NRCS Class of 2021The New Roots Charter School Class of 2021 celebrated their high school graduation with a live outdoor graduation on Tuesday, June 22, 2021 at the Ithaca Children’s Garden.

“We’re grateful that the Ithaca Children’s Garden generously hosted our graduation ceremony for the 2nd year in a row,” said Michael Mazza, Director of Community Engagement. “An outdoor ceremony was a fitting setting for the New Roots Class of 2021, who spent so much of their time at New Roots learning outdoors.”

The graduation ceremony was live streamed on the New Roots Facebook page, and the recording available for anyone who missed it. “The Ithaca Children’s Garden is a beautiful and inspiring location that reflects our school’s commitment to inspiring environmental stewardship through personal connection with nature,” said Tina Nilsen-Hodges, Principal and Superintendent.  

Fourteen outstanding seniors were recognized with Sustainability Leadership Awards at the school’s Senior Recognition Ceremony held via Zoom on Tuesday, June 22. 

NRCS Class of 2021

These young sustainability leaders were recognized as visionaries, life-long learners, systems thinkers, healthy persons, citizens and community members, attributes that reflect the essence of the New Roots tagline, “Growing students for a Just and Sustainable Future with Passion & Purpose.”

The following New Roots graduates received Sustainability Leadership Awards:

Healthy Persons: Patrick Lilley of Ithaca, NY and Cian Dennis-George of Trumansburg, NY

Lifelong Learners: Abigail Fuller of Ithaca, NY and Ava Comeaux of Ithaca, NY

Communicators: Jessamine Manchester of Spencer, NY and Leila Frost of Trumansburg, NY

Community Members: Sareona Wallace of Ithaca, NY and Ileen Wichelns of Lansing, NY

Citizens: Laila Livngston of Ithaca, NY and Aziza Awad of Nichols, NY

Members of Ecosystems: Skylar Settino of Ithaca, NY and Diego Kingsley of Ithaca, NY

Visionaries:  Julian DeMello of Ithaca, NY and Cyrus Dickerson of Newfield, NY

NRCS Class of 2021Ileen Wichelns of Lansing, NY and Terrell Dickson of Lansing, NY were recognized with the Daniel “Rocky” Bellinger Award, which represents the New Roots commitment to offer every young person who walks through our doors the opportunity to imagine and create a future they can be excited about. Named in honor of a founding student, the Daniel “Rocky” Bellinger Award is granted to a student who demonstrates persistence in achieving the goal of graduation while exemplifying the spirit of generosity and openness that characterizes the New Roots learning community.  

Five students were recognized with the New Roots Academic Leadership Award: Savannah Gonzalez of Ithaca, NY, Cian Dennis-George of Trumansburg, NY, Mason Coville of Cortland, NY, Arizona Luce of Ithaca, NY, and Alina Achenbach-Schill of Ithaca, NY.

Three students are graduating with two semesters of college credits through the College Now Program via Tompkins Cortland Community College: Alina Achenbach-Schill of Ithaca, NY, Skylar Settino of Ithaca, NY, and Mason Coville of Cortland, NY.

Seniors who demonstrated a commitment to community unity and anti-racism through the Students of Color Unity elective are: Savannah Gonzalez of Ithaca, NY, Terrell Dickson of Lansing, NY, Leila Frost of Trumansburg, NY, Laila Livingston of Ithaca, NY, Sareona Wallace of Ithaca, NY, and Jaeda Quick of Ithaca, NY.

Seven students were honored with the Community Leadership Award for their contributions to New Root student-led programming and a positive school culture: Savannah Gonzalez of Ithaca, NY, Leila Frost of Trumansburg, NY, Laila Livingston of Ithaca, NY, Cyrus Dickerson of Newfield, NY, Laila Livingston of Ithaca, NY, Alex Pieniazek of Ithaca, NY, Mason Coville of Cortland, NY and Ezio Tremblay of Dryden, NY.

Sareona Wallace of Ithaca, NY, Aziza Awad of Nichols, NY, Arizona Luce of Ithaca, NY, and Jessamine Manchester of Spencer, NY were given the Triple “C” Award by the NYS Comptroller’s Office, which recognizes the “Character, Courage and Commitment” of New York’s hard working students.

Three students are receiving 2021 Scholarships for Academic Excellence from the New York State Department of Education for the next phase of their education: Alina Achenbach-Schill of Ithaca, NY, Cian Dennis-George of Trumansburg, NY, and Laila Livingston of Ithaca, NY.

“We are so proud of the Class of 2021 not only for their leadership in our learning community during this unexpected period of challenge, but also for the ways that their accomplishments are being recognized by community organizations and colleges,” said Nilsen-Hodges. “They truly exemplify our commitment to “growing students for a just and sustainable future with passion and purpose.”

New Roots Charter School proudly presents the Class of 2021:

Alina Achenbach-Schill of Ithaca, NY

Aziza Awad of Nichols, NY

Gabriel Baker of Ithaca, NY

Ava Comeaux of Ithaca, NY

Mason Coville of Cortland, NY

Julian DeMello of Ithaca, NY

Cian Dennis-George of Trumansburg, NY

Cyrus Dickerson of Newfield, NY

Leila Frost of Trumansburg, NY

Abigail Fuller of Ithaca, NY

Savannah Gonzalez of Ithaca, NY

Owen Hayes of Ithaca, NY

Diego Kingsley of Ithaca, NY

Clanie Lashley of Ithaca, NY

Patrick Lilley of Ithaca, NY

Laila Livingston of Ithaca, NY

Arizona Luce of Ithaca, NY

Nikolai Lukasavage of Ithaca, NY

Jessamine Manchester of Spencer, NY

Lucian Mead-VanCort of Ithaca, NY

Samuel Oxley of Trumansburg, NY

Alex Pieniazek of Ithaca, NY

Jaeda Quick of Ithaca, NY

Skylar Settino of Ithaca, NY

Angela Sheffield of Ithaca, NY

Ezio Tremblay of Ithaca, NY

Sareona Wallace of Ithaca, NY

Ileen Wilchens of Lansing, NY

New Roots Charter School is a tuition-free public charter school serving grades 9-12 that is open to any young person who is eligible to attend high school in New York State.  Offering a private school education at a public school price, students prepare for lives of passion and purpose as they prepare to create and embrace new 21st century life opportunities through career and college preparation. Visit newrootsschool.org to learn more.

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For more information, contact Michael Mazza, director of community engagement at New Roots Charter School, at mmazza@newrootsschool.org.

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