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Honors for Standout Youths

01/22/2014
Honors for Standout Youths

The winners of the City of Allentown “Catch a Young Person Doing Something Right” campaign will be honored at a reception on Thursday, January 23, at 6:30pm at LifeChurch at 1401 E. Cedar Street.

Launched in 2012, the “Catch a Young Person Doing Something Right” campaign is a way to recognize young people who contribute to the well-being of Allentown.

According to Mayor Ed Pawlowski, “Allentown is fortunate to have many committed individuals and that desire extends to our young residents. I am proud to recognize these young people and thank the adults who took the time and effort to nominate them.”

Residents were encouraged to submit names of youth they’ve “caught doing something right.” The Allentown President’s Council received 16 nominations, and nine nominees are winners. The nine nominations results in the following eight youth and one youth group being recognized:

Group category - Volunteerism
St. John’s Inspire Youth Group – Nominated by Sabrina Leibenguth, St. John’s Inspire Youth Group Advisor. Ms. Leibenguth shared the group provides backpacks for children that are entering the foster care system for the first time. The backpacks contain items that make the removal from home less traumatic e.g. flashlights, toothbrushes, hair brushes and combs, journals, activity books and a small stuffed teddy bear for comfort. Additionally each child individually volunteers within their neighborhood by helping their neighbors in a variety of ways.

11-14 year old category – Volunteerism
Rian Ramos – Nominated by Milagros Canales, her mother. Rian is a “dedicated” city center resident and cares for her community by giving back. Rian has a practice of asking seniors if they need anything from the store or if they would like their dog walked. She sweeps the block and recruits other teens to participate in neighborhood clean-ups. Rian is an honor roll student and tries to inspire her peers to take an interest in connecting with and supporting seniors. Rian is actively involved in all family volunteer endeavors.

11-14 year old category – Scholastic Achievement
Jacob Wiesner – Nominated by Hilary Heffner, Seven Generation Charter School teacher. Jacob is a “diligent” student and completes all class and homework assignments. He is an active participant who is excited to learn more. Jacob gets along with his peers and is a team player. Jacob is noticed for always being willing to assist his peers and for being kind and respectful to adults. Jacob has one of the highest math grades in his class, scores well on tests, is creative in finding solutions and contributes to class discussions. Jacob is considered a natural leader who is kind and empathetic. He is sincere, and polite. Jacob represents what’s great about young people.
Genesis Dejesus – Nominated by Randy Eck, Lehigh Career & Technical Institute teacher. Genesis is a “very” mature young lady. She follows all the school and lab rules. Despite some poor behaviors from some of her classmates, Genesis continues to focus on “doing the right thing” and staying above poor behaviors while others regrettably lean toward negative influences. Genesis has the second highest grade in the class and is given a lot of privileges. She is the only 14 year old that has demonstrated both the technical ability and professionalism to handle extremely important tasks. Her integrity is “rock solid” and Genesis is a pleasure to have in class.

11-14 year old category – Going over and Beyond the Call of Duty
Katrina Maniscalo – Nominated by Pam Kattner, Seven Generation Charter School teacher. Katrina is one of the most “persistent” students and has integrity of character. She always encourages others to do the right thing. Katrina is an excellent student who works hard and takes initiative. She is positive and finds a way to turn every situation into something positive. Katrina asks good questions, follows the rules, shows respect and persists with working well with peers (even when that’s not easy). She goes over and beyond all projects. Katrina is sympathetic to peers and adults and has a genuine respect for everyone. 

Beangi Hidalgo Watts – Nominated by neighbor Laurie Ohleger, Ms. Ohleger met Beangi a year and a half ago and considered Beangi a great young lady to hang out with her granddaughter. Over time, Ms. Ohleger came to know Beangi and recognized she is a very special young lady. Beangi gets straight A’s, and has established career goals. She takes a stand on bullying and does not let peer pressure change her mind regarding bullying. She writes on Facebook about being kind to others. Beangi plays classical piano and has volunteered to play at events. She has helped Ms. Ohleger’s granddaughter with cursive writing and if Ms. Ohleger needs help with something, Beangi is always willing to help.

15-18 year old category – Volunteerism
Austin Wilburn – Nominated by Richard Wilburn, his grandfather. Mr. Wilburn shared that Austin is always the first person to volunteer when work is to be completed on the Midway Manor sports field or at the shed at the Midway Manor Park. Austin volunteers for the neighborhood’s annual yard sale, showing up at 5:30 a.m. He volunteers for the annual Barkfest, he assists coaches with sport program practices and games, and he has served as the neighborhood’s mascot during opening day ceremonies. Austin is entrepreneurial and started his own lawn mowing service. Yet he has spent many hours providing lawn mowing, leaf collecting, snow shoveling and other work around the house for neighbors without payment. And he often does this without being asked.

Yaritza Rodriguez – Nominated by Liayn L. Morris, Allentown School District, William Allen High, Guidance Counselor. Ms. Morris has served as Yaritza’s guidance counselor for the past three years. This year Yaritza volunteered in the counseling office. She reports to the office on time and ready to help every day during her study seminar. Rather than use her time studying or preparing for after graduation, Yaritza chooses to report daily to help out the very busy guidance office and does anything requested that does not compromise student confidentiality. Yaritza gives tours and serves as a mentor to new students. She assists with organization and various clerical tasks. Yaritza is a “decent” student, who quietly and dutifully fulfils her student obligations and may have been overlooked but for the notable contributions she makes as a volunteer in the guidance office. Yaritza is a selfless and mature young lady, willing to give of herself without asking anything in return.

Isaccar Rivera – Nominated by Madeline Olmeda, Lincoln Leadership Academy Charter School teacher. Ms. Olmeda shares Isaccar “has exhibited the signs of excellence over the years and has matured into a person of personal integrity, moral ethics and accomplishment.” After completing his academic requirement, Isaccar chose to stay with Lincoln Leadership as a Transition Student to explore a work based program. Isaccar completes tasks, and he projects a warm and cheerful attitude to staff, peers and young students. He effectively resolves conflicts and handles difficult situations with remarkable patience and admirable tact. Isaccar is honest, intelligent and articulate and is self-motivated and demonstrates leadership qualities that are admired by peers and teachers. He demonstrates work ethic and professionalism.

For more information on the event contact Neighborhood Coordinator Phyllis Alexander at 610-4377679.

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