By Ed Karvoski Jr., Contributing Writer
Marlborough – After a few years hiatus, the Marlborough Youth Commission revived its Youth Service Award, which was presented to six recipients at the start of the City Council's May 19 meeting at City Hall.
The five commission members created a rubric and scored each applicant on several qualities. They were particularly interested in recognizing self-motivated young people who made significant contributions to the community, noted Youth Commission Chair Kelley French.
“The schools give a lot of accolades to students for being leaders,” she said. “We were looking at this as another avenue that's specific to what they do for people in the community.”
City Council President Trish Pope announced each honoree, who received a plaque from Mayor Arthur Vigeant and French.
Joey Ciolino, 15, was nominated by his teacher Dan Amaral at Advanced Math & Science Academy, who cited Joey's dedication as a volunteer and fundraiser for a homeless shelter. Amaral stated, “He's always looking for ways to make life a little bit more enjoyable for the residents, including helping to organize a movie night. When he's not there, he checks in with them by texting.”
Christina Furtado, 19, missed her National Honor Society induction that evening at Marlborough High School (MHS) to get her Youth Service Award. She was nominated by Kerry Higgins, who volunteered with her at Furnishing Options. “Christina was the crème of the crop,” she commented. “She's someone I can see leading a women's club or doing other volunteering in adulthood. I watched her respond to customers with passion and respect.”
The youngest award recipient was 13-year-old Jaelyn Kassoy of 1LT Charles W. Whitcomb Middle School. Her teacher Laura Kirshenbaum described observing “Jaelyn form and maintain very special relationships with students in the school who have severe disabilities; she has offered friendship, compassion and sheer kindness.” She also helped boost the success of the Box Tops for Education fundraiser for the school's Parent Teacher Organization.
Paige Lariviere, 17, of Assabet Valley Regional Technical High School (AVRTHS) has been volunteering for six years with Greater Marlborough Programs, Inc. (GMPI). She was nominated by Carol Manne, GMPI president and CEO, who stated, “Even as a young child, you could see that Paige had a very special gift only few people possess. Paige has consistently been a shining example of how young people should act and treat individuals in their daily life.”
Alycia McGovern, 17, will receive her plaque later because that evening she attended her National Honor Society induction at MHS. She was nominated by Sharon Buckley, MHS guidance counselor, who described how the student has successfully endured after a diagnosis of a rare physical condition at a young age. “Alycia has consistently given of herself and has persevered,” she said. “Not only has she overcome her disability, but she has helped others to overcome theirs.”
Sydney Teele, 15, of AVRTHS was nominated by Kim Hancock, youth program director at the Youth Center of Countryside Village, a subsidized apartment complex. Hancock has observed her helping younger kids with homework – and much more. “I watch Sydney experience life in a healthy, positive way through commitment, discipline, compassion and focus,” she said. “I's so proud of her progress and determination in being a good role model to help people younger than herself.”
The other Youth Commission members are Pascal Chesnais, Mike Gibson, Connie Mish and Steve Zepf. They hope to continue presenting this award, French noted.
“The commissioners got a lot out of hearing about these wonderful young people,” she said. “It was an honor for us to meet them. They'se doing wonderful things for our community.”