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Wayne County Life note: The following is the full press release and follow-up to our 15 May 2009 post announcing the selection of Lyons' inaugural class of Youth Ambassadors.

SUBMITTED by Jerry Ashley, Lyons Main Street Program Manager (20-May-2009)

Thursday night, May 14th, at the Lyons Main Street Program’s 1939 Film Retrospective showing of “Ninotchka” at the Ohmann Theatre, eight students from Lyons High School were presented as the newly named “Lyons Youth Ambassadors”. The Lyons Youth Ambassador Program grew out of a desire to fold the Lyons Central School District into the Lyons Main Street Program’s efforts to involve all Lyons civic, fraternal and business organizations with the revitalization of downtown Lyons to attract new businesses and tourism to the village. The Ambassadors will act as a liaison between the High School and other entities to encourage the youths of Lyons to become involved with their community, exhibit Lyons Pride and support the efforts of the Lyons Main Street Program.

Four Junior and four Sophomore high school students were named as the first Lyons Youth Ambassadors. The Juniors, who will serve their Senior year of high school, are: Gino Colatarci, Joanna DeVries, Vaughn Faison, and Ariel Palone. The Sophomores, who will serve their Junior year of high school, are: Lucas Aunkst, Kayla James, Carla Lash, and David Perry. The Lyons Youth Ambassadors themselves will elect one member of their group to provide a voice for the youths of Lyons to serve on the Board of Directors of the Lyons Main Street Program.

Front row: Carla Lash, Joanna DeVries, Ariel Palone and Kayla James
Back row: Gino Colatarci, Vaughn Faison, David Perry and Lucas Aunkst

The Lyons Main Street Program sought students that excelled in leadership, scholastics and community involvement to provide the LMSP with students that would assist in implementing the pilot Youth Ambassador Program as well as the Lyons Junior Main Street Program. The students were nominated for the program by the staff of Lyons High School and discussions were held with the students to gauge their involvement. Each of them saw this program as an opportunity to promote community involvement and to strengthen their college resumes and applications. Here is a brief listing of each of the students’ accomplishments:

Gino Colatarci has been active in musical productions, plays the drums, and is involved in indoor and outdoor track events. He has received citizenship, perfect attendance awards as well as other awards throughout his school career. Gino has been involved for many summers in the Curtain Call Theatre Program and is planning to attend Erie Community College to pursue a degree in Computer Technology.

Joanna DeVries is involved in chorus, band and musicals and is a singer in the Youth Band and Sunday School Teacher for 3rd and 4th graders at Cross Creek Church. She is a member of the Honor Society and Vocal Jazz Ensemble is listed in “Who’s Who” and has been awarded Citizenship Awards. She is interested in singing, teaching and soccer.

Vaughan Faison is a member of the Varsity Tennis Team, Honor Society and Band. He has been named “Student of the Month” and has been involved in the high school musical. His interests include playing guitar, trumpet and tennis.

Ariel Palone wowed everyone with her portrayal of the Wicked Witch in this years’ musical, “The Wizard of Oz.” She plays summer and indoor soccer, softball, and basketball and enjoys going to sporting events with friends, singing, running and spending time with her family on their boat.

Lucas Aunkst is a member of the Junior Varsity Football and Basketball teams as well as Varsity Baseball. He is involved with the American Legion Baseball, a member of the St. Michael Church and Lyons Marching Band. He has won various sports awards, a multiple winner of “Student of the Month” and is interested in baseball, tandeming, fishing and hanging with his friends.

Kayla James is on the board of the Wayne County Department of Aging and Youth, has attended the National Young Leaders State Conference and is involved with softball and cheerleading. She attended the 2009 Presidential Inauguration in Washington, D.C. with the Presidential Youth Inaugural Conference. She has received Citizenship awards, is a multiple “Student of the Month” winner and received an award from the American Academic Achievement Academy. Her interests include softball and having fun with friends and family.

Carla Lash is a lector and Alter Server at St. Michael’s Church. She is involved in chorus, band, the Vocal Jazz Ensemble and the high school musicals. She lists soccer as one of her hobbies but her music is most important to her. She plans to head to college after high school graduation but for now is content to be a positive role model and a good example for young and old alike.

David Perry maintained the highest average in Algebra during ninth grade and lists golf and theatre as two of his interests. He is in the Jazz Band, a member of the Golf Team, has been involved with the high school musical, takes voice and dance lessons, is a member of the Young Americans and attends the Curtain Call Theatre Program each summer. He is currently working at Clifton Springs Country Club.

The Lyons Main Street Program is very excited about the future of the Lyons Youth Ambassadors and looks forward to working with them to build a stronger sense of community with local youths. The Ambassadors will be present for Village, Town and organizational events, such as the upcoming Peppermint Days festival July 8th through the 12th. Each of them will gain experience in public speaking via presentations for and about the Lyons Main Street Program and the Lyons Central School District. Should your organization wish to have one of these exemplary students make a short presentation, please contact the Lyons Main Street Program Manager, Jerry Ashley (315-871-4220) or Lyons High School Principal, Nelson Kise (315-946-2200) to make arrangements. Our congratulations go to the best and brightest of Lyons High School.


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