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School & Youth
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Kiwanis Club Honors Teenager Of The Year

May 2, 2012
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Story And Photo By John Singleton

Kiwanis is an international organization that searches the globe for excellence. To find the Teenager of the Year, local chapter President Nadine Jacobs didn’t have to look far. Plenty of worthy candidates attend Severna Park High School. “We look for candidates who exhibit distinction in service, citizenship, character and academic achievement,” said Jacobs. “All of our finalists have impressive credentials.”

On the evening of April 17, five finalists attended the Severna Park Kiwanis Teenager of the Year Dinner. They included SPHS seniors Elizabeth Embser, Janey Dike, Claire Hanratty, Anastasia Ostrowski and Elizabeth Breighner.

After dinner, President Richards approached the microphone to introduce the finalists.

Embser, a student described by her teachers as enthusiastic, respectful, helpful and one to honor her commitments, was introduced first. She is also a member of the National Honor Society, secretary of the Tri-M Honor Society, secretary of the Thespian Society and member of the Severna Park Stage Company.

The next student introduced was Dike, a National Honor Society Member, an Artist Scholar, and an All-County dancer. Dike is well known at SPHS to be an excellent communicator, respectful toward other points of view and a strong critical thinker. She will attend the University of Maryland in the fall, with plans to major in communications and pre-law.

The next finalist introduced was Claire Hanratty, a National Honor Society member and senior captain of the varsity basketball and softball teams. With an interest in occupational therapy, Hanratty plans on attending Susquehanna University.

The fourth finalist announced, Anastasia Ostrowski, was described as a focused, driven, ambitious, diligent worker who continues to challenge herself personally and academically. Ostrowski is a member of the National and French Honor Societies, a Key Club Treasurer and a Committee Chair for the Chesapeake Bay Foundation.

Following the four runners-up, Jacobs named Liz Breighner as Kiwanis Teenager of the Year. Breighner is secretary of the National Honor Society, member of the Student Government Association, and an intern for a federal agency. She has received the AP Scholastic Varsity Award, Top Scholar Athlete, and Minds in Motion Athlete Award. By the time she graduates in May, she will have completed 12 Advanced Placement courses as well as 10 Honors courses. Breighner plans to attend Penn State in the fall and pursue a career as a nurse practitioner.

“I just love the Teenager of the Year Dinner,” summarized Jacobs. “Working with teenagers is definitely one of my favorite Kiwanis activities.”

“It was a pleasure to see such accomplished girls being recognized for all they do with their schools, their churches and their communities,” said Joanna Ostrowski, Anastasia’s mother, who attended the event. “They are true role models for young people.”

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