Congratulations to Tappan Zee High School junior Ailish MacDonnell and senior Katrina Peel on earning the Gold Award–the highest Girl Scouts of the USA achievement! This recognition is presented to high school-aged Girl Scouts who complete a project designed to create a sustainable solution to a problem within their community.
Since first joining a Daisies troop in kindergarten, Ailish has wanted to help others. For her Gold Award project, Ailish hosted an Olympics-style game day in association with Meals on Wheels of Rockland for local senior citizens. “Seniors have been isolated because of the pandemic, so I wanted to create an experience for them where they had the chance to socialize and have fun. It was a good outlet for them and gave them the opportunity to get both physical and mental exercise,” she explained.
Katrina–who also started as a Daisy in kindergarten–developed a project aimed to help eighth-grade students transition from middle school to high school. “I think it’s a bigger transition than people realize. It can be a stressful experience that causes a lot of anxiety. I wanted to come up with a way to alleviate that stress for students,” said Katrina. She compiled a resource for current eighth-graders to share thoughts on what would help them make the shift to high school to which ninth- and tenth-grade students could contribute tips and resources. Katrina hosted workshops at the Nyack YMCA where students from all districts in Rockland County had the opportunity to discuss ways to ease the transition and to socialize with each other. The final component was producing an original video that will be shown to ninth-graders at the beginning of the school year during orientation at TZHS.
“The Gold Award is all about sustainability and bringing people together to support their communities. Both of our projects required the help of volunteers so others had the opportunity to get involved,” noted Ailish.
Katrina agreed, adding, “It’s not just about us. Our projects are about ensuring that other people can continue this work in the future and adapt our ideas as they see fit.”