BY EMILY CHAIET
Students were honored in the auditorium on May 6 for their achievements inside and outside of school at the PTSA Lightning Awards. Seniors were also awarded Lightning Award of Excellence scholarships, which are made possible through PTSA membership fees and fundraising.
“I think overall we got really good reviews on the Lightning Awards,” said Natasha Samagond, event coordinator. “They liked the fact that we do something. This award is for the whole picture for the candidate. Overall, the feedback was good. The ceremony was short and sweet.”
The awards honored 120 students, including six seniors who received the scholarships. Four seniors received a $1,000: Kalie Manigilia, Carlos Gabriel Morales, Adam Gold and Emily Podolsky. The honorable mention winners Samantha Varrone and Monica Molina, who received $500.
Ms. Samagond said the award decisions are made by a committee.
“The essays stand out in the applications,” she said. “We want to know what they’re thinking and where they’re going. We want to know the whole person. Hopefully next year we can give out more awards because we really want to. Normally we only give out three scholarships and this year we gave out six. Hopefully next year we can give out 10.”
In order to apply for the award, students needed a minimum 3.0 weighted GPA, to be involved in two or more extracurricular activities and need to be PTSA members.
“We look at the whole kid not just academics, so that everybody gets a chance,” Ms. Samagond said. “We value what these students do. It’s the package that counts.”
The Cypress Bay Jazz Band and ballet performer, senior Stefano Milione, performed at the ceremony.
“Just having students perform was very well received,” Ms. Samagond said. “We always like to showcase our own kids and their talents. Next year we hope to showcase even more student talent.”
PTSA memberships are open to students, parents and extended family members, and they cost $10. Ms. Samagond would like to emphasize that it is mandatory for the student to be a PTSA member in order to qualify for the award and scholarship. For more information about the awards and other PTSA events, visit the PTSA website: http://www.cypressbayptsa.com/.