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.
Elementary School Winner
Eloise was nominated by her third-grade teacher, Ms. Katie Digui. Eloise is a positive role model through her words and her actions. She ALWAYS tries her best. Whether she is working on a tricky math problem, pushing herself to read fluently, singing in the school choir, or playing with friends out at recess, Eloise is showing the world her best self. Even when she is upset or frustrated, she still acts respectfully and does her best to show compassion. Eloise has not been dealt an easy hand – she has already had to face many challenges at such a young age. Eloise has hearing loss in both ears, so she wears hearing aids to help her better interact with her environment. She has learned that her hearing aids are nothing to be ashamed of – instead she helps friends understand that this difference really doesn’t change who she is. She sees her academic challenges as an opportunity to grow. She is excited to come in, ask questions, try even when she is unsure, practice, share and celebrate her growth each step of the way. Eloise has also lost her mother, and although that hurt and grief still hold a part of her heart, Eloise uses every other ounce of it to love life, love her friends, and give love to all. She chooses each day to push past those ‘things’ that would hold her back to be her absolute best. “She is an outstanding young lady, and I am so excited to see who she chooses to be and what she chooses to do when she gets older!”
Eloise chose for her $500 prize to be donated to METAvivor in honor of her mother, Jessica Karabian. She is happy to donate to an organization that helps those with breast cancer and breast cancer awareness.
Middle School Winner
Seventh grader Elizabeth was nominated by her father, Robert Fluck. Elizabeth’s overcoming obstacles, taking on challenges with determination, and pure grit are some of the many reasons he nominated her. In November of 2018, Elizabeth was diagnosed with Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia. Throughout most of her chemotherapy treatments, she continued to dance at Ballet Arts of Bucks County, attend school and demonstrate astrength and determination that cancer does not define the patient. She was a role model for other girls her age that limitations both physical and mental don’t define what you can accomplish and become. Elizabeth continues to dance today even with Avascular Necrosis of her hip from the steroid regimen that limited her advancement in ballet. She has met all of these challenges head-on and has become a role model for many of her friends that look up to her for what she has overcome. Elizabeth is involved extensively in ballet, volunteers to work at the Laurel Nobilis horse barn, is a high honors student at Lenape Middle School, and has spoken as an ambassador for both the Lymphoma and Leukemia Society and for CHOP’s Parkway run.
In addition, Elizabeth is proudly helping set up the Lizzy Loves Foundation where the non-profit organization will distribute thermometers to cancer patients at various children hospitals throughout the region. “Battling cancer is the ultimate empowerment for anyone, but being a child and going through 36 months of chemotherapy treatments and numerous health setbacks that derailed her from achieving her goals during that time, has created a determination in her unlike any I have seen. Who would have thought that a cancer patient that has a hip which is no longer alive can be a ballet dancer, and a student that missed many days of school for treatments would rise to become a high honors student? It is an easy answer and one I say with the most pride I can muster, Elizabeth did!”
Elizabeth’s $500 award will be donated to Kin Wellness Support. She is happy to support Kin of Doylestown, a wellness and support center free to all local Bucks County residents offering emotional, physical, social, and lifestyle support to those with cancer.
High School Winner
Emerson is in eleventh grade and was nominated by Sue Lee, group leader at Bucks Embrace. “Emme Partyka is the most inspiring and positive human being I have known in my entire life.” Despite her inability to walk, due to her physical disability, she doesn’t let this be a hindrance to anything she aspires to do. Instead, Emme encourages her peers by modeling utmost positivity, with an incessant pursuit to excel by turning her disadvantage into an opportunity to serve others in the community. Emme published an Instagram post after a long and challenging treatment process that she thought would enable her to walk, but she ended up in her wheelchair again. Emme wrote, “My ultimate DREAM is to share my story with the world. I want to give people like me HOPE for their future and let them know that they can make something of themselves without letting their limitations hold them back. My condition is beyond my control, but I REFUSE to let it stop me from doing what I want in life.” Emme’s positivity and strength is undeniable. Emme has been a Student Leader at Bucks Embrace reflecting this positivity and the desire to create a more inclusive environment for our community. She is an ally amongst many minority groups and movements such as Black Lives Matter, LGBTQIA+ Community Rights.
