Gold & Silver Award Ceremony

Gold & Silver Award Ceremony

GABRIELLE BOURASSA • Hudson

Gabrielle’s desire was to give back to a community that had given so much to her. After consulting with the director of Camp Woodhaven in West Boylston, Gabrielle set out to restore a soggy camp trail often inaccessible due to standing water. Gabby facilitated the construction of two ten-foot bridges to place on the trail. She created hand-painted, postersized signs of local animals and plants that campers could find on the trail with fact sheets about the animals with the hope that the kids who walk the trail will be able to better appreciate the nature around them.

Girl Scouts taught me many valuable life lessons and gave me a family that I know I can always go to.

After a 4-week internship this summer at Tufts Medical School, Gabby plans on attending college studying pre-med and computer science.

HOPE CLARK • Agawam

Books serve as a source of comfort for Hope and a desire to provide others with that comfort helped fuel her project. Two thousand books were collected and distributed among two schools serving a total of 800 students. Coming from a household of two educators, she was passionate about and understanding of the value of education and wanted others to feel that as well. Through distributions, getting to meet students in person, and book box drop-offs, she was able to distribute the collected books while also providing education and the opportunity for students and their families to sign up for a local public library card.

Girl Scouts has played a large role in shaping who I am today. After joining, the organization grew with me as I got older. Through the organization I was able to grow my confidence and independence, all while continually being surrounded by a supportive community.

Hope will attend Boston College in the fall majoring in business management and leadership.

NATALIE DA CUNHA • Milford

For her project, Natalie chose to address the issue of whitewashing in public education. Natalie wanted to create a unit in her middle school’s curriculum that provided a more realistic, comprehensive, and honest understanding of our country’s history of racism. She brought her idea to the school system and worked with the school’s instructional coach and teachers to develop the unit for the curriculum, which included literary, written, and culminating art projects for the 8th-grade students. Natalie joined with the teachers during teacher work days to give input on components and materials, and as a team, they created the unit that was piloted last year and put into full use this school year.

I believe education is a key component to understanding each other, each other’s histories, and how to make the world better as we move forward.

Natalie will attend Bridgewater State University in the fall.

KATARINA FECHNER • Worcester

Katarina focused on bringing attention to mental health struggles through education on expressive therapy, and specifically, visual art therapy. Born out of the stress and anxiety of the pandemic, Katarina stumbled upon the calming effect of doodling mandala-like shapes. Finding the habit so soothing, she researched art therapy, interviewed art and expressive therapists and professors, and wrote a book titled Creativity to Calm. She outsourced the prompts for the book to individuals across her community to add example pictures and testimonials, posted this book online for free, and distributed posters around her community with a QR-code link to the book.

Girl Scouts has been more than just a meeting every Wednesday evening or an activity to add to my college application. It has been my support system, my encouragement, and a space for me to grow since the second grade.

Katarina attends Colgate University as a member of the class of 2026 with a double major in Chinese and international relations. She hopes to attend law school.

ERIN FLYNN • Harvard

COVID-19 shutdowns took a toll on Erin’s local theater. Once a community hub, the dormant building needed a lot of TLC. The Accessibility in the Art of Theater project was Erin’s effort to restore a vibrant gathering space for a multitude of community functions. She gathered a team of volunteers and reached out to the wider community for donations of cleaning supplies and organization materials. Monetary donations funded two dumpsters, which were used for disposing unusable items, and in total, Erin’s team removed about 5,000 pounds of clutter that included rotting wood and ruined costumes. In the end, the Accessibility in the Art of Theater project restored an accessible, functional, and safe place for productions to return.

Girl Scouts has always been an important aspect of my life. When I was younger, it was an opportunity to develop lasting friendships while completing various crafts and activities. As I got older, it was an opportunity to make changes in my community. Since first grade, Girl Scouts has shaped my perspective of the world. I hold some values, morals, and ethics higher because of my experience with Girl Scouts.

Erin has completed a full year at Wheaton College, though is planning to continue her biology and pre-vet track education else where this fall.

