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‘Kids Of Distinction’ Program Winners Announced

Oyster Bay Town Supervisor John Venditto and Kids Helping Kids by Kids Way, Inc. co-Founders Robert A.J. and Philip M. Eslick are pleased to announce the winners of the 2013 “Kids of Distinction” Program, created to recognize exceptional youngsters in the Town of Oyster Bay.

The winners were selected by the organization Kids Helping Kids by Kids Way, Inc., which established a committee to judge applications.

“We have so many exceptional young people living in the Town that I’m certain it wasn’t easy selecting just a handful of recipients from the numerous applicants,” Supervisor Venditto said. “I thank the committee for their hard work and dedication in designating these 10 extraordinary individuals.”

“This program is very much geared towards recognizing activities done on a youngster’s own initiative,” Robert said. “We are recognizing kids who participate in activities for the benefit of their community of neighborhood, outside of school-related activities.”

Included in the ten winners selected as “Kids of Distinction” for 2013 are:

Sally Hooey

Fifth Grade, Village Elementary School

Sally has been involved in her community since a young age, and has not only helped her peers, but helped the less fortunate as well.  Sally is currently a peer mediator at Village Elementary School, where she took is trained to help peers settle conflicts fairly and peacefully.  As a Girl Scout, Sally has helped the less fortunate by spending time gardening at the Farm in Oyster Bay, helping with planting, weeding, harvesting, and donating the produce to local food pantries, and has helped inspire the community by actively planning and participating in her troop’s “Inspirational Journey” at Village Elementary School, to help young people boost their courage and confidence.  

Ellie Hooey

Seventh Grade, South Woods Middle School    

Ellie has been an active member and advocate for AAA, (Awareness, Acceptance, and Action) a club specifically geared towards increasing awareness regarding the lack of education for girls in underprivileged countries.  Ellie has helped with bake sales to raise funds, and produced and acted in AAA-sponsored skits at school to increase awareness for the cause.  Recently, Ellie initiated, marketed, promoted, and ultimately secured a private screening of Girl Rising, an inspirational film spotlighting the power of how education can change the lives of underprivileged girls around the world.

Paul Martin, Jr.

Fifth Grade, South Woods Middle School

Paul has demonstrated through his actions how much he cares for others, especially following Hurricane Sandy.  After witnessing the devastation that Hurricane Sandy brought to our shores, Paul wanted to find a way to help.  What he came up with not only benefitted others, but also helped to reduce our carbon footprint as well.

Zachary Lewis

Tenth Grade, Plainview-Old Bethpage JFK High School

Zachary has made a habit of touching the lives of others.  Most recently, Zachary proved this by going above and beyond the call of duty to help a friend and his family, in a time of need.

Spencer Reis, one of Zachary’s friends, and a classmate at JFK high school, was diagnosed with Stage 4 T-cell lymphoma in July of 2011.  Upon finding out about Spencer’s diagnosis, Zachary “took Spencer and our family under his heart and wings,” as his parents put it in their nominating letter on behalf of Zachary.

Michael Schumer

Eleventh Grade, Jericho High School

Michael is an extremely active member of the Jericho High School community. In addition to an impressive list of extracurricular activities that Michael in involved with at Jericho High School, Michael is the president of the teen division of the Integrated Medical Foundation (IMF,) one of New York’s leading sources of patient education and community outreach for prostate cancer.  Michael has volunteered at IMF for years, including as both a runner and volunteer at an IMF hosted charity run.  He has assisted in the coordination of IMF’s annual gala event, and soliciting student support from over 50 high schools in Queens and Nassau Counties for an IMF charity run held recently.