Weston Students Recognized for Commitment to Community Service

As a State Representative, two of Richard Stark’s highest priorities are education and serving our youth. To that end, each year he invites schools within his district to select the student recipient(s) of his Florida House of Representatives Community Service Award. 

Attending the graduation and awards ceremonies to present these awards is always a privilege and honor for Rep. Stark. “Recognizing youngsters for service to the community is one way to thank them for their efforts and to show their peers how important this is. These are our future leaders and members of service organizations such as Rotary and Kiwanis.”

Rep. Stark says he is continually amazed by what these students are able to accomplish. For example, Cypress Bay High School award winner Cristina Heilbron volunteers at a no-kill pet shelter every summer, while the two middle school recipients dedicate their time to helping others and raising awareness. Hannah Wagner, from Tequesta Trace Middle School, is active in ACEing Autism, a program that helps autistic children through tennis. Falcon Cove Middle School recipient Gabrielle Silverstein started her own organization, Gabby Gives 4 Epilepsy, which raises money for the Epilepsy Foundation of Florida. 

“Even at the fifth grade level, community service recipients participated in programs with organizations such as the Salvation Army and the Harvest Drive,” notes Rep. Stark.

Everglades Elementary School recognized Kieran McManus and Manatee Bay Elementary chose Jayda Washington as the recipient of its House of Representatives Community Service Award. At Eagle Point Elementary, Rep. Stark bestowed the award on a group of students from Mrs. Garcia’s fifth grade class. The Rainbow Scouts included Chloe Bertin, Kate Bretz, Bianca Cavero, Horus Chan, Sadie Grom, Mya Inoa, Melissa Johnson, Sarah Ojeda, Salome Perez, Sophia Ruiz and Sahana Seepersad. The children made bracelets, which they sold before and after school, and used the funds raised to purchase toys for Toys For Tots. 

During the awards ceremony, Rep. Stark called the Rainbow Scouts a group of exemplary students who have shown their leadership skills while supporting their favorite charity. “I believe that when students get involved in community service, they not only help others, but they also expand their worldview, develop empathy and leadership skills, and realize how their actions can have a positive impact.”

Rep. Stark believes all of the Community Service Award recipients serve as inspiration to the community. “I love attending the award ceremonies. It’s rewarding for me to see the appreciation of the student recipients, their parents and their friends. We learn as adults what these students can achieve, and it helps us, the adults, want to learn and achieve more seeing what these youngsters are able to accomplish.”