GSNC's Gold Award Recipients
Since 1916, Girl Scout’s highest and most prestigious award has stood for excellence and leadership for girls everywhere. The Gold Award focuses on the interests of individual Senior and Ambassador Girl Scouts. Each girl chooses and thoroughly researches an issue she cares about, designs her action plan, builds community collaboration, and takes the lead in implementing the project. Gold Award distinction is recognized by a number of college-scholarship opportunities, and by an immediate rise of one rank in the U.S. military branches.
At our 2015 Gold Award Ceremony, GSNC honored 80 young women who earned the highest award in Girl Scouting. As a Council, we are proud of what they have achieved, what they have become, and what they will be, as leaders in the 21st century.
Ariana Akkaya used her childhood experience of almost drowning in a pool to create her Gold Award project, “Making Waves.” Since the incident, water safety has been her passion and she used this project as an opportunity to prevent future accidents in the water. Now, an outstanding swimmer, she teamed up with instructors at Safety Swim to teach children in the community basic life saving techniques. Spreading awareness about water safety was her main goal, which she did with a Facebook page for parents. She also strived to increase interest in swimming, the sport that she loves. Ariana held multiple workshops and created a video about drowning prevention distributed to Olympic swimmers across the country for them to share.
Ariana is a recent graduate of Oceanside High School where she was captain of the varsity swim team, a member of DECA and the National Honor Society.
Isabella Bastiani’s Gold Award Project is titled, “The Fitness Project.” It tackled the obesity epidemic by creating opportunities for students at Kellenberg Memorial High School to get exercise outside of gym class. Her efforts facilitated the expansion of the fitness club and the approval of an archery club. Isabella wanted to give children a chance to participate in sports without having to try out or compete on a team. By offering these independent and solitary sports it opened the door to a way of exercising that builds confidence through personal accomplishments rather than competition. The Gold Award Project gave Isabella confidence in her leadership skills and the ability to relay positive messages effectively.
A recent graduate of Kellenberg Memorial High School, Isabella also demonstrates leadership as a marianist mentor to an eighth grade homeroom, a children’s religion teacher through P.R.E.P. and coach of her school’s archery club. She will be attending the University of Connecticut and was accepted into the biomedical engineering program.
For her Gold Award Project “The End of Bullying Begins with You“ Angelica Balitsos used the approach of teaching kindness as a way to counteract this on-going problem. Random acts of kindness was the theme of her workshops. She taught girls in 2nd through 5th grade how to be kind to one another. Angelica has engaged the Peer Mentoring Club at Wantagh High School to deliver the workshops to the local elementary school girls after she graduates. Once a bullying victim, she saw this as a chance to empower girls to stand up to bullying with the ultimate goal of ending it for good.
This Miss Wantagh 2013 just graduated from Wantagh High School. While in high school she was the captain of the varsity swim team and is still involved with her church and performs many community service projects. She will attend Misericordia University in the fall.
“Memories of Gold” is the title of Kaitlin Batik’s Gold Award Project. Kaitlin captured the personal history of past generations by interviewing senior citizens living in an assisted living facility. She documented the sessions by videotaping the seniors and recording the information on DVDs. Kaitlin developed questions that would elicit the most poignant and powerful memories that are often forgotten. Kaitlin believes everyone has a story to tell and by asking questions families often don’t think to ask, she gave seniors a chance to share their memories. Each senior’s family now has a copy of the recorded history and she created a blog to ensure the stories are passed on.
Kaitlin’s Gold Award project helped her to learn she is able to think on her feet which came in handy as she completed her freshman year at Molloy College. There she participates in the Performing Arts Club, Gaelic Society, Student Media and LEAD, a disability awareness club.
“Emergency Preparedness: Are You Ready?” Megan Batt is and wants the rest of us to be too! After Super Storm Sandy, Megan, a member of the Massapequa Fire Department Juniors, used her Gold Award Project to help inform her community on how to prepare for a disaster. Megan wants everyone to be proactive not reactive when it comes to emergency preparedness. She conducted workshops in her community, prepared and distributed videos that she created on emergency preparedness. Megan hopes that even years from now the individuals that participated in her workshops will have the knowledge needed to help save them in an emergency.
While attending Massapequa High School, Megan participated in Varsity Track and Field, the Massapequa High School Symphony Orchestra, the A Capella Choir, the National Honor Society and the American Sign Language Club and Honor Society. Megan recently completed her freshman year at SUNY Cortland.
A food allergy diagnosis at age 7 helped shape Alexa Belulovich’s choice of Gold Award project “Food Allergy Awareness.” Alexa partnered with the Lynbrook School District’s Summer Playground program to conduct workshops for children in grades K-6, to help educate the children about the potential dangers of food allergies. The pre-and-post surveys distributed to families and camp staff really helped to educate everyone. In addition, Alexa created a website and brochure to reach a larger audience which included patients visiting her pediatrician’s office.
Alexa, who just completed her sophomore year at Lynbrook High School, is a member of the National Honor Society, is on the varsity winter track team, is a member of the Toy Lending Club and participates in Class Night. She loves to dance and takes tap, jazz and hip hop.
“A Healthy Life Begins with You,” the title of Erin Beatty’s Gold Award Project, raised awareness about good nutrition, exercise and sleep through educational workshops. Erin teamed up with a nutritionist and a certified fitness instructor to help young people in her community get a jump start to a healthier lifestyle. Erin created a PowerPoint presentation and brochure to get her message across. She also authored a cookbook to support healthy eating habits.
This recent Mineola High School graduate, was true to being fit by participating in three sports: volleyball, basketball and softball. If that didn’t keep Erin busy enough she also participated in the student service center, Key Club, Athletes Helping Athletes, Students Against Destructive Decisions, Physical Education Leadership and the National Science Honor Society.
Have you ever experienced a tickle in your throat after eating a certain food? You may have a food allergy and while some of us are mildly affected many individuals are in serious danger. Kelly Bender, through her Gold Award Project, “F.A.I.R: Food Allergy is Real,” raised awareness about this potentially deadly problem. Kelly held several food allergy showcases at the Wantagh Library. She received overwhelming support from the community and the Wantagh School District will be integrating food allergy awareness into the health curriculum as a result of this project. Most importantly Kelly started a petition to pass a law mandating the availability of epinephrine pens in New York State schools.
A recent graduate from Wantagh High School, Kelly was the President of International Outreach, Vice President of both the Literary and Art Honor Societies and a member of the Cinematic Society and Future Business Leaders of America. Kelly will be attending Binghamton University in the fall, studying Business.
Elizabeth Bickard learned about the struggles people from all different backgrounds were experiencing from stories told by her mom, a volunteer at the Coalition for Child Abuse. Elizabeth knew she wanted to find ways to help and the Gold Award project gave her the opportunity to raise awareness about domestic abuse. Through her project, “Arms are for Hugging not Hitting,” Elizabeth worked with professionals that deal with this problem every day to ensure she had the most accurate and up to date statistics. With their help and guidance she developed informative presentations that addressed the prevalence of domestic abuse, who is impacted by it, and how to get help.
A recent graduate of Bethpage High School, Elizabeth was involved in a number of activities including volleyball, track, and marine fitness. She also mentored incoming freshman to help them adjust to high school. Elizabeth is active in her community as well, serving as the administrative assistant for PAL and participating in Relay for Life.
Amanda Lynn Bruchhauser was ahead of the curve with her Gold Award project, “The Save a Life Project.” The project was conceived to educate and increase the number of individuals that would be able to help in a crisis. Amanda ensured, through multiple sessions, that CPR and First Aid were taught to students at Long Island Lutheran High School. Amanda wants everyone to have the tools to save a life. The project was timely, since New York State now has the CPR in Schools law that will be implemented starting in 2016.
A recent graduate of LuHi, Amanda was a member of the LuHi Dance Team, America Connect to the East Club, Essence Literary Magazine and participated in various community service activities at the school. She volunteers at the Washington Street Elementary school, is a CPR Instructor, babysits, dog sits and tutors in her spare time. Amanda will be attending Adelphi University, studying International Business with a concentration in Political Science.
