The Saugerties is About Growth Experiences’ community awards committee and Saugerties mayor William Murphy presented this school year’s last batch of awards to village youths.
Morgan Sperl, 15, was nominated for the award by AnnChris Warren of the Boys and Girls Club. Sperl was recently named the 2016 Boys and Girls Club Youth of the Year for Ulster County.
In her preparation for that title, Sperl had to write three essays, get multiple letters of recommendation, be interviewed by a panel of judges, and give a three-minute speech on how to be a role model to other youths and help make their community a better place.
Sperl, who also took car of her three younger siblings every day while her father worked, also volunteers during the homework hour at the Boys and Girls Club. She is also on the high honor roll.
Ariela Lozano, 18, was nominated by Ara Krom, who said Ariela had a great personality and is always willing to help. She “without a doubt encompasses all the qualities we are looking for: kindness, selflessness, bravery, and community spirit and service.”
Kelsey Gaulin, 17, was nominated by Jackie Hayes, who said that she first caught people’s attention as a seventh grader in the high school lip-sync contest, when backstage she helped calm the nerves of many of the participants. Since then, Gaulin has helped other students during the contest and played guitar to accompany their performances.
She also worked on the school yearbook, and was the assistant director of this year’s high-school play. Additionally, she helped two friends through some difficult times, Hayes said.
Arielle O’Donnell, 12, was nominated by Sue Rinaldi. The sixth grader at Riccardi Elementary School is a member of the student government, and has served as a classroom representative.
She also was vice-president of the student government. As president this school year, she ran weekly and monthly meetings, and has been a leader for projects such as World Wildlife Day and Veterans Day.
Michael Salmi, 13, was nominated by Hope Antonelli. Salmi is a member of the Builder’s Club at the middle school and he “has been a great addition this year.”
Sabrina Whittaker, 13, also nominated by Antonelli, was also a member of the Builder’s Club. Antonelli said that she “gives and gives … giving 100 percent.”