ISABELLA HESS • Bolton

Isabella's Gold Award project consisted of making a children's picture book to help young children learn basic anxiety coping techniques, which teaches kids how to cope with anxiety in an ageappropriate and accessible way. Her own history with anxiety and her desire to become a therapist inspired the project. She wrote and published When I'm Worried, which is now available on Amazon. Isabella read her book to children at her local public library, where she gave out copies of the book to families and did basic anxiety coping activities with the kids. She fundraised to purchase additional copies of the book, which she distributed throughout the community.

Girl Scouts has been my most consistent extracurricular activity my whole life and has given me a lot of enrichment outside of the classroom.

Isabella is a rising sophomore at Mount Holyoke College and studying to become a therapist

MADISYN KAIJALA • Hubbardston

While working as a Counselor in Training (CIT) at a local camp, Maddie found an immediate need to help restore a bike program for campers of all ages and sizes. She repaired 60 children's bicycles, replaced broken helmets, and provided a bicycle shelter to keep the bikes protected from the elements. She created a bicycle and helmet safety checklist for future CITs and shared her bicycle and helmet safety sheets with multiple other Massachusetts summer camps with similar biking programs.

I wanted to earn my Gold Award because it provided me the opportunity to do a project that no one would've let me do on my own.

Maddie will be a high school senior in the fall with dual enrollment at Wachusett Community College. 

MADELINE KAY • Uxbridge

The Notre Dame Academy Young Athletes Unified Sports Program is a series of clinics designed to promote inclusion and bring individuals of all abilities together. Madeline implemented the Unified Sports Program to address the lack of opportunities and resources available for those with disabilities who don’t have readily available access to sports programs. Madeline was driven to create a welcoming environment where individuals with disabilities felt safe to learn, grow, and be their best selves. She created a partnership with Special Olympics and led clinics with positivity and encouragement for young athletes, helping them know their disability is a beautiful aspect of their identity that does not solely define them, and that they were capable of achieving anything they set their minds to.

I have always been passionate about helping others. Understanding that many individuals with disabilities do not have the same opportunities or resources available to them inspired my Unified Program. I wanted to give these individuals a space to be themselves, share their stories, and grow in a welcoming environment.

Madeline will attend College of the Holy Cross in the fall majoring in neuroscience and sociology

ARWEN KING • Amherst

Arwen’s project title, "Free to be 83," was derived from the ideal type 1 diabetic blood sugar of 83 mg/dL. As a type 1 diabetic, Arwen's diet has always been a topic of interest to her. Before her diagnosis, she would often eat high-carb foods with few problems, but when she tried to continue these eating habits after her diagnosis, she discovered it was damaging to her body. For her project, she developed and wrote three recipes for low-carb meals that are accessible for anyone to make at home. She recorded, edited, and publicly published instructional videos on the meals, which had an accompanying pamphlet. She also taught “how to cook low-carb classes” with hands-on activities and educational materials to better spread awareness about the importance of dietary health.

This journey as a Girl Scout has been truly unforgettable, from beginning to end, and I have been inspired by so many brilliant women that have entered, and sometimes sorrowfully left my life. My hope for the future is optimistic, but it won't be without struggle. What I wish to inspire in others is the drive to not only move forward no matter how difficult things may look, but move forward with the passion to bring true change into this world, no matter how small that may be.

Arwen will attend Greenfield Community College in the fall with plans to transfer to a 4-year degree program in library science.

ALLISON KINGSLEY • Southwick

Allison paired her extensive Girl Scout cookie selling experience and an internship with the Springfield Thunderbirds to enhance the annual Girl Scout Cookie Rally for 2022 participants and future participants. Through surveys she created and brainstorming sessions she facilitated, Allison designed a ready-to-go activity guide for fun and engaging lessons intended to accentuate the cookie seller’s experience. Utilizing her leadership skills and business management skills, she credits her project with providing her handson experience in the business world.

I truly believe this project was and will be the foundation of my success in my future career as a businesswoman.

Allison is pursuing a bachelor's degree in marketing at the University of Massachusetts Dartmouth.