The Gold Award project, “A Year of Giving,” helped connect young people to volunteer opportunities in their communities. Katharine Black developed a website and blog to raise awareness and disseminate information about lesser known organizations and volunteer opportunities. She marketed the website through family and friends spreading the word to hundreds of people while helping hundreds of people in the process. By blogging about volunteer work every two weeks for an entire year, Katharine completed 26 acts of kindness and inspired other teens to do the same. Katharine owns the rights to the domain of the website and continues to blog to sustain the project.
A graduate of Holy Trinity High School, Katharine was on the student council, managed the lacrosse team and was vice president of S.A.D.D. She was also inducted into both the English and National Honor Societies. Now attending Molloy College, Katharine, is on the school’s rugby team and is starting a flag football club.
Hannah Butkiewicz, a future elementary school teacher, took on literacy through her project, “New Beginnings gets New Books.” Hannah worked with the children in the New Beginnings aftercare program by pairing them as “book buddies.” The children now had a partner to read with, which made reading more fun and less intimidating. Hannah made and donated bookshelves, and collected over 170 books in a period of two weeks that she donated to the school. As a result of her program there is a designated quiet area in the classroom just for reading. She also created a blog to promote the idea that reading should be fun for kids. An article about the project appeared in the King’s Park Notebook and the New Beginning’s Facebook page.
A graduate of Kings Park High School, Hannah participated in SADD and was inducted into both the National and Spanish Honor Societies. She has volunteered for several charitable events including Autism and Breast Cancer Walks and donated her hair to Pantene Beautiful Lengths, twice! Hannah just completed her freshman year at SUNY Cortland.
Eating healthy is something we all strive to do. Chelsea Caccamo’s Gold Award project, “Balanced and Healthy Eating on a Budget,” showed her target audience how to eat healthy, easily and affordably. Chelsea connected with a food pantry and conducted workshops for the families who utilized the pantry. She also partnered with a local Starbucks to show customers how they could make fruit and vegetable smoothies at a low cost. To tie it all together Chelsea created a brochure with recipes and tips on a healthy lifestyle. Chelsea is interested in early childhood education and wants to promote nutritional programs for people of all income levels and healthier food choices at schools.
Chelsea , a recent graduate of Division Avenue High School was a cheerleader, a member of Best Buddies and DECA. Outside of school Chelsea volunteers at a soup kitchen, coaches cheerleading, is a fitness and health camp counselor and works at McDonalds.
Olivia Cataldo’s project, “Be Fit! Be Healthy! Be Strong! Cheer!” addressed the epidemic of childhood obesity by promoting fitness, strength, self-confidence and leadership skills. She developed a cheerleading program for the young people that attended the Manhasset Economic Opportunity Commission summer activities program. Olivia, being a long-time cheerleader, knew that cheerleading was a fun way to get children to exercise without being boring. Her program was so successful she often had more children in her classes than she could handle. Olivia also included information about healthy eating as part of her Be Fit campaign.
Olivia graduated from Manhasset High School this spring. She was elected captain of the cheerleading team in her senior year. She has danced since the age of 4 and has learned ballet, tap, modern, lyrical, hip hop and African dance. She volunteers at various organizations including the Animal Lover’s League in Glen Cove and the Manhasset/Great Neck EOC’s summer camp. Olivia will be attending Pennsylvania State University as a communications major in the fall.
Meghan Carroll’s, “Adopt-AGrandparent” project was created to improve the quality of life of the elderly and Alzheimer’s patients in nursing homes in her community. Meghan realized she had a passion for working with the elderly while completing her Silver Award project at Parker Geriatric Center at LIJ. She was touched by the many residents who didn’t have visitors, but her Troop was able to brighten up their day. Meghan enlisted the help of fellow students in the Family, Career and Community Leaders of America (FCCLA) to visit nursing homes and do activities with the residents. The FCCLA has incorporated Meghan’s concept into the work of the chapter and it is now a permanent project that will be sustained by FCCLA.
While attending Sewanhaka High School Meghan participated in the FCCLA, Future Business Leaders of America, played Field Hockey and played the viola. She tutored children in math and reading, including children with special needs. She just completed her first year at Towson University in Maryland.
Courtney Connors brought tennis lessons to the children that attend the Manhasset/Great Neck EOC with her project “Tennis for Tots.” An avid tennis player, Courtney wanted the young people that attended the EOC summer program to have access to a sport that would teach them discipline and help them get fit at the same time. Due to lack of resources, she felt many kids didn’t have the opportunity to try new sports. Courtney used her networking skills to enlist her friends and the United States Tennis Association to support her project, assist with the tennis lessons and supply equipment. Courtney shared her project with her community by writing an article for the Manhasset Press and has received permission to use the same tennis courts for her lessons next year.
Courtney was on Manhasset High School’s varsity girl’s tennis team and participated in student government. Outside of school she was a member of the Plandome Junior Fire Department and the Junior Coalition against Breast Cancer. Courtney plans to attend Fairfield University in the fall.
“Sharing Love – Animal & People –Therapy Dogs,” was Claire Del Sorbo’s project, where she adopted a rescue dog, Ginger, and spent almost three years training her to become a licensed therapy dog. Claire and Ginger spent many hours working with clients at the Humanistic Consultants, a facility that provides comprehensive learning services for children with social, learning or mental disabilities. Claire’s project highlights the benefits of animal therapy as a plausible alternative to traditional therapy. The project is shared through Ginger’s very own Instagram page with notably more than 500 followers.
Claire, a recent graduate of Syosset High School, was inducted into the National Honor, International Thespian Honor and Tri-M Music Honor Societies. She was in the All County Symphony (French Horn), Level VI NYSSMA Soloist playing Piano/French Horn, member of the Marching Band, Color Guard and Chamber Singers. Claire was a NYSTEA attendee and directed a one act play. Claire also has a Brown Belt, plays guitar, keyboard and does lead vocals for alocal rock/blues band. She is also a summer camp counselor and studied abroad at Cambridge University in London. She will be attending Fordham University in the fall.
Through her Gold Award project, “Understanding Others Opinions,” Elisabeth Di Carmine, taught middle school students the art of compromise. Elisabeth worked to create an atmosphere where a difference of opinion would be one of acceptance, not disagreement. Through research Elisabeth found different cooperative games that students could play during physical education classes to practice the art of compromise. With the help of her physical education teacher, she was able to carry out the activities. The end result was posted on YouTube for others to observe and use as a learning tool. To accompany the project, Elisabeth wrote an article for her school newspaper titled, “The Meaning of Compromise.”
Elisabeth, who just completed her junior year at Lynbrook High School, is in both the National Honor and Tri-M Music Honor Societies. She was captain of the varsity softball team and ran cross-country track. She also participates in Key Club. Elisabeth tutors fellow high school students, teaches religion to second graders and volunteers at her local library every summer. She plans on studying psychology in college.
Educating young people on the effects of synthetic pesticides was the focus of Monika Dhaira’s Gold Award project, “Save the Environment! Eat Organically!” She encouraged children aged 11 to 16 to eat organically through interactive presentations including comparing organic fruit and fruit treated with synthetic pesticides in a taste test. In addition, she distributed pamphlets at local libraries explaining the harm of exposing people to synthetic pesticides. Monika conducted research confirming that synthetic pesticides can have a toxic effect on humans including endocrine disruption and the promotion of certain types of cancers. This eye-opening project informed many individuals about the value of eating organically.
Monika graduated from Mineola High School and was involved in Athletes Helping Athletes and the Student Service Center. She played varsity softball and basketball. She also conducted her research for the project at Hofstra University last summer.
Alexa Durso’s volunteer opportunity at a camp in Webster Springs, West Virginia shaped her Gold Award Project, “Fun Fitness.” Alexa wanted to educate the participants on the importance of exercise in a population where obesity is epidemic. She decided to perform exercises that were fun to this group of children, such as yoga and zumba. One of the most successful parts of the project was teaching all of the campers to swim. Alexa exposed the children to several fitness and exercise activities, so they could find their niche and enjoy healthy lifestyles.
Alexa, attended Manhasset High School, where she was inducted into the National Honor, National Science Honor and National Italian Honor Societies. She was an All-County golfer, captain of the varsity swim team and played varsity basketball. Alexa served as Vice President of the Be Like Rachel Club, inspired by a Columbine High School victim. She has travelled with the Congregational Church of Manhasset to perform various community service activities and plans to be equally involved when she attends Cornell University in the fall.
