Girls Empowered Award Winners 2021

The girls empowered award is for girls who live in Southeastern PA who show their strengths, knowledge, and confidence in positive ways. The Girl Empowered is resilient and inspires others to do good for others and never give up.

2021 Winners

Sophie Ross

Elementary School Winner

Sophie was nominated by her 6th-grade teacher, Mrs. Vollman who said, Sophie wrote an essay about wanting to help those less fortunate; the fact that there are hungry children in the world is especially close to Sophie’s heart, so she asked to organize a food drive. She approached the principal, received permission, created a committee of workers, created advertisements, did a presentation for other classes, collected, counted, and awarded a prize to the winner class donors.  It was quite an undertaking! This year has been challenging–there are fewer “safe” ways to get involved in the community, yet Sophie made it happen!

Sophie chose Philabundance as her charity to donate to because of her passion to help those who are hungry. Philabundance is especially meaningful to her because she knows it specifically helps people locally.

Summer Laurin

Middle School Winner

Summer was nominated by her 4-H & Girl Scout leader who said, although Summer knows her start in life was far from ideal, she doesn’t let that stop her from working towards a future she wants by making positive choices. Summer is a teen who knows it takes work to achieve goals. As a Girl Scout, she is consistently the top cookie seller in her troop. As a current 4-H Veterinary Science club member, she has given several presentations to the club, including performing a blood draw on a dog and a presentation on canine parasites. In a previous 4-H club, Summer was the club President for two years, and had been nominated for the Chester County 4-H Spirit Award both years. Summer is passionate about animal welfare. She was the first junior volunteer at the Brandywine Valley SPCA in West Chester, PA – asking to volunteer even before they had a junior volunteer program until a staff member finally agreed to “interview” her. By the time Summer turned 15 years old, she’d already provided over 6,100 documented hours of volunteer service to the shelter, involving herself in all aspects of the shelter – everything from fostering bottle-baby kittens to new mothers with their litters (both cats and dogs), walking dogs at the shelter, cleaning kennels, bathing animals, assisting as needed for veterinary intake exams, conducting tours and training sessions for new volunteers, handling adoptions, assisting with animal handling at flight transports, helping in the summer camp program, handling animals at outreach events and mega-adoptions, and so much more. She has earned the gold-level Presidential Volunteer Service Award each year for the past several years, and will be receiving the Lifetime Achievement level award for the Presidential Volunteer Service program this year.

Summer’s troop is planning to use her award donation money to fund service projects to train one or more shelter dogs to be therapy dogs.

Paree Pasi

High School Winner

Paree was nominated by two teachers in Central Bucks School District, Ms. Thomas and Mrs. Curran.  Ms. Thomas worked with Paree on the No Place for Hate and Peer Leader initiatives during her time in middle school.  She said that Paree has remained an active member of her school community since she entered Lenape in 7th grade, and continues to commit herself to better the school community through a variety of avenues. For example, currently she is advocating to have the Hindu holiday Diwali officially recognized on the Central Bucks School District holiday calendar. She began her own petition and reached out to students, teachers, parents, and other stakeholders in the community. Through her efforts, the local teachers’ union has joined this initiative and is working closely with Paree to help get this resolution passed. Paree functions as a role model for all girls her age. She has shown that regardless of age, young girls can drive change, both small and large.

Mrs. Curran, a teacher at Paree’s current high school, went on to say, Paree is exceptional. She is passionate and focused. She is outgoing and kind, which has contributed to the support she’s earned from peers and adults. Through her advocacy for the school district to recognize Diwali, Paree has eloquently explained how this recognition would validate community respect for her beliefs and those of her peers. She was brave and bold to present to the board, and she was so inspiring that she was able to recruit a diverse group of students to attend and show support. As a speaker at a recent event about Uplifting Women’s Voices, Paree was inspiring and voiced support for others. Paree has a bright future in front of her!”

Paree chose A Woman’s Place for her award donation because she believes taking care of women and children who are coming from abusive homes is something so impactful and can save so many lives.

