Letter to the Editor: Youth recognition

The 2023 Clarkston Area Youth Assistance Youth Recognition Ceremony and Dessert Reception was held April 26 to recognize and celebrate 70 honorees, Young Fives to Grade 12, for their personal contributions that made a positive impact on the well-being of their class, school, and community.
There are many to thank, including volunteers who offered congratulations to honorees and their families from the moment they arrived!
The early planning began through collaboration with Clarkston Community Schools which continued through the ceremony. The Clarkston High School Jazz Combo provided great music as guests took their seats, including 40 proud nominators.
The MC, Cari Neubeck, Independence Township clerk, began the ceremony by welcoming the 400 in attendance and setting a tone of dignity and respect. Paul Brown, Independence Township treasurer, gave the CAYA sponsor comments, thanking honorees for their important role in making the community a better place to live. The keynote speaker, Staci Puzio, CCS director of equity, well-being, and community partnerships, thanked the honorees for their roles in making the community a place of well-being, especially through their kindness and empathy.
An affirmation based on the words of the nominator(s) was read aloud, as each honoree crossed the stage to receive the congratulations from dignitaries including CCS Superintendent Dr. Shawn Ryan and building administrators, ceremony speakers, and government officials from Independence Township and Springfield Township.
At the end of the ceremony when all honorees were asked to stand, feelings of pride, joy, and love erupted into thunderous applause from family, friends, nominators, and dignitaries!
The celebration continued at the dessert reception, where decorated tables and mostly homemade treats awaited. Honorees took home personalized certificates provided by CAYA sponsors and Oakland County officials, and a printed copy of their affirmation suitable for framing.
Youth Recognition was an inspiring and memorable evening of well-being for everyone!
Clarkston Area Youth Assistance Youth Recognition Program Committee

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