Optimist Club Honors High School Students|
Former Attorney General Edwin Meese presented awards.
Tuesday, March 22, 2011
Former U.S. Attorney General Edwin Meese III spoke to an audience of 87 Youth Awards of Excellence nominees and their families and friends at the March 16 Optimist Club program at George C. Marshall High School. The awards program, sponsored by the Optimist Club of Greater Vienna for 34 years, honors outstanding juniors from George C. Marshall, James Madison and Oakton high schools.
Optimists, internationally and locally, serve youth, by raising funds for childhood cancer research, supporting local students through competitions and recognition and more. The Greater Vienna chapter inaugurated its Youth Awards of Excellence to single out achievement in six areas of study and participation. Students were nominated, by teachers, advisors or themselves, in academics, citizenship, fine arts, science, sports, and technology.
MEESE, who served under Ronald Reagan, used his experiences working with Reagan to illustrate links between leadership and accomplishment. A McLean resident for more than 30 years, Meese continues to work in Washington. He and his wife Ursula attend Emmanuel Lutheran Church in Vienna. It was his friendship through the church with Optimist Club Youth Director Jim Stivison that brought Meese to the awards program. "This is a very worthy cause," Meese said. "I was happy to come." As a token of thanks, the Optimists presented Meese with a plaque inscribed with the Optimist creed.
"Leadership," said Meese to the assembly, "comes in many forms. In its broadest sense it is always connected to accomplishment." Meese, citing the "great many" leadership lessons he learned from Reagan, referred to a sense of humor and optimism, forward-thinking, the ability to translate vision into action, preparation, integrity and honesty, courage and perseverance as key attributes of leadership.
"The Optimists are honoring your leadership," Meese said to the student honorees.
Of the 87 nominees, three students in each category, one from each participating high school, were recognized as leaders with distinction. In some categories, there were ties in individual high schools and two students were awarded the honor of distinction. Meese handed to these students engraved plaques, congratulating each.
AWARDS OF DISTINCTION were presented to: Yussre El Bardicy, Madison; Peter Bryan, Marshall, and Aidan Smith, Oakton, in academics; Palak Bhandari, accepted by her mother, Oakton; Bethany Hartt, Madison, and Carly Taylor, Marshall, in citizenship; Madeleine Fleshman, Marshall; Sally Jihyun Park, Madison, and Henry Ragan, Oakton, in fine arts; Brie Hayden, Madison; Tianyuan Hou, Oakton; Rebecca Koch, Marshall, Sarah McShane, Madison and Natasha Yaqub Marshall, in science; Cyrus Hashemi, Marshall; Robbie Hecht, Madison; Joseph LeBerre, Oakton; and Maddie O’Beirne, Marshall; Jason Mann, Madison, in sports; Shepket Gheyret, Marshall; Carter Sharer, Oakton and Emma Steinhardt, Madison.
"Each of you has demonstrated leadership," said Optimist president Tom Fraim. "Credit goes to you, your parents and your schools.
"It’s good to try to live up to the Optimist creed."