SANJANA PULAPARTHI • Westborough

Recognizing that the topic of mental health is not mentioned often in middle school classrooms, Sanjana wanted to give children earlier exposure to the subject so they could be more prepared and informed. Sanjana held multiple workshops with middle school kids to educate about neuroscience and mental health. She had in-depth discussions with kids about their concerns about mental health. By teaching them about neuroscience, she was able to help them understand the science behind certain mental health issues. She created a website with all her research and the content she taught in the workshops so it is easily accessible to the public.

Always have an open mind when executing your project. New information has a way of surprising you in the strangest ways and having an open mind will help you absorb as much knowledge as you can so that you are able to pass it on to others to the best of your ability.

Sanjana will attend the University of Maryland, majoring in computer science.

KATHERINE ROMOSER • Longmeadow

Motivated by the desire to help her school's music department and improve it for the students who come after her, Katherine set out to organize all the sheet music used in the program. Katherine created a functional cataloging system accessible to current and future band directors and staff with a user access guide.

Because of Girl Scouts, I have a lot more opinions and courage to speak up for myself.

Katherine will attend Western New England University to study biology. She’d like to be a paleontologist. 

SOFIA SOARES • Milford

Inspired by her love of reading, Sofia built and installed a Little Free Library in front of her town’s local elementary school. She hosted a book drive and connected with her community to gather a wide array of books to give year-long access to students, families, and community members with an assortment from which to choose. She donated books to other Little Free Libraries, consignment shops, and public libraries. Her Little Free Library is connected to the world map of Little Free Libraries.

My favorite part of the project was reading to the kids in extended day and talking to them about ways reading could be fun for them and relate to their interests.

Sofia will attend the University of North Carolina Wilmington in the fall to study criminology

CORA TAILLEFER • South Grafton

Lived experience inspired Cora’s Gold Award project. Diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorder at an early age, Cora’s project focused on helping children by creating sensory items to help restore calm during moments of anxiety. With the help of a team she led, Cora created a total of 220 sensory items which she donated to local schools and Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA) therapy organizations, including Autism Allies and the Flutie Foundation. Cora included an informational pamphlet for caregivers discussing autism, anxiety, her own story, and why she created the different items.

Girl Scouts has allowed me to find my passion for helping people in my community.

Cora will attend the University of Rhode Island to study animal sciences and technology.

THERESA THOMAS • Milford

Theresa created a prayer garden at her church with a stone bench and pathway around the Mother Mary statue. Her goal was to provide a peaceful place for reflection in the outdoor area of her parish where people can sit and relax. She created a pamphlet with insight into how prayer can be used as a way to help cope with mental stress. She wanted to show her community the same amount of care that she received from them throughout her life.

Because of Girl Scouts, I have created unforgettable memories and lifelong friendships that I wouldn’t have had otherwise.

Theresa will attend UMass Amherst in the fall, majoring in biology on the pre-PA track

ABIGAIL VANN • South Hadley

Well-meaning people in Abigail’s neighborhood were feeding wild animals and attracting them to their yards, creating a dangerous situation for both people and animals. After consulting with her community’s police chief and the furbearer expert for Massachusetts Division of Fisheries and Wildlife, Abigail created a coloring book and interactive activity to help people understand how to live harmoniously with wild animals, focusing specifically on educating young children on how they can influence the adults in their lives. She created a library event to teach kids about bears, foxes, and coyotes, and her coloring book is online on the library website and the Massachusetts Division of Fisheries and Wildlife website.

My favorite part of my project was interacting with kids, getting to see them so excited to learn about wildlife and share what they learned with the people around them.

Abigail will be a high school Junior in the fall. 

AMELIA WRAY • Longmeadow

By Amelia’s estimation, one of the lesser-known gems of Longmeadow is its local community garden, where all town residents are welcome to a free plot that leads to a thriving town garden. However, it lacked a surplus of pollinators. Amelia was granted a permanent plot and worked with a master gardener to select native perennial plants with the goal of attracting a variety of pollinators. In the spring of 2021, Amelia and her team planted the garden which has flourished since with non-invasive perennial plants, attracting more pollinators every year.