Bullying is a complicated issue and there are many ways to address this problem. Emily Festa worked with What a Difference a Friend Makes to design her project “Express Yourself.” She conducted workshops and framed her presentations to have the greatest impact on the participants by sharing her very personal story about being bullied. Through Emily’s work, adults, teens and adolescents in her community now have information on what to do and where to go if they encounter bullying. Emily conducted pre and post
surveys helping to measure the children’s understanding of the problem and skills gained on how to prevent it. She also had parents and children sign a pledge promising not to stay quiet about bullying any longer.
A graduate of St. John the Baptist DHS, Emily will attend Farmingdale State College in the fall. While in high school, Emily participated in the culinary and Italian clubs, the spring musical, dance works and creative writing club. Emily also volunteers with the CatholicBible School.
Julia Catherine Gherardi’s project, “Orthopedic Injury Awareness, Education and Recovery Support for Children and Teens,” focused on educating children on how to recognize and protect themselves from orthopedic injuries. Julia’s project was two-fold because she also worked with orthopedic patients to comfort and support them through the recovery process. Julia worked closely with an orthopedic surgeon to get medically accurate information to share with her audience and to have access to patients. Julia disseminated the important message to children that their wellbeing is more important than “the game” and that they must be aware of when their bodies are telling them to stop playing. Her school ministry is going to adopt the project and continue it during the Lenten season every year.
Julia will be a senior at Long Island Lutheran High School in the fall. At LuHi she is a Hugh O’Brien Youth Ambassador, a Helping and Reaching Teens Mentor and a Middle School Buddy Program Coordinator. Her other leadership roles include LuHi Book Club President, Track Team Manager and Nightingale Squad President (newly formed as a result of her Project). Julia is also a member of the National Honor Society and is a Star Honor Roll student.
Lauren Gemma used her love for art to bridge the generation gap between senior citizens and teenagers by, “Joining Generations.” Lauren enlisted the help of her peers and held arts and craft classes at assisted living facilities and nursing homes. The classes served as a vehicle to open a dialogue between the seniors and teens. Through these encounters teens and seniors discovered they had more in common than they thought. Lauren’s Girl Scout Troop will be continuing these visits to help sustain her project.
A recent graduate of W.C. Mepham High School, Lauren was in the National, Art and Italian Honor Societies. She was also a member of SADD and helped with planning the senior prom. Lauren volunteers at her church as a Catechist. She will be attending Marywood
University in the fall.
Kaitlyn Gill addressed low self-esteem, bad sportsmanship, bullying and unhealthy/ inactive lifestyles through her fitness program, “Run and Fun in the Sun.” Kaitlyn held workshops to educate the participants on healthy snacks and had them participate in different forms of physical activity that included team building skills. Kaitlyn also created a blog where she showcases recipes, provides instructions for fun games and highlights the accomplishments of athletes.
A graduate of Floral Park Memorial High School, Kaitlyn, plans to study accounting and pre-law in the fall at SUNY Geneseo. While in high school she was inducted into the National Honor Society and participated in UNICEF, Mock Trial and the Model United Nations. Kaitlyn also ran varsity cross county track. She is a member of the Roman Catholic Church and volunteers at the church summer camp. In her spare time she also tutors and volunteers for the Hance Family and Liz’s Day.
Paige Goldstein’s Gold Award project, “‘Welcome to Lynbrook-- Guide for New Students and Members of the Community’” is a guide to all the great resources in the Lynbrook community. Paige created an informational guide with the hopes of making the transition to a new school and community easier. Paige worked with the school district and the Lynbrook Chamber of Commerce to develop and design a comprehensive guide that made students feel a part of the community and adjust to their new environment in a shorter period of time. The Leadership club at the high school has taken the project over and will maintain the guide.
Paige will begin her junior year at Lynbrook High School in the fall. She is a member of the National Honor Society, has participated in Class Night, ran varsity winter track and is a member of the Toy Lending Club. Paige dances, plays volleyball and in her free time enjoys going to her brother’s sporting events.
Jacqueline Harten, a 3rd degree Black Belt, used a lifetime of learning martial arts to develop her Gold Award project, “Girl Power: Be Safe and Aware”. Jacqueline committed to this project because of the alarming statistics she researched about women 14 years and older being accosted each year. She wanted young women to have the skills they needed to protect themselves and possibly avoid dangerous situations. Jacqueline held seminars where the participants learned and practiced self-defense. Her project is being sustained by two You Tube videos she created. One with techniques she taught during her seminars and the other with safety tips.
Jacqueline graduated from Holy Trinity High School this spring, where she was a member of the theatre program and stage crew. She participated in student council, Students Against Destructive Decisions, and the Volunteer and Social Studies clubs. Jacqueline was also inductedinto the National Honor Society and worked with the Campus Ministry. She will be attending Assumption College in Worcester, MA and will be studying Accounting in the fall.
Nicole Grace encouraged children to make healthier choices when it comes to food and exercise through her Gold Award project, “The Importance of a Healthy Lifestyle.” Nicole conducted workshops for children ages 5 to 10. She consulted a nutritionist, doctors and dentists to help develop her program. The workshops included information on healthy eating and exercise. Nicole also created a cookbook of healthy snack recipes that the participants were able to take home after the workshop.
Nicole graduated from Plainedge High School this spring, where she was President of the Science Honor Society, Math Honor Society, and Vice President of the National Honor Society. She was also in the Art and Key Clubs. Nicole participated as a Relay for Life committee member and a peer counselor. She volunteers at the Plainedge Public Library, is a competitive dancer, plays volleyball and completed a marketing internship this past year. Nicole will be majoring in business at the Macaulay Honors College at Baruch.
Through her project, “Camp Science Week,” Catherine Hatala increased interest in S.T.E.M. for children attending the City of Glen Cove’s summer camp by showing them that science is fun and cool. Catherine designed experiments like making a lava lamp with Alka Seltzer and oil and ice cream in a bag to spark the participants’ interest in science. She also designed a website to explain her project and the science behind the experiments.
A Glen Cove High School rising senior, Catherine was inducted into the National and Tri-M Music Honor Societies. She is a member of the Interact and Ski Clubs. She plays varsity soccer and lacrosse and ran winter track. Catherine is a part of the Student Senate, Science Olympiad and the Peer Tutor Program.
The focus of Kimberly Haynie’s Gold Award project “Healthy Eating” was to promote healthy eating among children. With the ultimate goal of encouraging kids to choose healthy food on their own, Kim created a cookbook of healthy snack recipes. Through a series of workshops and food demonstrations, she taught children how to recreate recipes to be healthier. At the end of every session, she gave each participant the recipe book so they could try it at home. Kim knew she had achieved her goal when one of her workshop participants went home and tried to recreate a family recipe.
At Massapequa High School, Kimberly was the 12th grade Key Club representative and volunteered for many community service projects including Stuff a Bus, Veterans Day Flags and Safe Halloween. She participated in Empire Girls State in Brockport. Kimberly also volunteered for High School Heroes and the Inn Keeper Program, making sandwiches to feed the homeless. She will be attending the University of Delaware next fall as part of the University Studies Program. She plans to major in education with minors in psychology and business.
Mary Beth Hourihane’s Gold Award project, “Ban the Tan Generation,” addressed the very serious issue of skin cancer and its connection to tanning. During a two day health fair, Mary Beth developed a skin cancer education class and a sun safety and skin cancer prevention class. She worked closely with physicians, one dermatologist gave Mary Beth over 200 samples of sunscreen to hand out at her event. Other professionals supported the event too. An oncology nurse and skin cancer survivor agreed to speak. Mary Beth met many survivors who discussed the dangers of tanning beds that inspired Mary Beth to create a petition to Ban the Tan. A petition to ban tanning beds in the state of NY was sent to NY State Senators, Assemblywomen and men.
Mary Beth attended Sacred Heart Academy and now attends Molloy College. While at Sacred Heart, she ran winter and spring track and field. She did community service, was in a production of the Nutcracker, sang in the chorus and was in the Science Olympiad.
Julia Henry worked with children in Webster Springs, West Virginia to raise their interest in reading through her “Literacy Awareness & Importance in Webster Springs, West Virginia.” The issue the project addressed was the abject poverty in this Appalachian community. She promoted literacy and interest in reading through encouraging the participants to journal, participate in story time at camp and supplementing the camp library with new titles. Julia created an interest in reading that will hopefully encourage the young people in Webster Springs to stay in school.
