Hazel Crossman stands against a red wall facing the camera.

SOUTH GLENS FALLS –  The Post-Star has honored a South Glens Falls High School senior as one of its Teen Excellence recipients for 2023. 

Hazel Crossman has been recognized as one of the top teens in the region, joining an elite list of 22 students. However, she is incredibly humble about the honor. 

“I’m not the only student that deserves this honor. I can list a ton of students who should or are deserving of being recognized for their excellence,” she said. “I’m extremely honored. I’m grateful for all the people who have helped me get here. My teachers, my family, the school staff, my friends.” 

To be named a Teen Excellence winner, Crossman said she was provided forms by guidance counselor Mrs. Kathleen Schnackenberg after being nominated by teachers, counselors and South High Principal Pete Mody.

“There are so many great kids in our school. I just felt like it was such a huge privilege to be one,” Crossman said. “To be selected for this award—and just be nominated for it—was very nice and made me feel like I’m doing some good.”

Crossman is incredibly active around the district. She is senior class president and plays varsity tennis. She is also a chairperson for the 2023 South High Marathon Dance and is assisting with decoration. In addition, she is a member of the Save the Children Action Network club and the math league. She is also a part of the Principal’s Advisory Council.

Crossman said that one thing that sets South High apart from other communities is its people. 

“Coming from somebody who has always idolized teachers and looked up to them, I think we have a very fostering environment for our strong student and teacher connections. I’ve made many personal connections with my teachers,” Crossman said. “And I think that helps my education prosper because I have that connection and bond that makes me trust in their strategies etc.” 

“We’re always constantly trying to find ways to improve and always taking feedback and listening to what the community wants and needs,” Crossman said. “Everybody here is trying their best. Everybody’s best looks different. But overall, the people here want to live in a positive community and be heard.”

Crossman said she has been inspired by many South Glens Falls educators and staff. At the elementary level, she named Heather Behrens-Davies and Alissa McDonald as two educators who made a significant impact. At Oliver W. Winch Middle School, she highlighted Samantha Melucci,  Olivia Sutton and Noreen Brown as helpful staff. At South High School, Crossman said Erin Milligan. Kimberly Gregory, Kristian Keller, Jamie Thompson and Sarah Anderson each made an impact on her. 

“I have a lot of strong connections with my teachers,” Crossman said. 

Crossman encouraged younger students who are getting ready to move up to the high school to be themselves

“Be your authentic self and learn who you are as a person, then life becomes much easier. Learn what your core values are. Learn what makes you feel like a good person and what makes you feel like a bad person,” she said. “And when you’re able to decipher that, making decisions is much easier.”

When asked what she would like a student who is struggling to know, Crossman said that there is always help available.

“There’s no shame in suffering. I’ve been through my rough patches as well, and there’s always hope. And as cheesy as that sounds, there are definitely people out there who want the best for you. You just need to be able to want to change and want to improve in order for it to work.”

After graduation, Crossman plans to attend college and wants to major in political science.

“I don’t want to be a politician myself, but I want to work on political teams and political strategy,” she said. “As we see a shift in our political climate, I hope to bring more honesty and transparency back to politics and not as much of a performance put on.”