LEWISTON – The ninth annual Lewiston Shining Stars Celebration held Wednesday at the Franco-American Heritage Center was attended by a full house of supporters for the event’s 32 teen nominees.
Katelyn Sirois, a Lewiston High School senior, kicked off the evening with her rendition of the national anthem followed by a welcome and program overview by Community Relations Coordinator Dottie Perham-Whittier, who served as Master of Ceremonies.
Mayor Lionel C. Guay Jr. addressed the nominees, noting, “As mayor, I am so proud to represent a city that has so many outstanding young people. Each year, I am inspired and amazed by their dedication to enhancing their community and the lives of others.”
Special comments were provided by 2001 Shining Star Timothy Williams, who is a sophomore at Colby College.
Perham-Whittier gave a Powerpoint presentation highlighting all 32 nominees and announced the 10 winners of the 2006 Lewiston Shining Stars competition. Assisting were fellow 2006 Shining Star judges: City Councilor Ronald Jean, Nick Knowlton of GSM Group and Chris Adler, training coordinator at Androscoggin Head Start and Child Care.
Along with a Shining Star certificate and key chain from the city of Lewiston, the winners received donated gifts from Davinci’s Restaurant, Marco’s Restaurant, House of Pizza, Sam’s Italian, L.L. Bean, Lewiston Recreation and Parks Department and the Lewiston Maineiacs.
The Shining Stars are: Hanan Ahmed, Alyson Banks, Victoria Colby, Jeremy Gervais, Courtney Gladu, Matthew Gutshall, Isla Hansen, Amanda Russell, Jonathan Soucy and Timothy Stretton.
The remaining 22 nominees were recognized by individual presentations of an “In Celebration of Who You Are” certificate and a “You Make the Difference” pen/key chain. Those nominees were: Amber Anduha, Amber Auger, Kelly Berube, Ruth Choate, Amie Daniels, Katherine Doyle, Tanya Galipeau, Carter Handy, Andrew Joy, Chad Kordalski, Kristy-Mae Lacombe, Shauna Langlois, Chantalle Lavertu, Mallory Long, Amanda Martin, Brittany Martin, Kathryn Nadeau, Luke Potter, Samantha Ricker, Jessica Roy, Samantha Tremblay and Michael Willey.
The grand prize on-site drawing wrapped up the evening, which included the names of the 2006 Shining Stars. The grand prize consisted of a computer system and accessories compliments of Sisters of Charity Health System and one-year free Megalink Internet service donated by Oxford Networks. Russ Donahue, SOCHS marketing director, pulled the winning Shining Star name, resulting in a very excited Lewiston High School junior, Matt Gutshall.
The 2006 Shining Stars celebration poster, to be hung at Lewiston City Hall, was unveiled by Mayor Guay, and all nominees participated in a congratulatory receiving line consisting of the mayor and members of the Lewiston City Council.
The 2006 Lewiston Shining Stars are:
(Nominated by Denise P. Soucy)
• A 12-year-old student at Lewiston Middle School, Jonathan demonstrates a strong drive and focus to succeed in anything he attempts;
• Upon graduation from Montello Elementary last year, Jonathan received the President’s Education Award for Outstanding Academic Excellence, the Excellence Award for Academic Honors, Outstanding Student in Music, Exemplary Performance in Artistic Abilities, Certificate of Appreciation, Good Behavior Award and Perfect Attendance Award;
• He excels as a mathematician, already studying calculus and effectively grasping all the concepts. He’s also attended the Math & Science School at Limestone Summer Camp, and he tutors other students in math;
• In the fall of 2005, Jonathan volunteered more than 26 hours in two days at the Montello School Fall Festival. Amid his Lewiston Middle School schedule, Jonathan was back at Montello in March 2006 – this time assisting with Family Fun Night.
• Nominator says, “He has a positive attitude and a great work ethic!”
(Nominated by Stephanie L. Banks-Morin and Jody Dube)
• Alyson is a member of the Lewiston High School cheering competition squad and has helped lead the group to three Class A state championships. She is also a member of the National Cheerleaders Association All-America Team and has won numerous cheering awards.
• She is a gifted artist – a talent she’s clearly inherited from her dad – and has won a merit award for her art portfolio through the 2006 Scholastic Art Awards. Her artwork has been selected for the Maine Arts Commission exhibit in Augusta through the Maine Youth Excellence in Art Project.
• She has been involved with Special Olympics and has played a leading role in organizing food baskets for the needy; has participated in fundraisers for the Maine Children’s Cancer Program and the Heart Association and has participated in Big Brothers Big Sisters.
• She has worked at Central Maine Medical Center as a food service aide and at the Dairy Joy to raise money to pursue her dream of becoming a radiology technician.
