduating class. The two were married in 2014.
Answer to Question No. 20: A biblical verse quoted in Rebekah Izzo’s 2014 Amsterdam High School’s Salutatorian address was censored by School District officials and the young lady let her audience of fellow graduates know she wasn’t happy about it.
Answer to BONUS Question: Jana Daly was the last Valedictorian honored at Bishop Scully High School in that institution’s final graduating class in 1990. Her cousin Bridget Murphy joined her as the school’s very last Salutatorian. (Special thanks to Maureen (Manion) Halderman for providing the answer to this Bonus Question.)