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Garvis Huff outstanding youth, youth advocates honored

Garvis Huff outstanding youth, youth advocates honored

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In March 2020, less than a week before the Orange County Office on Youth was planning to host its annual Garvis Huff Youth and Youth Advocate Awards ceremony, Orange County and much of the commonwealth shut down amid the COVID-19 public health crisis.

As a result, the office on youth postponed the 2020 ceremony and the announcement of the winners among the nearly three dozen nominees across the three categories.

At last Tuesday’s meeting of the Orange County Board of Supervisors, Orange County Office on Youth Director Alisha Vines announced the 2020 winners and presented the awards to two out of the three.

Christian “Taylor” Quintance was named the winner at the middle school level; Josh Lyon was the high school level winner and Mary Catherine Corker was named the youth advocate award winner.

“Each of them goes above and beyond for others and their community and I’m excited to share their achievements with you,” Vines told the supervisors. “Thank you for letting me recognize these amazing individuals. I enjoy reading the nominations every year.”

(Listed below are the winners. At right, are the other nominees.)

Middle school

Christian “Taylor” Quaintance

Taylor, nominated as a seventh-grader (now an eighth-grader) at Locust Grove Middle school was nominated in the areas of leadership, courage, compassion and service. Taylor is a member of the National Junior Honor Society, has participated in the National Geographic Geography Bee, and is a member of the Treble Chorus. Beyond school, Taylor was nominated to participate in the Junior National Young Leaders Conference, is an active member of her church youth group and is learning Irish dance. Taylor holds herself to a very high standard not only in her schoolwork but in her determination. She set a goal to raise money for St. Jude’s, and rode her bicycle 53 miles from Richmond to Williamsburg to raise funds to honor those seeking treatment at St. Jude’s. She exceeded her goal and had a positive impact on the community around her. Taylor has an impact on individuals when doing things quietly, in a reserved manner. She is a role model to the youth of Orange County. She shows one can be involved in many things with sincerity and determination to accomplish goals for both self and community. She has gained the courage to speak about things that make a difference and matter. Taylor has grown as a confident leader and an example of what a student can do to influence their community in a positive and productive manner.

High school

Joshua Lyon

Josh was nominated while a senior at Orange County High School. He now attends George Mason University where he is studying government and international politics. While at OCHS, he was a very active teen, both in and outside of school. His school-related achievements and participation included creating a student-run spirit committee with the goal to bring school unity and spirit to Orange County, serving as president of the 21st Leadership Committee and Spirit Committee, President of the Varsity Club, captain of both the varsity baseball and swim teams, a National Honor Society member, and a Boys State representative. Outside of school, Joshua was a lead volunteer for State Senator, Bryce Reeve’s re-election campaign, a congressional intern for Senator Mike Enzi, a petty officer second class in the United States Naval Sea Cadet Corps, and he still managed to work a part-time job.

Through his tireless work at OCHS, he was able to overcome resistance to school spirit and bring people together of various backgrounds, religions, races, ethnicities, interests, cliques, Democrats, Republicans, sexualities, economic backgrounds and genders who often had different outlooks on life to find a common bond, and he did it through pride in school, education, community and sports.

His nomination form stated Joshua was a “rare jewel” and a natural leader. He is of high moral character and achieves success in all that he puts his mind to.

Youth advocate

Mary Catherine Corker

Ms. Corker is nominated based on courage, service and leadership. She is a dedicated advocate for the growth and development of youngsters. She not only spends her days working with students, she continues into the evenings and weekends. She is very active in various activities, including the 4-H Outdoor Adventure Club, Locust Grove Athletics, and the LGMS Beautification Club to name a few. She is also involved in her church through Operation Shoebox and other community activities.

Ms. Corker is quick to assist any student, she will find a way for a student to stay after school to assist them in their academic success, regardless of grade level or the subject material she will find a solution. She is always utilizing her skills and knowledge to the betterment of other in and out of the school environment. She uses acts of kindness, for teachable moments about the environment, agriculture and various other topics of interest.

A major challenge that Ms. Corker faced was a mid-year change of the program used to create the individualized educational plans. She handled this change with grace and was able to learn the new system with very little official instruction to keep all of her students on course and minimize any future issues.