We only have one planet and it is our job as humans to protect nature. By advocating this to both my school and through the Girl Scouts organization, I hope to be a part of a much bigger revolution.

Amelia will attend Princeton University in the fall, hoping to study either operations research and financial engineering or mechanical and aerospace engineering.

PEARL BURNS • Holyoke

Pearl built and installed three small libraries in parks in her hometown, Holyoke. She partnered with the parks and recreation department, which agreed to see to the libraries’ upkeep when she is unable. Pearl found that the best part of her project is restocking books, as she often sees children at the parks with the books she provided or with their guardians reading to them.

Girl Scouting is a broadening horizon. For me, it's something that opens a path to so many meaningful experiences that otherwise would have been impossible.

Pearl is enrolled for the fall at Worcester Polytechnic Institute, where she will pursue a degree in Computer Science alongside a pre-med track

HELEN COHEN • Great Barrington

Millions of Americans cannot afford consistent access to menstrual hygiene products. Helen was inspired to help alleviate the effects of period poverty and curb the environmental effects of period waste by increasing access to reusable period products. She worked with a menstrual cup company to source free supplies and created educational materials on reusable period products. Through partnership with community institutions across western Massachusetts and central Virginia, Helen has delivered 200 menstrual cups for distribution.

Girl Scouting is a program that challenges young women to be the change they  want to see. It is a community of determined individuals, and a sisterhood of incredible women. It is a cheerleader pushing girls to achieve their best.

Helen will be attending school at Bard College at Simon's Rock class of 2024, studying psychology to be a speech pathologist.

SOPHIA COLDWELL • South Grafton

Sophia’s topic, learning to love yourself, was inspired by Sophia’s personal experience. Through films, interviews, and podcasts, her Love Your Selfie project came to life. Sophia addressed the societal impacts on body image and loving yourself, with a focus on the young adolescent age group. Sophia personally struggled with poor body image and wants to ensure others know the impacts unrealistic expectations have.

Girl Scouts, to me, means to start off having these strong role models, then to grow  up to be the strong role models for the next generations to come.

Sophia is enrolled as a rising sophomore at Bay Path University, double majoring in Business Administration and Hospitality Management, hoping to pursue further global studies.

EMILY CROTEAU • Milford

Following her brother’s lead, Emily took up mountain biking during the COVID-19 pandemic. Emily built a bridge on a popular New England Mountain Bike Association mountain bike trail. She raised funds, pursued a lumber donation, and assembled a work crew to help her create a 60 foot bridge she designed.

Girl Scouting means to giving back to community. Have fun on adventures and be open to creating new relationships as I move through life.

Emily plans to attend college and pursue a nursing degree.

VEDA DAVE • South Grafton

Veda enhanced a special needs classroom in one of her town’s elementary schools by painting the room and adding sensory-related accessories to the classroom. By working with the school’s administrators and special education department and supervising fellow students, Veda created a welcoming, visually pleasing and stimulating environment.

Pursuing business in college, I couldn't be more thankful for all the business experience I got through Girl Scouts. From selling cookies to planning events I got a glimpse into the business world. Girl Scouts helped me grow into an independent individual and gain confidence to follow my desires.

Veda will be attending the University of Massachusetts Amherst in the fall of 2022. She plans on majoring in management at the Isenberg School of Management.

GENEVIEVE FARR • Lunenburg

Genevieve’s Gold Award Project addressed a very high traffic area in a stairwell that her congregation, including children of all ages, CCD teachers, and parents use regularly. She covered the blank white walls with a beautifully painted mural and created an area for reflection.

Girl Scouts is a place where I was able to grow into an independent and strong young woman.

Genevieve is attending St. Lawrence University and will be majoring in biology.

OLIVIA FARR • Lunenburg

Olivia created a life-size wall mural at her local physician’s office with a variety of wild animals and plants to transform a potentially stressful waiting space into a place for children to have a safe, fun, and educational experience while waiting in the lobby. She provided educational materials for families with questions and answers regarding the mural subjects.

