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Honoring youth for hard work and progress

Since 2003 the Madison County Sheriff's Department has been honoring students to build a positive relationship with at-risk youth in the county, helping youth recognize their potential and encourage them to stay in the county and contribute to their community.

The department is now accepting nominations for the 7th Annual Youth Recognition Award Program. A presentation for the winners will be held at a banquet facility located in Madison County in the month of December. Nomination forms and letter must be received before the end of business Oct. 30. They can be mailed to the Madison County Office of the Sheriff, Attn: Kelly Seale, YRAP Coordinator, 138 North Court Street, P.O. Box 16, Wampsville, NY 13163.

Sheriff's department community service aide Kelly Seale works on this program firsthand and said that Sheriff Ronald I. Cary was the driving force for this program.

Seale said that Cary had seen the program implemented in other sheriff's departments and he wanted to see the same awards program developed here to honor Madison County youth.

"It's a way for us to acknowledge them [students] for efforts," Seale said.

Last year's award ceremony was held at the Rusty Rail in Canastota. Nominated youth were invited to bring four guests to "what could be the first awards ceremony they have ever attended," Seale said. Students got dressed up and received an award for working hard, despite issues they may have faced while growing up.

The board of supervisors, county officials and the sheriff all attended to honor the kids they see as deserving successful students, Seale said.

In a recent interview with Cary, he said that this program is very dear to his heart because it shows that students can be successful in different ways.

"You don't have to be the straight 'A' student or the star of the football team," Cary said. "This is to show someone that has overcome odds and is doing the best they can and trying hard in school."

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