BY EMILY CHAIET
The auditorium was filled with 106 students on April 23 for Parent Teacher Student Association’s (PTSA) Lightning Award of Excellence and Scholarship Ceremony. The award honors students of all grades who show dedication to their schoolwork and community service.
“We have the award ceremony to celebrate and acknowledge students that really shine in our community through nonprofit organizations and helping people in need,” PTSA president Maricel Mayol said.
For a student to win the award, he/she must be a member of the PTSA, be active in the community, have a minimum core GPA of 3.0 and be involved in two or more extracurricular activities.
“The students who win all work hard from ninth grade on,” said Natasha Samagond, who serves on the PTSA Executive Board as the Lightning Award Chair. “It’s not a one-time thing. Students will not get the award if they don’t put their heart and soul into their academics, extracurricular activities and community service.”
Seniors Raavi Singh, Taylor Duarte and Jesse Segaul were awarded the Lightning Award of Excellence Scholarship. In order to receive the $1,000 scholarship, the students had to have an academic core GPA of 3.5, 250 service hours, two leadership positions and a clear disciplinary record. In addition to these requirements, the scholarship winners had to be PTSA members and be registered to the university they are attending.
“When I received the scholarship, I felt shocked, super happy and any other positive adjective you can think of,” said Singh, who won the award for her volunteer work for blind and disabled women in India.
Sophomore Samantha Staropoli was one of the recipients of the Lightning Award. This was her second year receiving it.
“It’s an honor to receive the Lightning Award again,” Staropoli said. “It’s great that the PTSA gives this award to students. It encourages them to work hard in school and community service projects.”
Staropoli said she will keep applying for the Lightning Award each year and that she wants to win the Lightning Award scholarship in 12th grade.
“Winning awards such as these makes my hard work in school and the community worthwhile,” Staropoli said.
Ms. Samagond said the PTSA spent three months planning the ceremony. This process included uploading the applications online, receiving applications and choosing the winners for the awards and scholarships.
“This event is only an hour, but we’ve been planning the Lightning Awards since January,” Ms. Samagond said. “As the PTSA, we feel we must do something to honor the students.”