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News Release    

June 3, 2010      

For Further Information Contact:
William R. Steinhaus, County Executive - (845) 486-2000
William Sanchez, Youth Bureau Executive Director - (845) 486-3660

County Celebrates Youth Achievement

Poughkeepsie… Dutchess County Executive William R. Steinhaus recognized the commitment of local youth volunteers and teachers as well as the accomplishments of more than thirty five young people at the Dutchess County Youth Board Annual Luncheon today at Dutchess Community College. 

County Executive Steinhaus said, “The Youth Excellence Awards represent what a great community we have here in Dutchess County.   These awards celebrate the achievement of our youth and pay tribute to the adults who have gone above and beyond to make our young people shine.”

Each year, the Youth Board honors Dutchess County youth who have overcome significant challenges in their lives, improved their academic performance or volunteered for community service.   The young people honored often lack effective support systems, face physical or emotional health issues or perhaps exhibited delinquent behavior at some time in the past. 

The County Executive’s YEA Awards were designed to celebrate these young people’s ability to learn, renew and recreate themselves in the face of change, challenge or adverse conditions in order to move forward with their lives.   Without these awards, the improved performance of many of these young people may be otherwise overlooked. 

County Executive Steinhaus presented 38 young people with the County Executive’s Youth Excellence Awards (YEA).    Each student has been nominated by local schools or agencies in one of the following categories:  Most Significant Improvement in Overall Performance, Success Despite Difficult Odds and Volunteer or Community Service.   A complete list of the award recipients is enclosed.  

Five students were each awarded $2,000 YEA Scholarships to Dutchess Community College provided in part by the Town of Poughkeepsie Police Benevolent Association and the Dutchess County Youth Board Endowment Fund.   The five scholarship recipients were: 

Student:                                      Nominated By:                                     For:
Jean Apolo                          DC BOCES Alternative High School        Success Despite Despite Difficult Odds
Tiffany Brooks                     Poughkeepsie High School                     Most Significant Improvement In Overall Performance
Michael Lynch                    John Jay High School                             Success Despite Difficult Odds
Samantha Brittain   Cornell Cooperative Extension Green Teen Program      Success Despite Difficult Odds
Armando Vera-Quintana      Poughkeepsie High School                      Success Despite Difficult Odds

The Dutchess County Youth Board also recognized several adults who have supported the efforts of young people by providing caring support and encouragement.  Three youth workers were honored in the following categories:

Professional Teacher Award
Barbara Murray, Physical Education Teacher, Red Hook High School

Professional Youth Worker Awards
Lauren McMenamin, Town of Fishkill Recreation Department

Dorothy O. Lasday Award for Volunteerism
Gwen Higgins, Co-advisor for Stissing Mountain High School S.T.O.P. Club (Students and Teachers Opposed to Prejudice)

* * * * * * * * * * * *

This year’s Youth Board Annual Luncheon event also recognized the 35th anniversary of the Dutchess County Youth Services Unit (YSU).   The YSU was established in 1975 to divert children and youth from the justice system, making services such as short term counseling and referral assistance available to young people on the verge of trouble and in need of help.  Its structure offers youth, professionals, and families an opportunity to come together to solve problems underlying troublesome behavior before the youth is labeled delinquent.   YSU is not a part of the justice system although it does receive referrals from the police, Probation, and the courts.

Today, YSU services go beyond delinquency prevention and include a range of assistance to families in crisis or struggling such as short term counseling, advocacy, referral and educational presentations.   Throughout its 35 years, more than 10,000 young people have assisted with individual counseling and life skills through the YSU.   Nearly 22,200 youth, parents and professionals have attended workshops presented by YSU staff addressing relevant issues and teaching hands on skills for negotiating life's bumps and curves successfully. 

2010 County Executive Youth Excellence Award Recipients

Most Significant Improvement in Overall Performance
Student:                                   Nominated by:
John Bergfels                            Webutuck High School
Kaylee Broad                            Arlington High School
Michaela Gray                          Dutchess County Youth Bureau/Project Return
Meggan Kalkowski                   John Jay High School
Kimberly Roberson                   Oakwood Friends School
Sean Petrelli                            Dutchess Community College GED Program
Ryan Schroder                         Orville A. Todd Middle School
Arden Schulhoff                        Millbrook High School
Marvin Shaw                            Dutchess County Youth Bureau/Project Return
Michael Thorbjornsen                LaGrange Middle School
D’asia Tolliver                           Poughkeepsie High School
Da’shea Whitaker                     Mill Street Loft – PASWORD Program

Success Despite Difficult Odds
Student:                                   Nominated by:
Samantha Adams                      Lagrange Middle School
Shiesha Alexander                     Dutchess County Regional Chamber of Commerce YES Program
Christen Anderson                     Nubian Directions/New Directions Youth Build/AmeriCorps Program
Kristen Arndt                             DC BOCES Alternative High School
Kendall Brooks                          Rombout Middle School
Ashley Brown                            Orville A. Todd Middle School
Angeles Castellanos                  Dutchess BOCES CTI
Sean Clark                                Dutchess County Youth Bureau/Project Return
Calvin Darling                            Poughkeepsie High School
Evan Gally                                LaGrange Middle School
Corey Heisler                            Astor Services for Children and Families/Family Based Treatment Program
Ellexis Hoerl                             Van Wyck Jr. High School
Charles Link                              Arlington High School
Caitlin Maguire                          Dover High School
Hershley Philogene                   Oakwood Friends School
Stephanie Rugar                       F.D. Roosevelt High School
Amanda Spatta                         DC BOCES Alternative High School
Courtney Spaulding                   Webutuck Jr./Sr. High School
Cassidy Tuz                              Pawling Central Middle School
Christopher Vanbenschoten        Dutchess County Regional Chamber of Commerce YES Program
Christopher Williams                  Astor Services for Children and Families

Volunteer or Community Service
Student:                                   Nominated by:
Shauna Cottle                           Arlington High School
Jessica Cuneo                          Oakwood Friends School
Jillian Hennessey                      Orville A. Todd Middle School
Eugene Tebordo                        John Jay High School
Jessica Wallace                        Mill Street Loft - Project Aware


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