A rising senior at Manhasset High School, Julia was inducted into the English, Spanish, Math, Science and Exemplars Honor Societies. She is an officer of the Interact Club and a member of the Key and Green Clubs. She works on the Indian Ink, a campus publication, and is on both the varsity crew and the varsity swim teams. Julia’s service extends past school; she is a Rustic Pathways volunteer, doing summer service in Costa Rica in 2013 and Thailand the summer of 2014. She is a part of Harborside Rowing and Long Island Express Swimming. Julia is a member of St. Mary’s RC Church Youth Group, is a Junior Lector at Sunday and holiday masses and, in addition, she teaches religion classes.
Sarah Jimenez’s project, “ESL After School Program,” integrated native English speakers and English learners. Sarah noticed that English learning students were often separated from the native English students, due to the language barrier. There was a lack of knowledge and understanding of each others cultures. Sarah addressed both issues by creating a program where native English speakers helped English learning speakers with their homework and practiced language. The program Sarah created has now become part of the school’s clubs community service hours, ensuring her Gold Award project continues.
Sarah, a recent graduate of Farmingdale High School, was a member of the National Honor Society and president of the Spanish Honor Society. She also belonged to the Key Club, Ambassador Club and was Class of 2015 Student Council secretary. Sarah’s other activities included Village Beautification and a counselor at the Summer Recreation and Gymnastic Program in her town. Sarah will be attending Boston University on the Occupational Therapy track in the fall.
The purpose of Aubri Ruth Juhasz’s “Safety First Girl Scout: A Smart Girl’s Guide to Self Defense” was to raise awareness about the potential threats to the personal safety of girls. She created hands-on workshops that sought to inform and educate women on how to protect themselves and take precautions to prevent an attack.
Aubri is a freshman at Barnard College. While in high school, Aubri was the editor of her high school’s newspaper, literary magazine and yearbook. She was inducted into the National, Foreign Language, Quill and Scroll, Science and Thespian Honor Societies. Aubri ran varsity cross country track and varsity track and field and was a Student Athlete Leadership Program participant and group leader. In addition, Aubri was in the Chamber Choir, Friends of the Performing Arts and book discussion facilitator. Her outside of school activities included the PAL Tactical Solution for Defense Blackbelt and Volunteer Instructor and she worked as an intern and columnist for the Oyster Bay Guardian.
Since 2006, beekeepers have been experiencing major colony losses of 30 to 90% of their apiaries that were later attributed to Colony Collapse Disorder. This has been directly harming commercial beekeeping and pollination operations. Julie Kapuvari’s “Pollination Project: Don’t Bee Afraid, Bee-lieve” helped address this problem by conducting presentations for a variety of groups, educating them about the need for bee colonies and pesticide free environments. Julie’s colony is on an organic farm, the colony will contribute to its sustainability and productivity, while the organic farm creates a safe haven for the endangered species.
Julie a recent graduate from Massapequa High School, was a member of the National Honor Society and captain of Varsity Rifle Team, Rifle Team All County and All State Champion 10-12th grades, and participation in the Junior Olympic Regional Qualifiers. Julie was the Drum Captain of the marching band. She was also the founder and president of the Long Island Environmental Science Competition and belonged to the Code Green Environmental Group, Art Club, Surfriders Club and French Club. Julie will continue her studies this fall at Cornell University.
Girl Scouts always use resources wisely. Katelyn Kaim put this part of the Girl Scout Law into practice with her Gold Award project, “Maximize Recycling Program.” Katelyn noticed the amount of refuse she saw in her travels around Lynbrook, noticing the lack of containers for recyclables. Katelyn advocated to both the Lynbrook Chamber of Commerce and the Village of Lynbrook Department of Public Works to address this need. Both entities agreed to fund the purchase of recycling bins to be placed strategically around the village. She then developed an education campaign that informed the residents about the importance of recycling and the new bins. Posters and fact sheets were distributed to the Chamber of Commerce, coaches for community teams, and the Lynbrook library.
This graduate of Sacred Heart Academy played softball and volleyball. She also was involved in the Pax Christi UN Alliance addressing issues of child soldiers and human trafficking. Katelyn now attends SUNY College of Environmental Science and Forestry and is majoring in Environmental Studies, policy, and law.
Megan Kaufman’s project, “Fitness,” focused on the importance of fitness and its relation to body image. Through a series of workshops, Megan introduced girls to several types of activities that would improve fitness. Megan worked with the Arthritis Foundation to create an exercise routine that was low impact. Low impact exercise routines made the fitness program accessible to all girls therefore getting the girls to stick to the exercise routine. She offered workshops to teenage girls in her community and got a great response. Megan believed that helping girls take control of their health and fitness would empower them and in the long run improve their self-image.
While attending Plainedge High School, Megan was captain of the art department and on the Robotics team. She was also on the tennis team and a member of the GSA Club. Megan has participated in several walks including the ALS, Breast Cancer, Psoriasis and Autism. Megan just completed her first year at Nassau Community College.
Mary Catherine Kenny wanted to preserve tradition by increasing interest in the Long Island Fair. The Fair is a 172 year tradition that celebrates agriculture on Long Island, but in recent years there has been a steady decline in the number of entries received. Mary offered workshops to teach people specific crafts that would encourage entries to the fair. Mary’s workshops for children were so successful that the Fair had one hundred more participants in the junior competitions than the year before. Mary’s Gold Award
Project “Crafting Old to New: Reenergizing the Long Island Fair” did just that!
Mary attends Locust Valley High school and will graduate in 2016. She plays volleyball and lacrosse for her school. Mary was in the school musical and participated in Mock UN and Mock Trial. She volunteers at Old Bethpage Village Restoration, her church and The Farm at Oyster Bay.
Baylee Kilfoil-Greaves knows firsthand that being in a hospital can make a person unhappy, especially when there aren’t many activities. Knowing that residents of nursing homes face the same loneliness, Baylee came up with project “Artists with Smiles” with the hopes of bringing happiness to elderly people in nursing homes. She developed a binder of art projects that could easily be done by the residents of a local nursing home. In addition, Baylee created several art projects which she then worked on with the nursing home residents.
A recent graduate of Sacred Heart Academy, Baylee was the school’s track manager. She was also a member of the Pink Club Awakening the Dreamer, Costume Club and participated in Red and Gold Sports Night. Baylee will attend Monmouth University in the fall.
Shannon Kiley taught young people,“The Rewards of Learning How to Garden. “ Shannon and a group of children built and planted a sustainable garden on the grounds of the
Cathedral of the Incarnation Church. Participants were taught how to prepare the gardening beds, plant seeds and harvest vegetables. The children that participated learned the basics of gardening and how to make it sustainable. The harvested vegetables were donated to the Mary Brennan Inn food pantry.
Shannon graduated from Kellenberg Memorial High School this spring, where she played golf and was on the Honor Roll and a member of the National Honor Society. She was in the Catholic League, Art Guild, C.R.O.S.S. and Library Service. Shannon was president of St. Thomas the Apostle Youth Group, participated in St. Thomas Summer Theatre, is a lector and usher at St. Thomas the Apostle Church and volunteers at the Cathedral Nursery School Camp. Shannon will be attending St. Louis University in the fall, studying Occupational Therapy.
Laura Kobrinsky addressed the very difficult challenge of being a teen who has to eat gluten-free. With her project, “Navigating a Gluten-Free Lifestyle: A Teen’s Guide,” she created a pamphlet and blog to inform the general public and to provide a valuable resource for teens. The pamphlet was distributed in her high school health classes and a number of community outlets.
Laura graduated from Schreiber High School this spring, where she was a member of the varsity tennis team and Music Honor Society. She plays violin for the Metropolitan Youth Orchestra and in the pit for the school musical. Laura will be attending SUNY Oneonta this fall and majoring in Music Industry.
Titled “Dealing with Scoliosis,” Samantha Kordes’s Gold Award project shed light on the advances in treatment modalities available to individuals that have scoliosis. When Samantha was diagnosed, the recommended treatment was to wear a brace for 23 hours each day. Fortunately, Samantha’s family researched other options. This inspired her to want to help others in the same situation. Samantha created a brochure full of resources to share with others. In addition she created a website with a forum for patients to interact with one another.
