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Two Millbrook High School seniors were celebrated, along with students from 12 other Dutchess County school districts at Dutchess BOCES’ annual Distinguished Graduate Recognition Breakfast at the Culinary Institute of America (CIA) on May 17.

Olivia Lucal is reaching for the stars, literally – she will study astrophysics at the University of Chicago in the fall. During her time at Millbrook, Superintendent Caroline Hernandez Pidala has had the great honor of knowing members of Lucal’s family as students throughout the years and seeing them succeed post-high school. 

“Dr. and Mrs. Lucal must have really told them to reach for the stars because they’re all successful,” Hernandez Pidala said. “We’re really proud of Olivia and everything she’s accomplished.”

Lucal remained active in high school, participating in varsity cross country, being a member of both the student council and National Honor Society and completing two independent research internships through the Cary Institute of Ecosystem Studies.

 “She’s done a lot to make Millbrook proud,” Hernandez Pidala said. “We know she’ll continue to do so.”

Sadie Krueger will attend Kenyon College where she will study biology with pre-med advising and play NCAA Division III soccer. Outside of classes, she was a member of the Interact Club and the prom committee, volunteered for large-scale events like LaGrange Community Day and played varsity soccer, which earned her numerous distinctions including being named a Section IX All Star. 

“She has won a service award and a sportsmanship award, for which she was very deserving,” Hernandez Pidala said. “Sadie, too, will continue to make us proud.”

Hernandez Pidala had a simple piece of advice for all students in the room. 

“There will be many times in your life, where you will question ‘Am I ready for this,’” the superintendent said. “You may be scared, but do it anyway.”

“Delish” Assistant Food Editor Francesca Zani, a 2018 CIA graduate, was keynote speaker. Her career includes stints as lead stylist for the Jernard Wells cookbook “Southern Inspired” and as a food and lifestyle television producer for shows featuring Patti LaBelle and Marcus Samuelsson.

After graduating, Zani found herself sending out cold emails to food stylists asking for work, as she had nothing lined up post-CIA. Six months later, a call came her way to work at PowerHouse Productions. She noted that even if students do not have a perfect job right out of college, persistence will pay off. 

“These things take time and timing is critical,” Zani said. “If you keep pushing in the direction you want to go, you will achieve your goal.” 

Zani encouraged students to challenge themselves and be ambitious, but take a step back if they get overwhelmed. She also highlighted the importance of being passionate and staying grounded.

“There is a place and time to shine, but that goes for everyone around you,” Zani said. “Be a supportive colleague and friend.”