The Kiwanis Club of Merrick honored one graduating senior from each of the Bellmore-Merrick CHSD schools at the Club’s 50th annual Student Recognition Night recently. Each of the students, selected by their respective principal, was chosen on the basis of academic achievement, extracurricular and community service activities, and outstanding character. This year’s recipients are Taylor Drew (Mepham), Matthew Garber (Calhoun), Hannah Kuzminski (Meadowbrook Alternative Program) and Joshua Levine (Kennedy).
From left, Kiwanis President Michael Reid, MAP’s Hannah Kuzminski, Matt Garber of Calhoun, Joshua Levine of Kennedy, Taylor Drew of Mepham and Nassau County Legislator Steve Rhoads. The students hold both a Citation from Nassau County and a Proclamation from New York State
At the dinner, the honorees were introduced by the principals, who described and praised the achievements and accomplishments that led to their selection for this prestigious award. In their acceptance remarks, the students shared what their high school careers have meant to them, beyond the academics that will take them on to college next fall.
Central High School District Superintendent John DeTomasso offered a heartfelt and insightful assessment into what makes a school – and a school district – successful, citing the caliber of educators and support that produce students like those being honored.
He told Your NewsMag that the recognition “shows how wonderful the Kiwanis has been with Bellmore schools” in recognizing the community work these students and others like them have accomplished in making the community a better place to live.
The Student Recognition Night is the Merrick Kiwanis longest-running program, celebrating 50 years this year.
Mepham’s Taylor Drew told Your NewsMag he was excited about the award, saying “It shows I’m being recognized for giving back to the community.” Taylor will attend Loyola University to study biology.
Kennedy’s Joshua Levine, son of Merrick School District Board of Education member Jill Levine who founded The Robbie Levine Foundation, also spoke of his excitement at being recognized for his community achievements. “I am thankful to my parents and all the teachers” for helping him achieve this recognition.
Josh will attend Cornell in the fall to study statistics.
Hanna Kuzminiski of the Meadowbrook Alternative Program said she was “honored by the recognition because it has been a focus of mine for years to help people in the community.”
She will attend Nassau Community College in the fall, with a focus toward nursing.
The dinner, at Gino’s of Bellmore. was a Who’s Who of Merrick Kiwanians, residents and CHSD officials
Matt Garber of Calhoun, a member of the Kiwanis for years, thanked the organization for the “great opportunity to have my ‘Kiwanis’ family behind me” in this recognition of community spirit toward others in the community.
Matt will attend the University of Pennsylvania with a double major in political science and math.
The students also received Citations from Nassau County Legislator Steve Rhoads and Proclamations from New York State Senator John Brooks.
Michael Reid, president of the Merrick Kiwanis, said the awards demonstrate who the future leaders of the community will be.
Kiwanis is a service organization for individuals desiring personal involvement in the leadership and improvement of their communities. The Kiwanis Club of Merrick meets on the 2nd and 4th Tuesday of each month at 6:45 p.m. at the Mediterranean Diner on Bedford Avenue in Bellmore. For further information about joining, making donations or participating in the club’s many exciting service projects, check out the club’s website: www.merrickkiwanis.com