Because of Girl Scouts I learned how to be the best version of myself and to care for others in and outside of my community.

Olivia is a freshman majoring in Psychology at Worcester State University.

LILY FOX • Westborough

As an artist who loves to make others happy with what she creates, Lily used the opportunity of the Gold Award to share joy with the greater community. With the help of other local artists and community members, Lily created an outlet to share happiness and joy by gifting artwork to people with illnesses and depression to brighten their day. Lily's initiative is now part of a local program, Art Buddies, to continue the goal of giving joy through artistic expression.

Girl Scouting helped me to discover what I love and who I want to be in this world.

Lily will attend Savannah College of Art and Design in Savannah, Georgia, as part of their freshman class. She plans to major in interior design.

CARLY HALEY • Milford

Carly built a reading nook bench for her town’s youth center and created a book of the month club, providing books on important and relevant topics to teens. Kids now have a new comfortable, organized space to read. Her Gold Award reinforced what she’d learned through Girl Scouts: that trying new things and stepping out of your comfort zone is as important as having fun and going on adventures.

Girl Scouting is a place where you can truly be yourself with others around you who see you and embrace you for who you are.

Carly plans to attend a 4-year college when she’s older, likely taking a path in science and possibly something in the medical field.

LACEY-MAE MASON  • Berlin

Lacey-Mae appreciated that her school served as a community pantry but was dismayed by its limited days of operation. She made it her mission to increase access at her community food pantry so the community has access to staple food and diapers more often. She built her own pantry to supply food and hygiene products.

When asked what Girl Scouting means to me it's family. I've done Girl Scouts since I was little and have grown up with one of my best friends from Girl Scouts which amazing. Family is what Girl Scouts mean to me.

Lacey-Mae is enrolled at Mount Wachusett Community College and is going to school to work with kids.

AVA MENDELSOHN • Amherst

Ava wanted to earn her Gold Award by educating the public about nature. She collaborated with Kestrel Land Trust to create signage about erosion control, the Connecticut River Watershed, and the native brook trout life cycle along the Sodom Brook trail. Education will help to restore and stabilize the stream banks and habitat of Sodom Brook. Ava’s signs will be visible to the public for years to come.

Through Girl Scouts, I have learned how to work hard and stand up for things that are important to me. And I learned the importance of the environment. Girl Scouts has been a safe place for me where I get to feel empowered as a woman.

Ava will be enrolling in Temple University where she will attend Klein College and major in communications.

REBECCA MILLER • Harvard

The coronavirus pandemic greatly impacted the world on a grand scale. Loneliness, isolation, money, and food insecurity increased. At the height of the COVID-19 pandemic, in response to the increased isolation, money, and food insecurity, Rebecca put together care kits for clients of the WHEAT Community Connections Soup Kitchen and Food Pantry to help combat loneliness and pandemic stressors. Rebecca organized and put together three hundred care kits that each included KN95 masks, medical gloves, mindful adult coloring books, colored pencils, SPF-15 chapsticks, water bottles, sunglasses, and water-repellent string backpacks. Handwritten messages of caring accompanied every kit.

Throughout my 12 years in Girl Scouting, I learned so many things, not the least of which was how to interdependently grow, listen, and stand up for what I believe in. I have learned not only who I am, something I intend to pursue further each and every day, but also what's important to me.

Rebecca will be attending Wheaton College in Massachusetts in the fall of 2022. While she does not know exactly what she wishes to study, Rebecca is interested in pursuing French, English, international relations, and the humanities.

ROBIN MILLER • Harvard

When Robin discovered that some food pantry clients were unable to cook the food they receive because they live in a hotel and had access to only a microwave, she created a microwave recipe cookbook, using many of the food items received from the pantry. She researched, created, practiced, and edited recipes, formulating them into a simple cookbook complete with photos. She purchased 35 microwave-safe containers for the Loaves & Fishes Food Pantry and donated them along with 100 printed copies of the finished cookbook.

