GSEMA Gold Award Girl Scouts | Class of 2022

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Gold Award Girl Scouts 2021-22



Gold Award Girl Scouts Change the World Gold Award Girl Scouts are change-makers. They have changed the world, changed their lives, and earned the most prestigious award in Girl Scouting. To earn the Gold Award, a Girl Scout identifies an issue in their community, drafts a plan to address a root cause, and leads a team of volunteers to implement it. When the project is complete, the Gold Award Girl Scout and their team have made a sustainable impact on the world that continues to last beyond their involvement. It’s a huge accomplishment that also impacts the Gold Award Girl Scout as a person. How they see the world—and how the world sees them—is forever changed. It’s also a credential that will be with them for the rest of their life; having the Girl Scout Gold Award on a high school transcript or resumé can make a Girl Scout stand out when it comes to college admissions, scholarship applications, internships, and job interviews.

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We Are Girl Scouts

Girl Scouts bring their dreams to life as they work together to build a better world. Through programs from coast to coast, Girl Scouts of all backgrounds and abilities can be unapologetically themselves as they discover their strengths and rise to meet new challenges—whether they want to climb to the top of a tree or the top of their class, lace up their boots for a hike or advocate for climate justice, or make their first best friends. Backed by trusted adult volunteers, mentors, and millions of alums, Girl Scouts lead the way as they find their voices and make changes that affect the issues most important to them. 4


Gold Award Committee Girl Scouts of Eastern Massachusetts would like to thank the following individuals for their significant commitment of time and talent reviewing and approving proposals, supporting girls as they complete their projects, and officiating the completion of projects. Through their dedication to the Girl Scout mission, they are making a difference in the lives of girls who, in turn, are making the world a better place.

• Kati Albert

• Eileen Koury

• Melinda Burrows

• Katelyn Lantz

• Katarina Cheng

• Cathy LeBlanc*

• Vicki Crosson

• Caitlyn LeBlanc

• Kerin Deely

• Courtney Medlin

• Amy Durbin

• Jessi Robinson

• Amy Fong

• Olivia J. Rosenblum

• Stephanie Galvin*

• Paula Ruozzi

• Sara Grady

• Lisa Silletti

• Christine Harnett

• Gail Spring

• Carolyn Hely

• Anne Valade

• Diane Kimball

• Sally Webster

• Sue Kohlman

• Judy Wilchynski

* Committee Co-Chair

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2021-22 Gold Award Girl Scouts Olivia Lu-Alba

Andover Leadership Program for Future Sailing Instructors When Olivia noticed that her community’s boating program could not draw in enough applicants for sailing instructors, she created a project to address the issue. Recognizing the value of this community program, she set up opportunities to teach and train teenagers to be exceptional sailing instructors, which upon completion of this program, they would be the first applicants reviewed in the program’s annual hiring pool. “I love teaching others and sharing what I have learned! I liked being the “moderator/guide” during our group discussions and being able to be the voice that pulls the group back together or settles a debate, etc. I liked the power and confidence I felt when leading these workshops.”

Anisha Aggarwal

Bedford Map to a Healthier Life Anisha’s project brought attention to equity in her community when she noticed that some municipal educational resources were only offered in English though a large portion of residents were not English speaking. By using universally recognized symbols, Anisha created a map that features the parks and trails in Lowell, and includes accessibility icons for facilities and bus stops. She worked with various community outreach non-profits to reach families in Lowell to promote outdoor activities, exercise, and healthy eating that are accessible and simple to do no matter a person’s income or location. “I learned that I enjoy talking to people more than the behind the scenes work.”

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2021-22 Gold Award Girl Scouts Grace Hanegan

Bedford JR. and SR. Penpal Program Grace created the “JR. and SR. Penpal Program” in response to increased social isolation from COVID and a growing number of youth and adults spending more time online in a virtual environment. She reached out to her community and matched students in grades 2-7 with senior citizens to launch a pen pal program designed to encourage a place to coexist through writing. “I learned that I’m not afraid to persevere even if I keep getting told no.”

Katherine Kranz Bedford Erase Our Tracks

Katherine’s project was created in response to the number of cars idling for 1-2 hours, waiting to pick up children from after-school sporting activities. She created a five-minute documentary—shown annually—that provides in-depth information about the impact idling cars in the Bedford high school parking lot emit and the costs it has on the environment and money. “I learned that people are more understanding and willing to do things that are for a good cause and that a lot of my fear was in my head. This built a lot of my confidence in my speaking skills and ideas when talking to important people.”

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2021-22 Gold Award Girl Scouts Allison Hopkins Bridgewater Teen Nutrition

Allison created “Teen Nutrition” to address unhealthy diets of most teenagers, and their lack of knowledge on eating and preparing healthy food. Through hands-on workshops and lesson plans for Girl Scout troop leaders, she was able to teach young people the benefits of having a well-balanced, healthy diet, and how to prepare time and cost-efficient dishes on their own. “The completion of my Gold Award has led me to become more passionate about matters regarding health and nutrition. This has not only inspired the direction of my project but aspects of my personal life as well.”

