Recognizing youth

Dear Editor,
Community involvement is always a key part of Clarkston Area Youth Assistance (CAYA) programs. This is especially true for the Youth Recognition Program—Celebrating Youth Who Make a Difference.
This year at the April 24 Youth Recognition Ceremony and Dessert Reception, there were 202 (179 present) student honorees, kindergarten through grade 12, who were recognized and celebrated for contributing to the well-being of the community. Starting with the Clarkston Madrigals who sang beautifully before the Ceremony and Independence Television for videotaping the entire Ceremony, there are many in the community to thank!
Year after year the Clarkston Community Schools (CCS) has provided tremendous support and commitment to ensure the success of the Youth Recognition Program, and this year was no exception.
Present at the ceremony were dignitaries from CCS, including Superintendent Shawn Ryan, Principals Gary Kaul, Christa Fons, Adam Kern, Kim Fletcher, Glenn Gualtieri, Brian Adams, Nate Fuller, Jennifer Johnson, Jodi Yeloushan, Matt Gifford, Assistant Principal John Bennink, Director of Student Growth and Well-being Staci Puzio, and many nominators.
In addition, there were dignitaries present who are representatives of government, including State Rep. Andrea Schroeder, Oakland County Youth Assistance Chief Mary Schusterbauer, Oakland County Commissioner Tom Middleton, Independence Township Clerk Barbara Pallotta, and Sergeant Sharon Schabel from the Oakland County Sheriff’s Office.
All of the dignitaries came to congratulate the student honorees for their individual accomplishments of the well-being of self, such as developing leadership skills and personal growth, and their individual accomplishments in showing concern for the well-being of others, including daily acts of kindness and welcoming and including all students.
The Dessert Reception that was attended by over 500 student honorees and their families, was beautifully decorated with the help of CAYA volunteers and funding provided by the Clarkston Rotary Club.
In addition to CAYA Board members and volunteers, several organizations and local businesses donated delicious cookies and brownies, including the Clarkston Women’s Club, Clarkston Area Optimists, Brioni Café and Deli, and the Auburn Hills Costco.
The Youth Recognition Program Committee is grateful to the many volunteers and community members who helped to create an inspirational evening filled with joy, pride, and well-being—making wonderful memories for the student honorees and their families, and for all who attended!
Youth Recognition Program Committee, Clarkston Area Youth Assistance