Principal Simone Rick-Kennel awarded 14 M-A students for their service to the community during the Principal Awards Ceremony on Tuesday, May 24. Jointly, the Parent Teacher Association (PTA) and Kennel organized the event. They rewarded students for a multitude of services, from leadership of certain M-A clubs such as Pride Pals and Seeds, tutoring, and involvement at their church or synagogue. Kim Steer, co-president of the PTA, explained that it is “important to have the principal of the school acknowledging the kids who do so much, not only in the school but in the community.”
The students themselves, peers, or staff nominated students. Kennel reflected that this allowed a “range of nominations of what students are doing that [they] might not otherwise know about.” Kennel called each student up and read a short summary of his or her contribution to the community. She then handed the student a certificate, recognizing him or her for winning the award.
One of the nominees, junior Emma Rafter, co-leads an M-A club known as Pride Pals, with junior Margaret Child. Pride Pals works with the students in Susan Price and Jennifer Taylor-Smith’s classes, who are in the Independent Living Skills (ILS) Program.
According to Rafter, the “main goal of Pride Pals is to have at least one day of the week where [ILS students] can have lunch and interact [with club members].” Taking into account that prom is often overwhelming and far from the school, this year the club organized a prom for the students, held in the Performing Arts Center. Members also arranged a sports day, which allowed ILS students to play basketball with M-A boy’s basketball team. Rafter reflected, “Having those 15 minutes during lunch to get to interact and talk with other kids and hear about their days is very special to [ILS students] and seeing that makes me want to continue it forever.”
Junior Dana Wilks leads M-A’s She’s the First club, which advocates for woman’s education. Junior Elizabeth McColloch tutors in Redwood City, is actively involved at her church, and leads M-A’s Impact club. Juniors Natasha Auer, Peter Hilton, and Hannah Elisofon were jointly nominated for their roles in M-A’s Intercambio club, which works on integrating Spanish and English speakers. Junior Laura Arceo Madriz tutors and distributes food to the homeless. Junior Kate Flanagan is involved in the National Charity League (NCL) and has written multiple top stories for InMenlo. Sophomore Andrew Tan and junior Anders Chiang are both Eagle Scouts and actively involved at their church. Juniors Cooper Waymire and Ruben Guerrero were also awarded for their service to the community.
Kennel feels that the event “acknowledges student commitment…and is a great way to recognize students… for their contributions to the M-A community and the greater community as well.”