Local high school students win Saint Michael’s College Book Award For Leadership in Volunteer Service & Academic Achievement

COLCHESTER, VT (08/06/2013) — The following local high school students were awarded the 2013 Saint Michael’s College Book Award for Academic Achievement with a Social Conscience:

Eric Behringer of Old Lyme, a student at Lyme-Old Lyme High School.

Rachel Carey of Colchester, a student at Bacon Academy.

Hanna DeBruyn of Old Lyme, a student at Lyme-Old Lyme High School.

John Dong of Pawcatuck, a student at Stonington High School.

Gracye Dyer of New London, a student at Saint Bernard School.

Arianna Fustini of Gales Ferry, a student at Ledyard High School.

Zakkiyya Griffin of Groton, a student at New London High School.

Zachary Higgins of Gales Ferry, a student at Ledyard High School.

Lauren Hodkinson of Taftville, a student at Norwich Free Academy.

Samantha Horner of Niantic, a student at East Lyme High School.

William Jeckel of North Stonington, a student at Wheeler High/Middle School.

Dillon Johnson of Uncasville, a student at Montville High School.

Kevin Lei of Niantic, a student at East Lyme High School.

Grace Martino of Waterford, a student at Waterford High School.

Alyssa Mattison of Uncasville, a student at Montville High School.

Joseph Meese of Lebanon, a student at Lyman Memorial High School.

Jessica Morgan of North Stonington, a student at Wheeler High/Middle School.

Evin O’Shea of Norwich, a student at Norwich Free Academy.

Sarah Pavlich of Lebanon, a student at Lyman Memorial High School.

Neel Shah of Waterford, a student at Waterford High School.

Keith Verdini of New London, a student at New London High School.

Rochelle Wang of Pawcatuck, a student at Stonington High School.

Casimir Woznica of Voluntown, a student at Saint Bernard School.

The award recognizes students who demonstrate a commitment to leadership in volunteer service and academic achievement. Saint Michael’s, located in Burlington, Vermont, one of America’s top 10 college towns, was founded on the belief that serving others is part of its Catholic tradition, and through the award seeks to honor those who demonstrate the true spirit of volunteerism.

Award recipients, named at schools throughout the country, are high school juniors who are inductees of the National Honor Society or an equivalent school-sponsored honors organization. They must demonstrate a commitment to service activities in high school or community organizations, taking leadership roles in these activities.

Winners were presented the book First They Killed My Father: A Daughter of Cambodia Remembers (HarperCollins 2000) by Loung Ung, a 1993 Saint Michael’s College graduate who has become a widely acclaimed author. In “First They Killed My Father,” Ung gives a powerful autobiographical account, from a child’s perspective, of surviving captivity during the genocidal Pol Pot regime in Cambodia. She reveals an indomitable spirit in the face of profound suffering, including the loss of both her parents and two of her siblings. Ung has written a riveting memoir about a family’s survival, and in turn, about the development of Ung’s on-going crusade for a landmine free world.

About Saint Michael’s

At Saint Michael’s College www.smcvt.edu students are challenged to do their best, find their niche, take on opportunities to grow, and immerse themselves in academic pursuits. Intellectual rigor, compassion, teamwork, caring-these characterize a Saint Michael’s experience. A residential Catholic college, Saint Michael’s is steeped in the social justice spirit of its founding priests, the Edmundites. Saint Michael’s is located three miles from Burlington, Vermont, one of America’s top 10 college towns. Headed by President John J. Neuhauser, the college has 1,900 undergraduate students and 500 graduate students. Identified by the Princeton Review, 2014 as one of the nation’s Best 378 Colleges, and included in the Fiske Guide to Colleges 2014, Saint Michael’s students and professors have received Rhodes, Woodrow Wilson, Goldwater, Pickering, Guggenheim, Fulbright, and other grants and awards. The college is one of the nation’s top-100, Best Liberal Arts Colleges as listed in the 2013 U.S. News & World Report rankings.