Samantha graduated from Kellenberg Memorial High School this spring, where she was involved with S.A.L.T. (Service Allegiance Leadership Teamwork), C.R.O.S.S (Christians Reaching Out Spreading Spirituality), Spanish Club and the Blue and Gold Dance Competition. Outside of school she played basketball and volunteered at church and a soup kitchen. Samantha will be attending the University of Scranton and will be studying pre-med with the goal of one day becoming a doctor.
The fact that so many young people are more interested in video games and electronics than reading is what sparked Caitlin Lenahan’s project “Girls’ Night Out: Dinner and a Movie Book Discussion.” With the hopes of inspiring more girls to read, Caitlin, in partnership with the Franklin Square Public Library, created a book club where girls read books in the fantasy and sci-fi genres which then could be compared to their respective movies. The library provided dinner and Caitlin picked the books and facilitated the book discussion. The program was such a success the Library is continuing the concept and has expanded the program to serve boys and adults.
Caitlin attended Sacred Heart Academy and now attends Adelphi University. In high school, Caitlin was inducted into the National Honor Society. She served as an altar server and altar server mentor. She also volunteered at the Garden City Bird sanctuary from 2004 to 2013.
With the growth of technology and the importance of being connected, Vidya Laljie’s Gold Award project, “Focus on Abilities,” taught internet safety to those who are differently-abled. Not only did Vidya partner with AHRC Nassau to ensure she had the necessary skills to work with her target audience, she then educated her peers on how to work with those who have varying abilities.
A graduate of East Meadow High School, Vidya was inducted into the National, Business and Spanish Honor Societies. She volunteered at the Nassau County Youth Court,
New York Hindu Sanatan Mandir, the Make-a-Wish Foundation and the Ronald McDonald House. Vidya is now attending Stony Brook University.
With her project, the “St. John’s Nursery Program,” Katie Lenz addressed the fact that there was no age-appropriate Sunday School program available for children aged 3-5 at her church; something she felt was needed in order to grow church membership. Katie rallied the congregation for volunteers and created a nursery program with weekly themed lessons that matched those in the Sunday School. In addition, she developed a webpage on the church website with additional activities for the children to do that augmented the weekly lessons. The St. John’s Sunday School Nursery Program not only provided a much needed service, but helped create community connections for St. John’s youngest members. The nursery program will continue in the fall with support from the congregation.
Katie just completed her sophomore year at Lynbrook High School. She is a member of the Drama Club and is on the varsity winter track team. She is also a member of the Tri-M Music and National Honor Societies. She is part of the Girl Scouts of Nassau County Media Girls, takes voice lessons and is very involved in her church.
For her project “Literacy in Nature,” Annamarie Malik partnered with West End Elementary School to build a multifunctional outdoor space with trees and benches, in an empty area of the school property. Through this process, Annamarie developed an outdoor classroom and a place for the community to gather. Once the space was created, Annamarie partnered with the school’s Summer Playground program to teach children about the importance of reading and nature in the outdoor classroom.
In the fall, Annamarie will begin her junior year at Lynbrook High School, where she is on the varsity cheerleading team and a member of the Tri-M Music Honor Society.
Jeanette Marie McGee used her advocacy skills to launch her Gold Award project, “Recycle Takeover.” Jeanette was dismayed that recycling was not happening at the schools in her district. She developed a plan and then contacted her Town Supervisor. Through her actions Jeanette was able to obtain the proper recycling containers and have them placed at schools in her district. She then conducted workshops for the entire school district on the importance of recycling. Jeanette was also able to get several school Ecology Clubs to join her recycling campaign.
Jeanette will begin her junior year at East Meadow High School in the fall. She is now in the honors program for American Sign Language. Jeanette is a volunteer Junior Firefighter with the East Meadow Fire Department and trained with the Wantagh-Levittown EMS Ambulance Corp as a Junior Trainee.
Krista Manos’ project, “Remember the Fighters,” was created to recognize all the people battling cancer and to raise awareness about the challenges faced by cancer patients.
Krista partnered with her local library to conduct presentations and to distribute ribbons designated to raise awareness about cancer. She wanted to honor and remember all those who have struggled against these fierce battles by educating the public about the effects of cancer.
A recent graduate of Holy Trinity Diocesan High School, Krista was very active in the theatre department and played the role of “Stage Manager” in the production of Our Town. She operated the spotlight for the productions: Metamorphosis, Sweeney Todd and Working. She was a member of the National Honor Society and wrote for the school newspaper. For the past 8 years she’s taught religious education to first graders at St. Thomas the Apostle School. Krista has partaken in various food drives and participated in Relay for Life in April 2015. This fall Krista will attend Stony Brook University and will be studying biochemistry.
Melissa McHenry wanted to make a difference as an artist, by “Advocating for Veterans” through an art project that educated and inspired others about veterans’ contributions to society. Knowing that a fire had destroyed much of the interior of a local VFW Post, Melissa set out to fill the walls with artwork full of American pride. Melissa spent time interviewing and working with veterans to learn about the different branches of the armed forces and the service some of the veterans provided for the Nation. She developed an educational component to her art project to help inform others about her project and the veterans’ contribution.
Melissa, a recent graduate of Lynbrook High School, was a member of the National Art Honor Society. She was on the varsity swim team, Athletes Creating Excellence – President of ACE in 12th grade, Lynbrook High School Student Cabinet, Key Cub and SKIP (Student Kindergarten Internship Program). Melissa is a pool lifeguard and is certified in first aid and CPR. She also earned both the Bronze and Silver Awards. Melissa will be attending MCLA: Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts in the fall.
Michelle Melfi hoped to ease the transition between 5th and 6th grades and get students off to a great start in their new environment with her project “Easing the Jump Between Elementary and Middle Schools.” Michelle developed mini-workshops, pamphlets and a scavenger hunt to help inform the 5th graders what to expect in middle school. The students, their parents and the school district appreciate the project, which will be run by the Junior Honor Society in the future.
Michelle will begin her senior year at Glen Cove High School in the fall. This past year she played soccer and lacrosse and was a part of the Student Athlete Leadership team. Michelle is in the National Honor Society and also serves as Vice President of the Student Senate. She volunteers at St. Paul’s Episcopal Church and her fondest Girl Scout memory involves attending her cousin’s Gold Award ceremony several years ago.
“Raising Bone Marrow Awareness in Underserved Populations” was Margaret Miller’s Gold Award Project. The problem Margaret addressed is an unbalanced Bone Marrow registry. There are many underserved populations that could be increased on the registry, however Margaret focused on African Americans. Margaret reached out to church groups and did multiple presentations educating her audience about the ease of registering and dispelled some of the myths about bone marrow transplants. Margaret was able to persuade over 100 individuals to sign up for the registry.
Margaret recently graduated from Farmingdale High School where she was Vice President of the Key Club, a member of the National Honor, Tri M Music Honor and Italian Honor Societies. She was also in the Italian Club and Class of 2015 Student Council. Margaret was on the Village Beautification, Village Downtown Masterplan Committee, a Girl Scout Association Delegate, and on Girl Scout Robotics Teams from elementary school through High School. Margaret was the recipient of the AWSM Girl Scout Award from Advancing Women in Science and Medicine (AWSM) at The Feinstein Institute for Medical Research; she received a summer internship and an educational scholarship. Margaret will be attending George Washington University, in Washington DC on the pre-med track.
Tazim Merchant distinctly remembers when her math teacher passed around a sign up sheet to members of the class that were interested in tutoring. After tutoring students that year, she realized there was a need for a program that would provide students with free personalized tutoring, a direct route for teachers to refer students for tutoring and a way for tutors to receive community service hours for tutoring. “Creating a Sustainable District- Wide Tutoring Infrastructure” became Tazim’s Gold Award Project. The National Honor Society tutoring program is now district-wide. Students from middle and high school are able to walk-in to an afterschool academic lab to receive extra help without an appointment. Over 100 students have benefitted from this program.
Tazim recently graduated from Locust Valley High School. She was co-President of International Baccalaureate Leadership Group, was founder and president of the Economics and Business Club, LV Investors and was co-editor-in-chief of the school newspaper. Tazim was also involved in Mathletes, Science Bowl and Science Research Program. She will be matriculating into Northwestern University’s Honors Program in Medical Education in the fall.
