The Bronx’s unsung youth leaders had their praises sung at a one-of-a-kind ceremony.
The first annual 49th Precinct Community Leaders’ Awards were held on Wednesday, May 25 at Maestro’s Caterers to pay homage to local youth leaders.
Sponsored by the 49th Precinct Community Council, the Bronx County Society of the Prevention of Cruelty to Children and its president Elizabeth D’Onofrio and Maestro’s Caterers, this year’s distinguished honorees included 150 student leaders from P.S. 281, P.S. 108, P.S./M.S. 498 Van Nest Academy, P.S. 89, P.S. 83 and P.S. 105 who were recognized for their service to the community.
The ceremony began with opening remarks by master of ceremonies Brandon Muccino, P.S. 83 principal.
“This event is a fantastic way to honor all of these young leaders for all of the work they’ve done throughout the year to help those in our communities and the world most in need of help,” expressed Muccino.
“The appreciation really goes out toward our educators and principals who have opened doors to inspire our children’s imaginations in helping others,” said Joseph Thompson, 49th Precinct Community Council president. “These students are the leaders of tomorrow and should be recognized for their efforts.”
Muccino said 25 P.S. 83 students were honored for their various contributions among which include donating to the 49th Precinct Community Council’s annual holiday food drive, volunteering at the Siena House Shelter and hosting an ambitious fundraiser seeking to preserve Costa Rican wildlife this past March.
According to Charles Sperrazza, P.S. 108 principal, 25 of his students were formally recognized for donating to the annual food drive, hosting their school’s Veterans Appreciation Day Celebration every November and their active leadership roles in student government.
“This is something positive that these children will look back on during their journey in life and it’s important to memorialize all of the good work they’ve done,” shared Sperrazza.
Carol Ann Gilligan, P.S./M.S. 498 principal, said her school’s student leaders embody their motto of ‘VNA Cares’ by raising funds at the annual March of Dimes Trick or Treat event, selling colored bracelets to fund research for breast cancer and other diseases, setting up school events, donating everyday items to an Ecuador earthquake survivor fundraiser, reading to younger children and providing child care services to children of Parent Teacher Association parents.
“We’re very grateful to the 49th Precinct and Joe Thompson for recognizing the efforts of our students and always ensuring that we educate our students to realize that they must give back to the communities from where they came,” expressed Gilligan.
Student leaders at each school were presented with award certificates by their principals to the resounding applause of many in attendance.
Following the awards presentation, P.S. 105’s Chorus gave a crowd pleasing performance to officially conclude the ceremony.
According to Thompson, the ceremony is the culmination of efforts by D’Onofrio, Muccino and Sperrazza to honor the local youth.