Emme is currently in the process of starting a nonprofit organization called “GetEMMovin’” to provide wheelchairs, canes, orthotics, and other physical equipment to kids and families that are unable to afford them. She is also a part of the West United Club/West Ambassadors program where she was a panelist during the 2021 Diversity Panel, speaking on behalf of people with different abilities talking about her experiences, and different ways we can approach different walks of life. Emme understands clearly what she is in control of and what she is not. She understands that her disability is something that she does not have control of, but her response and her outlook on her condition is something that she absolutely does. She acknowledges the impact that she has on her peers and the community when she maximizes and leverages her potential to the fullest.
Emme is giving her $500 award to her non-profit Getemmovin.org that she started. It provides wheelchairs, canes, orthotics, and other physical equipment to kids and families that are unable to afford them.
Elementary School Runner Up
Sixth grader Maya was nominated by a friend’s mom, Kelly DeJong. Maya is full of energy, ideas, and inspiration. Her confidence pulls others in to work with her to accomplish goals. She started at a new elementary school this fall and within months, she pulled four of her new friends together to raise $100s for a great cause. She found out about plastic pollution and worked with her guidance counselor to plan a school-wide fundraiser. She led a team to work off school hours to create a convincing presentation, flyers, and a video announcement broadcast to the entire school in time for Team Seas Day. Students were encouraged to dress in an ocean theme or blue/green to participate and make a donation. Actual tons of plastic removal was funded by this effort. Additionally, she is promoting younger girls in her school for recognition too. As a school safety patrol member, she nominated a student on her bus who was selected for an award for exemplifying safety and responsibility on the bus.
Maya is excited to donate her $100 award to Carbon 180 whose mission is to help eliminate legacy carbon emissions and create a better climate.
Middle School Runner Up
Grace is a seventh-grader who was nominated by her rabbi, Elyssa Cherney, and Hebrew tutor, Stacey Frank. Rabbi Cherney said she nominated Grace because she is an extremely inspiring individual. Truly empowered by learning new skills and utilizing resources in her environment to create a way of giving back. During the pandemic, Grace and her sister created a business, 2YardNinjas, as their B’nai Mitzvah project. They created lawn signs to bring joy and happiness to families’ lives. They then used the money raised to give back to the community as a mitzvah (good deed) project. Currently, 2YardNinjas has donated over $6,000 to the following organizations (listed in no particular order): Morgan’s Light, NOVA, Kind Like Joey, Travis Manion Foundation, Bucks County Housing Group, Habitat for Humanity, Friends of Delaware Canal, Between Friends Outreach, Bringing Hope Home, CB Cares Educational Foundation, Bucks for Kids, Safe Harbor of Chester County, Jackson Sadlowski Memorial Fund, NAMI’s local Bucks County Chapter, Alex’s Lemonade Stand Foundation, RSRT organization, Bucks County SPCA, and A Woman’s Place. Grace also handles the social media and advertising management, overseeing finances, organizing customer orders, and delivering signs for her business.
Rabbi Cherney said, “I have been so impressed with these girls and their giving spirit. Grace has risen to the challenge of running a business at this age as well as accomplishing so much in her life. She continues to learn and carry out her values in the community and school as well. The business itself brings such joy and happiness to families as well as making sure that they donate money back into the community. They wanted to ensure that other families had the same opportunities that their family had. I know that she will go far with the hard work and ability to be creative, carry out a plan, organize a project, and using money in a thoughtful way.”
Ms. Frank said, “There are many ways that Grace is a positive role model for girls her age, but the one that stands out to me the most is how she decided to handle the pandemic. She easily could have retreated into her own world, but instead, she decided to help others around her. Grace is compassionate and shows empathy to others in a manner that is beyond her 13 years. Grace is also known to possess a quiet strength, a deep empathy for those around her, and is a fierce supporter for those who may not have a voice in the community.” Grace once told Ms. Frank, “I will also speak up for human rights that are being violated, such as LGBTQ+ topics and racism. It is important to me to speak up for those that may not be able to stand up for themselves.”
Grace will be donating her $100 award to NAMI, the National Alliance of Mental Illness of Bucks County.
