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Eleven youths honored in Norwich with annual service awards

By Claire Bessette

Publication: The Day

Published May 12. 2014 4:00AM

Norwich - Eleven local teens were honored last week by Norwich Youth and Family Services as this year's recipients of the National Youth Service Awards for their outstanding volunteer service to the community.

The youths either live in Norwich or attend city schools.

Destiny and Miracle Jones are high-honors freshmen at Norwich Free Academy. The twins participate in the Uniform Athletic Program, working with students with disabilities and Special Olympics. The two sing duo in their church Youth Choir and are members of The Faithful Ones Band. They are members of the NAACP Robertsine Duncan Youth Council.

Master Sgt. Sean P. Doran of the Three Rivers Young Marines is on the varsity wrestling team at NFA. Doran assisted with the Thames River Detachment Marine Corps League's 2013 Toys for Tots campaign and planned the Young Marines' Veterans' Day dinner. In October, Doran was selected as the Southern New England Regimental Young Marine of the Year.

Thomas Weigand-Watkinson is an Eagle Scout, an adult leader in Troop 4 and a member of the Bully Busters group in Norwich. He is a member of the Youth Conservation Corp at Mystic Aquarium, and volunteers at Penguin Awareness Day and Long Island Sound Day. He runs activities for World Oceans at Bluff Point in Groton and is planning the Marine Debris Workshop June 13-15 in Mystic.

Motyat (Tia) Olatunmbi has a 4.0 grade point average at NFA while participating in Women's Choir, Morning Announcement Club, the Nexus Black Achievement Group, Etiquette Club, the Pathways Future Educators Club, Varsity Cheerleading and working a part-time job. She ushers at the Spirit of Broadway Theater, is a member of the National Honor Society, Bridges Summer Program and Arts Camp Summer Counselor.

Melissa Weglein is involved Project Outreach at NFA, the Philosophy Club and National Honor Society. She will be captain of the NFA marching band next school year. She is a member of both the Connecticut 4-H Teen Ambassador Program and the New London County 4-H Camp Junior Staff Program. She is a delegate to the National 4-H Citizen Washington Focus Program.

Ben Kremer is a member of the New London County 4-H Junior Staff Program and is an ambassador in the Connecticut 4-H Teen Ambassador Program. He is a member of the crew team at NFA and is involved in the Teen Ambassador Program.

Michael Gootkin has been involved in the New London County 4-H Camp as a camper, Teen Leader, Teen Ambassador and Junior Staff. He planned the Connecticut 4-H Teen Conference for the past few years. Gootkin also helps coach the Special Olympics. He will be working as a full-time adult counselor at the 4-H Camp this year.

Calla Tetreault is a Project Outreach coordinator at NFA as a junior. She is part of the Elderly Outreach Program, which holds events at local nursing homes. She was hired as a therapeutic recreational assistant last August. For the past year Tetreault has held the youth seat on the Norwich Youth Advisory Board.

Allison Grant, a senior student coordinator for Project Outreach at NFA senior, has been a member of the Norwich Youth Action Council since her sophomore year, helping to organize Family Fun Nights, food drives, local cleanup efforts, toy drives and the action council's Flocking Flamingos and pancake breakfast fundraisers.

Nicefero Reyes, a leader in the Norwich Youth Action Council, has run games at Family Fun Nights, works on toy drives, the Flocking Flamingos and pancake breakfast fundraisers. He organized the Wequonnoc School food drive and is organizing a Field Day Family Fun Night for Norwich kids. He has been varsity captain of the NFA cross country team for four years.

c.bessette@theday.com

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