Paul Halayko - Commencement Speaker for the Graduating Class of 2022

Washingtonville High is proud to announce this year’s keynote speaker for the Class of 2022 commencement ceremony: Mr. Paul Halayko. Paul is a Class of 2000 graduate. After graduating from Washingtonville High School, Paul attended Boston University. Soon thereafter, Paul became a financial consultant and CPA and quickly ascended to the position of vice president of JP Morgan in Manhattan.

After reuniting with friend and fellow graduate Chris Basso in 2012, the two purchased and renovated an old warehouse in Newburgh where they opened the Newburgh Brewing Company. Paul is the president and chief operating officer of the brewing company. The company has grown dramatically over the past ten years, earning local and national recognition. His products can now be found throughout the country.


Recently, the brewing company has entered into contracts with Citi Field, home of the Mets, and Legoland. Today, the Newburgh Brewing Company is considered one of the best breweries on the East Coast.

While Paul has achieved great success as a businessman, volunteerism and philanthropy have been a major part of his life, as well. He strongly believes in supporting local businesses in the Hudson Valley and gives back to a number of organizations. His company has helped raise funds for The Michael J. Fox Foundation for Parkinson’s Research, the Wounded Warrior Project, and the Susan G. Komen For the Cure, among many other worthy causes.

The Class of 2022 is honored to have Paul Halayko as their keynote speaker.

Mr. Brian Connolly - Washingtonville High School Principal

A member of the graduating class of 1987 from Washingtonville High School, Mr. Connolly has a deep connection to both the town and its High School. He graduated from LeMoyne College in Syracuse, NY, and began his teaching career as a Social Studies teacher at WHS in 1996. He dedicated his time as a football and baseball coach before moving into an administrative role as an Assistant Principal. He has been the Principal of Washingtonville High School for the past ten years, reinforcing the mantra, “Pride, Passion, and Purpose” with his students, and truly epitomizing the phrase, “Once a Wizard, Always a Wizard.”

Dr. Larry Washington, Washingtonville Superintendent of Schools

Dr. Washington began his tenure as Superintendent in 2019. He has more than 25 years of experience in education, having served as Principal in the Warwick district, and an assistant principal at Suffern High School in Rockland County. Dr. Washington holds a doctoral degree in instructional leadership from St. John’s University, and a master’s degree in school administration and supervision from Mercy College. 

Julia Ariano, Valedictorian

Julia has balanced a rigorous workload with a multitude of after-school and outside activities. Beyond the classroom, Julia was a part of numerous school clubs such as Jazz Band, Wizards Math Team, Odyssey of the Mind, and Peer Tutoring. She also was a part of the Moffat Library Battle of the Books team and volunteered at the library during the summer. She is also a part of several honor societies such as English, Science, Math, and World Language Honor Society. Julia served as the Vice President of the National Honor Society and the President of the Tri-M Music Honor Society.

In addition to those activities, Julia ran cross-country, winter track, and outdoor track, and enjoyed being a part of the Wizards Track Community. Another one of her passions is music. Julia has played the clarinet since fifth grade and has participated in several honor bands such as the Hudson Valley Honor Band, the OCMEA All-County Band, the NYSSMA Area-All State Orchestra, the NYSBDA State Band, and had the honor of being a part of the NYSSMA All-State Band. She would like to thank her teachers for supporting her throughout high school and her classmates for making her years in Washingtonville so memorable.

Julia will be attending Northeastern University and majoring in Engineering in the Fall.

Charlotte Peterson, Salutatorian

Charlotte has worked hard throughout high school to balance both her schoolwork and extracurriculars. Along with being the Salutatorian, she has received numerous academic awards and challenged herself with many honors, AP, and college courses. Charlotte is a member of several honor societies, including Math Honor Society, Tri-M Music Honor Society, and National Honor Society, of which she serves as treasurer.

Besides her studies, she is a member and captain of the Varsity Girls’ Golf team and qualified for sections her senior year. She is a part of the Math Team, Youth in Government, and iDecide. Music has also been important to her throughout high school; she participated in many festivals such as All-County, Area All-State, and NYSSMA solo festivals. Charlotte volunteers as a Peer Tutor and has worked with Alex’s Lemonade Stand Foundation to fundraise thousands of dollars for children’s cancer research. She is very grateful for her family and friends’ love and endless support.

Charlotte will be attending Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute in the fall and majoring in mathematics.

Charlotte Wall, Class President

Charlotte is the daughter of Linda and John Wall and the older sister of Jack and James Wall. Charlotte would like to thank her friends and family for all of the love and support that they have given her throughout the development of her academic career. If not for those people in her life, she would not be where she is today. She has been part of the Masque and Mime Club, Tri-M Music Honor Society, and National Honor Society, in addition to being the President of the Senior Class, while attending Washingtonville High School.

Since fifth grade, Charlotte has had a passion for music and theater. The first show she was in was “Winnie the Pooh,” at the Acting Out Playhouse, located in Warwick. As part of the Acting Out Playhouse, she participated in such shows as Fiddler on the Roof, Chicago, and Footloose. Additionally, she participated in Washingtonville High School productions, ending on the high note of playing Audrey in “Little Shop of Horrors” during her Senior year. She has met life-long friends through her love of the arts.

Though she has a passion for theater, her dream career is in the field of Media Journalism. She hopes to one day be a news anchor, or perhaps some kind of television personality. She took her dream class, WHS's Media Journalism course, during her senior year, and it served to deepen her love of journalism. She is very grateful for all of the opportunities she has been given through Washingtonville, and will forever remember the memories that she has made here.

Charlotte is excited for her future at Syracuse University beginning in the fall of 2022, where she will attend the Newhouse College of Communications, with a major in Broadcast and Digital Journalism, and a minor in Business.