Good for you: Two honored at Volunteer Stars Award program

Good for you: Two honored at Volunteer Stars Award program

March 21st, 2014 by Susan Pierce in Life Entertainment

Teens honored at Volunteer Stars Award program

Maya Thirkill, left, and Amelia Sullivan have been named Hamilton County's winners of the 2013 Governor's Volunteer Stars Award.

Maya Thirkill, left, and Amelia Sullivan have been named...

Photo by Contributed Photo /Times Free Press.

Maya Thirkill and Amelia Sullivan have been named Hamilton County winners of the 2013 Governor's Volunteer Stars Award. The two were honored along with winners from other Tennessee counties at the sixth annual Governor's Volunteer Stars Awards Program in Franklin, Tenn.

The program recognizes outstanding volunteers from each of Tennessee's 95 counties. Nominations are submitted to each county's mayor, who chooses one youth winner and one adult winner.

Maya, a 15-year-old student at Chattanooga Center for Creative Arts, has served as a member of the Girls Inc.'s Infant Mortality Public Awareness Campaign of Tennessee (IMPACT) for two years. IMPACT's mission is to reduce the number of infant deaths in the state. Maya is a speaker who educates people through personal appearances and public service announcements. In addition, she networks with other local service agencies to strengthen partnerships and recruit team members. Her other projects include working to translate IMPACT'S public service announcements into Spanish and organizing a community health fair in one of Hamilton County's high-risk neighborhoods.

Amelia Sullivan has worked in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit at T.C. Thompson Children's Hospital at Erlanger as a volunteer cuddler for 16 years. Though babies in this advanced unit are given highly specialized care, she is there to hold them and rock them when their parents can't do it. She also assists nurses by diapering, feeding and bathing babies. She interviews volunteer applicants and provides their training.

In recognition of her dedication, the hospital placed a plaque in the ward that reads, "This bed is given in honor of Amelia Sullivan, to benefit the many babies who will start their lives here."

Central High newspaper wins state awards

The Central Digest from Central High School won second place in the 2014 Tennessee High School Press Association state journalism contest, the second consecutive year it has received state recognition. The Digest competed with 849 entries from public and private schools.

Student Ray Walker received first in the state for editorial writing and Corey Whitlow placed second in the state for editorial writing and received an honorable mention for news writing. Alex Howard also received an honorable mention in news writing.

Amouzou wins writing award

Teko Amouzou

Teko Amouzou

Photo by Contributed Photo /Times Free Press.

Cleveland State Community College student Teko Amouzou recently won the Tennessee Association for Student Success and Retention Student Honorarium, presented for academic achievement and personal growth.

In order to qualify for the award, students must be first-time freshmen, attend a Tennessee higher-education institution, be nominated by a member of Tennessee Association for Student Success and Retention, submit a 500- to 1,000-word essay regarding impressions of their first-year experience and speak at the Honorarium luncheon.

"I was very excited to win this award," says Amouzou. "I came here last January from Togo, West Africa, a French country, so I spoke French there. I have always been very passionate about the English language, even before I came here. I love to read, but I was not used to speaking English because we don't speak English in my country. I am much better at writing than speaking."

Cleveland State English instructor Jennie Eble nominated Amouzou for the award.

"Teko is focused on working toward academic success and benefiting from his college educational opportunities," Eble says. "Although he has struggled academically at times, through perseverance and a positive attitude, he has used these challenges as opportunities to enrich his own education. It is obvious from his attitude that education means more to him than receiving a diploma; rather, education is a tool for his growth as a person and a member of the community."

Feely wins research grant

Mary Feely is one of three Maryville College students who have been awarded grants for scientific research projects this summer.

The grants, which are awarded by the Lee B. Ledford Student Research Endowment of the Appalachian College Association, provide stipends for students and an allotment for equipment and travel.

Feely, a 2011 graduate of Chattanooga High School Center for Creative Arts and the daughter of Mike Feely and Maria Hurt, will do her research on the American marten in Michigan's Manistee National Forest. She will investigate the marten's prey, differentiating between larger animals, such as squirrels or chipmunks, and species that are smaller and more difficult to catch, such as moles.

Student Winode Handagama will research the effect of temperature on the bioluminescent bacteria (Vibrio fischeri) that inhabit the luminescent organ of the bobtail squid. Ravyn Thompson will study the biological activity of compounds found in English ivy, which has been used for centuries as a remedy for respiratory ailments.