High School Runner Up
Tenth grader Keira was proudly nominated by her father, Ross Seidman. Keira spends a lot of time volunteering with both peers and youth. She is also an entrepreneur running her own company. The impact she has on others is tangible, and it also inspires her peers to follow suit and join her. During the summer, she goes from “Miss Keira” as a volunteer CIT at Silver Lake Nature Camp to “Coach Keira” at the Bucks County Girls Softball League summer clinic. At both places, the young kids adore and look up to her. Instead of choosing a job with a paycheck, Keira chose to be an unpaid volunteer at SLN Camp, because she loves working with kids and teaching them about the environment, leading nature trails, kayaking, and fishing. Softball is her longest love in life. She cherishes the opportunity to teach young girls the sport she loves so much. She is well known as the go-to person for any math help, and Keira is always willing to put aside what she is doing to help someone else.
Last year, Keira started a craft business with her sister called STEAMcraft. She donates and sells her STEM kits that she makes to use as activities with students. She is part of the Bensalem Young Entrepreneurs, a group of local K-12 students that make and sell their own products and services. Keira is on her nationally ranked high school robotics team. During a competition, she was a hero to the team when she fixed their robot just in the nick of time in a high pressure situation which kept their team in the competition and allowed them to make it to the playoffs. This year, she was selected to the PIT Team as a sophomore. She is only the 5th girl to ever be selected to the PIT Team! Keira is in Advanced Placement, Gifted, and Honors courses, has earned a 1st place award in the regional Pennsylvania Junior Academy of Science competition, plays in the town’s Police Activity co-ed street hockey league, and plays for the Bucks County Girls Softball League where she became a standout player at first base. Keira is known by her teachers, coaches, family, and friends for her professionalism as well as her agreeable and team-first attitude.
Keira is happily donating her $100 award to Bucks County Girls Softball League where she proudly coaches.
2022 Honorable Mentions
Elementary School Honorable Mention
Fourth grader Aditi was nominated by a relative. Aditi is confident and believes you can succeed if you work hard for it. This showed through with her science experiment, She believed she could do it, and her experiment was selected and launched via SpaceX to the international space station! Aditi spreads kindness to all. She is persistent in her dance competitions and works hard to take part in the NASA stem activities. She also loves to enter writing contests. The success of her science experiment showed her power of imagination, confidence, and belief in science and how all of that can help empower a girl to achieve her goals, no matter her age.
Middle School Honorable Mention
Gabriella was nominated by her teacher in eighth grade, Mr. Joseph Fabrizio, who said, “Gabriella is an exceptionally motivated young lady who seeks and accepts responsibility and is destined for GREAT success in her MOST bright future.” At school, she is the class treasurer for a very active Student Council. In addition, she is a member of the Varsity girls basketball and volleyball teams. She excels as a member of the Reading Olympics club at school. She also plays on two travel basketball teams and one volleyball team. She has made the distinguished honor roll every marking period while a student here at Holland Middle School. In his experience as a Marine Officer for over 20 years of active service and as a school teacher in this district for over 25 years, Mr. Fabrizio has the responsibility for supervising/educating thousands of Americans. He said, “I would DEFINITELY rank Gabriella in the top 1 percent of all people I have EVER supervised/educated. She will excel in any environment. She is West Point/Ivy League/CEO/Flag Officer material.”
High School Honorable Mention
Twelfth grader Kriti was nominated by her college/career coach, Linda Hollenback. Kriti is an incredibly bright, hardworking, intellectually curious, and dedicated student and leader. She is passionate about making positive change and envisions a future where technology and medical science come together to improve the quality of life for people living with neurodegenerative disorders (e.g. Alzheimer’s) and their families. She wants to discover through medical research and technological developments how to take back the years of life that these diseases steal from families. She also wants to serve as an educator and advocate for dignity in dying, so patients and families feel supported, educated and confident as they make important life decisions. Kriti’s commitment to her goals and her impressive resume make her a positive role model for peers and others who meet her. She is committed to her academics, driven to find opportunities to expand her knowledge and exposure to the medical profession through shadowing, volunteering and club leadership. She holds several leadership roles, is active in engaging her classmates in service for health-related nonprofits, and tutors her peers and students nationally. Kriti is recognized for her leadership. She represented the student voice on her school district’s PA Youth Survey Committee, analyzing data and bringing forward her peers perspective on drugs/alcohol and violence to effect positive change in her school community. She has pursued EMT training so she can serve her local community (and eventually her college community). With all of these accomplishments and more, Kriti is determined and empowered.