2021 Runners-Up

Naomi Crawford

Elementary School Runner Up

Naomi was nominated by a relative who believes that Naomi is truly a girl who is empowered to change the world one kind of act at a time. She is a Junior Girl Scout and is completing her bronze award for service. She made bracelets for breast cancer awareness and was able to donate $100.00 to Fox Chase Cancer center. She sold Girl Scout cookies and was able to collect enough donations to give 40 boxes to essential workers. She helped me to make over 200 masks for the essential workers. She made cards for the people in the nursing home who could not have visitors for the holiday. She and her troops are collecting books to donate to the newly built library for a school in Liberia. She just received the gold heart award for being a good student and citizen of McKinley Elementary school. She is kind, helpful, and caring. She would give her last to help someone else.

Naomi chose Salt International Ministries for her award donation because she has fun there with her friends doing bible study, playing games, and doing crafts.

Abby Wheatley

Middle School Runner Up

Abby was nominated by a relative who said mental health became very important to Abby when her mental health was dramatically impacted through anonymous threats. Abby shares daily posts about the importance of mental health, respecting gender equality, Black Lives Matter movements, eating disorders, suicide awareness, and the importance of being kind. Abby shared her story right before the school year started in an effort to educate others on the importance of deleting these apps and being kind to one another virtually and in person. She believes her generation can make a difference and she is doing her part to pave the way for future generations to learn how to be kinder to one another. She believes females have a voice and she wants to share hers. Abby has come out stronger on the other end of a tough year and she amazes us every day with her kindness, generosity, and beautiful self, inside and out. She inspires us all.

Abby chose the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation to donate to in memory of her friend, Aubrie Senft Gahman.

Nataliia Konevych

High School Runner Up

Nataliia was nominated by a former boss, Jenya Shuportyaka. As a recent immigrant to the US, Nataliia has faced obstacles in all aspects of life. Nataliia is constantly taking on opportunities to impact her community. She mentors younger children in her church and gives her time freely. Her hard work is evident in the way she tackles goals. Together Natliia and her boss crafted a position that would benefit the company and teach her the skills she would need later in life. While working with her, Jenya watched her go through many transitions, including taking her education into her own hands and transitioning to online learning. She saw her take what she’s learned and help elevate her father’s business through similar practices. Her dedication to setting goals and following through is exemplary for girls her age. Her mind isn’t just focused on bettering her life, but also on bettering the lives of those around her. Overall, Nataliia embodies the definition of ’empowered’ because she sees what she is capable of and continues to push forward in order to better herself.

Nataliia chose St. Jude’s for her donation because kids mean a lot to her. Their smiles are what keep her going.  She feels children don’t deserve to be in pain or to fight cancer or other diseases.  All they deserve is to be happy.

2021 Honorable Mentions

Kathryn Valdes

Elementary School Honorable Mention

Kathryn was nominated by her teacher, Ms. Flanagan, who said, “Kathryn is a positive role model both inside and outside of the classroom. Inside the classroom, Kathryn is extremely driven and inquisitive. The questions that Kathryn asks during class discussions allow for our conversations to go deeper and for all students in the classroom to learn more. Outside of the classroom, Kathryn is a leader on her Doylestown Tigers Travel baseball team in terms of both sportsmanship and athletic ability. For Kathryn, the choice of baseball vs softball was clear. She wants to play baseball, and the fact that she needs to play in a boys league is not an issue of note to her. She is confident in her ability to play and excel. Kat is not focused on being the best girl playing boys’ baseball, she is focused on being the best baseball player she can be. Athletically, Kat is the go-to pitcher on her team. Last season, she faced 100 batters, striking out a team-high of 38. Kat is often approached by opposing team parents and coaches after the game and recognized for her great pitching.”

