Leading Youth

JOHNSTOWN – Eight area high school students were recognized with awards at the Fulton County Youth Bureau’s annual “Leading By Example” Youth Recognition Dinner Thursday night at the Johnstown Senior Citizens Center.

County Office for Aging Director Andrea Fettinger, who oversees the bureau, said today the dinner honored students who “go out of their comfort zone” to help others.

The annual event before more than 60 guests celebrated outstanding high school students who exemplify leadership in unique ways in their lives, not necessarily through athletics or academics. Leading By Example Award plaque winners were initially nominated by officials from their schools, but the finalists were chosen by the bureau advisory board.

“What I noticed about these kids is that even though they might be involved in other things, they do other things you wouldn’t expect,” Fettinger said.

Former Gloversville City Court Judge Vincent DeSantis was the keynote speaker for the dinner.

Presented 2014 Leading By Example Awards were the following:

– Emily Priamo – According to Broadalbin-Perth Central High School officials, she is “a leader and role model to all, a loving sister, daughter and caregiver, school leader, a rock to her family.” She is the daughter of Paul Priamo and was nominated by Charla Simonson, school counselor.

– Marissa Tambasco – She is a senior at Broadalbin-Perth High School. According to school officials, she is an accomplished singer and actress who “saved” the drama program this year. “She is caring and empathetic, is constantly willing to challenge herself,” officials said. “By stepping in to organize and motivate others to rally to bring a show together, she led by example.”

She is the daughter of Marty and Kathy Tambasco and was nominated by Simonson.

– Tyrell Glass – He is a senior at Gloversville High School. School officials said he is a “motivator, a mediator, a positive role model, a fundraiser, a well-rounded athlete” who should be thanked for helping bring students together. He is the son of Monique Wheeler and was nominated by William McAleese, a coach at Gloversville High School.

– Adam Caputo – He is a senior at Johnstown High School who school officials said is an athlete, volunteer at church, and by being an especially empathetic mentor to a special needs student, he learned to lead by example. He is the son of James and Doreen Caputo and was nominated by Judith Swatt, a teacher at Johnstown High School.

– Maria VanNostrand – According to Mayfield Central High School officials, she is a junior and “the epitome of a good human being.” She is a musician and a 4-H Club member. She gives back as a bell ringer for Salvation Army, fund raises for MDA, volunteers at church and was recently inducted into the National Honor Society. She is the daughter of Joseph VanNostrand and was nominated by Cynthia Farrell, Mayfield guidance counselor.

– McKayla Fancher – A junior at Northville Central High School, officials said she organized and successfully completed a fundraiser for Team Monette to benefit a classmate who was diagnosed with cancer. She is the daughter of Anthony Fancher and Lori Browne and was nominated by Mariah Kramer, school principal.

– Sarah Sleezer – She is a sophomore at Northville Central High School. Officials said she “stepped up to help and mentor a peer who lost his mother to cancer.”

“She has been a strong companion and helper to this student,” officials said. “Sarah also excels in a leadership role in the Youth Group at her church.” She is the daughter of Michelle Abrams and was nominated by Kramer.

– Breanna Dunn – A senior at Oppenheim-Ephratah-St. Johnsville Central High School, she is a a musician who mentors underclassmen and students with disabilities, band leader, athlete and student government leader who “also gives back to the community” by organizing clean-up campaigns in memory of a loved one, officials said. She is the daughter of Cindy Hart and was nominated by Christina VanWie, school guidance counselor.

Priamo and Caputo had previous commitments and couldn’t attend the event.

Michael Anich covers Johnstown and Fulton County news. He can be reached at manich@leaderherald.com