The Forum: April S.A.Y. It Proud Award winners named


PITTSFIELD -- This school year, The Berkshire Eagle has teamed up with Pittsfield Prevention Partnership and Berkshire United Way to honor monthly winners of the S.A.Y. It Proud Award -- Supporting and Acknowledging Youth.

Recipients for April were nominated by the area faith community and Pittsfield Area Council of Congregations, as coordinated by the Rev. Timothy Weisman, pastor of the Zion Lutheran Church in Pittsfield.

The awards were given out at the Pittsfield Area Council of Congregations "Speaking of Faith" event held on Sunday, April 21 at the St. Joseph Parish Center.

About the honorees (alphabetical order by last name):

Emma Borden was nominated by the Rev. Timothy Weisman, pastor of the Zion Lutheran Church of Pittsfield. She is a seventh-grader at Reid Middle School.

"Emma is a wonderfully thoughtful, bright, creative young person. As an active participant in the youth ministry at Zion Lutheran, she is a leader is how she models both commitment and enthusiasm alongside her peers. In the classroom, Emma is both curious and honest in the ways she contributes to conversations. Above all, I have come to know Emma as truly resilient -- keeping herself grounded in faith and hope while always staying positive throughout life's situations."


Paul Celebi is a junior at Pittsfield High School. He was nominated by Sheila E. McKenna, president of Unitarian Universalist Church of Pittsfield.

"[An] outstanding young man, musician, born in Turkey. [He] plays piano and saxophone, gives concerts, works on music theory, [and is] studying jazz. [He] participates at church and volunteers for special events. [A] very caring, politically aware young man."


Michael Coelho was nominated by Stephanie Filiault, minister of Christian education and outreach for the First United Methodist Church in Pittsfield. He is a junior at Taconic High School.

"Michael is an outstanding youth not only in our church but in our community. In our church he works with the younger kids in Sunday school when needed. Michael also is a liturgist and serves on the mission committee. He is very active with our audio/video ministry. This year Michael is nominated for Outstanding Young Person of Faith by Church Women United. He is president of Venture Crew, which is part of Boy Scouts of America. Michael works with Berkshire Youth United at Taconic High School. He volunteers at Hancock Shaker Village. Michael loves to help out his neighbors both in his neighborhood and his church neighborhood."


Aaron Weeks is a junior at Pittsfield High School. He was nominated by David Weiner, rabbi for Congregation Knesset Israel in Pittsfield.

"Aaron is a bright and hard-working student who makes good choices in his personal life and engages in service to the community, primarily through scouting. He plays baseball for one of the leagues in the city and volunteers to maintain a section of the Appalachian Trail on Mount Greylock. Aaron is known in our community for being a solid, strong person with good values and a good head on his shoulders. He is an excellent role model."


Andrew Wood is a seventh-grader at Herberg Middle School. He was nominated by the Rev. Nancy Lois, pastor of Berkshire Community Church in Richmond. Co-nominators include congregants Laura Cole, Robert Cole, Susan Davis, and Linda Kingsley.

"Andrew Wood is a caring and faithful young man. He is not just a member of our church but an active participant. He attends and participates in Sunday school, youth group, choir and liturgical dance. He spreads the love of Jesus Christ daily within his home, church, school and his community. He lends a helping hand without being asked during children's church service and continually invites his friends to Berkshire Community Church. Andrew is a true Christian who shows his faith through good works, love and joy!"


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