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Liverpool Library lauds little leaders

The Liverpool Public Library, in conjunction with the Rotary Club of Liverpool, presented two awards Thursday morning to the future of this country. The 2007 Young Community Leader Awards, now in their sixth year, were presented to Long Branch Elementary School sixth-grader Amy Just and Nate Perry Elementary School's sixth grade peer mediation team.

"This day is about honoring young people and being truly inspired by them," said LPL Executive Director Elizabeth Dailey.

The library welcomed the winners, their teachers and principals and several community guests, including Sen. John DeFrancisco, Assemblyman Al Stirpe and a representative from the office of Assemblywoman Joan Christensen. Liverpool Mayor Marlene Ward was unable to attend due to a death in her family.

The awards were presented by incoming Rotary Club President Laura Harrington. "The nomination forms are sent to 11 elementary schools and offered to the community," Harrington said. "The winners are selected based on their demonstration of leadership and their providing a service that benefits the community."

Each student received a certificate, and each school was presented with a book with a plate inscribed with the winners' names.

The winners

Winner Amy Just received the award for her work as a volunteer at West Side Manor. She read an essay explaining her motivations for spending her extra time at the senior home on Long Branch Road.

"I started going with a neighbor and her son," Just said. "Now I can't stop going I felt like I brightened their day, and they always brightened mine. I plan to go there for a long time."

The Nate Perry Peer Mediation Team took home the other award. The team, made up of Holly Bunyea, Christina Hodson, Tiffany Lacik, Noah LoConte, Drew Nann, Breanna O'Reilly, Alex Pham, Marisa Pizzuto and Stephen Robbins, presented a video they'd made describing what peer mediation does. The team works with students with problems or conflicts to try to bring about a peaceful resolution without involving administrators. The program helps students work together to find their own solution. The team also works with younger students on a weekly basis, discussing peaceful conflict resolution.

Speaking for the team, Marisa Pizzuto thanked the library and Rotary Club for the award. "It's a great honor," she said.

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