• She is extremely dedicated to her family, and those who know her applaud her willingness, following the death of her dad, to help her mom in any way possible.
• Nominator says, “Alyson is an accomplished athlete and hard-working, ambitious academic student, as well as a caring person of the highest integrity and moral character.”
(Nominated by Michael Courchesne)
• As a seventh- and eighth-grade student, Hanan has been on both the Academic Honor Roll and the Behavior Honor Roll at Lewiston Middle School.
• She is a member of the field hockey, basketball and track teams and was recognized this year as a scholar-athlete.
• In history class, Hanan took second place at the city level in the Patriots Writing Contest and was honored by the American Veterans of Foreign Wars for her 2006 essay.
• She is an active member of the Middle School’s Civil Rights Program and often speaks to the issues of equality for everyone in all cultures and beliefs. Her peers often look up to her for her openness to difficult issues, and she takes a leadership role when addressing issues of bias.
• After school and on weekends – now in her fourth year – Hanan volunteers at the Lewiston Public Library cleaning shelves and organizing and cleaning children’s books. When she turned 13, she also became a junior volunteer at Central Maine Medical Center. During summer vacations, Hanan has served as a day-care volunteer.
• Nominator says, “Hanan’s hallmark is her outstanding devotion to her community.”
(Nominated by Barbara Jabaut)
• As a teaching practicum student at the Lewiston Regional Technical Center, Jeremy has been an outstanding teacher in the nursery school and as a teaching assistant at Martel Elementary School. His work with children is caring, enthusiastic, creative and positive.
• He is a member of the National Honor Society and the Vocational National Honor Society.
• Since seventh grade, Jeremy has been acting with Community Little Theatre. His musical interests and talents also extend to four years in the Lewiston High School concert choir and three years in jazz choir. He’s also been part of three all-state choral festivals and two district choral festivals. He recently starred as Cat in the Hat in “Seussical,” the musical.
• For the last 2 years, Jeremy has worked 20 hours per week as a dietary aide at Clover Manor. Prior to being hired, he volunteered there, doing activities such as bingo, cards, reading and visiting with residents.
• Jeremy has also served as a volunteer counselor with 8-year-olds at the YWCA.
• Nominator says, “I’ve been teaching at Lewiston Regional Technical Center for 18 years as the Early Childhood Occupations Education teacher, and I know that Jeremy is truly an outstanding young man. In all his endeavors, he gives his best.”
(Nominated by Elaine Lake)
• Even at a young age, Courtney’s love and devotion to her family was evident. She not only baby-sat her siblings, but actively contributed to all aspects of their lives.
• When her cousin in New Hampshire was diagnosed with a life-threatening illness and the family needed to sanitize his home before he returned from the hospital, Courtney immediately volunteered to care for “the whole brood of kids, all under the age of 6,” so the family could prepare the house – all on very short notice.
• Courtney has excelled as an athlete, including being part of the cheerleading Class A State Championship for three years. She has also been a varsity athlete since her freshman year and also won the Spirit Award as a junior.
• She has volunteered for Museum L-A, Maine Heart Walk, Maine Children’s Cancer Walk and the Lewiston Public Library. She also volunteers for the Ladies of Sainte Anne’s Sodality and can be seen passing coffee and muffins, cleaning tables, decorating, lugging boxes, and helping wherever needed.
• Amid her many activities, she’s also been a committed worker at United Ambulance, the Dairy Joy and TJ Maxx.
• Nominator says, “Courtney is very bright, generous, talented and outgoing. She is a wonderful role model for her siblings, cousins and all young people.”
(Nominated by Jody Dube)
• In January 2006, Isla won a Scholastic Art Gold Key & American Visions Award for a self-portrait at the Maine College of Art in Portland. She’s also excelled in all of the art studio courses she’s taken.
• She is admired for her strong sense of individuality and her kindness and mindfulness of her interactions with others.
• She has received many awards, including the 2005 Governor’s Young Writer of the Year, National Forensic League Degree of Distinction and the Maine Writers & Publishers Alliance first place writing award for fiction.
• She is an accomplished swimmer for which she has received numerous awards, including the “Outstanding Team Member Mulholland Award.”
• Isla balances her achievements with sincere interest in the well-being of her fellow students and citizens. She has participated in community service projects such as the Maine Special Olympics and has worked with area youths as a swimming instructor and a lifeguard. She also has worked at various sport camps and has hosted a radio show at WRBC Bates College Radio.
• Nominator says, “This is indeed an exceptionally gifted, accomplished and unselfish young lady. We have been truly fortunate to bask in her company in the art department at LHS.”
