CB11 students earn leadership awards

Community Board 11 member Vinny Prezioso (left) applauded McDonald’s Youth Leadership Award winner Despina Miller and Yankees Youth Leadership Award winners Lauren Murphy, Grace Fragale, Nicholas Sette and Michael Zagreda (l-r), as did Deputy Borough President Aurelia Greene (center) and CB11 district manager John Fratta (right). Photo by Daniel Beekman

Five remarkable young people accepted awards at a Community Board 11 general meeting on Thursday, December 17. Teens Nicholas Sette, Michael Zagreda, Lauren Murphy, Grace Fragale and Melissa Balais earned New York Yankees Youth Leadership Awards. Despina Miller earned a McDonald’s Youth Leadership Award.

“Thank you for your dedication to your community and for making the Bronx a better place to live,” Deputy Borough President Aurelia Greene told the teens.

The Yankees award winners also collected $500 checks. Sette, a 15-year old from Pelham Gardens who attends Fordham Preparatory School, completed 350 hours of community service during his 2009 summer vacation. He woke up every morning at 6:30 a.m. to volunteer as an assistant counselor at a summer camp in New Rochelle.

“I like to work with kids,” Sette said.

Friend Chris Borgatti, 16, nominated Sette for the Yankees award. Borgatti won a Yankees award in 2008.

“I nominated Nick because I know he does a lot for the community,” Borgatti said. “He helps people. He’s a great friend and a huge Yankees fan.”

Sette enjoys Global Studies at Fordham Prep and may decide to become a teacher. He cheered the Bronx Bombers at two playoff games in October.

Murphy, 16-year old from Morris Park who attends Preston High School, is perpetual motion personified. She sings for her church and school choirs, volunteers for a choir in New Rochelle and mentors a younger student from the Kips Bay Boys & Girls Club of Throggs Neck.

Murphy belongs to the National Honor Society and is the vice-president of Preston’s science club. She’s a student council, metropolitan club, drama club and Spanish movie club member.

“I was excited [to accept a Yankees award],” Murphy said. “It felt cool and $500 is a lot of money.”

Murphy, who hopes to become a broadcaster or mechanical engineer, plans to deposit her check in a bank account so she doesn’t need to ask her parents for money.

Zagreda, a 17-year old from Pelham Parkway who also attends Fordham Prep, wants to work for New York State in order to better his community. Zagreda helps his father run a community patrol and volunteers at a nursing home with his mother.

A computer whiz, Zagreda hopes teens around the Bronx will read about his award and want to volunteer. When at the nursing home, Zagreda feels great, he said.

Fragale, a 17-year old from Morris Park who also attends Preston High, volunteers at the concession stand for Van Nest Little League. Her brother is a baseball player. She participates in musical theater at Preston and hopes to study theater in college.

“I’m happiest when I’m on stage,” Fragale said.

Miller also attends Preston High School.

Reach reporter Daniel Beekman at 718 742-3383 or dbeekman@cnglocal.com

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