Our Laguna: D.A.R. hands out youth awards

The Patriots Day Parade was a gift to the city from Laguna Beach Daughters of the American Revolution, and the chapter continues to reward the youth of our city who demonstrate their love of country and service to the community.

Throughout the years, the Patience Wright Chapter has funded scholarships for graduating Laguna Beach High School seniors who demonstrate good citizenship. Last year, the chapter recommenced honoring students in the fifth to eight grade as well.

This month, two scholarships and 36 awards were announced at the second annual D.A.R. Student Awards, held at the Presbyterian Church, according to a press release issued this week.

Rickie Scott was the recipient of the D.A.R.'s Good Citizen of 2012-2013, the group's highest honor for graduating senior. Jackson McKay Pries was awarded the D.A.R. American History Scholarship for Laguna Beach High School. Both received $500 checks.

"This came at a time when scholarships were not being handed out, so I was surprised," Scott said.

She shouldn't have been. Her record is impressive.

Rickie is president of Club R.O.C (Righteousness on Campus), one of the largest and most active groups at the high school, and of the LBHS Make a Wish Club, which raised $4,000 under her leadership to grant the wish of a terminally ill teenager. Off campus, Scott volunteers at the Friendship Shelter.

She also participates in the dance program at the school.

Rickie has traveled in South America to help at children's charities, where the skills in Spanish she began to perfect at Thurston Middle School came in handy.

She will attend Randolph College in Lynchburg, Va.

"I am hoping to double major in English and global studies and minor in dance," Rickie said.

Jackson was selected for his award by his counselors and teachers for his passion for American history as well as his intention to serve his community and society in the future.

Last year, he was honored as D.A.R. Grade 11 Good Citizen.

Jackson will major in history at UC Santa Barbara.

"He reads books about American presidents like other kids collect sports information," said his mother Lynn Pries, an architect. "It's just natural for him."

It was the essay he wrote about how he was inspired by the great men of American history and his history teacher Kristin Cowles that earned his award from the D.A.R.

His community service included working with foster children at Olive Crest and in orphanages in Mexico.

Jackson has also played competitive volleyball since he was 12 and has been on the winning team in two Junior Olympics.

Excellence in American History and Social Studies were presented to 18 fifth-grade students.

From El Morro Elementary School, recipients are Jack Guenther; teacher Jennifer Chen; Eva Becker, Connor Fink and Emmalisa Randrup, teacher Melissa Martinez; Allison Mays, teacher Greg Togawa; and Gabe Tacklind, Caden Capobianco and Macy Michael, teacher Jay Williams.

St. Catherine of Siena Parish School recipients are Andrew Domanskis and Isabella Freeman, teacher Lynn Reiley.

From Top of the World Elementary School, recipients are Jeremy Hayes and Ella Judd, teacher Susan Dick; Kayden S. Ibelle and Zacharey Pierce, teacher Teryl Campbell; Bryce Dvorak and Claire Wittkop, teacher Brian Kull; Sahil Das and Malin Glade, teacher Sarah Wolsey;

Good Citizenship Awards were presented to 12 middle school students.

From St. Catherine's recipients are sixth-graders Sydney Munushain and Alex Taylor, teacher Sherri Miller; seventh-graders Isabella Ciraulo and Trey Taylor, teacher Jessica Beckner; and eighth-graders Taylor Campbell and Luke Zettler, teacher Nicole McGee.

From Thurston Middle School, recipients are sixth-graders Claire Black and Ray Hunter, seventh-graders Niva Razin and Grant Richardson, eighth-graders Will Clark and Lauren West with counselors Jennifer DeMark, Nance Morrissey and Michelle Martinez.

Razin was also the winner of the 2012 Patriots Day Parade essay contest.

Six Laguna Beach High School students were honored: ninth-graders London Carter and Eden Young; 10th graders Leslie Dwight and Matthew Haim; and 11th graders Sarina Strickland and Austin Wilhoft. Counselors are Nichole Rosa, David Reska and Angela Pilon.

The awards to Rickie and Jackson will be announced at the Laguna Beach High School Honors Convocation on June 7. Usually those awards are kept secret until that night. However, more than 150 people attended the D.A.R. event, so the secret was out.

The audience included the winners, family members, friends and school staff members and officials, including school board Chair William Landseidel; principals Chris Duddy, El Morro Elementary School, Ron LaMotte, Top of the World Elementary School, Mike Letourneau, St. Catherine of Siena Parish School, Jenny Salberg, Thurston Middle School, and Joanne Culverhouse, Laguna Beach High School.

Since the student award winners are chosen by the schools based on D.A.R. criteria, the principals, teachers and counselors presented the winners with their medals and certificates, according to Gloria Padach, who organized the event.

"This was my baby," Padach said.

She had been asked by the state D.A.R. to try to reinvigorate the Laguna Chapter and she decided the way to do it was to restart the awards program that had been defunct for almost two decades, although the high school scholarships had been continued.

Padach was assisted by committee members, including Lori Savit, who handled public relations.

The Daughters of the American Revolution was founded in 1890. Any woman 18 or older who can prove bloodline descent from an ancestor who aided in achieving American independence from England is eligible to join. Documentation is required. Discrimination against an applicant on the bases of race or creed is prohibited.

Laguna's chapter was founded in November 1939. Years later, Emily Ross persuaded the chapter members and the Laguna Beach Exchange Club that a parade would encourage patriotism in Laguna's young folk.

The first Patriots Day Parade was held Feb. 22, 1967 and every year since.

For more information about the Patience Wright Chapter, visit darlaguna.org.

OUR LAGUNA is a regular feature of the Laguna Beach Coastline Pilot. Contributions are welcomed. Call 1 (714) 966-4618 or email coastlinepilot@latimes.com with Attn. Barbara Diamond in the subject line.

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