Leah Scalo, a fourth grade student at Park Avenue Elementary, is a budding community organizer who has already exhibited her interest in, and capacity for, leadership as president of the Park Avenue Elementary School Student Council.
“I like helping out with the community, and the Student Council does a lot of fun events,” said Leah, who first learned about Student Council through a friend’s older sister. “She told me all about it and how it was something fun to do, but also that it was something good to do for the school, and I wanted to help out with the school.”
The Student Council’s fall project was centered on Veterans Day. The group organized an assembly on the front field of Park Avenue to celebrate our nation’s veterans. The entire school attended and Leah and the Student Council encouraged their peers to join them in working with Wreaths Across America, an organization that strives to remember fallen U.S. veterans, honor those who serve, and help children understand the value of freedom.
Student Council helped raise money for the group and also placed wreaths at the Orange County Veterans Memorial Cemetery in Goshen. Later in the year, Student Council members also hung ornaments they’d made featuring pictures of veterans on trees at the same cemetery.
“It was nice to be able to do those things, because [veterans] help us a lot,” said Leah. “We raised over $1,000!”
Currently, Leah is helping lead her fellow Student Council members through two more projects, putting together boxes of gifts and making blankets for local children in the hospital. The donations will be going to patients at St. Anthony’s in Warwick, Garnet Health Medical Center in Middletown, and a yet-to-be-determined third location.“We’re going to be giving the boxes to kids who are in the hospital on their birthdays,” explained Leah. “Then we’ll be working on making blankets to give out.”
“Leah has been a great representative and she’s great at organizing and keeping people on track with their projects,” said Student Council advisor Amy Buliung. “The best part about Leah is just watching how she gets everybody involved in what we’re doing. If she notices someone sitting off to the side, she makes sure to include them so that everyone feels involved and part of the process of everything we do.”
Leah said that she definitely plans to continue in student government roles in middle school and high school. She also shared another personal goal: to become a Warwick Wildcat!
She has been learning and playing tennis since the age of four, and playing soccer with the Warwick Soccer Club since she was five. Currently, Leah is excited that her favorite pastime — tennis— and one of her favorite areas of study — writing — have converged in the classroom.
“I am really liking the persuasive writing assignment we’re working on now,” she said. “I picked tennis, and I’m mainly trying to convince people that tennis is the best sport, and that more people should play it.”
Ms. Rose Anne Kuzmiak, one of Leah’s teachers, said that Leah has a positivity and exuberance that make their way into everything she does and affect the people around her.“
Leah is just so well-rounded – she’s talented, she’s artistic, she’s smart, she’s friendly, and she’s outgoing,” said Ms. Kuzmiak. “She brings a great energy and enthusiasm to her schoolwork, her school activities, and her outside activities. She always wants to do the right thing, and she has an excitement that is really wonderful. ”