Abigail Coleman

Carlisle Encouraging Social Interaction in Online Learning Abigail’s project provided a platform for interaction between students in a collaborative manner. Overcoming the obstacle of student privacy, the platform allows students to opt into socialization with other peers in their online and in-person learning environments to create a venue for meeting others, sharing information, and forming peer relationships. “I would say that this project overall helped me grow a lot as a leader, particularly in persistence and patience.”

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2021-22 Gold Award Girl Scouts Allison Shalek

Chelmsford Stopping the Summer Slide Project Allison’s project addressed the summer slide— the period of time in the summer when children most likely to lose reading skills. By creating information pamphlets and presentations, and fun, in-person events, she was able to promote the benefits of summer reading to families in her community. “The most important things [I learned about myself] were that I am a hard worker, independent, and willing to work with others. I have exhibited these things in the past, but they really came to light throughout my project.”

Jenna Ward

Chelmsford Better Representation in Literature to High School Jenna’s project addressed a lack of diversity in literature that is taught at Chelmsford High School, and focused on ways to introduce a variety of stories and points of view into the English curriculum. Jenna lead a team of student and community volunteers to assemble a list of books that represent a more diverse set of topics, characters, and authors, and coordinated with the English department to bring these books into the CHS English curriculum, culminating in new, representative books to read. “Overall, I learned that I have a large capacity for learning and growth, and that I can handle more than I ever thought I could, and that the majority of my community also wants to learn more, be more empathetic, and grow.”

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2021-22 Gold Award Girl Scouts Alexandra Hauber

Duxbury Outdoor Learning Opportunity With schools increasing COVID precautions, Alexandra noticed a drop in interactive learning and opportunities for young students to engage in socialization. Her project leveraged outdoor spaces as teaching and learning tools to provide kids with invaluable time to move around, get fresh air, and socialize more meaningfully with each other. By renovating blacktop and creating fun, educational lesson plans for teachers, she created a creative, outdoor space for generation of students to learn in. “I learned just how difficult using technology to talk with people can be, and electronic communication is something that I’ve gained a lot of practice with throughout this project. I think that I’ve learned that I like talking to people over the phone, or more face to face, rather than waiting for them to open an email.”

Rachel Burke

East Walpole The Sun Defense Initiative Rachel’s project addressed this issue of sun safety and skin cancer by educating community members about the science behind skin cancer (what actually causes sun damage and skin cancer) and multiple ways to protect skin, while still emphasizing the importance that the sun provides for our health in moderation. Her project helped young people understand sun safety, and encouraged healthy habits to use throughout their lives. “The most important quality I learned about myself was my capability to make meaningful change. The project continued showing me my great potential as a young female, and I now recognize how capable I am to think of an idea and implement that idea to be reality.”

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2021-22 Gold Award Girl Scouts Reilly Clark

Easton NRT Scavenger Hunt Reilly’s project, NRT Scavenger Hunts, addressed the issue of children spending more time isolated indoors, rather than outdoors exploring the world around them. She created a series of scavenger hunts for children to safely explore the world around them, learn more about nature and themselves, and develop positive developmental and communication skills. “By working on my Girl Scout Gold Award, learned that I am a leader and can rise to any challenge.”

Arielle Sedman

Easton Adoption: The Loving Option Arielle created her project to erase the stigma of adopting pets from animal shelters. Through an educational social media account and numerous lectures about animal adoption, Arielle was able to share the affordability of this option, and that shelter animals are often very sweet and well-trained. “I learned that I can excel as a leader.”

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2021-22 Gold Award Girl Scouts Carolyn Hagy

Franklin Project Join the Game Carolyn created her project to address the decline in youth sports and general physical activity. She created a video series featuring female athletes of a variety of ages to promote participation in multiple sports, how to stay involved, and how to include caregivers in the process. Carolyn also created a sports opportunity database for caregivers to search local and affordable programs and opportunities. “I learned that I am willing to ask for help when I feel unqualified to complete a certain task well. This will be important in the future, as asking for help is the most important way for people to expand their skills and grow.”

Veronica Lewis Haverhill Mission: Marine

Veronica’s project addressed Cetacean strandings and the inefficient modern strategies used to combat them. Through an organized educational plan, and a group of supporters to sustain the project, she raised awareness about Cetaceans: why they strand, which species are more likely to strand, modern strategies that deal with this issue, how to respond and report stranded or beached marine mammals, and innovations that are being developed to solve this problem in a new way. “A big part of this project was public speaking. Something that I wasn’t very experienced with. However, I practiced and ran through my information many times before my virtual presentations, so now I feel much more confident in my abilities.”

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2021-22 Gold Award Girl Scouts Catherine Delorie

Hingham Literacy Connects Us Catherine’s project addressed aversion or discomfort with reading in elementary aged children. She partnered with Downey Elementary School in Brockton to develop and implement a literacy program into an existing afterschool care program. Catherine collected over 1,000 books for the students, and trained a team of high school mentors to work with the children once a week via Zoom to take turns reading aloud and engaging in activities related to their reading. “I want to continue working as an agent of change in the world, as this project has been an empowering experience.”

