Honorary Awards for Some Very Special Students
It’s graduation and honors month for students, and the First Inaugural 99th Assembly District Students of Achievement event did not disappoint. The event was the first of its kind, and was sponsored by Assemblyman Colin Schmitt of New Windsor who represents the 99th District. It was held at the Washingtonville Middle School.
Students from all corners of Orange County gathered on Monday night representing all of the schools in the District, from which extraordinary young scholars were chosen as the best and the brightest. In fact, at the end of the ceremony you could hear the adults in the audience who were either jumping and clapping for their sons and daughters, or reminiscing about what they either did or did not achieve when they were at such a young age.
They were indeed exceptional, beginning with Ryler Gould (NFA) who is currently the New York State 400 meter hurdle champion, The USATF New York State athlete of the year for 2018 and the USA #1 athlete in the 400 meter hurdles for all high school students. Last week he ran the fastest time a junior in a New York State high school has ever run in the 400-meter hurdles. He accomplished this despite a debilitating childhood injury to his right foot that left him in a wheelchair and a poor prognosis of even walking or running. Ryler gives motivational speeches to other young students in the Newburgh area.
Brielle Withers from Cornwall Central excels in Theatrics, and she is also a passionate advocate for students who have been bullied. Brielle has served as a student ambassador for the National Initiative called “Project Be A Friend”
Anthony Russell, lives in the Village of South Blooming Grove. He is a United States Marine Corps Veteran and is studying at Orange County Community College . He is working on dual degrees and was recently accepted into the Fall 2019 Radiologic Technology program. Anthony has been a member of the SUNY Orange Honors program, maintaining a 3.88 GPA and served as a Student Ambassador for the SUNY Orange Foundation Board. He was a recipient of the Presidential Scholarship for Academic Achievement and is a senior mentor to other students. Anthony is also a graduate of the Culinary Institute in Hyde Park and has served as a Head Chef and Executive Chef at many local food establishments. He also used this experience to serve as an instructor for Orange-Ulster BOCES for 5 years.
Miguel Connell is a student at Chester Academy and BOCES Career and Technical Education Center. He is pursuing his Private Pilot’s Certification. Miguel is currently participating in a summer Leadership Experience Program at West Point. He has already completed his first Solo and serves as the President of the SkillsUSA local chapter and State Secretary. Additionally, he is a Flight Commander in the Civil Air Patrol Auxiliary of the Air Force and a Technical Officer in the Lee Archer Red Tails Youth Flying Program. He is a proud member of the National Honor Society and the National Technical Honor society. His ultimate goal is to pursue an Engineering degree while attending the Air Force Academy and become a pilot in the Air Force..Miguel was also selected to attend Boys State at SUNY Morrisville in June.
David Dankwah, from Washingtonville High School is a talented student both on stage and in the classroom. He is a member of the National Honor Society. In addition to participating in both Track and Band, David has performed as a member of the schools wind ensemble at numerous school and community events. David was recently selected as the Assemblyman at the Orange County Youth in Government Competition. David has participated in an international mentorship program called Royal Rangers, earning the Gold Medal of Achievement, the Rangers equivalent of becoming an Eagle Scout. David also is a nationally ranked songwriter and producer.Other exceptional students honored at the Students of Achievement hailed from Minisink, Goshen Central, John S. Burke, Storm King School, Valley Central, North Rockland (Stony Point) and Highland Falls-Fort Montgomery School, Middletown and SUNY.
Emmanuel Davis was nominated by Storm King School. Emmanuel attended Bishop Dunn Memorial School for his early education- an experience that he regards as a critical foundation. Bishop Dunn fostered Emmanuel’s interests in STEM topics and soccer. In the summer of 7th Grade, Emmanuel was nominated to attend the Junior National Young Leaders Conference Foundation of Leadership which exposed Emmanuel to public speaking- something he excels in. After graduating from Bishop Dunn, Emmanuel enrolled at the Storm King School where he continues to excel academically and thrive in the Storm King as a role model and a leader. He has received honors recognition in Geometry, AP Microeconomics, and AP Physics and is a member of the National Honors Society. Emmanuel has accumulated 80+ hours of community service at the Newburgh Armory Unity Center and other local organizations.