Saugerties youth award recipients lauded as ‘what is right with the world’

Saugerties village mayor William Murphy presented SAGE certificates to Madison Hunlock, Ryan Curran, Michael Averill, Thomas Baker and Aiden Schoonmaker. Angel Martinez was not at the ceremony. (photo by Robert Ford)

Saying it’s one of his most favorite duties as mayor, William Murphy presented several SAGE certificates to village of Saugerties youths “for making good choices and doing good deeds.”

The awards are part of the “you’ve-been-caught” Saugerties Community Youth Award program run by SAGE (Saugerties is About Growth Experiences).


The town, village, the school district, the Boys and Girls Club and Family of Woodstock teamed up a number of years ago to honor local kids for doing the right thing. Nominations come from not only these groups but from the county as well.

Honored at the Saugerties village trustees’ December 19 meeting were Madison Hunlock, an eleven-year-old nominated by AnnChris Warren of the Boys and Girls Club. Warren said the youngster was “one of the most well-rounded girls [she had] met.” Hunlock takes part in basketball, the Royals Singing Group, the Torch Club leadership group, and the local Girl Scouts.

With the Girl Scouts, Hunlock demonstrated her leadership by being the spokesperson for the local water awareness and conservation project. She also serves as a kid reporter for the Boys and Girls Club.

Hunlock is also one of the first people to volunteer for a project. “She is a young lady with great focus and drive,” said Warren.

Michael Averill, a 16-year old who was nominated by Missy Greco, who said the young man was the vice president of the Key Club at the high school. Greco, the Key Club’s advisor, added that as a member of the club Averill helps facilitates the Saugerties Back Pack program, which provides food to students who might not otherwise have much food when not at school. Recently, he donated all his birthday money ($400) to purchase a Sam’s Club gift card to put towards the Back Pack Program.

Ryan Curran, 12, was nominated by Don Dieckmann, the principal at Grant D. Morse Elementary School. The student deserves the award because of his positive relationships with his classmates, Dieckmann said. Curran has emerged as a leader among his peers and was selected to be a coach for the annual Mustang Bowl.

“Ryan sets an example of what we strive for every student of being respectful, conscientious, and hardworking,” Dieckmann says.

Thomas Baker, 11, Aiden Schoonmaker, 11, and Angel Martinez, 11, were nominated by second grade teacher Frances Murphy at the Riccardi Elementary School. The three “display kindness, selflessness and community service that goes above and beyond normal everyday courtesy.”

The trio organized a dance-a-thon to raise money for local families who have children suffering from cancer. This is the second year of the event, which began when a church-school teacher gave the youngsters $10 and told them to “pay it forward.”

The boys came up with a plan, got the assistance of their parents, and secured a venue for the dance party, sold tickets, got food and prize donations. About $400 was raised last year.

Frances Murphy said she “feels these boys are all examples of who we should be and what is right with the world.”