Nikoleta Mountanos’ “Improvisation Workshop” helped young people get over their fear of public speaking in a fun and engaging atmosphere. Nikoleta conducted improvisation workshops for a full month at Wantagh Summer Recreation Camp. She helped to build the participants confidence by providing them tools and a safe space to move out of their comfort zone and perform for their peers. The young people that participated had a great time and became better public speakers along the way.
Nikoleta is a graduate of Wantagh High School where she was a member of the National Honor (secretary in 12th grade) and Tri-M Music Honor Societies. She was in the Drama Club and International Thespian Society. Nikoleta was the public relations chair for the Class of 2015. In addition, she was Vice President of GOYA (Greek Orthodox Youth of America), a Wantagh Library Summer Reading Program volunteer, 3rd runner up Miss Wantagh and Future Intern with the Town of Hempstead Clerk. Nikoleta will study theatre arts at Gettysburg College in the fall.
Nicole Newberger’s project, “Calvary Nursery School Website,” helped to facilitate better communication between the parents and the Calvary Lutheran Church Nursery School staff. Calvary Nursery School was in need of a website which was attractive to potential students, informative and was more user-friendly. Nicole created such a website which now enables the user to easily register for school, find information about the school and its staff, contact the school, and keep updated on current school events.
Nicole graduated from East Meadow High School as the class valedictorian this spring. She was in the National, Science, Italian and Business Honor Societies. She was also a member of Peer Leaders, Key Club and marching band. Nicole takes ballet and tap classes. She also works as a CAPE aide and volunteers at the Calvary Lutheran Church’s Vacation Bible School. Nicole will attend Cornell University in the fall, studying chemical engineering.
Through her research, Anne Ostrowski discovered that one in six women is a victim of an attempted or completed sexual assault. This horrible statistic is why she decided to make her Gold Award project, “Safety and Self-Defense.” With continued research she broadened her target audience to both male and female individuals ages 10 to 50. Along with workshop presentations, Anne created a flyer that showed the most important steps to take if you are being attacked and how to avoid being a victim. She also created a website and Facebook page, so everyone could continue to have access to the information.
Anne is a recent graduate of Garden City High School. She was the President of the Girls’ Athletic Association and Latin Club. She was also editor and a writer for her school newspaper and played varsity field hockey. Anne volunteers for several organizations including the Jay Gallagher Memorial Foundation, Andy Foundation, Turkey Trot and Empire State Games. Anne will attend Bucknell University in the fall.
Danielle Nicosia dedicated her Gold Award project to her Aunt Angela. “Make It Memorable: Action for Angela” focused on helping children with Autism acquire necessary life-skills that will help them function more independently. Danielle worked closely with Autism Speaks and worked with students at the Nassau Suffolk Service for Autism School. After consulting with the experts in the field and doing extensive research, Danielle developed a program that included both physical and mental exercises that would help improve the students motor and interactive skills, their confidence and life-skills.
Danielle recently graduated from Manhasset High School. She is a true leader, acting as student government class president since the sixth grade. She was also president of the Key Club. She participated in the Intel Competition and placed second 2 years in a row in the NY Science and Engineering Fair. Danielle is also in the Math, Science and Italian Honor Societies. She’s been involved with her church youth group and theology class for the past 4 years and is also a part of the Manhasset Junior Coalition Against Breast Cancer. Danielle will be attending Duke University in the fall.
Haroulla Papaleontiou knows that teens can be easily distracted by technology and may not always be conscious of what is going on around them. The goal of her project, “Stand Up! To Defend Yourself,” was to educate teenagers on how to be safe and aware. Haroulla created a slide show, movie clips and did physical demonstrations to teach young people how to defend themselves. During her demonstrations at the library, Polk Street School, dance studios and cultural organizations, Haroulla distributed brochures and advertised her self-defense blog. Haroulla attends H. Frank Carey High School in Franklin Square where she will be a senior next fall.
Haroulla was the captain of cross country this past year and ran spring track. She was the secretary of Saving Our Society and was inducted into both the Foreign Language and National Honor Socities. Outside of school, Haroulla volunteers at the Greek School in Hempstead, tutoring young children in reading and writing Greek. For the past 10 years she has studied dance at the Hellenic Society and performs Greek Dance in a yearly recital. Haroulla also earned both the Bronze and Silver Awards.
Emma Parente wanted to share her love for dance with special needs children that may not have the opportunity to participate in such activities. Emma partnered with St. Aidan’s Parish Dance Academy to accomplish her goal. She spent many hours learning to work with children with special needs before embarking on her project, “I Hope You’ll Dance.” Emma researched the positive effects dance therapy can have on children with special needs and through the project she also addressed the isolation this population may experience.
Emma, will be a junior at Kellenberg Memorial High School in the fall. There she is in the choir and participates in Sodality, Blue and Gold and plays violin with the orchestra. Outside of school, she is a competitive dancer and has taken ballet, point, tap, jazz and modern dance. Emma also teaches dance. She is a member of the Junior Catholic Daughters and the Parish Choir. Emma plays CYO volleyball and is currently assisting with a Daisy Troop in her town.
Jessica Prashad’s Gold Award project, “Project Friendship,” was developed because bullying poses a major threat to the nation’s youth, especially to children with disabilities. Through her research she learned that children with disabilities are at higher risk of being bullied. Jessica believes it is more important than ever to promote positive social skills, so children in regular education can better understand and accept their peers with disabilities. Jessica sponsored an Awareness Night to convey ideas of acceptance, kindness, and understanding. A scrapbook was also created documenting her experience with the children and a copy was left at the library for other students to receive the message. She plans to host an Awareness Night every year to continue social integration between children with disabilities and children without disabilities.
Jessica, a graduate of Valley Stream Central High School, is studying biology and psychology on a pre-med track at Stony Brook University. She is a volunteer at the Stony Brook University Hospital as well as a member of an organization that funds low cost medical care to patients that can’t afford treatment.
Julia Petrini’s project, “It All Adds Up,” raised awareness about important extracurricular activities that could impact academic performance and scholarship opportunities for students in her community. Julia focused her project on S.T.E.M, specifically math. She worked to get her fellow classmates and school administrators information about the Long Island Math Fair, the American Math Competition and the Institute for Creative Problem Solving. Julia created a website and booklet with information, which she then distributed to honors students in her school and to school administrators across Long Island. Next year, because of Julia’s advocacy, the Wantagh School District will offer the entrance exam for the American Math Competition. She hopes raising awareness about these programs will increase student interest in academic extracurricular activities.
Julia, a recent graduate of Wantagh High School, was General Chair (President) of Model Congress, the captain of varsity badminton and a member of the Science Olympiad. She also served on the GSNC STEM Advisory Committee and tutors math and science. She will attend Brown University in the fall.
Every year, thousands of individuals die from blood cancers such as leukemia and lymphoma. Meghana Rao wanted to do something about this terrible statistic. She designed her project, “Crossing Barriers,” to reach out to individuals in the South Asian community, whose population is underrepresented on the bone marrow registry. Meghana used several types of media to raise awareness about bone marrow donation, including a website and conducting workshops for South Asian youth. Through her workshops she was able to educate the groups on how to conduct a bone marrow registry.
Meghana just completed her first year at the University of Chicago. Meghana attended Massapequa High School. While in high school she was editor-in-chief of the school newspaper, President of the Society of AP Scholars and President of the Science Research Club. Meghana was also a member of the A Cappella Choir and the after school select ensemble. Outside of school she volunteered at the Sloan Kettering Cancer Center immunology lab and was a member of the Metropolitan Youth Orchestra of New York and performed at Carnegie Hall.
The problem that Samantha Roemer’s project, “Cleaner and Greener – Baby Steps to a Chemical Free Family,” addressed was decreasing a person’s chemical footprint and raising awareness about chemical exposure. Samantha informed people that they have the power to control the ingredients that go into their household cleaners. She made her audience aware that cleaners found in the grocery store may contain toxic chemicals. Samantha addressed this issue by informing people of the adverse effect these chemicals have on their families. She also provided a list of resources and other helpful hints to make their homes chemical free.