It is evident that Ms. Corker has a personal passion to share her experience and knowledge with others, and to always be aware that everyone is considered, remembered and cared for.

Other nominees include:

Youth Advocate Nominees

Rose Devaney

Ms. Devaney is a school counselor at Locust Grove Elementary and is nominated due to her attributes of courage, service and leadership daily. She works with students and families, and various community leaders. She teaches social emotional classes for students, works closely with the attendance department to assist with chronic absenteeism. She strives to assist students’ progress academically and emotionally to reach their full potential.

Ms. Devaney is involved in various clubs at the school, environmental club, Girls on the Run, along with helping facilitate, Strengthening Families with the local Office on Youth. She has a positive impact on the students here at LGES, she works with local businesses to make sure students have the items they need, school supplies, clothes and food, along with a safe place to express their feelings to a trusted adult.

Bryan Manson

Mr. Manson has been nominated in the area of service to others. He displays a service-oriented mind set every day. As the head custodian at Locust Grove Elementary, he takes pride in maintaining a warm, safe, clean and inviting environment for the students and staff. Annually, he organizes a food drive for our local food banks. In the past few years, he has exceeded 1,000 pounds of food for individuals in need. Outside of his dedication to the school, he is actively involved in his church.

Mr. Manson found himself ill during the most recent food drive but was still able to assist and advocate from a distance and collect more than 1,000 pounds of food. He is always representing a selfless individual who is looking to help others in his community.

Alison Walden

Ms. Walden is nominated based on courage, service and leadership. She displays her service and leadership by heading the Locust Grove Middle School LEO Club as the faculty advisor. The LEO Club is embedded in bettering the community around them and Ms. Walden leads by example with her students. Under her direction and guidance, the LEO members assist the school with various projects, including an open house event, parent-teacher conferences and other non-school -hour events.

Ms. Walden, through the LEO Club, is able to teach and guide students in acts of service. The LEO Club raised funds for families in need, donates to local food banks and shelters, along with raising money and supplies for the local animal shelters. Outside of the LEO Club, Ms. Walden is also very involved in her church community, where she serves as a church elder and on a number of other committees; such as stewardship and fundraising.

Deputy Chris Locker

Orange County Sheriff’s Deputy Locker is nominated based on courage, service and leadership. In the words of one of the eighth-grade students, “He is on it,” meaning he is on top of everything at the school. Deputy Locker instills trust from all who encounter him. He will broach any situation with confidence, competence and assurance. Mr. Locker is dependable, consistent, provides wise counsel and has a good sense of humor and he uses these talents and gifts in all situations.

Mr. Locker has been a basketball coach at both Locust Grove Middle School and Orange County High School and he also works with Office on Youth teaching a fatherhood class, and volunteering as a youth league football coach. He is actively involved in his community and the youth around him. Deputy Locker is more than just a deputy and resource officer, he takes the time to teach respect, honor and self-discipline to all students. You can see through his actions that he feels strongly about helping guide the youth of today and tomorrow.

Debbie Kamiske “Coach K”

Coach Kamiske (Coach K) is nominated based on courage, service and leadership. Her students describe her as “cool,” funny” and “strict in a good way,” as well as, “trustworthy.” She helps and supports her students both on and off the field as a coach and mentor. She has been actively involved in youth sports for many years.

Coach K has coached girls basketball, served as an athletic director, football defensive coordinator, wrestling coach and softball coach. She dedicates time in the off season and summers to working with the players to improve their skills.

Coach K, in short, has had a positive influence on many students throughout the years. Through teaching and coaching she assists her student to learn leadership, life skills, to face adversity in tough situations, take on responsibilities, play hard, and how to accept winning or losing with dignity and grace. She is mindful and sensitive to people and their situations, Coach K will not hesitate to help anyone, anywhere and anytime. She never walks away from a challenge, her motto is, “Try it, practice it, do it, and succeed.”

