Fifteen Westfield Washington Schools’ students were recognized for their ability to overcome obstacles and become successful in their work and studies during the Westfield Youth Recognition Breakfast on April 24 at the Bridgewater Club.
The obstacles facing these students varied from those who turned their life around, those fighting an illness to those who lost one or both parents.
“Very little recognition is given to these kids,” Cook said. “These are our special people that have overcome things I can’t comprehend. We recognize these kids for what they’ve done on their own.”
“Our kids do so much and I’m grateful for the opportunity to recognize them for who they are,” Stacy McGuire, Westfield High School principal, said.
WHS’ Brandy Badillo has leukemia and currently undergoes weekly chemotherapy treatments but comes to school each day with a smile.
“I just try to stay positive and think positive. I’m just happy to be alive,” she said. “People ask me about it. It is hard. I try hard to just get over it and feel better.”
Students honored were Brandy Badillo, Crystal Beach, Alex Botta, Allison Campbell, Makensey Flood, Normando Gonzalez, Frank Grimes, Anna Morrisey, Ashley Petrie, Marcus Rayl, Chastity Stout and Nicholas Voorhis of Westfield High School; Gavin Hinshaw of Washington Woods Elementary; Mason Piening of Carey Ridge Elementary; and Halie Smith of Oak Trace Elementary.
Fellow high school student Crystal Beach said she used to get in big trouble, which made her realize where she was headed in life. Beach was recognized for turning her life around and her attitude.
“It’s a huge honor, I really appreciate it,” she said.
Beach learned about her nomination from her father, Daniel, who showed her the letter English teacher Sarah Kjeldsen wrote. In it, Kjeldsen said Beach “has taken advantage of the opportunities to grow, to learn and has become a strong, well-grounded young woman.”
“I was having a bad day,” she said. “When I’m upset, I look back at it and smile.”
The celebration breakfast is part of the Westfield Youth Assistance Program, which strives to build a healthy community for tomorrow by extending a helping hand to the youth of today through family assistance, tutoring and mentoring. These programs are available to qualified children needing assistance. Westfield piloted the program, which is expanding to Noblesville and possibly Fishers in addition to other areas in the state.
“It’s a very exciting program that has taken off like wildfire,” Hamilton County Judge Paul Felix said. “Hopefully, we’ll move it around the state because of its value to the children, family and community.”
Felix said young adults aged 18 to 25 accounted for 32 percent of all felonies filed in 2011. If you removed Class D, the lowest felony charge, that number increases to 39 percent.
“It’s so important to get to our children and families before they come into the judicial system,” he said.
For more photos, visit https://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.371140196330731.1073741838.153231491454937&type=1.