LYFT

From left are LYFT character award winners for June: Collin Wallace, Lennon Van Hise and Cole Kushmore. Not pictured is Caroline Nolan and Character Builder of the Year Lorraine Brut.

PENNSBURY >> Four district students were honored with LYFT character awards at the June 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 meeting. Faith Presbyterian is sponsoring the LYFT Character Awards, which come with a monetary donation.

For the month of June, students Caroline Nolan, Collin Wallace, Lennon Van Hise, and Cole Kushmore were recognized for exemplifying the trait of “Citizenship.”

“The recipient is one who understands that he or she lives in part of a larger community in which they play an integral part,” said Sanderson. “They are responsible members of their community. They assume duties and fulfill obligations to support the community as a whole and can function equally as a leader or as a supportive follower. They passionately demonstrate respect for institutions and for the rights of others, but also feel pride in being part of a community.”

Kushmore, a fifth grader from Makefield Elementary School, was nominated by Cynthia Dickerson. She says that Cole has grown into an amazing and responsible student. If he needs to, he will work into his recess time to complete an assignment and asks for help whenever he needs it.

Cole is a school safety and takes his position seriously. He is always on time and ready to help teachers and students have a smooth pick-up. He respectfully reminds students where they should go and to walk safely. On the playground he will befriend others who are alone and may want to play.

Dickerson finishes by saying, “Cole is one of the kindest students I have ever met and he always has a smile for everyone.”

Also recognized at the elementary level this month is Lennon Van Hise. Lennon, a first grader at Quarry Hill Elementary School, was nominated by social worker Noelle Murphy.

Murphy said that although Lennon is only in the first grade, she embodies citizenship. She understands and appreciates her role as a member of her school community.

After becoming aware of local food insecurity, Lennon asked her parents to support her in making a difference. She initiated and successfully completed a food drive with her softball league, which provided food and toiletries for the Pennwood Middle School food pantry.

She also took on the task of making “weekend bags” so students in need would have access to food outside of school hours. She hopes to organize and run drives next year to help keep the pantry stocked.

Collin Wallace, an eighth grader from William Penn Middle School, is the winner for this month at the middle school level. Collin was nominated by Maria Gregory.

According to Gregory, Collin is concerned for the safety of his community. When he encountered a situation on a bus that was potentially dangerous, he proactively reported the situation directly to his teacher. This allowed local authorities to maintain a safe environment for his peers walking to their bus stops.

In class, Collin steps up to help his classmates and asks the teacher if he may share his screen when he thinks he can be helpful. He also is active in Boy Scouts and enjoys being engaged in community service.

At the high school level, the award goes to Caroline Nolan. Caroline, a tenth grade at Pennsbury High School, was nominated by teacher Bob Burns, who says that Caroline takes her learning very seriously and is a leader on group projects in the classroom.

As a sophomore member of the Girls’ Varsity Lacrosse team, Caroline works hard on and off the field and is a positive influence for her peers.

Caroline follows rules and encourages others to do so as well. She is an upstander, cares about people of diverse backgrounds, and has volunteered with Best Buddies. She is honest and trustworthy and has been a voice for those who may struggle to find their own.

In addition, LYFT presented its Character Builder of the Year Award to Eleanor Roosevelt teacher Lorraine Brut. She was nominated by Brittany Brown, Nicole Pierce, Maureen Janthor, Sandy Raybuck, Arlene Toledano, Maritsa Sherenian, Shannon Kelly, Kris Bria and Principal Lisa Follman.

Her colleagues say that during the unprecedented circumstances of 2020-21, Brut took on the monumental step of teaching Social Emotional Learning to the entire school. S.E.L. was critical during the pandemic, as students especially needed her knowledge of character-building skills, coping with fear, and managing emotions in the moment.

Her colleagues also noted that Ms. Brut has a vast background knowledge of so many students and they know they can go to her for her wisdom and common-sense advice when they have a concern for one of their students. Students feel the same comfort level with Ms. Brut.

Her colleagues say that she is always available and supportive to them whenever she is needed. She works with students to develop strategies to deal with their anger management or stress-related issues.

Brut, they say, “Is always the person we turn to if we need anything. She is just an all-around amazing colleague, friend, and human being.”

Honorable Mentions went to Vinny DePaola, Brittany Bigos Pedersen, Denise Melnick, Donna McCormick-Miller, Ann Langtry, Tyree Annick-Hyle, C.J. Colletti, Terri Salvucci, Stephanie Hultquist, Michelle Taylor, Maureen McVan, Gary McManus, Karen Wisen, Marguerite Zauflik, Dianne Haley, Brad McCormick, Kristin Slota, and Nicole Pierce.

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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