Middle school nominees

Makayla Valentine

Makayla was nominated in the areas of courage, compassion, service and leadership. She is an honor roll student who is well respected by teachers and students, and someone you can count on. Makayla is there when you need her, and she makes positive choices. Her service to our community is, hands down, above and beyond the call of duty. Her school activities include being a member of the National Junior Honor Society, testing center helper and Big Sister. Outside of school, Makayla is involved with her church. She teaches a Sunday School lesson twice a month and assists in caring for younger children in the church nursery. She is quite an achiever, you can always find her singing, giving and helping.

Jackson Hamilton

Jackson is nominated in the areas of courage and service, His school activities include National Junior Honor Society, SCA, Prospect Heights Broadcast Team, and Destination Imagination. Outside of school, Jackson plays chess and enjoys spending time with his grandfather. His involvement at Prospect helps to raise money for many school functions. He always gives his peers encouragement to keep going.

Addison Brooke Bottino

Addison is nominated in the areas of courage, compassion, service and leadership. In school she is a member of the LEO Club, SeaPerch Program and plays the trumpet in the advanced band and jazz band. Addison is very service-oriented and displays a natural sense of leadership. She works tirelessly for the many service and community events through the LEO club.

Adelyn Louise Brady

Addie was nominated in the areas of leadership, service, compassion and courage. Her school activities include being an active member of the Leo Club since sixth grade where she’s served as secretary and later president. She is also a student ambassador, welcoming new students to the school. In addition, Addie was nominated for the Youth Council and serves as a Locust Grove Middle School representative, along with being involved in her church youth group. Addie’s acts of caring, kindness and volunteer work have a positive impact on her community that will last for years to come.

Kayla Lee Brady

Kayla is nominated in the areas of courage, service, compassion and leadership. She is sensitive to others’ needs and is a peacemaker. Kayla is a very active member of the Leo Club and has a special talent for decorating and making events beautiful. She is a caring person who makes positive choices and when she gets involved in activities, she stays involved in activities. She is brave to take on new responsibilities and try new activities. Kayla enjoys people and always has a great attitude and is happy.

Aliha Buriro

Aliha is nominated in the areas of leadership, service, compassion and courage. Her school activities include being a current member of the LEO Club, member of the SCA, where she serves at treasurer, and member of the National Junior Honor Society. Aliha is also active in the 4-H Adventure Club and participates in Destination Imagination, outside of her school activities. Aliha is dependable and service-oriented. Her participation in all of her activities has taught her to respect others and to also take great interest in her community. She is increasingly becoming a leader amongst her peers.

Kylie Erin Callahan

Kylie is nominated in the areas of leadership, service, compassion and courage. She has an interest in developing and learning the ways to become a leader, share compassion with others, do service for others, and stand up for what is right. She is a dependable person to whom people can count on to do what she says she will do. Her school activities include being a member of the National Junior Honor Society, Leo Club and a student ambassador for Locust Grove Middle School. Outside of school, Kylie is a member of the Orange County High School marching band. She has good ideas, a good heart and many talents. With these qualities, she tries to make a difference in her community and school.

Dezaray McKensie Jackson

Dezaray was nominated in the areas of courage, service, compassion and leadership. Her school activities include being the elected vice president of the SCA, a role she has taken very seriously. She is also a member of the LEO Club. Outside of school, Dezaray volunteers at Dance Expression and participates in the 4-H Adventure Club. No matter if she is in school or outside of school, Dezaray is always seeking opportunities for betterment and new experiences. She sees her volunteer activities as opportunities for a better life and world.

Abigale Rose Louden

Abby is nominated in the areas of compassion, service, courage and leadership. Her school activities include being broadcast director for the Mustang News and serving as editor. She is also a member of the National Junior Honor Society. Outside of school, Abby is a very active member of Girl Scouts. She is enthusiastic about a program called “Bully Busters” that the Girl Scouts use in schools to teach students about positive ways to counteract bullying behavior. Abby will stand up to students that pick on others. She has served as a “voice“ for the person who has been picked on. She is eager and reliable and has positive relationships with students and teachers alike.

Seamus Paul Quinlan

Seamus was nominated in the areas of courage, service, compassion, and leadership. He has participated in many school activities including track, football and is very active in the SCA. Outside of school, he participates in works with the Lake of the Woods Adaptive Water Sports Program. Seamus is a kind-hearted individual who wants to always do the right thing. He displays leadership abilities and is thoughtful, well-mannered, considerate of others, and is wise beyond his years.

