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Girl Scouts of Nassau County - News
Merrick, New York Residents Achieve Highest Honor in Girl Scouting



Garden City, NY July 10, 2012 – While some high schools now require a few hours of community service for graduation, none go as far as the Girl Scouts who earn the Gold Award. This year Kimberly Adragna, Emily Callman, Emily DiGiovanna, Elise Rooney and Kate Valerio of Merrick join the record number of 121 Girl Scouts in Nassau County that have woven a minimum of 80 hours of community service into their busy schedules. These young women developed Gold Award community action projects that address social issues in their community or promote acts of kindness and goodwill throughout Nassau County. Their efforts earned these girls the Girl Scout Gold Award, the highest honor that a young woman can achieve in Girl Scouting.

"We are so proud of all the young women who earned their Girl Scout Gold Award this year,” said Donna Ceravolo, Executive Director of the Girl Scouts of Nassau County. “Through their projects, these women have changed the lives of others and improved their communities in significant ways. We couldn’t be happier that 121 girls chose to take this rigorous path towards earning their Gold Award and succeeded in accomplishing their goals.”

Kimberly Adragna’s Gold Award project focused on making people safer drivers, through a series of discussions in her community. She spoke to various youth groups and led discussions with teenagers regarding the dangers of car accidents caused by texting, putting on makeup, and eating while driving. Through her efforts, many more teenagers have a better understanding of the dangers of doing mundane activities while behind the wheel. Ms. Adragna recently graduated from Sanford H. Calhoun High School, where she was a member of the SADD club and the school choir. She is also an active member of her church youth group. Ms. Adragna plans to attend Farmingdale State College in the fall.

Emily Callman hoped to impact her community by addressing the issue of fire safety. Her Gold Award project was designed to educate young children about this topic. She created brochures, posters, and a PowerPoint to spread information about fire safety awareness. She also spoke to students at a local elementary school to further her message. Ms. Callman is a junior at Sanford H. Calhoun High School, where she in on the cross-country, winter track and spring track teams. She is also member of the orchestra and chamber orchestra and is in the National Honor Society.

Emily DiGiovanna wanted to raise awareness in her community of Momma’s House, a local residence for young mothers and their children. When storm damage destroyed a playground at one of their homes, Ms. DiGiovanna used her Gold Award project to recruit volunteers to enable her to rebuild it. She also developed a booklet of games and activities for the families. Because of her efforts, the playground has been restored, awareness of Momma’s House has been increased, and the children have a place to play. Ms. DiGiovanna graduated from John F. Kennedy High School in 2011, where she was a member of the culture club, wrestling team, jazz band, and wind ensemble. She recently completed her freshman year at Stevens Institute of Technology, where she is a member of the equestrian team.

Elise Rooney’s Gold Award project sought to educate low-income members of the community about healthcare opportunities available to them. Because of a language barrier, it can become very difficult for these families to receive the healthcare services they need. Ms. Rooney created a PowerPoint presentation and pamphlets for a local agency. To further spread the information, she spoke at a series of meetings held at the Family Literacy center and posted a blog and her presentation on the Internet. Ms. Rooney recently graduated from Sanford H. Calhoun High School, where she was a member of Key Club, National Honor Society and the Advanced Science Research group. She was also on the tennis team, a volunteer at St. Francis Hospital and a member of her church youth group. She will attend Johns Hopkins University in the fall.

Kate Valerio wanted to make gardening accessible to those with physical disabilities. For her Gold Award project, she built raised planters for the residents of a local nursing home so that they can enjoy the benefits of being out in the fresh air and working with plants. The garden boxes also beautified the grounds of the facility. Ms. Valerio recently graduated from Sanford H. Calhoun High School, where she was a member of the science club, worked on the homecoming committee, and participated in drama improvisation night. She plans to study biochemistry at Stony Brook University in the fall.

On June 12th the Girl Scouts of Nassau County honored Girl Scouts Seniors and Ambassadors between the ages of 15 and 18 at a special ceremony held at Adelphi University in Garden City. In addition to the Girl Scout ceremony, on June 21st, Nassau County Executive Edward Mangano will present the girls, along with their Eagle Scout counterparts from Boy Scouts, with certificates for their achievements at the Theodore Roosevelt Legislative Chamber in Mineola. Town of Hempstead Supervisor also honored Girl Scout Gold Award recipients and Eagle Scouts on June 3rd in an event at Levy Preserve.

"Girl Scouts Gold Award recipients are ambitious and dedicated individuals with strong time management and organizational skills. They have joined an elite group of American women, who are part of the Girl Scouts of the USA's Gold Award Alliance," said Ms. Ceravolo.

The Gold Award project helps high school-aged Girl Scouts develop leadership skills and explore various career paths. Overall, the Gold Awards require up to a three-year commitment from each young woman. It affords the teen the opportunity to learn about arts and humanities, cultural and global relations, personal well-being, technology and science, environmental concerns and many of the innumerable issues facing young women and the world today.

Girl Scouts of Nassau County builds girls of courage, confidence and character who make the world a better place. Girl Scouting in Nassau County creates an accepting and nurturing environment, which gives girls a chance to build character and develops leadership skills for success in the real world. In partnership with committed adult volunteers, girls develop qualities that will serve them throughout their lives, like strong values, social conscience, and conviction about their own potential and self-worth. With almost 21,000 girl and 7,000 adult members, Girl Scouts of Nassau County has become the preeminent organization and leading authority for girls. The organization, now in its 100th year, continues to make the world a better place one girl at a time.

For more information on the Girl Scouts of Nassau County call Donna Rivera Downey 516 741-2550 at ext. 260, or visit


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