Who says today’s young people don’t do good things or care about others?
It’s obviously not anyone who has ever attended the Oxford-Addison Youth Assistance (OAYA) Annual Youth Recognition Ceremony.
Thirty-three Oxford students, ranging from the elementary level to high school, were honored at this year’s event, which took place May 11 at the middle school.
They were recognized for their selfless commitment to others and positive impact on their schools, their community and the world.
Thumbing through the program, these students were described in glowing terms.
Alima Abdou is a “tireless worker” with a “caring and cheerful personality.”
Julian Mayin is a “quiet leader,” who is “always conscientious” and “does his job cheerfully, with a smile (on his face) and respect to all.” Kate Schweitzer “goes above and beyond to excel in all areas of her life.”
Logan Smith “is always first to offer a friend in need a helping hand,” while Leif Waligore “works hard to ensure that no one feels left out.”
The young people honored by OAYA performed a variety of good deeds, volunteered their time and talents, identified needs both big and small, and took definitive action to make life better for others.
They sent goats to Africa to help those affected by hunger and poverty. They tutored and mentored fellow students.
They helped veterans, the elderly and the sick. They served on the school safety patrol. They did volunteer work for local groups such as the Lakeville Cemetery Auxiliary and American Legion Post 108.
Leonard Elementary student Krystina Noaker stopped a child with special needs from running into the school parking lot at the end of the day.
“She didn’t hesitate when she saw he was in trouble,” said Pastor Dave Gerber, the event’s master of ceremonies, as he read from the program. “Krystina has become his guardian angel and helps him get to the bus safely every day.”
Ashlynn Redhage, a Leonard fifth-grader, took it upon herself to encourage good personal hygiene at her school.
She organized a group of students to teach others how to properly wash their hands.
“The group created posters and hung them in the bathrooms,” Gerber said. “Then, they took photos of students washing their hands and hung them in the bathrooms to serve as visual reminders.”
Oxford Schools Superintendent Tim Throne told the audience the district’s vision is “to create a world-class education today to shape tomorrow’s leaders.”
“I want everyone to know that our district vision is already being realized,” he said. “How do I know that? Because our honorees tonight are not waiting for tomorrow to be leaders; they’re leaders today.”