Being a Girl Scout means sticking up for a cause that matters to you. Over the years, Girl Scouting has been a place to conquer fears and try new things.

Robin is newly enrolled at Wheaton College in Norton, Massachusetts, for the fall of 2022. She enjoys studying French, History, and English but is currently undecided on a major.

HARSHADA NAGARAJAN • Westborough

Harshada addressed food insecurity in her community and presented on world hunger virtually during the pandemic lockdown. She was able to grow a successful vegetable garden, and harvest and donate over 80 pounds of beans, tomatoes, bell peppers, chili peppers, eggplant, and brussels sprouts to her local food pantry throughout the summer of her project. She found an enthusiastic troop of younger Girl Scouts and passed down her garden to them after teaching them what she learned in the process. She presented on the effects of gardening to reduce hunger via online platforms and recorded her presentation so it could air on her local cable access TV station.

Girl Scouts means I will always serve my community. I have learned the value in giving back, and it makes me feel better about myself. Girl Scouts not only teaches how to give back to the community, but also how to be strong independent future leaders of the world. If I am able to stand confidently here today it is because of the values Girl Scouts taught me.

Harshada attends the University of Massachusetts-Amherst where she double majors in biology and psychology on the pre-med track. She aspires to go to medical school to become a pediatrician.

KATHERINE NOROIAN • Worcester

Katherine built pollinator gardens and educated her community on pollinators and how to help them. She built a large garden at the Community Harvest Project farm in North Grafton, complete with an informational sign about the plants used and why it's important to protect pollinators. Using perennial plants, her garden will continue to grow each year. Pamphlets about how to build pollinator gardens were distributed to the Worcester Public Library system.

Girl Scouting has given me the opportunity to make change in my community. It has helped me develop the voice to spread the word about issues that are important to me.

Kate will be attending Clark University, majoring in environmental science.

MOLLY NORTHRUP • Westborough

Molly created Clubpedia, a comprehensive school clubs and activities website with detailed information on every school club and resources for prospective and current club members. Clubpedia is now the sole club resource at Westborough High School, encompassing all 50 WHS clubs with students, teachers, and parents using it daily.

Girl Scouting is a lifestyle of adding value to everything you do.

Molly will be joining the Mount Holyoke College Class of 2022 in the fall, where they plan to major in sociology.

PRANITHA KALA POLAVARAPU • Northborough

The effect of a global pandemic inspired Pranitha to teach about global crises. She designed a curriculum that would not only raise awareness of humanitarian issues but also inspire future scholars to research on their own and become global citizens. As a student herself, she enlisted the help of an organization of experts and professors and used her opportunities to amplify their voices. She taught her curruculum to middle school students and hosted a webinar for her community so that the general public could learn more about the Yemen crisis.

Girl Scouts supports not only the big efforts of change but encourages the smaller acts of kindness and humanity.

Pranitha is currently enrolled at the University of Rochester, double-majoring in neuroscience and business. She is on the pre-med track and aspires to work as a doctor in the future.

OLIVIA RICE • Westborough

Olivia brought free introductory lessons on musical theater to children in her town. She held free workshops where she taught beginner lessons on musical theater then worked with her town’s local TV station to make a video promoting the importance of arts education for children. To sustain her project, she partnered with the local children's theater company, Skyrise, which will continue her project by holding workshops taught by former students as a way for them to give back and allow the programs to stay free and financially accessible.

Over the years, Girl Scouts has instilled in me a strong work ethic that pushes me to confront challenges head on.

Olivia will be attending DePaul University for a BFA in Theater Arts.

SOPHIE SCERBIN • Westborough

Sophie’s project addressed the issue of the COVID-19 pandemic and how it affected learning in younger children. She created an activity booklet that families could use on local trails to get out of the house and stay socially distant while still enjoying being with others. The booklet incorporated engaging activities and touched on both life skills and trail etiquette. Sophie partnered with Westborough Community Land Trust to promote her program and made the booklet available through their website. She also provided copies at the Westborough Public Library for those who don’t have access to a computer.

