Three Newark High School senior receive newark chamber of commerce outstanding youth awards

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Three Newark High School seniors were the 2022 recipients the Outstanding Youth Awards given by the Greater Newark Chamber of Commerce at its annual awards luncheon and holiday party held December 6at Doug Kent’s Rose Bowl Lanes in Newark.

They are Noah Garland and Anna and Kathryn Verdine. 

Chamber President Steve Hasseler explained the awards are given annually by the Chamber to high school or college students who generously devote his or her time and effort to religious, charitable and/or community organizations and events that have made an improvement in Newark’s quality of life. 

NHS Counselor Caty Hugunine nominated Garland for the award. She read the statement before he received it. 

“I am nominating Noah for this award because he has done so much for the community through Boy Scouts and has continuously been a role model student at the High School. Last year, he helped organize a Blood Drive in Newark. This demonstrates Noah's care for his community and those in need. Noah has always been kind to those around him and has done very well academically, receiving high honor roll last year. He has been an active participant in the school's music program and wants to pursue a career in music after High School. Noah is very deserving of this award!” 

Garland, the son of Shannon and Paul Garland, whose GPA is 90.76, plans to attend SUNY Potsdam in the fall and major in music education. 

“I've always wanted to be a teacher; it just took me until middle school to find out it was music,” he said later. 

At NHS, Garland has been involved in lots of musical activities, including being in Jazz Band for 4 years, Jazz Choir, Fusion, Brass Quintet; Woodwind Quintet and the Barbershop Quartet, both which he started; Music Council and in the NHS Musical productions all for 2 years. 

While at NHS he was a member of the All-County Band for 4 years; All-County Choir for 2 years and All State Choir once. 

He’s also been a member of Link Crew and National Honor Society for 2 years and has been active in Boy Scouts all four years of High School. 

NHS Counselor Sue Gardner nominated Anna and Kathryn Verdine, the twin daughters of Pat and the late Gary Verdine for their awards and read her nominating statements before they received them. 

Anna Verdine is an amazing student who has always chosen to take college and honor level courses every year. She works very hard in every class she takes has been extremely successful in them. She has been an amazing member of our Soccer program and is currently on the Varsity Basketball and Indoor Track team. Anna also enjoys playing Lacrosse for Newark High School. She is very giving of her free time to help the community. She volunteers in the Community Soccer Program every summer and is always willing to help in the concession stand at the JV soccer games. Anna has taken part in our Community Pride Days and most recently enjoyed volunteering with Camp Good Days.” 

While at NHS Anna, whose GPA is 98.42, has been involved in Varsity Girls Soccer from 2020 to present and was team Captain in 2022; Varsity Girls Basketball and Varsity Girls Lacrosse from 2021 to present; and Finger Lakes Flamingos Lacrosse, 2018 to present. 

Sports related honors have included being a Scholar Athlete from 2019 to present; Varsity Girls’ Soccer’s “Most Improved Defensive Player” in 2021 and Varsity Girls’ “Great Teammate Award” and “Most Improved” Girls’ Varsity Lacrosse player in 2022. She received Honorable Mention for All League Varsity Lacrosse in 2021. 

Anna has been an NHS band member since she was in 9th grade and is currently a member of Jazz Band and Fusion. 

She has also been a Link Crew member since 2021, National Honor Society member last two years; French Honor Society member since 2021; Student Council Vice President this school year; and Arts Council Band representative this year. High School honors have included being on the Principal’s Academic Honor List and an NHS Scholar Athlete since 9th grade. She won the American Chemistry Achievement Award in 2022. She was a member of the All-County Band in 11th grade and received a Superior Rating in the Gold Cup Piano Festival in 2022. 

Outside of NHS, Anna has been a Kitz Youth Soccer Coach from 2019 until present and was a Camp Good Days counselor in 2022. 

I plan to major in biology and pursue a career to become a veterinarian,” she said. 

Gardner then read her nomination for Kathryn. 

"Kathryn Verdine has enjoyed volunteering ever since she started High School if not before. She has helped with our Community Pride Days, coaching summer soccer here in Newark and most recently helping at Camp Good Days this summer. She has also enjoyed being a member of our Varsity Soccer and Lacrosse teams here at Newark High School. Kathryn has worked extremely hard in all her classes and continues to do so her senior year. She enjoys the challenges that the honors and college classes give her while she is still in High School.” 

“I plan to attend Nazareth College and pursue a career in Physical Therapy. I have always loved working with people and have found an interest in physical therapy,” said Kathryn whose GPA is 96.88. 

While at NHS, she was a member of the JV Girls Soccer and JV Girls’ Lacrosse in her freshman year; a member of the JV Girls’ Basketball team in 9th and 10th grades; a member of the Varsity Girls’ Soccer team in 10th through 12th grade and was Captain of the team this year; a member of the Girls’ Varsity Lacrosse team in 10th through 12th grades and a Girls’ Varsity Basketball team member in 11th grade. Sports-related honors have included being a Second Team All-League Soccer player in 10th grade; a Scholar Athlete 9th grade until present; receiving the “Most Improved” Varsity Lacrosse award in 10th grade; and the “Spark Plug” JV Soccer Award in 9th grade.

High School honors have included being on the Principal’s Academic Honor List in 9th grade through present; being selected to attend Empire Girls State in 11th grade; and being a member of the National Honor Society for two years.

Kathryn has also been a Link Crew member and a Kitz Youth Soccer Coach during her freshman and sophomore years. 

Other Chamber awards presented Dec. 6th included Braxton Guy receiving the Alex Eligh Service Award.

