'Do the Right Thing' winners: Fall 2022

Two school resource officers pose with six students

City School District of Albany students continue to lead, shine and excel, and several were rewarded for their efforts Monday from Do the Right Thing.

“Do the Right Thing” is a collaboration between the school district, the City of Albany and the Albany Police Department. Middle- and high-school students are nominated each month for their accomplishments, positive behavior and good deeds. Each month a committee determines the top students, who win Samsung tablets and other great prizes.

Some of the students were absent Monday, but they'll still receive their award and prizes. Students who received top honors for September, October and November were:

Anaya Acevedo, fifth grade, Dual Language Program. She has volunteered numerous times at the Regional Food Pantry, Street Soldier and St. James Food Pantry. She also makes and distributes sandwiches to people in Washington Park and hangs scarves in the trees for whoever needs them on cold days. She assisted in building a little free library at her school and works to keep it filled. She is an avid girl scout, regularly collects for numerous charities and supports many causes.

Paige Cartwright, senior, Albany High School. Why nominated: Has been an intern at Capital Region Physical Therapy this semester for one of her senior year classes. She arrives on time, communicates well with staff members and patients, and works hard while she is in the clinic. She accomplishes her work tasks with a smile, and she is an excellent student when it comes to learning about physical therapy. She is an awesome intern and represents Albany High School well.

Annabelle Clemens, junior, Albany High School. Why nominated: Continues to honor inclusivity in all that she does. As a member of the Best Buddies program, she has been a leader and role model for students with and without special needs. Most recently, Annabelle has recruited students with special needs to help with the morning announcements. No one asked her to do this, but she wants to give the opportunity and empower these students to feel confident and proud of speaking to a large audience and getting outside of their comfort zone. Annabelle is exceptional and goes out of her way to make everyone feel special.

Ty Shawn Edmundson, sophomore, Tony Clement Center for Education. Why nominated: A very respectful and bright young man, every day he works hard to increase his grades and attendance. He always treats his teachers with respect and is an asset to the learning environment.

Javion Edwards, sixth grade, Stephen and Harriet Myers Middle School. Why nominated: He helps every day when he comes to the South End Children’s Café. A positive role model, he helps younger kids get their backpacks together before they leave, puts on their coats and ties their shoes. In the van ride home every day, he helps me buckle the kids into their car seats and he keeps them entertained during the ride home. He is always making pictures and giving them to staff and volunteers, and he is always thinking of others.

Scarlin Elias Figueroa, senior, Albany High School. Why nominated: Goes above and beyond by accepting any academic challenge that comes her way. Her work ethic is impeccable, and she works endlessly to improve her English. She sets a high bar and acts as a role model by supporting her classmates in meeting it. She never misses an opportunity to lift up those around her.

Sha'Miah Hilts, eighth grade, North Albany Middle School. Why nominated: She shows great love and compassion to all. She helps her peers when needed and is a good role model. Her goal is to be successful, not cool. She is not one to judge she has even brought her old coat and shoes to a student in need.

AzAkir Holmes, freshman, Tony Clement Center for Education. Why nominated: He shows determination and maturity in a setting that can be very challenging. Recently, there was an incident in class where a student began to be extremely disrespectful towards him. Instead of retaliating, he chose to separate himself from the situation and focus on his work. After the bell rang, he told his teacher he was extremely upset, but showed restraint because he respects himself and his class.

L’Asia Howard, eighth grade, Stephen and Harriet Myers Middle School. Why nominated: She cares for the people around her and is always willing to help anyone. She is a compassionate, caring and smart student who always is willing to learn, and she is extremely artistic.

Rashad Jackson, sixth grade, North Albany Middle School. Why nominated: Rashad recently started bringing classmates to the nurse for routine visits like med pass etc. when staff were tied up with more needy students in his classroom. Polite, cooperative and patient, he is a great role model to his classmates and others. He is always doing the right thing – often without notice.

AlLexis Johnson, seventh grade, William S. Hackett Middle School. Why nominated: During a test, a student was being disruptive in class. From her seat, AlLexis calmly stood up to the student and told them to stop acting out and then continued to work on her assessment.

Mekhi Johnson, sixth grade, William S. Hackett Middle School. Why nominated: I am nominating Mekhi because he attends rallies to support Black Lives Matter and women's rights, and he stands against racism. He knows the importance of inclusivity and has a huge heart. He has faced many challenges with bravery and resilience.

Wildanie Louis, freshman, Albany High School. Why nominated: Is a quiet, focused student who observes the behaviors of others and discreetly advocated for another student who she thought was being bullied. She said she told a teacher and the young man downplayed the situation. She told another teacher to make sure he wasn't overlooked. Also, in class she actively participates and helps other students. I believe she is the kid who will do the right thing when it doesn't feel popular

Valery Ovalle, senior, Albany High School. Why nominated: She is a caring human being and she helped a woman who’s going through chemo with her hair and makeup. She’s a hard worker and very independent young lady.

Yadiel de Jesus Pichardo Hernandez, eighth grade, William S. Hackett Middle School. Why nominated: A very hard-working student who trying to close the gap as an English as a New Language student, he perseveres and strives to improve his English every day. He doesn't hesitate to ask questions and sets his goals very high.

Edwin Ponce Ortiz, sophomore, Albany High School. Why nominated: Has a great attitude and puts in a great deal of effort to do his best despite health challenges.

Jordy Santacruz Beristain, junior, Albany International Center. Why nominated: At dismissal on Nov. 3, a student targeted and attempted to attack another student. He assisted school security staff by standing between the victim and the attacker.

Rayna Swann, junior, Albany High School. Why nominated: Consistently and constantly strives to do her best in school. She tutors her peers and younger students frequently, meeting via Zoom or at the local library to assist them. In addition, she donates her time doing community service work in youth organizations around the city. She also is the editor of the yearbook and takes time to get pictures at sporting events and other extracurricular activities to ensure students from all paths are included in the yearbook.

NyKwa Terrell, seventh grade, North Albany Middle School. Why nominated: A very positive part of our class community, she is a champion for transgender students and has explained why it is important to respect their name and pronouns multiple times. When someone around her is struggling she offers to help. She is supportive of many different students regardless of their association and gets along well with everyone. She is also indomitable in her positivity and always has a smile on her face.

Celena Walcott, eighth grade, Stephen and Harriet Myers Middle School. Why nominated: She always puts forth 100% effort. She is able to juggle friendships, athletics and academics all while maintaining excellent grades. Besides being awesome at all of the above she is kind to her peers, teachers and staff. Celena's positive attitude is infectious. Celena has also been tutoring her sixth-grade peers in AVID, at times helping them with their work because she is generous with her time and kind to the younger kids.

Know a middle- or high-school student worthy of recognition? Nominate them here.

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