Pennsbury

FALLSINGTON >> Four district students were honored with LYFT character awards at the December meeting of the Pennsbury School Board.

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 awards were announced by school board member Gary Sanderson and Steve Wittekind, pastoral intern at the Faith Presbyterian Church in Fairless Hills, during the school board’s monthly Zoom meeting. Faith Presbyterian is sponsoring the LYFT Character Awards, which come with a monetary donation.

For the month of December students John Kokinda, Chase Harrison, Carley Sicilia and Evan McNeely were recognized for exemplifying the trait of “Fairness and Sportsmaship.”

“The award recognizes one who is impartial and treats others without favoritism or discrimination and plays by the rules,” said Sanderson. “He or she takes turns and shares, is open-minded and listens to others. He or she does not take unfair advantage of others. While they value competition, he or she never lets a desire to win overcome courtesy, respect and fair-play.”

John Kokinda is a third grader at Fallsington Elementary School and was nominated by Kimmie Massaroni, Tim Behe, Kristen Cahill, Ann Murray and Principal Vinny DiPaola.

According to the team at Fallsington, “John stands out among his peers for his great character. He always brings positive energy to class, valuing others’ input and encouraging his peers to share. His fairness and sportsmanship are evident in physical education class, where he follows the rules, encourages others, and congratulates the winners.”

In addition, during recess John always conducts himself “in a kind and thoughtful manner, always including others in play and making them feel welcome.”

Chase Harrison, a fifth grader from Edgewood Elementary School, is also a winner at the elementary level. Chase was nominated by Principal Stephanie Hulquist, Mr. Gallo, Ms. Axler and Ms. Merz.

In physical education class, “Chase is kind and will work with any other student willingly. He is patient with other students, even if they are not on the same level of skill or activity,” said his teachers.

During games, Chase always works hard to do his best, but not at the expense of others’ success or following the rules of the activity.

Ms. Merz said, “Chase is always the first person to arrive for online classes. He is a natural problem-solver and always willing to help and work with others.”

At the middle school level, the award went to Carley Sicilia, who is an eighth grader at Charles Boehm Middle School. Carley was nominated by Pete Sienko and Dave Murphy.

They said that Carley chose to give up her afternoons as a sixth grader to be the manager of the seventh and eighth grade basketball team. She was the very first to practice and assisted willingly wherever there was a need. As a seventh grader, she played on the team.

“A great team player, Carley was more concerned about the team than her own statistics,” said her teachers. “She is the type of individual who tries to better herself in all facets of her life.”

At the high school level, the honoree was Evan McNeely. Evan is in a junior at PHS and was nominated by teacher, Nick Ruggieri.

Ruggieri said that on the basketball court, Evan exemplifies fairness and sportsmanship. While competitive, he is always the first to demonstrate a drill to the younger players.

“He is a great listener who keeps an open mind on the court. He is respectful to the entire staff and never tries to show anyone up,” said Ruggieri.

According to Ruggieri, Evan always gives credit to others and is “someone who puts ‘we’ before ‘me.’”

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.

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