Hasseler explained the award is presented annually to “an individual who has made a specific and significant contribution to the community during the past year. This person should be someone who is dedicated to family, community and business. This person should also be a participant in community activities and/or organizations who gives unselfishly of themselves and goes beyond his/ her own job duties.” 

Becky Hesbon, a part-time summer employee for the Village of Newark and the Chamber of Commerce at the Interpretive Center read the nomination she wrote about Guy. 

“I’ve known Braxton’s family for four generations. His family is comprised of all colors, races, sizes, shapes and ages and if you’re lucky you don’t have to be a blood relative for them to consider you family. They welcome all and reject no one. They have each other’s back like no other. This ever-growing family has transported Braxton to the place he is today, a leader, a role model, a forward thinker, and a problem solver. 

When many people took to social media to complain about the mischief and destruction that some of Newark’s youth were causing, Braxton, while working 2 jobs and attending college full time, took to the streets, telling these kids in his words: ‘…meet me at the park Tuesdays and Thursdays at 6:30. We’re gonna run.’ Attendance was low in the beginning but this is when ‘The Future Run The Streets’ was born and has since grown. The Thanksgiving Turkey Trot was the goal. The kids kept coming, some moms started coming, community members started to attend and finally this project gained support from local businesses. This year was the group’s second Turkey Trot. Braxton makes sure everyone is a winner no matter how they place or how long it takes them to complete the trot. What happened in between the two Turkey Trots? Winter Kickball. Who attended? Newark PD, our mayor, DPW employees, moms and pops and business owners. Braxton has also organized craft nights, movie nights and post-Thanksgiving dancing for the littles. 

Braxton holds an Associate Degree from MCC, and a Bachelor’s Degree from SUNY Geneseo. He continues to volunteer at the Phelps Community Center where he was previously employed. He also coaches at the Alex Eligh Community Center. He is currently employed by the Finger Lakes Community Action Program, formerly Wayne CAP and doing well. Most importantly, he is still very involved with his family. 

As you see, I can’t say enough about this young man. Who knows maybe sometime in the future- he will become involved in village leadership. I am so happy to be part of his family and so proud to be presenting Braxton Guy with the Alex Eligh Community Service Award. Congratulations Braxton, and keep moving forward.” 

The Ron Colacino Community Spirit Award was presented to the Arc Wayne. 

Hasseler said the award is given to an organization that has made a lasting contribution to Greater Newark’s quality of life. 

Jessica Blondell, former Arc Wayne employee who is now the Marketing Manager for the Arc of Monroe read her nomination. 

The Arc Wayne has been an integral part of the community for more than 55 years. In 2021, the agency supported nearly 4,000 people across more than 30 programs. Our team of more than 550 employees help vulnerable populations in the community daily. The agency continues to grow as staff find new ways to better Newark and the surrounding areas. Our partnerships with other businesses are invaluable and we love being part of the community.” 

She noted Arc Wayne has contributed to the betterment of the community through job creation for dozens of people with and without disabilities through new businesses like the Erie Shore Café, the Erie Shore Laundry, Key Industries, etc. It has contributed to increased economic activity because of staff working in Newark and individuals’ supported living and working in Newark. 

She also noted Arc Wayne created a new commercial laundry business during the COVID-19 pandemic to help Wayne County Nursing Home that created jobs for up to 8 people. It also provided emergency relief packages to more than 400 people during the pandemic and obtained grant money to begin a new program to help “vulnerable people” find access to health services such as getting a COVID vaccine. 

Finally, the Business of the Year Award was presented to Canal View Family Restaurant in Newark. 

Hasseler said the business “must show growth, innovation of product, exemplary customer service, response to adversity and/or contribution to the greater Newark community, all of which exemplifies the spirit of Newark and the mission of the Greater Newark Chamber of Commerce.” 

Hayley Godfrey, a licensed massage therapist at Revive Salon & Spa in Newark read her nomination on behalf of Canal View Family Restaurant owner Kortni Calabrese. 

“I have lived in Newark for the majority of my life. Throughout this time, I have explored the village and all it has to offer. I have made many connections over the years, and I have watched businesses grow and succeed. This year, one business in particular has gone above and beyond to create new opportunities for our community. The business of the year requirements include: exemplary customer service and/or contributions to the Greater Newark community. There is absolutely no doubt that Kortni Calabrese, the owner of Canal View Family Restaurant, fulfills that requirement. Kortni has owned Canal View since January 1st of 2020. In that short amount of time Kortni has built a successful business and has given back to the community in numerous ways. Honoring members of the community on special days such as Veterans Day, Teacher Appreciation Days, cultural holidays and many more. 

“ She has funded many give back events including for the Breast Cancer Coalition of Rochester. She has sponsored a band for Music on the Erie. She organized a successful food drive for the Newark Food Closet, and gave out 70 free turkey dinners this past Thanksgiving to people of the community who were in need. These are just a few of the many good deeds Canal View has been involved in. Canal View has also taken the time to have a beautiful mural created on their building that captures the hometown feel of Newark, living alongside the Erie Canal and expressing the true meaning of community and family. Canal View was recently announced by FLX Finest(Finger Lakes Radio Group) as the Best Overall Restaurant for 2022. Alongside their first-place win, they were also a finalist in other categories. Canal View represents Newark with honor. It is with great pleasure I have the opportunity to present the 2022 Greater Newark Chamber of Commerce Business of the Year Award to Kortni Calabrese and the Canal View Family Restaurant! Congratulations to you and your team!”