Avery Jenner

Elementary School Honorable Mention

Avery was nominated by her QUEST teacher, Mrs. Brevic who said, “From the moment I met Avery as a QUEST student in first grade, she has emulated and practiced incredible leadership skills. Not only was she attentive and focused, but she was also always the first to help her classmates. Even when she was busy with her own group, if she recognized a student struggling, she would stop what she was doing and assist that student until they felt comfortable with the activity. She did this, not for recognition, but because she innately was inclined to help while exuding empathy for anyone struggling. As an ambassador and safety for our school, Avery serves as a role model for all students. Because of her good choices and confidence, she was nominated and chosen to assume these roles. This means she can display positive choices and exude her confidence as she leads other students and assists them with understanding the themes of respect, cooperation, responsibility, and sportsmanship that shape our school. There is no doubt the students look up to her and look to her to serve as a leader and role model. In short, there is no doubt Avery is a role model and leader for other girls. I am positive she encourages other girls to be empowered and go after their goals, so they too, can be in control of their future.”

Lilyana Perez

Elementary School Honorable Mention

Lilyana was nominated by her leader/parent, who said, “Lilyana is a born Leader. Lilyana takes charge whenever there is a task to accomplish and never quits! Lilyana has had such a life-changing past year. She has been transferred to another school in another state, separated from her classmates, neighborhood friends, pets, and siblings. Nevertheless, she transitioned like a champ, her grades remain top-notch, her participation in physical activities and groups hasn’t been compromised, and she recently decided to start a community garden to make sure all our neighbors (and pets) are never hungry.”

Adrianna Nelligan

Middle School Honorable Mention

Adrianna was nominated by Bucks County Children and Youth Liaison, Shantelle Gammon, who said that Adrianna is the definition of Girl Empowered. Adrianna approached Bucks County Children and Youth Social Services Agency with a service project in the fall of the pandemic to give a birthday gift to all children in foster care. She set an initial goal of $500.00. This project was successfully executed, and she raised over $12,500.00 in gift cards. Adrianna reached out to several organizations with her plan and received several ‘no’s’ however she did not let that deter her from her goals. Adrianna demonstrated confidence in her ability to execute a plan to help children in need until she reached an organization that assisted her with that goal. Adrianna participated in the Bolt Leadership Program with US All-Star Federation and won the Give Back award. She exudes confidence with her decision-making skills both on and off the mat.

Nora Rosenburg

Middle School Honorable Mention

Nora was nominated by a relative, who said, “Nora has certainly had to stand up for herself in the pursuit of playing baseball. She has run into players, coaches, and parents that continually told her that baseball is for boys and not a place for her. However, through her perseverance, she has found a place where she can pursue her love of baseball in a supportive environment and never lets the people who tell her she “can’t” stop her from doing anything. She is currently in the process of being the first girl to try out for her school’s baseball team. She has plans to play baseball in high school and possibly college. Nora not only stands up for herself, but for others as well. Nora is a triplet and has a brother with autism and so she volunteers her time to work with students with disabilities in the ESY program at school and made sensory kits with her Girl Scout group. She is a kind, smart, supportive young woman who exemplifies what a Girl Empowered should be.”

Savannah Seaman

Middle School Honorable Mention

Savannah was nominated by a relative, who believes that Savannah is an amazing young lady. She wanted to do something to help raise money for cancer when her kindergarten teacher passed away. She was impacted by the loss and ran a Lemonade Stand so that she could donate the profits to cancer research. Savannah has been running her Lemonade Stand since she was 7 years old. She is now 14. What started as a small Lemonade Stand has grown into an annual event that now incorporates a clothing drive and other community events. Over the 7 years, Savannah has donated $14,000 to Cancer Research. She also works with the Klinger Farmer’s Market, Caring for Friends, and the Jewish Relief Agency. Savannah is compassionate and giving and it shows in the way she volunteers in the community! She is an excellent student, a great teammate, and an active volunteer. She always has a smile on her face and is always willing to lend a helping hand. She is an inspiration to her family and friends. She volunteers because she wants to and it shows. She is a born leader and it reflects in everything she does!

Holly Pfizenmayer

Middle School Honorable Mention

Holly was nominated by a relative, who said that Holly emulates the definition of ’empowered’. Holly is confident with herself and the choices she makes.  Holly is a positive role model for other girls because she works hard at everything she does. She works hard to achieve her goals. Holly never gives up. She volunteers with her school, church, and throughout the community. Holly has volunteered at food pantries, performed at a food drive for hunger, made blankets for babies, made cards for kids through Cradles for Crayons, made sleeping mats for the homeless, and volunteered her time for the Project Lit student committee. She is kind, caring, and helpful.

