PITTSFIELD -- Carissa Vranas, a student at Taconic High School, has been honored as January's S.A.Y. It Proud award winner.

Vranas credits a team of adults, from teachers to mentors to "moms" in her neighborhood for helping her go from "hanging out with the wrong crowd" to making better decisions academically and socially.

Her nominators say the young woman has the ability to overcome obstacles in her life with a smile on her face.

"Carissa always tries to find the positives in a situation and in turn makes the people around her feel more positive. She strives to be a role model for her brother and is always thinking about how her choices will affect him," said a nominator for her award.

Vranas is currently a member of the Taconic basketball team. She also has been a part of the Taconic soccer and lacrosse teams. Over the summer, she's worked full time at the Lichtenstein Center for the Arts.

The Berkshire Eagle and Pittsfield Prevention Partnership of the Berkshire United Way are partners in presenting the monthly S.A.Y. (Supporting and Acknowledging Youth) It Proud awards recognizing and honoring local youths for their positive contributions to the community and students' commitment to bettering themselves.