Timothy Gabriel Rivera

Tim was nominated in the areas of compassion, courage, service and leadership. He is a kind and giving person with a positive outlook on life. He is well liked by peers and adults. Tim school activities include being a member of the National Junior Honor Society, in both seventh and eighth grades, currently he is the treasurer. He is also a member of the LEO Club and serves as the treasurer. Outside of school, you can find Tim volunteering in many events for worthy causes. You can ask him to do something, and it will get done. He is an empathetic, positive person who makes good decisions. He is a role model to others, not just his peer group, but to adults as well.

Ynadis Sanchez-Romero

Ynadis is nominated in the areas of courage, compassion, leadership and service. Her school activities include being a member of the LEO Club, the environmental cub and all things track and cross-country. She has been an honor roll student all year. Outside of school, she is active in Girl Scouts. She is courageous and speaks out for what is right. She’s a role model for other young people in the county and welcomes opportunities. Ynadis is kind, well-meaning, truthful, and is not a stranger to hard work.

Ella J. Williams

Ella is nominated in the areas of courage, compassion, service and leadership. She is currently the president of the National Junior Honor Society, where she added a coat drive to the annual food drive during the holiday season. Ella is also an active member of the LEO Club and serves as the track team manager. Outside of school, she volunteers in her church nursery and is involved with her youth group at church. She is a dependable person with a positive attitude and shows compassion to those around her. Ella is a caring person who wants to make a difference in the world.

Nicholas Robert Williams

Currently in eighth grade at Locust Grove Middle School, Nick was nominated in the areas of courage, service, compassion and leadership. His school activities include being a member of the National Junior Honor Society and he currently serves as the historian; he is also a member of the LEO Club. Outside of school, he enjoys soccer year-round. Nick is there when you need him. He works hard and leads by example. He cares for his classmates and club members, and always has a good time working as a team. He is an honor roll student who is respected by students and teachers.

Dameon A. Willis

Dameon has been nominated in the areas of courage, compassion, leadership, and service. He is involved in wrestling, LEO Club, as a student ambassador and a student aide. Outside of school, he is a member of an elite wrestling club. Dameon is very active in the LEO Club, has been there every step of the way to help with fund-raisers; meetings; set-up, take-down, and clean-up of LEO events. Dameon is a quick learner. He is trying to always do the right thing and lead by example. He has taken some courageous steps towards being a compassionate, service-oriented leader. He is unafraid of challenges and with encouragement will continue to succeed.

Michael Clay

Nominated in the areas of courage, compassion, leadership, and service, He is very involved at school where he is a member of the SCA, LEO Club and ballroom dancing club. He also has participated in Destination Imagination, 24 Math competition, spelling bee, Regional governor’s school summer program, math tutor, and EcoScholars programs. Beyond school, Michael is a member of the 4-H Adventure Club, plays basketball and acts with the Lake of Woods Players. It is a pleasure to watch Michael stand up for his beliefs and make choices that lead him to get involved in activities that improve his life, his family’s life, and the lives of classmates. Michael stands out above others because he chooses to be involved in worthwhile activities; he is service-minded and has compassion for others. He has a great sense of humor, enjoys school and experiencing new things.

Katherine Slagle

Katherine was nominated in the categories of courage, compassion, service and leadership. Katherine is a member of the National Junior Honor Society, advanced band and recognized as a student of the month. Outside of school, she is a member of a Destination Imagination team, Girl Scouts, and a member of the Barracudas swim team. Katherine is a role model for others and demonstrates good citizenship. She is a positive leader among her peers and interacts well with other students, teachers and adults. Katherine has shown compassion in her community support through donations of food and non-perishable food items to feed the needy during the winter food drive. She also shows her commitment to community during her many activities as a Girl Scout.

Somer Wolfrey

Somer is nominated in the categories of service, leadership, compassion and courage. She is a member of the National Junior Honor Society, girls basketball team and participated in the 24 Math competition. Beyond school, Somer is a vacation Bible school leader, and plays on the Upward girls basketball team, and a team member for Orange Fire Soccer. Somer has shown courage balancing the demands of school and sports, as well as compassion and service in her community through Kids Hope. Somer has found a great balance between school, community and her love of sports.

