Assemblyman Schmitt Hosts his inaugural 99th Assembly District Students of Achievement Event

Washingtonville, NY -- (06/10/19) Assemblyman Colin Schmitt (R,C,I,Ref-New Windsor) held his inaugural 99th Assembly District Students of Achievement event at the Washingtonville Middle School Auditorium. This official State Assembly government event was created to recognize students from across the Assembly District who have made significant contributions to their school communities and the 99th Assembly District.

With a large crowd, Assemblyman Schmitt honored fifteen students who attend schools that serve students in his district and presented each with an Assembly citation recognizing their achievements and contributions. Assemblyman Schmitt is proud to announce his inaugural class of Students of Achievement honorees:

Chester Union Free School District: Miguel Connell

Miguel Connell is a student at the Chester Academy and the Orange-Ulster BOCES Career and Technical Education Center where he is pursuing his Private Pilot’s Certification.Miguel is currently participating in a summer Leadership Experience Program at West Point. He has already completed his first Solo and serves as the President of the SkillsUSA local chapter and State Secretary. Additionally, he is a Flight Commander in the Civil Air Patrol Auxiliary of the Air Force and a Technical Officer in the Lee Archer Red Tails Youth Flying Program. He is a proud member of the National Honor Society and the National Technical Honor society. His ultimate goal is to pursue an Engineering degree while attending the Air Force Academy and become a pilot in the Air Force..Miguel was also selected to attend Boys State at SUNY Morrisville in June.

Washingtonville: David Dankwah

David is a talented student both on stage and in the classroom. He is a member of the National Honor Society. In addition to participating in both Track and Band, David has performed as a member of the schools wind ensemble at numerous school and community events. David was recently selected as the Assemblyman at the Orange County Youth in Government Competition. David has participated in an international mentorship program called Royal Rangers, earning the Gold Medal of Achievement, the Rangers equivalent of becoming an Eagle Scout. David also is a nationally ranked songwriter and producer.

Minisink Valley School District: Sarah Cerutti

Sarah is a graduating senior who has distinguished herself throughout her High School Career. She is ranked 4th in her class of 335 with a GPA of 101.3. In addition to her academic success Sarah has volunteered over 280 service hours including president of the Key Club, a ‘study buddy’ for kindergarten and first grade classes, and member of the book club, and Environmental Club. Sarah is a member of the National Honor Society and a New York State Public High School Athletic Association Scholar Athlete, recipient of the Student of the Year Award in 2018 and perfect attendance award for the 2016-17 School year. She has also had great accomplishments on the tennis court being a member of the Varsity team for 3 years.

Cornwall Central School District: Brielle Withers

Brielle has performed in 18 musicals- in her school and community productions with Riverside Theater Arts Academy and the Tarrytown Music Hall. In addition to her theatrical success she has also made several contributions to her community, especially as an advocate for students who have been bullied. Brielle has served as a student ambassador for the National Initiative called “Project Be A Friend” and this past fall, she met with the Cornwall Cares Committee to discuss ways to aid students in the school district. Brielle’s efforts and the support of her Cornwall school district have already produced over 1,450 letters of support for young victims of bullying to let them know they are friend strong. Brielle has continued to find innovative ways to organize her friends to bring support to kids who need it.

Goshen Central School District: Matthew Lewis

Matthew has lived in Goshen, New York his entire life and is a very hardworking, dedicated and active community member. He attends Goshen High School and Orange- Ulster BOCES for Heavy equipment. Matthew is a member of Stage Crew and National Honor Society. Matthew began his journey in scouting during the 7th grade when he joined Troop 63 in Goshen and in October 2018 achieved the Eagle Scout rank. Matthew has been actively involved in the troop leadership and attended National Youth Leadership Training. Matthew’s Eagle Project consisted of replacing 800 square feet of pavers in the ceremony area at Orange County Veterans Cemetery in Goshen. Matthew works as the landscaper at St. Stephen’s School and Parish in Warwick.

Newburgh Free Academy: Ryler Gould

Ryler Gould is currently in the 11th grade at NFA in the Newburgh Enlarged City school district. Prior to the onset of school at 4 years old, Ryler sustained a debilitating childhood injury to his right foot. Ryler has been an inspiration to others as he is a true example of what it means to "hurdle" over challenges. He made the NFA Varsity track team in the 7th grade. He is currently the New York State 400 meter hurdle champion, The USATF New York State athlete of the year for 2018. Most recently, in April, he won the prestigious Penn Relays becoming the USA #1 athlete in the 400 meter hurdles for all high school students. He is a track leader and spends time motivating other young track athletes in the Newburgh district and within the Orange County community on developing their knowledge, skills and abilities. He also has spoken several times in community outreach programs about working hard, determination and achieving goals. In addition to his success on the Track; Ryler has excelled in the Classroom with a GPA of 90.048.

John S. Burke Catholic High School: Grant Stevenson

Grant has been the type of person one can always rely on and has embodied the school model of “Non Vox, Sed Votum”, Not Words, But Deeds. In addition to being a good student, Grant played varsity football and lacrosse, of which he was captain of the team. In addition to his leadership on the field he is also President of the Student Body and was class President for 2 years. Grant has been a member of the Key Club, and has been active in Boy Scouts for many years. He is the President of Programing for his Venturing Crew as well as Senior Patrol Leader of his Boy Scout Troop. Grant recently achieved the rank of Eagle Scout - where he completed a Project of creating a children’s memorial for the kids in his who have passed away. Next year, Grant will be attending Saint Joseph’s University in Philadelphia.