Samantha attended Wantagh High School, where she was the President of both the National Honor Society and Literary Society. She was the captain of the Academic Team and Captain/President of the Science Olympiad. Samantha was a member of the Foreign Language Honor Society, Sign Language Club, Class of 2015 and Peer Leadership Club. She also played varsity badminton. Samantha is an active member in her church, volunteering for many projects and playing volleyball for the St. Frances CYO. Samantha will be attending Cornell University - studying nutritional
Carmen Saffioti’s project “Dating Violence Among Teens” touches on a very important topic that does not get a lot of attention. Carmen wrote, directed and starred in 3 videos focused on dating violence. She then showed her videos during 13 individual presentations to teenagers aged 13 to 17. Carmen shared statistics at each presentation, letting her audience know that only 1/3 of teens involved in dating violence report or tell anyone what is happening to them in an effort to erase some of the stigma. Carmen extended her reach by posting her videos on YouTube and Twitter with the ultimate goal of inspiring people in communities worldwide.
In the fall, Carmen will enter 11th grade at East Meadow High School, where she is the Arts and Entertainment editor for the school newspaper. She is also a member of Model Congress and the National English Honor Society.
“A Start in Art” is the program Lindsay Rule created for children in need of support who attended camp in Webster Springs, West Virginia and New York. Lindsay developed a detailed, daily arts and crafts curriculum and adapted it for both Adventures in Learning and the Webster Springs camp. Through research Lindsay knows that art has a positive impact on children’s academics and creativity, and helps them to develop a positive outlook.
Lindsay attended Manhasset High School where she played varsity soccer and varsity lacrosse. She was inducted into the Math, Spanish and National Honor Societies. She served as the National Honor Society Treasurer and was the Rachel’s Challenge Club President. Lindsay was a member of Student Government, a Key Club Community Relations Representative and tutored math and Spanish. Lindsay, a member of the Congregational Church of Manhasset, participated in six summer mission trips and is a member of the Manhasset Women’s Junior Coalition Against Breast Cancer. She will attend Vanderbilt University in the fall.
Emily Sauchelli’s project “Ensuring Essential Responsibility” was twofold. Emily renovated an existing space in a residential facility for girls and worked with staff to help develop a program to encourage the girls to become more responsible. Emily’s project allowed the girls to build trust, teamwork skills, and self-esteem by giving them the responsibility of taking care of an orphaned bunny. They worked together to write Haiku’s and renovated the community room where the girls fulfilled their responsibilities pertaining to the wellbeing of the bunny.
Emily attended Garden City High School where she was President of the Spanish club. She was part of a team that worked with faculty to discuss how to make Garden City High School a better place for students. Emily was on the yearbook staff, Heart-To-Heart Treasurer and played varsity badminton. Outside of her school activities, Emily was a student journalist for the Garden City news and a CIT at Peconic Dunes Camp in Southold. She will attend Hofstra University in the fall where she will major in broadcast journalism.
Emma Schlechter’s love of field hockey helped her create “Getting Girls in the Game.” Emma only started playing field hockey 4 years ago, and she developed a real passion for the game and wanted to share that with other girls. Through her Gold Award project she also tackled the lack of physical activity among youth. Emma held several clinics attended by girls and even some boys ages 7-12. Emma’s goal was to use field hockey as a way to provide fun physical activity while building each player’s character.
Emma attends Floral Park High School and will be a senior in the fall. She plays varsity field hockey, varsity lacrosse, and runs varsity track. She is a member of SADD, Model UN and Science Research. She is treasurer of both Mathletes and the Class of 2016 Leader Corp. Her activities outside of school include: Strong Island Field Hockey,Women’s Fund of Long Island Girls FLI, Unitarian Universalist Summer Camp Spirit Committee, Alley Pond Field Biologist Intern, Special Needs Math, Hance Family Foundation volunteer, and Relay for Life Captain.
Samantha Seidita addressed the issue that some children don’t have access to the physical, emotional, and intellectual benefits of dance because of socioeconomic reasons. Samantha’s “A Chance to Dance” provided children that could not afford to take dance lessons an opportunity to participate in a series of free dance workshops. The dance workshops led up to a closing ceremony where students performed for families and friends. Samantha’s project inspired the owner of the studio, who has committed to donate
studio time and space every year to continue the program.
Samantha attended Plainview-Old Bethpage John F. Kennedy High School and participated in On a High Note Acappella, All County Choir, NYSSMA, and JFK High School Mixed Treble Choir. Samantha is a member of the National Honor Society Executive Board, the Environmental, Community Service and Youth Against Cancer Clubs. She is a part of Ali’s Angels and has participated in Breast Cancer and Pancreatic Cancer walks and also does volunteer work.
Lauren Sikorski started, “Garden City High School Speech and Debate Team” to address the lack of good verbal communication skills among teens. Lauren, identified that young people rely on texting, Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, email, etc. and place less focus on formal, verbal communication. Oftentimes students are not given the opportunity to develop better verbal skills and may not seek to improve these skills on their own, so her project is the answer to this dilemma.
Lauren will be a junior at Garden City High School in the fall, and will remain involved with the Speech and Debate Team. She will recruit younger team members to carry on her project after she graduates. Lauren also belongs to the Italian Club. Her activities outside of school include Broadway Bound Dance Center, Junior Company Squad member and is an alternate delegate for the Garden City Association.
Through her project, “Is Your Pet Prepared?” Tatyanna Soliwoda helped heighten awareness about preparing for one’s pet in case of a disaster. During Superstorm Sandy many pets were abandoned or individuals showed up to shelters without things for their pets. Tatyanna worked with several organizations to learn what to do and how to be prepared to take care of a pet in a disaster. Tatyanna informed pet owners of the importance of having an emergency plan and “go-bag” for their animal(s).
While attending Seaford High School, she was captain of the girls’ varsity track and field, President of Pep Band, section leader of the Marching Band and on the yearbook staff. She also worked as a camp counselor at St. William Vacation Bible School. Tatyanna volunteered in the emergency department at Good Samaritan Hospital, and shadowed a physician’s assistant at Advance Family Medicine. Tatyanna will attend Adelphi University in the fall to study nursing.
Amber Sommers developed, “A Day in the Life Of… ,“ where she created a video to educate others on what it was like to be a person with special needs and what challenges this population faces as they negotiate the community. She also developed a resource directory for the staff of the AHRC so they could become familiar with what was available in the community for their clients. The video was presented to the Child Study Lab and internship classes to educate Amber’s peers on the needs of the AHRC population.
Amber graduated from Farmingdale High School this spring, where she was in the Art Honor Society, Olympics of the Visual Arts (OVA), Child Study Lab, and Interact Club. She helped with the Special Olympics, the AHRC and the John Thiessen Toy Drive. Amber was very involved in her community. She donated hair to Locks of Love and participated in several walks: Alzheimer’s, Rett Syndrome and AHRC Walk-A-Thons. She was a part of the Farmingdale Youth Council, Marcum Workplace Challenge, and Farmingdale Health Summit Cancer Project. Amber will attend Molloy College in the fall.
“Signing as a 2nd Language” is the name of Jamie Stainkamp’s project. Jamie addressed the language barrier between the hearing and the deaf by teaching American Sign Language (ASL) and becoming involved with the Deaf Community. Jamie developed lesson plans and modified ASL curriculum in order to teach ASL in a fun and engaging manner. She presented workshops at her local library and her church’s Vacation Bible School. ASL is a nationally recognized language of the deaf community. Jamie discovered that most Americans do not know how to communicate using ASL or any other form of manual communication and her project helped bring awareness to this fact.
Jamie graduated from Oyster Bay High School and will attend Concordia College in the fall.
Francesca Sostar’s project, “What’s Your Happy Medium?” taught art appreciation at a local community center for underserved children. Through research Francesca learned the benefits of art appreciation in child development. Some of the benefits are: increased self-esteem, expanded creativity and imagination, and increased learning capacity. The participants learned about well-known artists and the art medium in which they worked. Francesca collaborated with the art department at Manhasset High School to have AP art students volunteer at the Adventures in Learning after school program. A link about Francesca’s art appreciation program is now posted on both the Manhasset High School website and the Adventures in Learning website.
Francesca is a recent graduate of Manhasset High School. She was in the National and Italian Honor Societies, played junior varsity basketball and varsity crew team. Francesca volunteered at Adventures in Learning, participated in peer tutoring, was a summer camp counselor at Child’s World Nursery School and is an active member of St. Mary’s church. Francesca will be attending S. I. Newhouse School of Communications at Syracuse University in the fall.