Rylan Deeds

Rylan was nominated in the categories of compassion, courage, service and leadership. Rylan is a member of the Lego Robotics team, a Destination Imagination team and a library helper. Outside of school, Rylan is an active member of her church youth group, Girl Scouts and a vacation Bible school helper. She is a generally kind and compassionate individual, who is always hardworking and does her best in all endeavors.

Sara Squeglia

Sara is nominated in the areas of leadership, compassion, courage and service. Sara is always in the right place, at the right time, doing the right thing regardless of what others are doing. Whenever she sees a peer struggling with a task, Sara is there to lend a helping hand. She is an active member in the National Junior Honor Society. Outside of school, Sara has participated in many community events, such as Relay for Life, Walk for Multiple Sclerosis and Rise Against Hunger. Sara strongly advocates for the need to help others who have very little food to eat. Sara has the kindest, most humble nature about her.

Rachael Winn

Rachael has been nominated in the areas of compassion, service and leadership. Rachael is an active member of the National Junior Honor Society. Outside of school she participates in many civic activities through her church. Rachael currently is serving on a committee through National Junior Honor Society that is organizing a run to benefit St. Jude’s Children’s Hospital. Her willingness to step forward and get things done makes her a valuable member of the group. She inspires others with her gentle leadership. Rachel is that person who is committed to helping others all day long.

High School nominees

Alex Pomeroy

Alex is nominated in the areas of service, courage, compassion and leadership. As a member of the Student Council Association, where he serves as the vice president of fundraising, and as a member of the Virginia State Student Council Advisory Committee, Alex is actively trying to get more students involved in student government. He is also a member of the National Honor Society and French Club. Alex has been pivotal in the planning of the homecoming activities throughout his high school years. He continues to encourage students to provide their input in the activities and policies that impact them.

Jarrett Long

Jarrett is nominated in the areas of courage, service, leadership and compassion. He currently is a member of the Student Council Association and serves as the vice president of student affairs, is a member of the Virginia Student Council Advisory Committee, the National Honor Society and the Robotics Club. Jarrett is a positive influence on his peers and encourages everyone to get involved. He understands that the social and economic differences in our community can be bonded together and he seeks to promote social activities and volunteers often. He is always willing to help, and he supports his friends and always cooperates with the adults in charge. He works hard and is trustworthy and dependable.

Miyanna Bell

Miyanna is nominated in the areas of courage, service, leadership and compassion. She currently is the president of the 21st Leadership committee and the Spirit Committee. She is also a member of the National Honor Society, director of media and marketing for the African American Club, the American Club and leader of the Quest Club. Outside of school activities, Miyanna is a YoungLife member, youth leader for her church and employed part-time at Food Lion. Miyanna worked directly with OCHS Athletic Director to improve school spirit. She worked with other student leaders to bring together various backgrounds, races, interests, cliques and genders to find a common bond, through school, education, community and sports. She was pivotal in creating one of the fastest-growing OCHS social media accounts on record. Her goals are to always find common ground to bring community together.

Joanie Zummo

Joanie is nominated in the areas of courage, service, leadership and compassion. She is the vice president of the Senior Class, a member of the Robotics Club, and a member of the VA Student Council Association-State Advisory committee member. Joanie is active in the student government, never backing down from additional work. She took the time to learn about making t-shirts and was able to assist other OCHS clubs and organizations with getting t-shirts made. Joanie is extremely motivated and will show up after work to volunteer and take home projects to complete whenever necessary.

Malia Staples

Malia is nominated in the areas of courage, service, leadership and compassion. She currently is the vice president on the Student Council, a member of the Robotics Club, National Honor Society, Winter Band and a member of the VA Student Council Association-State Advisory committee. While not in school activities Malia enjoys dance and Girl Scouts. She is very active in the student government and activities, she assisted in fundraising, and organizing the junior/senior prom last year (2019). She took on a leadership role in the running the annual homecoming dance. She structured the decorating and cleanup of this huge event. Although she is busy with winter band and other activities, she is always available to volunteer for student council events. She uses diplomacy to assist in the challenges face for her community and school.

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