Storm King School: Emmanuel Davis

Emmanuel attended Bishop Dunn Memorial School for the first nine years of his learning career- and experience that Emmanuel regards as a critical foundation that has allowed him to succeed in many of his daily activities. Teachers at Bishop Dunn fostered Emmanuel’s interests in STEM topics and soccer. In the summer of 7th Grade, Emmanuel was nominated by his teachers to attend the Junior National Young Leaders Conference Foundation of Leadership which expose Emmanuel to public speaking- something he excels in. After graduating from Bishop Dunn, Emmanuel enrolled at the Storm King School where he continues to excel academically and thrive in the Storm King community as a role model and a leader. Emmanuel has received honors recognition in Geometry, AP Microeconomics, and AP Physics and is a member of the National Honors Society. Throughout his three years at Storm King, Emmanuel has accumulated 80+ hours of community service at the Newburgh Armory Unity Center and other local organizations.

Highland Falls-Fort Montgomery School: Carl Tyce

Carl has been described as a model student and extremely bright and hard-working. He has helped organize and esteem-building workshop at the intermediate school.Carl is currently his school’s 800m and 4x800m record holder, as well as a Tenor II section leader in the Men’s choir He is a member of National Honor Society, part of the Academic League team, and president of James O’Neill High school’s tech crew -where he trains other students in the art of lighting and sound for all of their assemblies and shows. Carl has co-created a local park clean-up and a leadership day at the local intermediate school, taught Sunday School at his church, and worked at the public library during summers, as well as at the Depot Theater as a lighting and sound assistant.Carl is continuing his education next year at DeSales University in Center Valley, PA.

Valley Central School District: Jada Wesenberg

Jada is a student dedicated to service. She has volunteered a number of hours with numerous organizations in her community. Jada presently volunteers as a volunteer musician as well as spending time as a child care volunteer in Walden, aids with the school plays at Walden Elementary, a nursing home helper at Montgomery nursing home, and an elementary school student reader to first and third grade students. In addition to her volunteer work Jada is part of Revelations Magazine, Set Design Club and the Valley Central High School Pep Band. Jada has also excelled in the classroom as a member of the Gradus Honoris, Rho Kappa Social Studies, Valley Central National English, National Art and Tri-M Music Honor Societies.

North Rockland (Stony Point): Phoenix Dalto

Phoenix is a stellar student who has maintained a GPA of 103.6 all while taking advanced placement and college-level courses in English, Math, Science and Social Studies. He is Vice President of the National Honor Society and a member of the Math, Science and World Language Honor Societies, and member of the NRHS Academic League. In addition to his academic success Phoenix is a member of the Varsity Bowling Team and won the State Championship in 2018. Phoenix enjoys exploring his interests of public speaking, education, and leadership which has included speaking at a TEDx event.

Warwick Valley School District: Vidar Hagerman

Vidar Hageman is a junior at Warwick Valley High School who loves immersing himself in current events and the history books. He loves athletics and participates in a varsity sport every season. Vidar is also a member of Warwick Valley High School honors chorus. He has served as class president for two consecutive years. Vidar was the recipient of three (3) Sojourner Truth Awards, a NYS Scholar Athlete 2017-2019 , and was inducted into the National Honor Society in 2019. Vidar is a junior member of the Pine Island Fire Department.

Monroe-Woodbury Central School District: Christian Hess

Christian is a graduating senior at Monroe Woodbury High School, where he was selected to serve as a Student Representative during the past year on the Board of Education to serve. He is also a member of the National Honor Society and a Safe School Ambassador, a member of STARS and recently took a leadership role as a member of the District Wide Strategic Planning Committee. Christian played on the varsity soccer team who won States with a 21-0 undefeated record and ranked 9th nationally. One of my Christian’s most cherished accomplishments that he states he will be forever grateful for is the Eagle Scout rank, that he received when he was 15. Christian will continue to play soccer in his next chapter at Misericordia University in Dallas, PA this coming Fall.

SUNY Orange Community College: Anthony Russell

Anthony is a United States Marine Corps Veteran and is currently studying at Orange County Community College .He is working on dual degrees and was recently accepted into the Fall 2019 Radiologic Technology program. Anthony has been a member of the SUNY Orange Honors program, maintaining a 3.88 GPA .He has served as a Student Ambassador for the SUNY Orange Foundation Board. He was a recipient of the Presidential Scholarship for Academic Achievement and is a senior mentor to other students. Anthony is also a graduate of the Culinary Institute in Hyde Park NY and has served as a Head Chef and Executive Chef at many local food establishments. He has used this experience to serve as an instructor for Orange-Ulster BOCES for 5 years.

Middletown School District: De’Marques Parson

De'Marques is a 17 year old junior at Middletown High School. De'Marques is a very well liked by his peers and teachers. He is also involved in various extracurricular activities at his school. He is active in the My Brother's Keeper Program, a group of young men picked to help and be a positive force and role model in their community. My Brother’s focuses on building strong, lasting bridges of opportunity for boys and girls, young men and young women, no matter what their background or circumstances & helping everyone to see what steps can be taken to find a positive path for the future. As a member of the Unified Basketball team De’ Marques has served as a peer mentor to students with significant intellectual disabilities. His kindness and empathy are apparent to all that know him in his school community. De’Marques has positively and significantly impacted an interscholastic athletic program specifically designed to join people with and without intellectual disabilities to promote inclusion.

Assemblyman Colin Schmitt stated, “I am proud to formally recognize my inaugural class of Student’s of Achievement honorees. Each of these students were nominated by school districts that serve students throughout the 99th Assembly District for their achievements and successes. These students come from all different backgrounds, have different strengths, talents, and interests but are united in their common goal and purpose in life to be the best that they can be. I thank them for all that they have done and continue to do for the betterment of our communities.”