Eight youths from area high schools and three adults were honored for their positive impact on the community at the inaugural Oneida County Youth Awards Dinner.
The event, held Friday at Daniele’s Banquet Specialists in New Hartford, was sponsored by the Friends of the Oneida County Youth Bureau. The winners were anonymously selected by a reading committee comprised of Youth Advisory Board members, the county said.
The honorees were nominated by various school districts and community youth serving agencies. The winners:
• Distinguished Youth Volunteer Award — Tina Jasarevic, Oriskany High School.
• Spirit of Success Youth Award — Brandon Parry, Vernon-Verona-Sherrill High School; and Makka Adam Djouma, Proctor High School.
• Positive Change Leading to Success Youth Award – Samuel Kuryla, Rome Free Academy; and Yupha Lwin, Proctor High School.
• Exceptional Youth Leadership Award — Alexandria Burger, VVS High School; Stephen Ventura, Whitesboro High School; and Sophie Wittenbeck, Waterville High School.
• Distinguished Youth Employee Award — Grady Faulkner, Utica City School District (Donovan Middle School employee).
• Rising Star in Youth Services Award — Lia Savage, Mohawk Valley Safe Schools employee.
• Connecting Our Community Award — Tiffany Boykin, Kids Oneida employee.
“This event demonstrates that the future of Oneida County is in good hands with outstanding youth who are being guided by equally outstanding adults,” said County Executive Anthony J. Picente Jr.
County Youth Bureau Director Kevin Green said “this is the beginning of a landmark annual event which will focus on uniting community-minded youth and adults by spotlighting their extraordinary qualities for many years to come.”