Saugerties youth awarded for positive contributions

Mary Olsen, left, who runs the youth recognition awards program, joins Saugerties town board members plus Sean McGirr and Cameron France at the March 15 board meeting. Honoree Angel Martinez was not at the meeting. (photo by Robert Ford)

Three Saugerties youngsters were honored by the Saugerties town board at its March 15 meeting as part of the You’ve Been Caught program run by the Saugerties Community Youth Awards Committee. The awards are presented to Saugerties student for good deeds and good choices in the schools, homes and community.

Those receiving awards were:

Sean McGirr, 16, was nominated by AnnChris Warren of the Saugerties unit of the Kingston Boys and Girls Club, who said McGirr has been a member of the Boys and Girls Club for longer than she has been on the staff. He started before he was a teenager, but he had already earned the special privilege of being allowed in the teen room through the many hours of club and community service he had completed.


“Not a single club event went by where Sean couldn’t be spotted lending a helping hand,” Warren said. “Now at 16 years old, with a much busier schedule, which includes playing basketball for both the club team and the Saugerties High team, Sean still makes time to help out at the club.  Every winter for the past three years he has brought his shovel down to the club during snowstorms to shovel the walkways of club, sometimes coming down to the club multiple times in a single storm.  Even though Sean does receive a stipend for doing this, he has to be hunted down to give it to him.  Most kids would be waiting on the first day back to receive payment but it’s obvious that he really does it just to help the club and it’s not about getting money. Sean takes pride in simply doing a great job to help others, and sets a great example of what it means to be part of a community.”

Angel Martinez, twelve years old, was nominated by Robert Rea and Frances Murphy.

Rea, Angel’s teacher at Riccardi School, described Angel as one of a kind.  “He is helpful to his peers, kind, shows empathy to those in need, and is active in his church,” she said. Rea chose Martinez because he is a hard worker and isn’t afraid to do the right thing in the class.

Frances Murphy, a second grade teacher at Riccardi, nominated Martinez for displaying kindness, selflessness and community service that went above and beyond everyday courtesy.  “He, along with Thomas Baker and Aiden Schoonmaker, who were recognized at the last youth awards presentation, organized a dance-a-thon to benefit local families with children who are suffering with cancer,” said Murphy. “This year will be the second year it will be held.  It all started with a little assignment given by a lovely teacher from their church.  Each child was given $10 and was told to make it grow and pay it forward.  The boys put their heads together and came up with a plan.  Aided by their parents, they secured a venue and organized a dance-a-thon.  They sold tickets, got food and prize donations, and worked hard to make it all come together all for the benefit of others.  Last year they collected almost $400.”

Murphy said Martinez, Maker and Schoonmaker were examples of “who we should be and what is right with the world.”

Cameron France, twelve and a sixth grader at Mount Marion School, was nominated by Cyn Kendall, Sue Cullen, Wendy Taylor and Kristan Whelan.

France was described as always putting forth strong effort in every endeavor he takes on.  He has been a member of the Green Club at Mt. Marion for numerous years.  He has always stayed without being asked to clean up after every school function he attends.  He is respectful to both teachers and his peers.

France gives his best effort in every academic subject and extracurricular activities.  He demonstrates community spirit in the Mt. Marion school community, and is always kind to everyone he encounters.  He exhibits selflessness qualities on a daily basis.  His teachers say it is a pleasure to have him in the classroom.