PENNSBURY >> Four district students were honored with character awards at the January meeting of the Pennsbury School Board.
Pastor Vicky Allen, representing Pennsbury LYFT, and director of student services Beth Aldridge were on hand to present the awards, which come with a certificate of recognition and a cash prize provided by the First United Methodist Church of Fairless Hills.
In conjunction with the district’s ongoing character education initiative, students at the elementary, middle and high school levels are spotlighted each month during the school year for possessing positive character assets.
The honorees for January - Carl Schmuecking, Ryan Karczewski, Sriya Amineni and Raeanne Raccagno - were singled out for exemplifying the trait of “Caring and Service to Others.”
Schmuecking is a third grader at Eleanor Roosevelt Elementary School and was nominated by Hannah Rumbelow, Kris Bria andSam Young. They each said that Carl is dedicated to serving his class as a student councilmember and is “overflowing with ideas” about how to serve all students at Eleanor Roosevelt.
He donated his time over the holidays to support the Salvation Army, standing out in the cold and rain to ring the bell for donations. Carl also acted as a class ambassador for a guest at Veterans Day. And he impressed the speaker so much with his kindness and caring that he was asked to repeat these duties for another speaker the next day.
Ryan Karczewski is in Kindergartenat Fallsington Elementary School and was nominated by Cherie Lynne Kooker, Kristen Cahill and Principal Vinny DePaola. Around Fallsington, Ryan is known as the “embodiment of caring and service” as he is always thinking of others.
When another student in class had a house fire and lost everything, Ryan was the first to comfort his peer and try to help. In class he is the first to lend a helping hand or an encouraging word.
Ryan gave up his turn to use the Google dream virtual reality headset, a rare treat, so another peer could use it. He is also the first to offer support on the “Buddy Bench” at recess when he sees another student sit on it.
Sriya Amineni, an eighth grader at the William Penn Middle School, is the honoree at the middle school level. Sriya was nominated by Assistant Principal Dr. Michael Hogan.
Sriya is a student who exudes kindness on a daily basis, according to Dr. Hogan. She demonstrates great caring toward her classmates and is always willing to help distribute and collect materials or help her peers catch up on work they have missed.
She volunteers to share her perspective on social issues, and in discussions with others her responses are always kind and thoughtful.
Sriya also cares about environmental waste and has been exploring ways to help the district reduce the use of disposable water bottles. She even seeks grants to do this.
At the high school level, the LYFT award goes to Raeanne Raccagno, a sophomore at Pennsbury High School. Raeanne was nominated by teacher, Breanne Cook, who cites several examples of her caring acts.
Raeanne actively participated in the collection of plastic bags to create sleeping mats for the homeless. She recruited her friends to help turn the bags into plastic yarn. She even learned to crochet so she could “plarn” a mat during EOP sessions so she could donate one herself.
Raeanne also helped to develop an Interact Club collection drive to send holiday cards to a child awaiting a heart transplant, because he said he would like cards for Christmas.
LYFT, an acronym that stands for Lower Makefield, Yardley, Falls and Tullytown, is a volunteer community coalition made up of individuals from all parts of the community to support and strengthen the youth and families of the Pennsbury School District.
Its mission is to create a more positive community environment where youth are safe and can thrive by working to reduce the risks that confront youth such as bullying, drug and alcohol abuse, mental health issues, school violence and delinquency. The coalition also provides support for parents and recognizes students who demonstrate positive character.