(Nominated by Diane Stretton)
• For the past two years, Tim has been an active participant in Seeds of Peace. As a fundraiser this year, he designed a green rubber bracelet, found a manufacturer and facilitated the ordering of 50,000 bracelets. The bracelet features the words “Seeds of Peace,” a logo and the word “Peace” in 10 different languages. Tim’s bracelets are being sold in the United States and in several Middle Eastern countries. He is now the regional coordinator for the International Bracelet Sales Campaign.
• Last year, he placed first in the middle school’s National Geographic geography bee and went to Bangor to attend the state bee.
• He is currently a co-adviser for the Lewiston Middle School Civil Rights team.
• Tim’s career aspiration is to be the best teacher possible. He’s already helping others by tutoring several students in algebra, as well as a family member taking college algebra.
• He is also a dedicated member of the Lewiston Youth Advisory Council and works parttime at the Colisee.
• Nominator says, “Tim is respected, well-liked and regarded highly among his peers and the many adults he associates with. This is one amazing kid! His whole family is very proud of him.”
(Nominated by Louise Landry Mease, Ron Hood and Marilyn Closson)
• Victoria has a desire to help children within the community and has been a member of Big Brothers Big Sisters for two years.
• Her “Little” attends Farwell School, and Victoria’s commitment is not only to the child but also to the school itself. When Farwell recently moved to a temporary location, Victoria helped teachers pack boxes, move items and do whatever she could to make things easier.
• Her career goal is in elementary education with a minor in youth ministries so that she can continue to work with children.
• She is involved with Children’s Church at South Lewiston Baptist, teaching lessons and assisting with crafts for the 5- to 12-year-old group.
• She is extremely dedicated to her family and is committed to attending church with them each week and to sitting down each day with them at the supper table to discuss everyone’s daily activities.
• Victoria also is a member of Lewiston High School’s Teenage Republicans, is heading up the first-ever quilt show, is part of the LHS women’s chorus and is involved in the Lewiston Regional Technical Center’s early childhood program.
• She recently served as a “co-teacher” in a second-grade Farwell classroom with her former teacher, Marilyn Closson, who praised her commitment to the children.
• Nominator says, “It is Victoria’s hope that when people see her, they see a caring person with the ability to listen, someone who can be trusted and someone who can offer humor, fun and a smile.
(Nominated by Lt. Col. Robert Meyer)
• When Hurricane Katrina devastated New Orleans, Amanda organized a cadet run at Lewiston High School, raising $845 and various food items for the hurricane victims. For her efforts, she was recognized as the Air Force Junior ROTC “Cadet of the Month.”
• When the Air Force jazz band put on a free concert at the high school, she was the cadet in charge, recruiting and directing cadet volunteers to host the program. She made sure tickets were collected, people were ushered to their seats and refreshments were available – a great help to the Jazz Band;
• Amanda is extremely dedicated to her family, and as part of a military family she is supportive and understanding of frequent moves and separations.
• She is active in two youth groups at her church.
• Amid many moves, she has maintained a strong academic average and strives for excellence in challenging advanced placement classes and college preparation.
• Amanda has been a local Veterans of Foreign War patriotism essay winner. She is also an active athlete, has been a lifeguard for three years and has volunteered at community military recognitions and the annual holiday ice skating event.
• Nominator says, “Amanda is a student leader of the highest caliber.”
(Nominated by Linda Neczypor and Ron Hood)
• LHS Principal Patrick O’Neill nominated Matt to attend the 2005 Maine Hugh O’Brien Youth Leadership Conference. While there, he was selected as a state representative to the World HOBY Conference in Washington, D.C., where he met student leaders from around the nation and beyond.
• As 2007 LHS class president, Matt transcends all bounds to excel as a leader, classmate, student, friend and community member. He goes above and beyond the call of duty by making sure that all facets of every fundraising activity are taken care of, along with communicating to his team of officers and executive board members through effective multimedia presentations.
• Matthew was also active in the civil rights team’s first “open mike” and the creation of French Club breakfasts. He has become the “go-to” youth for most teachers at Lewiston High School if they need assistance in the classroom;
• He volunteered to help with the logistics of the first mandatory April 1 SAT testing, including making pizza delivery instruction signs on his work break at Staples on March 31. He went back to the school late at night to post the large signs. He did this to help his teacher, who would have had the responsibility for such signs the next morning. Needless to say, she was very appreciative when she arrived at school at 6 a.m. and the signs were already up.
• Matthew is a role model in his service with the Big Brothers Big Sisters Program and has been of assistance to a disabled neighbor.
• Nominator says, “As a teacher, I can honestly say that in my 10 years of teaching, I have never met such a well-rounded and responsible student leader.”