Eight Girl Scouts Achieve Gold

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Girl Scouts of Nassau County hosted its annual Gold Award ceremony where more than 70 local Girl Scouts earned their Gold Awards, including Molly Alpert, Mackenzie Alpert, Maggie Cannatella, Lexi Costello, Laura Ferraris, Kate Miller, Annie Miller and Lindsay Ryan of Manhasset. The Gold Award program recognizes the power and dedication shared by an elite group of young women who earn the highest honor a Girl Scout can achieve. Each girl spent more than 80 hours over the past year planning, executing and presenting the results of her project, which aimed to make the world a better place for others as well as herself.

“These young women are among an exclusive group of leaders who have earned the highest honor a Girl Scout can earn. I commend each and every one of them for the countless hours they have spent dedicated to their project—not only to empower and better themselves, but to make the world a better place,” said Rande Bynum, chief executive officer, Girl Scouts of Nassau County. “Gold Award projects have positively impacted girls’ lives, their communities and the world for over 100 years.”

The Gold Award Girl Scouts each tackled a project that held a deep significance to them. Their projects are described below.

“De-stress to Re-assess,” was a program Molly Alpert created to help children and teens understand the importance of stress management. She held hands-on sessions at the Head Start summer camp where children learned how to manage stress through healthy eating habits, exercise, music, art and meditation. The teachers at the Head Start program will be able to pass on the information to new students each year with the instruction manual she created and donated.

Alpert graduated from Manhasset High School and will attend Loyola University in Baltimore. She was a member of the Junior Coalition Against Breast Cancer and an active member of her church youth group. Her favorite Girl Scout memory is completing the Sow What Journey because it gave her troop the chance to visit a farm.

Mackenzie’s project, “Soaring with STEM,” helped elementary school students explore their curiosity for science, technology, engineering and math. She spent time at the educational center, Adventures in Learning, teaching children about the STEM field through lesson plans that included activities and hands-on exercises. Students and teachers will be able to continue the experiments and activities with the instruction booklet and box of materials Mackenzie donated to the Adventures in Learning center.

A graduate of Manhasset High School, she was an active member and leader of the Junior Coalition Against Breast Cancer aand was an active member of her church’s youth ministry group. She will attend Loyola University in Baltimore. Mackenzie’s fondest Girl Scout memory is spending time at Camp Blue Bay with her troop learning how to cook and indulging in a spa night with her Girl Scout sisters.

Cannatella’s project, “Juniors Hanging with Seniors,” helped bridge the generation gap between youth and senior citizens. In establishing social events at the Manhasset Valley Residence, youth and senior citizens had the chance to interact and socialize. She recruited several different groups from her community to spend time with senior citizens helping them socialize and be active. Cannatella organized a junior/senior prom for the youth of her community and the residents at the nursing home. Each group from the community has committed to return to the Manhasset Valley Residence to add a lively note to the residents’ social calendars.

Cannatella, a graduate of Kellenberg Memorial High School, will attend St. Louis University to study athletic training. She was an active member of the National Honor Society and cross country and track team. Her favorite Girl Scout memory is her Girl Guides trip to Adelboden, Switzerland.

Costello created her project, “Deaf Culture Awareness and American Sign Language,” to educate her community and bring awareness to the deaf culture. Over a three-month period, she taught children in an after-school program the American Sign Language (ASL) alphabet, numbers and colors. She helped teach the children about deaf culture including common phrases and rules within the community. After the three months were finished, she established an ASL club at the Adventures in Learning center so the children could continue learning ASL.

Costello is a rising senior at the Glenholme School where she is involved in the Theater Arts program and a member of the running club and tennis team. She hopes to fulfill her dream of becoming an ASL interpreter. Her favorite Girl Scout memory is the trip her troop took to Switzerland where they went hiking.

Ferraris’ project, “Steward of the Land,” addressed the issue of poor water quality in Orient, NY. Her project consisted of two parts; first she grew her own oysters at an oyster farm measuring how much they grew over the course of three months. She released the data to the public through several informational sessions featuring ways community members can help keep the waters cleaner. Ferraris worked to show her community the importance of water quality and the steps they could take to reverse the damage.

As a recent graduate of Manhasset High School, she was the captain of the varsity soccer team, a member of the National Honor Society and a leader in Key Club and will attend Boston College in the fall. Her favorite Girl Scout memory is going to Hershey Park with her troop during the summer.

Katie Miller created her project, “Sparking Kids’ Love of Math,” to help boost elementary school students’ confidence when it comes to math. She created a dynamic, hands-on curriculum consisting of math review and basic computer science concepts for students at the Adventures in Learning center. The children not only gained better math skills, but they also learned that they can be good at whatever they set their mind to. Miller donated the learning materials to Adventures in Learning where they continue to be used today.

Katie is a rising senior at Manhasset High School where she is a member of the Math and National Honor Societies. She is also an active member of the crew team and serves as an advisory board member for the OneWorld Girl Foundation. Her fondest Girl Scout memory is the unforgettable sleepover at the Museum of Natural History with her troop.

Annie took on the challenge of educating elementary school students about the importance of STEM programming through her project, “Science Fair Fun at Adventures in Learning.” Knowing that STEM fields have a positive impact on the world, Annie wanted to show young students just how important science, technology, engineering and math really are. Annie created a program that allowed students to get hands-on experience in the field that peaked their interest the most. She created interactive activities and lesson plans for the students. The materials are now being used by Adventures in Learning and all the materials are available on her project’s Facebook page.

A rising senior at Manhasset High School, Annie is an active member of Model United Nations and the Science Honor Society. Annie is also a member of the crew team. Her fondest Girl Scout memory is sleeping over at the Museum of Natural History with her troop.

Ryan’s project, “Travel the World Outside Manhasset”, combined her passion for travel and helping others to inspire the youth of Manhasset to get out and explore the world. She created lesson plans that transported children to various countries, teaching them all about each country’s sites, food, people and language. She also helped the kids make travel journals so they could return to any destination they’d like.

A rising senior at Manhasset High School, Ryan is captain of the golf team and member of the National Honor Society. She is an active member of the Interact Service club at her school. Her fondest Girl Scout memory is sleeping over at the Museum of Natural History with her troop.

—Submitted by the Nassau County Girl Scouts of America

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Elizabeth Johnson is editor of Manhasset Press and Manhasset Press Magazine. Growing up in nearby Garden City and attending New York University, she is well-versed in the locale and knowledgeable about the beat she covers. Her community involvement is extensive and includes the Manhasset SCA, Kiwanis International, Manhasset Chamber of Commerce, St. Mary’s Church, and various civic and local charitable organizations. Curious by nature, her travels, community service, love of the arts as well as local sports give her the inside view to unique content. During her time at Anton, she has received several awards from the New York Press Association and the Press Club of LI, including the coveted "Best Community Newspaper" several years in a row.

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