Girl Scouting to me means a safe space to grow and develop as a person, friend, and leader.

Sophie will attend Roger Williams University in the fall of 2022 where she plans to major in marketing and a double minor in psychology and data analytics. She will also be playing Divison 3 soccer.

BRIENNE SENEZ • Southwick

When Brie was learning American Sign Language (ASL) and learning about the communication barriers between the deaf community and hearing community, she knew she wanted to do something to bridge some of those barriers. Working with her high school’s principal and teachers, she drafted a curriculum and launched the American Sign Language Club at her high school. She signed up new members, elected club officers, and hosted biweekly after-school meetings for 7th through grade 12th students and teachers to learn ASL. The club will elect a new president when Brie graduates and heads off to college.

Girl Scouts means you have a group of amazing girls to work with. Recognizing unique individuals who all want to learn how to be a leader and make the world a better place for other people.

Brie will attend Holyoke Community College, Foundations of Health program in the fall of 2022 with plans to apply to the Veterinarian Technician program thereafter.

JADE ST. ONGE • Grafton

Jade is doing her part to keep oceans healthy through education and prevention. She installed seven fishing line receptacles where fishermen dispose of their used fishing line. The receptacles are made from PVP piping and are posted on popular fishing locations in Dennis, Yarmouth, and Chatham on Cape Cod. The collected fishing line is recycled, in turn keeping our environment safe.

Girl Scouts has shaped me into a responsible women who knows I can conquer anything I put my mind to.

Jade is enrolled at the University of Massachusetts Dartmouth as a biology major. She plans to pursue a career in veterinary medicine.

KYLEE TEIXEIRA • Monson

Kylee created grab-and-go gardening kits and distributed them to families with limited access to healthy food. The kits contained everything needed to successfully grow food from your window sill, including soil (with compost from Kylee's own composting system at home), DIY watering cans made from recycled plastic soda bottles, seeds for cherry tomatoes, Romeo carrots, lettuce, pots, and a booklet of gardening directions in both English and Spanish.

Girl Scouts means that I have learned skills and gained experience that have helped me challenge convention and become a force to be reckoned with.

Kylee currently attends the University of Massachusetts Amherst as a biochemistry and molecular biology major. She aspires to go to medical school after her time at UMass and fulfill a lifelong dream.

ARIANNA THORNTON • Harvard

Arianna used her Gold Award to raise awareness about the growing effects of climate change and promote sustainability in her town. She worked to create communication channels between the recently-formed Community Resiliency Working Group (CRWG), a committee that advocates for sustainability to local government, and the public. She created a website, Facebook page, and Instagram account for the group and helped plan several educational outreach events. Since she completed her project, the CRWG has gained recognition within the town government and now operates as a standing committee. It continues to use the platforms set up by Arianna to communicate with the public and promote educational events.

Girl Scouts gives me a chance to interact with my community in a way that I wouldn't normally. In many instances, I get to meet the people behind the scenes, who make my community what it is. Through my Gold Award I learned that the most effective way to change the behavior of a community is to work directly with policymakers. Civics is tied to everything.

SPANDANA VAGWALA • Grafton

After watching the news and keeping up with daily news articles following George Floyd's murder, Spandana wanted to find ways to help combat racism in her own communities. Spandana organized her Gold Award within 2 clubs at her school to increase conversation about racism and equip herself and her peers with the confidence, knowledge, and skills to start conversations with those around us about racism. Through various media forms such as movies, podcasts, music, Ted Talks, and books, Spandana and students who participated in Let's Talk About Race learned about racial experiences from different time periods and demographics. After each meeting time, Spandana and students had circle discussions about the content and branched into larger conversations about modern day events.

Growing up in Girl Scouting helped me develop the leadership skills to gather a community under a uniting cause. After realizing the importance of raw dialogue in combating racism, skills that Girl Scouts has helped me develop led me to take action in Let's Talk About Race.

Spandana will be attending Duke University this fall and plans to double major in political science and public policy and minor in Spanish.