Kuykendall Community Service Awards
District honors four students for community
service and good citizenship
Kuykendall Award winners are pictured with
Superintendent John Xanthis, guest speaker Frank Bell
and Assistant Superintendent for Instruction John Bell.
POSTED: MAY 23, 2012
The Port Jervis School District honored four exceptional
for their community service and good citizenship May 15.
Sophia DiGiantommaso, Keegan Salas, Theresa Zingaro, and
Nicholas Shields received the school district’s most prestigious
award – the Theodore Kuykendall Community Service Award – in a
special ceremony at Port Jervis High School.
During the ceremony, the award recipients were recognized
individually by their building principal, who presented each of
them with an engraved plaque. Each student also received a $100
savings bond, along with a Port Pride duffle bag and t-shirt.
The prestigious award was created in 1987 by the late Theodore
Kuykendall, who served as a Port Jervis councilman and school
board member, to honor students who excel in academics and
demonstrate good citizenship by participating in community
service, volunteerism, and extra-curricular activities. The
Kuykendall Award is presented annually to one sixth grade
student from each elementary school, a middle school eighth
grader, and a high school senior.
During the ceremony, guest speaker Frank Bell commended the
award recipients for their service to the community. The Port
Jervis City Councilman stressed the importance of volunteerism.
An avid volunteer and community servant, Bell has been involved
as a coach and president of Port Jervis Little League for five
decades. He has also served as a member of the Port Jervis Fire
Department for 50 years and the Port Jervis Little League for 30
“There are more than 100 clubs and organizations in this
community that need volunteer support,” said Bell. Acknowledging
that it is often difficult for people to volunteer in today’s
economy, he said, “It’s important to find something that you
enjoy. For me, it was working with kids.”
Congratulations to the following
Nicholas Shields received the Port Jervis High School award.
A hard worker, Nick has challenged himself academically,
athletically, and civically. The student leader serves as
president of the National Honor Society, senior class
parliamentarian and Varsity Club secretary. This year, the
well-rounded student-athlete, who played football at the varsity
level for three years, served as one of the team captains. He
qualified for two top football awards: The prestigious Salmon
Lineman Award in 2010 and the Steve Faller Memorial Award in
2011. Nick also participated in varsity golf and track, and
junior varsity baseball.
In addition to serving as a youth member on the Port Jervis
Recreation Commission, Nick volunteered more than 50 hours at
his church, helped the Varsity Club raise money for the Red
Cross, and worked with students at Anna S. Kuhl Elementary
School weekly through the Raider Reading Program.
Nick has also served his community for the last six year as a
member of Boy Scouts of America. This year, Nick earned the
organization’s highest honor – the Eagle Scout award – for
refurbishing bicycles collected by the Port Jervis Police
Department and presenting them, along with food baskets, to 14
children and their families this past Christmas.
This fall, Nick will be attending Virginia Tech University,
where he will continue to serve his country through the U.S. Air
Force ROTC Program.
grader Theresa Zingaro received the Port Jervis Middle School
A high honor roll student, Theresa demonstrates a strong
commitment to his school and community. In addition to excelling
in advanced placement classes, Theresa is a member of the
modified girl’s basketball and softball teams.
Outside of school, Theresa enjoys working with younger children
and children with disabilities. She does this by volunteering at
Inspire in Goshen and Beautiful People, an organization that
helps children with disabilities play sports. In Port Jervis,
she also volunteers with Catholic Daughters of the Americas and
the library during the summer.
grader Sophia DiGiantommaso received the Anna S. Kuhl Elementary
Sophia epitomizes the qualities the Kuykendall Award is meant to
recognize – strong academics, participation in extra-curricular
activities and community service. In school, Sophia serves on
the Sixth Grade Student Council. She also participates in drama
and chorus. The aspiring actress has had featured role the past
two years in ASK Elementary School’s drama productions. Last
year, she played the role of Molly in Annie, Jr. Last month, she
played Sharpay in High School Musical, Jr.
Sophia gives back to the community by helping neighbors,
visiting a nursing home and taking care of animals at the Humane
grader Keegan Salas received the Hamilton Bicentennial
Elementary School award.
She was selected to
receive the award based on her impressive volunteer work and
outstanding academic record.
A Junior Soldier with the Salvation Army Church, Keegan
volunteer countless hours in the community. During the summer,
she helps with vacation Bible School. At Christmas time, she
serves refreshments at the firehouse during the community
Christmas parade and raises money for the needy by ringing the
bell for the Salvation Army at WalMart.
When Hurricane Irene hit this area last year, Keegan volunteered
for four days at the Red Cross shelter set up at Port Jervis
High School. She assisted the Red Cross by serving food, while
her mother cooked in the kitchen. She has also helped the
Salvation Army with fundraisers for the needy, and has collected
and distributed toys.