PITTSFIELD — Continuing to highlight the unsung achievements of young people in the city, the Pittsfield Prevention Partnership of Berkshire United Way traveled to Reid Middle School last week, where the partnership's Chris Broast co-presented with school staff four S.A.Y. It Proud Awards to student leaders.
This month's honorees, all eighth-grade honors and high honors students, were nominated for the S.A.Y. It Proud award by the Reid Student Council and Students Against Destructive Decisions (SADD) chapter. Program advisers helped Broast with the presentations.
Wyatt George currently serves as the Reid Student Council president, and has come a long way from being a sixth-grader who was "a little reluctant" at first to get involved in student leadership. Over the years, he's served on the Building Climate Committee of the School Council, has been a speaker at graduations from the local elementary school D.A.R.E. (Drug Abuse Resistance Education) program, and recently led officials from the New England Middle School Boards around on tours of the city's schools. Said his nominators, "Other students look up to Wyatt for his determination and organization, and of course, his sense of humor."
Emily Keegan has been involved in Student Council since Grade 6, and has been integral in promoting school spirit days and building a positive school climate. "We have come to rely on Emily to not only lead activities, but to mentor younger Student Council members," said her nominators. Keegan is also an active member with the school's Civic Committee, which facilitates a winter boot and clothing drive, "Go Green" activities, and an elementary school book drive among other things. She's also organized middle school skate and bowling nights. "We are proud of Emily on so many levels," her Reid supporters say.
Ariana Lysonski-Philips is described by her nominators from the S.A.D.D. chapter as "a true leader, motivator, scholar and gifted musician," as well as "an inspiration in the classroom and the community." In addition to S.A.D.D., Lysonski-Philips has helped with school food drives organized in partnership with the Pittsfield Rotary Club; been involved with anti-bullying initiatives, and "Positive Post-It Day," during which positive messages were stuck onto every student's locker. She's also now working with other students to conduct a survey of student behaviors and analyzing the results to create posters for the school to help kids make more informed and positive decisions.
Jaelynn Sistrunk is a Student Council member who has helped to promote and organize more than 30 school-wide events during her years at Reid. Among those events and activities have been a Springside Park Clean Up Day, raising money for Hurricane Sandy Victims, participating in the Thanksgiving Angels baking program, and raising awareness and funds to support breast cancer patients. "Within the building, Jaelynn has been a role model for her peers," said her nominators, who also describe her as being "extremely patient, hardworking and dedicated to making her school community better."