Navi Singh

High School Honorable Mention

Navi was nominated by her college coach, Linda Hollenback, who said, “I’m excited to nominate Navi Singh for the Girls Empowered Award 2021. Navi is not only a stellar student but also a leader in her school and her community. As she looks to college, Navi aspires to become an entrepreneur who expands access to education and creates positive change for students around the globe through innovative educational technology.  While still a budding programmer and graphic/digital designer, Navi strives to respond to challenges and needs faced by her peers and community. She has created a program to help students calculate their GPA in real-time so they can assess their progress. She is very active in her school and has been recognized twice with the POP Peer Leadership Award (2017 and 2019). She is also a tutor at a local tutoring center to support the academic success of elementary and middle school students. Navi is a role model for her peers in all that she does as well as in her commitment to serving her school and community. She would make an excellent representative of Girls Empowered’s values as your 2021 Girls Empowered Award Recipient.”

Elizabeth Butler

High School Honorable Mention

Elizabeth was nominated by a relative, who said, “Elizabeth is constantly thinking about her future. Her dream is to attend Penn State University, receive a degree in Business, and then work towards opening up her own small business. Every summer Elizabeth creates a “bucket list” for herself as motivation to accomplish things she has never done before. Each day she feels joy writing in her journal and uses it as a tool for learning and planning. In 6th grade, Elizabeth was chosen to be a Nova Student and has continued to be a Peer Counseling ever since. In 7th grade, Elizabeth was awarded Student of the Month and currently was nominated to be a Council Rock Ambassador.”

Xiani Coubarous-Carter

High School Honorable Mention

Xiani was nominated by a relative, who said happy to share with us about how Xiani has always carried herself as a role model to her peers, and younger girls. Xiani is involved in her church, as a volunteer Youth Usher. She supports her congregation, by being an attendant to the needs of those who enter the church building or sanctuary. In school, Xiani has been a Board Member and was recently elected Treasurer of the Key Club. She has been an active Key Club member for almost 4 years. Through her efforts, she has been able to visit and provide food to those in need, in the community. She has participated in several volunteer events, involving the elderly, and those less financially fortunate. Xiani has always stood out to her teachers as a helper and a mentor to younger students, since elementary school. She recently participated in a career fair review, where she stood out to an administrator, who invited her to be interviewed. This has led her interview to be shared with her principal and peers, to show her experience and impact with the exploration of college acceptance, in order to reach her career goals. She does not let the adversities of situations hold her back from excelling. She takes challenges, head on.

Sarah Zhang

High School Honorable Mention

Sarah was nominated by Heidi Roux.  They worked on a major campaign together. Heidi said, “Sarah is empowered!” In her volunteer work with Youth 4 Unity she has empowered others by creating the ‘Activist Toolkit’, which is a community blog that highlights ways for students to get more involved in social justice, as well as sharing stories, and read petitions, and share resources and other information. She created a monthly newsletter which is now sent to over 100 subscribers. This newsletter spotlights local minority voices and art and other causes often not found in mainstream media. Sarah stands up for herself and others. She founded the Central Bucks School District’s chapter of Diversify Our Narrative, which pushes for more diverse and anti-racist texts in English classes. She says this is very personal to her because ‘I never want future Chinese American students like me to feel left out, their stories are important enough to tell.’ She was chosen to participate in CBSD’s K-12 Advisory Council to create a new guidance plan in order to strengthen and provide appropriate resources for the academic, social, and emotional needs of students. She has worked with the Doylestown Borough of Human Relations to share the stories of students that experienced discrimination within CBSD, and how proper education on various cultures and experiences could make an impact and create change. Sarah believes the future depends on environmental responsibility so she worked with her Principal and the CBSD IT Department to install Ecosia Initiative on every student’s laptop. It is a search engine that raises money through ad revenues to fight deforestation and plant trees around the world. She has truly made an impact locally and globally. She not only excels in academics but is a community activist who has made a true impact for her peers. She is a role model for me as an adult woman and for all girls.