Emma Stern shed light on a very serious problem today, eating disorders. Through her project, “Eating Disorder Awareness,” Emma addressed the growing number of young people affected and diagnosed with eating disorders. Emma worked with the Eating Disorder Treatment Collaborative to create a documentary that stated the facts about eating disorders, showed how media influences individuals about body image and how it impacts self-esteem and presented real-life patients with eating disorders telling their story. The documentary was shown in a number of venues. It was so powerful that it will be shown to every 10th grade health class at Sacred Heart Academy, Emma’s alma mater.
Emma is now a proud member of the Class of 2019 entering UCLA in the fall. At Sacred Heart, she was a member of the swim team, Student Council and Dance and Musical Theatre. She participated in Plaza Theatrical Musicals and was a St. Barnabas Catechist.
“Introduction to Theatre and Costume Room Renovation” is the name of Gabriella Tranchina’s Gold Award Project. Gabriella’s original project was the renovation of her Manhasset High School’s costume room. She planned to refurbish the room and costumes in order to lend or rent the costumes to school districts that did not have alarge theatre program or budget. She expanded her original idea and took her love for theatre and shared it with others by producing a play. Now younger theatre students will continue to work with students to produce plays and two school districts and one community based organization will borrow costumes.
Gabriella is a rising senior. She writes for the school newspaper, is treasurer for the Backstage Theatre Organization and performs in the Manhasset High School Theatre Department productions. Gabriella is a member of the National, Math, Science, Social Studies, English and Italian Honor Societies. She is a school tutor and peer responder. Outside of school, she volunteers for the Manhasset Women’s Coalition Against Breast Cancer, tutors and received the Presidential Service Award for Community Service, (Bronze level for over 100 hours in 2013 and Gold level for over 250 community service hours in 2014). Gabriella takes voice and dance classes too.
“Nature in Your Own Backyard,” was Rebecca Tredwell’s Gold Award project. Rebecca painted murals of habitats on Long Island at the Tackapausha Museum and Preserve. She used her talent as an artist to help educate young people about the environment. Rebecca worked with Tackapausha Museum and Preserve’s content advisor to create the murals and a pamphlet that would tell a story about Long Island’s natural habitats and environments. Her goal was to attract more people to attend the museum and learn to
appreciate the beauty of nature.
Rebecca is a recent graduate of Sacred Heart Academy, where she was in the National Honor Society and on the varsity swim team. She was a Eucharistic Minister, ocean lifeguard and a GSNC Seaford/Wantagh Delegate. Rebecca will be attending the College of the Holy Cross in the fall.
Julia Vollmer’s project, “Be A Better You,” addressed the issue of how self-esteem impacts mental and emotional health. Teenage girls often feel pressure to look and act a certain way, and this can lead to many issues including low selfesteem and possibly more severe mental health issues like depression. Julie developed workshops based on research about stress, peer pressure, depression, social pressures and suicide prevention. She then presented to teenage girls and provided them with helpfulcoping mechanisms and resources on the topic.
A graduate of North Shore High School, Julia is now studying Biology and Spanish at the University of Georgia. In high school, she was captain of the women’s varsity swim team and the manager of the men’s varsity swim team. She was a member of the National Honor Society and Peer Leaders. Julia was involved in many community service activities. She volunteered at the Glen Head-Glenwood Junior Baseball League and tutored high school students. Julia traveled to Thailand to work on an elephant conservation project and to Ghana to build a pre-school and work in an orphanage.
Kaitlyn von Runnen’s project, “The Spirit of Red White and Blue–Youth Volunteerism in Wantagh, NY.” raised awareness about community organizations and why it is important to dedicate time to help. Kaitlyn wanted to create a bridge between the senior citizen volunteers and youth in the community to better serve the organizations. She conducted presentations for youth groups and screened the youth for volunteer positions. Kaitlyn matched young people from her school and church with local organizations creating a
network that can be utilized for years to come to find volunteers.
Kaitlyn attended Wantagh High School where she was president of the Student Government, a member of the National, National Business, National Foreign Language and Tri-M Music Honor Societies. She was a peer mentor and tutor, participated in the school’s Sportsnite, and played varsity soccer and junior varsity bowling. Kaitlyn is a religious education teacher and an altar server. She successfully completed the Catholic Leadership Institute at Thomas Moore Liberal Arts College. Kaitlyn is a Wantagh Little League
Umpire and PAL Basketball Referee. She will be attending Manhattan College in the fall.
According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, obesity has more than doubled in children and quadrupled in adolescents in the past 30 years. Being overweight has been linked to many health problems such as cancer, cardiovascular disease, loss of mobility and a variety of other illnesses. Prevention seems to be the best way to combat this disease and Diani Williams through her project, “Obesity vs. Healthy Food” addressed this issue. Diani created a healthy eating marketing campaign that included a DVD, website and brochure distributed to staff, parents, and students at her school, at the Town of Hempstead Black History Program, at West Hills Baptist Church, and the Yes We Can Community Center. All of these materials were posted online to continuously promote the program and encourage healthy choices among children outside her community. She also created recipes that would appeal to children and teens to encourage them to eat healthy. She conducted several workshops in Nassau and Suffolk Counties to reach the widest audience possible.
Diani is a recent graduate of Westbury High School and plans to attend Nassau Community College in the fall. She is a volunteer at her church, the Food and Drug Administration and the Department of Health and Human Services.
Through her project, “Erase the Waste,” Kate Wyszomierski, educated young people and their parents on the importance of eating healthy and reducing waste. Kate tackled this
problem by showing the participants in her workshops how to package their own snacks. By doing so they would control what they were eating and could make healthier choices; it would be more economical and less packaging would be used in the process…hence less waste. Kate created a website with information about her presentations, photos of containers and how to personalize them, and healthy recipes. A link to her website was placed on the Adventures in Learning, EOC, and Planet Manhasset websites. Kate revisited the locations and noticed that about two thirds of the participants had been regularly using the reusable containers and was proud to have made such an impact.
Kate a rising senior at Manhasset High School is on the varsity cheerleading squad, plays in the orchestra and is involved in student government. She volunteers at the Manhasset EOC. Kate has worked for Child’s World Nursery School Summer Camp and at Viscardi Resources.
Rose Zaman’s project, titled, “Empower Girls Health Workshops,” addressed low self-esteem and poor health habits practiced by girls ages 12-14. Rose did extensive research and worked with a school guidance counselor, school psychologist, nurse and other professionals to develop her workshops. She created an interactive workshop with several different stations to address a variety of mental and physical health issues and how to deal with each. Rose also created a website to share healthy recipes, coping
skills, advice and positive quotes to make the information from the workshops accessible.
Rose, a rising junior at East Meadow High School, is an active member of the Key Club and was on the Public Relations Board her freshmen year. She is a member of the Tri-M Music , National English Honor and National Science Honor Societies. She is in the Environmental and Future Business Leaders of America Club. Outside of school she volunteers at the Sunrise Assisted Living Facility and the CAPE Program at McVey Elementary School as a classroom aide.
Katherine Zammit’s Gold Award project, “Looking at the Glass Half Full,” addressed the stereotype that differently abled individuals are not as talented or capable as individuals in the mainstream. Katherine’s goal was to assess the children with whom she worked and spotlight their special talents and highlight them. She held mini-talent shows and classes for mainstream children to showcase the special talent of the children with disabilities. Each week both sets of children wrote in their talent books what they learned from themselves or about each other. After Katherine graduates high school, the classes will continue at St. Raphael’s religion program and Camp Anchor for years to come.
Katherine will enter 11th grade at East Meadow High School in the fall. She is in the World Action and Horticulture clubs. She volunteers at St. Raphael’s special needs religion program and plays for the East Meadow Soccer club.
Janelle Zapiti worked with the Mineola Historical Society on her project “Preserving Mineola History.” Janelle used her information technology skills to not only preserve but to modernize how history was being preserved by the Historical Society. Janelle spent countless hours teaching members of the Society how to use the computer and digitizing hundreds of documents. Janelle did a presentation on the History of Aviation and encouraged intergenerational relationships through her project.
Janelle is a rising senior at Sacred Heart Academy. She is in the instrumental ensemble, speech and debate clubs and theatre program. Outside of school she participates in the Junior Catholic Daughters of America, is a LIJ Feinstein Institute intern and participated in the NSLIJ Career Exploration Camp.