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Colonie Central High School News

Longtime Colonie Public Servant, Youth Center Director Named to 2017 Hall of Fame

Colonie Central High School is proud to announce that two new alumni have been elected to its prestigious Hall of Fame. They will be inducted this June with the Class of 2017.

The purpose of the Hall of Fame is to identify role models for CCHS students and to illustrate to them that South Colonie Schools provide the educational foundation necessary to build a successful life. Since 1994, more than 60 graduates have been honored in the Hall of Fame, representing a variety of high school classes and accomplishments.

Michael AidalaMichael J. Aidala – Class of 1955

Michael J. Aidala is a longtime Colonie public servant and member of Colonie Central High School’s first graduating class in 1955.

A resident of the Village of Colonie for many years, he was first elected to the Board of Trustees in 1979 and serves as Deputy Mayor. He is also a former Albany County Legislator representing the 27th District. Last elected Trustee in 2016, Aidala is Commissioner of the Albany County Sewer District, and Liaison to the village Department of Public Works, Sign Review Board and Tax Assessor.

Aidala is past President of the Hudson Mohawk Elected Officials Association, and a member of the West Albany Italian Benevolent Society, the Albany Polish American Citizens Club, the Thunder Road Senior Citizens Club, and a social member of the Colonie Fire Company. He is Assistant Scoutmaster with Boys Scouts Troop 278, manager of Our Lady of Mercy Church Little League team, and former President of the Forest Park Elementary School and Sand Creek Middle School PTA groups. A retired Lieutenant Colonel in the U.S. Army, Aidala is past President of the Capital District Chapter Association of the U.S. Army, serving on the Board of Governors, and a member the Joseph E. Zaloga American Legion Post No. 1520.

During his long tenure as village Trustee, Aidala has played an active role in improving village streets, sewer service, and local parks and playgrounds. He has been a supporter of veterans, senior citizens, and youth baseball programs, as well as the Central Avenue Outreach Center and Family Recreation Center. He also helped facilitate the construction of a new village firehouse and EMS station.

 

Nikki CarusoNikki (Allen) Caruso – Class of 1983

For nearly 30 years, Nikki (Allen) Caruso’s career has been dedicated to the children and families of Colonie.

As Executive Director of the Colonie Youth Center since 2007 and Deputy Director before that, she has worked with thousands of children attending the childcare and summer camp programs, and has ensured that behavioral health and counseling services are available when needed. She also played an integral part in creating the Rudy A. Ciccotti Family Recreation Center so that the community’s needs for recreation, health and wellness programs are met.

As a leader at one of Colonie’s most valued non-profit organizations, Caruso has witnessed children “graduate” from summer camp and the after-school program to become childcare counselors in those same programs they themselves participated in just a few short years before.

Caruso’s professional career at the CYC began immediately upon graduation from the University of Michigan, where she earned a Master’s Degree in Social Work. She also earned a Bachelor’s of Science degree from the State University at Albany and an Associate’s Degree in Applied Science from Hudson Valley Community College. Before serving as CYC Executive Director she held the positions of Director of Programming and Director of School-Age Childcare Programs. She is proud to have spent her entire professional career at the youth center.

Over the years, Caruso has served as an officer and/or member of numerous community groups including the William K. Sanford Colonie Town Library, the Town of Colonie Youth Bureau Advisory Board, the South Colonie Safe Schools Committee, the North Colonie Business Advisory Council, the Shaker Heritage Society, the NYS Juvenile Justice Advisory Group, the Colonie-Albany Kiwanis Club, Colonie Senior Service Centers, Inc., and the Albany-Colonie Regional Chamber of Commerce.

Caruso has accepted numerous honors on behalf of the work she performs at the CYC including awards from the Colonie-Albany Kiwanis Club, NYS Families Together, Colonie Senior Service Centers, Inc., Capital Region Living Magazine and the Times Union newspaper, the Capital Region Chamber of Commerce, and the Medical Fitness Association.

Her friends and colleague who nominated Caruso for the Hall of Fame summed up her worthiness this way: “Nikki has spent her entire career serving the youth of the community in which she grew up. This is the ultimate example of ‘paying it forward.’ She is that rare individual who combines the drive, the intelligence and the ability to accomplish whatever she sets her mind to, and that has benefited many she has touched.”