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News Release    

June 4, 2009      

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

Steinhaus Celebrates Youth Achievement

Poughkeepsie… Dutchess County Executive William R. Steinhaus celebrated commitment of local youth volunteers and teachers as well as the accomplishments of more than forty 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 43 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.

Four students were each awarded $1,500 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 four scholarship recipients were:

Student: Nominated by: For:
Abigail Agustin DC Youth Services Unit Success Despite Difficult Odds
Shevon Allen Dover High School Success Despite Difficult Odds
Chelsea Orts Roy C. Ketcham High School Success Despite Difficult Odds
Jessenya Rosario Hudson River Housing, River Haven Success Despite Difficult Odds
The Dutchess County Youth Board also recognized several adults who have supported the efforts of these young people by providing caring support and encouragement.  Three youth workers were honored in the following categories:

Professional Teacher Award
Susan Birchman, Joseph D’Aquanni West Road Intermediate School

Professional Youth Worker Awards
Jason Maietta, Town of Fishkill Recreation Department

Dorothy O. Lasday Award for Volunteerism
Arlene Larsen, volunteer at the Center for the Prevention of Child Abuse

Most Significant Improvement in Overall Performance

Student: Nominated by:
Jason Alfonso Mill Street Loft Habilidad Program
Susann Bendheim Millbrook High School
Jenna Finger John Jay High School
Laura Gieseler Arlington High School
Alyssa Gonzalez DC Youth Bureau, Youth Services Unit
William Lewis Roy C. Ketcham High School
Corey Rawles Orville Todd Middle School
Brenden Robustelli Webutuck High School
Antonio Emilio Shanks, Jr. DC BOCES Alternative High School
Corey VanBergen Orchard View Alternative High School
Moriah Walters Mill Street Loft, Project AWARE
Romain Williams Cornell Cooperative Extension Green Teen Program - Poughkeepsie

Success Despite Difficult Odds

Student: Nominated by:
Kayla Battle Cornell Cooperative Extension Green Teen Program - Beacon
Keith Bennett Cornell Cooperative Extension, ACT for Youth Initiative
Cherokee Bishop Eugene Brooks Middle School
Aaron Croulet DC BOCES Alternative High School
Taylor DeSario Orville Todd Middle School
Alexa Espinoza Linden Avenue Middle School
Tory Finfinis LaGrange Middle School
Brian Hand DC Youth Bureau, Youth Services Unit
Arturo Juarez Mill St. Loft Habilidad Program
Sabrina Keto F.D. Roosevelt High School
Angelica Leon Orville Todd Middle School
Steven Meddaugh Mental Health America in Dutchess County
Katherine Pena DC Youth Bureau, Youth Services Unit
Rashad Ricketts Poughkeepsie Middle School
Yesenia Santos-Vasquez Millbrook High School
Sean Scott Orchard View Alternative High School
Jason Seay Dutchess Youth Career Works
Te’Natra Settles Astor Adolescent Day Treatment Program
Jasmyn Smith Spackenkill High School
Eddie Taylor DC Youth Services Unit, Project Return
Tajai TAYLOR Poughkeepsie High School
Amanda Vermilyea Arlington High School

Volunteer or Community Service

Student: Nominated by:
Kristina Biszick Orchard View Alternative High School
Shannon Fiore Orville Todd Middle School
Takneesha Shorte Mill St. Loft, PASWORD Program
Angeala Weinacht Hudson River Housing, River Haven Transitional Living Community
Alicia Wilson Battered Women’s Services of Family Services, Inc.


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Last Updated: 6/23/2009