County Comment: Youth Meritorious Awards Presented

PHOTO CAP: Meritorious Youth Awards (L-R) David Lewis, Elsie Martinez, Naz Yildirim, and David Drawbaugh



County Comment
Youth Meritorious Awards Presented
By Norman Bassett, Public Information Officer
Washington County, Maryland

As part of its regular meeting on February 16th, the Washington County Board of County Commissioners honored outstanding middle school students for their leadership and abilities.
The Community Partnership for Children and Families Community Outreach Committee selected four individuals to receive the Commissioners' Youth Meritorious Awards for January and February 2010.
For January 2010, Elsie Martinez, an 8th Grade Student at Clear Spring Middle School is an honoree.
Daughter of Misael and Elsy Martinez, Elsie is an academic success as well as a highly motivated person. She has been on the Honor Roll and Distinguished Honor Roll throughout her time in school, has been the recipient of the S.T.A.R.S. Award two times during middle school, and has perfect attendance this school year.
Elsie participates in Student Government, the morning announcements and WEB. As a WEB leader, Elsie helps sixth graders adjust to middle school. She also has interests in music and sports. In addition to playing the saxophone in the school band, jazz band and county band, and participating in the Treble Choir, Elsie is involved in sports such as soccer, volleyball, and running.
Counselor Earl Meagher says Elsie's leadership, work habits, and accomplishments are truly outstanding.
Zeynep (Naz) Yildirim is a 7th Grade Student, Northern Middle School and is also an honoree.
Daughter of Ms. Nalan Bekar, Naz is an outstanding English Language Learner from Turkey. When Naz arrived in the United States and entered the 6th grade at Northern Middle School, she knew very little English. Naz worked extremely hard her first year and began to gain more and more confidence everyday. Due to her strong work ethic, her English improved greatly.
Now, as a 7th grader, Naz shows great maturity. School and learning are very important to her as she is excelling in many of her classes. She has gone from a student who was afraid to even speak to being an active member in her classes. Her teachers are proud of Naz for coming to school everyday with a smile on her face. Naz is an extremely caring individual and has shown that through her friendships with the other ELL students.
Most recently, Naz has befriended a new Spanish-speaking student. Even though Naz speaks Turkish and it is difficult to communicate with this student, she shows great compassion and understanding during this difficult time. This friendship has been a positive experience for Naz and this other English language learner.
Counselor Leann Buchanan says that Naz is truly an exceptional student and role model for others.
David Drawbaugh of Boonsboro Middle School is a February 2010 honoree.
Son of David and. Julie Drawbaugh, David is an Honor Roll student in the 8th Grade at Boonsboro Middle School. In addition to excelling in the classroom, he possesses phenomenal leadership skills and commitment, which he exhibits through his Santa Paws project.
Santa Paws is a program, created by David, which provides toys, food and treats to needy animals in the area. David's slogan is that needy animals, "also deserve a good holiday." David advertised for, collected and donated resources to needy shelters to provide a better holiday season for disadvantaged animals.
Counselor Lauren McDermott says that David is a student who regularly achieves academically, and exhibits fantastic leadership while doing so. He serves his community through his Santa Paws project and encourages others to contribute and donate to help others.
David Lewis, II, an 8th Grade student at Western Heights Middle School is also an honoree for February.
Son of David and Michelle Lewis, David has always been a bright young man. He is currently in all Merit classes and holds a 4.0 GPA. He excels in Math and competed in the countywide 24 Math competition in both 6th and 7th grades. He would like to go into the engineering field.
David is a kind and caring student who is always willing to help out. He volunteers his time assisting the student achievement specialists in numbering books, numbering items to be passed out to teachers, etc. He also offers to help teachers in other ways. Some of David's interests outside of school are video games and cameras.
Counselor Erika Hancock says that David's academic achievements and volunteering spirit are truly exceptional.