At a ceremony May 15 at Queens University of Charlotte, the Girl Scout Hornets' Nest Council honored the Gold Award winners for the region. The Gold Award is the Girl Scouts' highest recognition, awarded to members who lead a project that benefits their community.
The following Girl Scouts from the south Charlotte area have been named Gold Award recipients:
Morgan Boyd is the daughter of Mary and Dan Boyd. After receiving approval for a Learning Gallery Renovation at Amay James Preschool, Morgan learned the school would be closed. She turned adversity into opportunity and made oversized art posters that correspond to learning units teachers can use at whatever school they are at next year. She also held a book drive.
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Anne Buie is the daughter of Julia and David Buie. Anne's project, Education Appreciation, was two-fold: To influence middle school students about the importance of education and to collect school supplies to fill 27 backpacks, which were sent to students in the Dominican Republic. Anne also partnered with the Foreign Language Club at Alexander Graham Middle School to lead discussions on other cultures.
Kathryn Byron is the daughter of Dana and Bill Byron. Kathryn's project, Urban Ministry Prayer Garden, created a prayer garden to serve neighbors who visit Urban Ministries, transforming an overgrown area at the entrance into a welcoming area with a tree, benches and plantings. The prayer garden carries on Urban Ministries' choir leader Darrin Nelson's legacy, giving the neighbors a place for reflection and a sense of ownership.
Anna Conaway is the daughter of Maria Elena and David Conaway. Anna's project, Imagine and Learn, provided an expanded learning experience to the students at Amay James Pre-K Center. Anna collected 180 costumes for the students to use in future learning sessions. She also recruited friends to help create sets and a production of "Noisy Nora," one of the books students were studying.
Lauren Heath is the daughter of Tammy and Lawrence Heath. Lauren's project, Wheelchair Wonders, involved making canvas bags designed for wheelchair use, then filling the bags with books and coloring materials. She held Junior Nights, during which Girl Scout Juniors helped make the bags and learned sewing skills. Lauren donated 22 bags to children who use wheelchairs.
Sally Jancula is the daughter of Debbie and Jeff Jancula. While visiting the Levine and Dickson Hospice house during her grandmother's illness, Sally noticed many families without the necessary toiletries for an overnight stay. She also noticed children needed toys, DVDs or books to keep them occupied. Sally spread the word to the community and the supplies began to arrive.
Caroline Lewis is the daughter of Ruth and Richard Lewis. Her project, Swim to Safety, focused on teaching underprivileged children swimming skills. Caroline recruited a professional swim instructor to teach her and a few friends the best techniques to use with young swimmers. Caroline held six clinics over three weekends, and averaged seven to 12 children per session.
Sinclair McLean is the daughter of Laura and Mal McLean. Sinclair set up tutoring sessions for the school-age siblings of children at Central Avenue Bilingual Preschool. Sinclair recruited tutors from her high school. She also collected books and then organized a library for the school. During the summer, Sinclair helped with the opening of a sister location at Caldwell Memorial Presbyterian Church.
Katherine Murray is the daughter of Tina and Mark Murray. While speaking with teachers at the Absolutely Beautiful Children Learning Center, Katherine learned of the center's need for a sensory room. The school educates children with special needs. Katherine, along with her volunteers, designed a sensory room with activities that help special-needs children learn gross motor skills, coordination, and awareness.
Garland Neal is the daughter of Anne and Doug Neal. Garland worked with the Children's Garden at Wing Haven to address the issue of "nature deficit disorder" in children. Through the additions of rain barrels, compost piles, a bog and informational signs, Garland's work added an educational feature to the garden so children not exposed to the outdoors regularly see things they might not know existed.
Rachel Payne is the daughter of Denise and Jeff Payne. Rachel collected art supplies for Arts for Life, an organization that brings art experiences to children in hospitals. Once she collected supplies, she organized a younger-girl event to raise awareness of the program. The girls worked to create 100 art kits, donated to Arts for Life. Rachel then helped distribute the kits to sick children enrolled in the Arts for Life program.
Katie Rango is the daughter of Sharon and Louis Rango. For her project, Katie worked with elementary school students to create lunch bags that she and her friends filled with home-baked goodies for the homeless. At Thanksgiving they passed out more than 300 of the goodie bags. Katie also created travel bags that contained donated toiletry items, blankets and a sleeping bag.
Caley Scheppegrell is the daughter of Holly and Chris Scheppegrell. For her project, she involved older girls in a mentoring and one-on-one academic tutoring program for girls at Charlotte Community School. In addition, she compiled 18 Learning Boxes that provide educational activities for weekends and during school breaks. Caley also has developed a Tutoring Handbook and hopes the local Key Club will maintain the program.