Phoenix students honored for 10,000-plus hours of volunteer service

Students in the Phoenix community recently earned presidential recognition for thousands of service hours and their commitment to volunteerism.

The prestigious honor was celebrated during a dinner at the Phoenix VFW, as dozens of local dignitaries, Phoenix Central School District personnel and community members were on hand to commend the 25 Presidential Youth Service Award winners. The winners listened as each speaker reflected on the impact of the students’ volunteerism.

“You have not only talked the talk, but you have walked the walk,” said Legislator Mary Chesbro. “Your work inspires others to reach the bar that you guys have risen to. Thank you for giving me hope.”

Prior to presenting each honoree with a certificate commemorating their achievement, officials read a statement from the president that lauded the volunteer efforts.

“I thank you for your service to your fellow Americans,” the statement said. “Our nation draws inspiration from your actions.”

The inspiration was evident as PCSD Superintendent Christopher Byrne, Board of Education President Earl Rudy and John C. Birdlebough High School Principal Thomas Bailer presented the students with their awards.

Youth of the Year Distinction went to Emilie Hilliard and Ashley Margrey, who “have given countless hours of their time to others for the betterment of the community.” Gold Medallion Awards (more than 1,000 hours of service) were given to Darren Fischel, Caitlin George and Tina Li. Gold Awards (500 or more volunteer hours) were presented to Garrett Bowman, Matthew Doane, Megan Hess, Jena Klimaszewski, Erin McArdell, Savanah Neupert, Madison Pelton, Olivia Ripley, Mairin Sgroi, Sarah Thorn, Olivia Thrall, Teresa Uhl, Destiny Whitcomb and Robert Whitcomb. Silver Awards, (300 hours or more) were presented to Eric Betts, Erika Brown, Elisabeth Dona, Keera Hazen, Makayla Newvine and Mark Zogg.