Keely Jordan

Hingham Teaching Tolerance Together Keely’s project addressed the issue of religious intolerance in order to make a community that is more understanding and accepting of different religions. She hosted panel discussions for members of her community to learn from local religious leaders about their faiths, and created resources for all to access to continue the work on their own. “I am deserving of the respect of my peers and that when I put my mind to it, I can work on projects that are far more difficult than I initially imagined.”

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2021-22 Gold Award Girl Scouts Brigid Nugent

Hingham Hingham Bee Gardens Brigid’s project addressed pollution, global warming, the use of chemicals on crops, and the rapid increase of parasitic varroa mites that create diseased bee colonies throughout the US. Using native plants, she created a self-sustaining community pollinator garden, and educated her community about climate change and deforestation’s effects on the pollinator population. “I demonstrated leadership by reaching out to multiple different people and bringing them all together to work on this project together, creating multiple presentations, and organizing a community event.”

Marissa Parshley

Hollis, NH Defibrillator & CPR Training for Coaches Marissa’s project addressed the lack of emergency health information offered to athletic coaches, and the fact that they are not required to become first aid or CPR trained. Through her project, she was able to generate awareness about why these life-saving skills are important, and create an opportunity for coaches to become CPR trained, including learning how to use a defibrillator. “Anyone could need CPR at any given time; especially at sporting events, the chance of needing medical assistance is increased. The greater number of people that know how to help, the greater everyone’s health and chances of survival are.”

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2021-22 Gold Award Girl Scouts Rachel Haynes

Holliston Beesiness: An Exploration into the Lives of Bees and the Threats They are Facing Rachel’s project addressed the issue of endangered species or more specifically endangered bees; destruction of bees’ habitats, the use of pesticides, and climate change are all causing the decreasing population of bees. With support from the gardening committee and a local nursery, she created two bee gardens to encourage her community to cultivate bee-friendly plants. Rachel also created curriculum to teach children and adults about bees in fun and engaging ways. “I enjoy being outside. Part of my project, the garden, involved me being outside and planting flowers. I ended up really enjoying the hands-on aspect of my project that allowed me to be in nature and see the results of my work almost immediately.”

Ailene Barry

Hopkinton The Problem with the Textile Industry Ailene’s project addressed the environmental impacts of fast fashion and its toxic system of overproduction and consumption that has made it one of the largest polluters in the world. Through educational pamphlets, workshops, presentations, Ailene educated her community, specifically young women ages 14-25 who typically buy a lot of “fast fashion” clothing, and influenced future purchasing decisions. “The most successful part of my project was when I would connect with people, and receive all their feedback even from people outside my target audience. The most rewarding thing was hearing the moment of ‘Ohhhh! I never knew that!’”

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2021-22 Gold Award Girl Scouts Ellora Hoyt

Hopkinton Keeping Religion Important and Close to Our Everyday Lives Ellora recognized that the school classroom-like settings of her religious education classes created an unengaging environment for its students. She believed that if the rooms had a greater connection to God, then students would make a connection to their religious education. Ellora created prayer cloths and a Mary Table cloth, and placed objects into use around the religious education classrooms and main hall so students, parishioners, and teachers have a greater respect for their holy environment. “In today’s world, many people lose touch or become more distant from their religion as they get older or grow up, and keeping students engaged and reverent in religious education classes can be a step in the direction of keeping young adults more in touch and connected to church as they get older.”

Brianna Bennett-Karshbaum Lexington Crazy for Animals

Brianna’s project brought attention to the caring and helping of injured wildlife. She created a webpage with easy to find information to instruct people on what to do if they find an injured or orphaned wild animal, or found a lost domestic animal. In addition, Brianna developed activities for Girl Scouts, and matched them to badge requirements, to help young people protect and save wildlife with habitats in their community. “I love animals and want to continue to advocate for them.”

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2021-22 Gold Award Girl Scouts Sarah Liu

Lexington The Firefly Project Sarah’s project started with the goal of spreading understanding of the importance of ending the mental health stigma; she understood that a lack of education regarding mental health issues allows society to perpetuate harmful stereotypes. Sarah created curriculum for elementary-age children with age-appropriate mental health information, and created a website and facilitated a seminar to share knowledge about knowledge about mental health and wellbeing, mental illness, how to ask for help when experiencing mental illnesses, mental health stigma, healthy coping mechanisms, body image, helping friends who are feeling down, gender identity, and sexuality. “As a young woman of color, society often does not encourage me to speak up or challenge status quos…Girl Scouts has taught me that girls can be independent, strong, and above all, powerful.”

Shruti Pokharna Lexington Speak Up!

Shruti’s project was dedicated to enhancing the public speaking capabilities of students internationally. Through online and in person camps, workshops, and classes, she led global teams of teachers in creating/teaching robust curriculums for an international audience to develop public speaking, confidence, and argumentation abilities. Classes covered topics such as an introduction to debate, persuasion tactics, opinion-based writing, and speech delivery, and reached over 150 students, from primarily underprivileged backgrounds “The most successful part of my project was seeing the students’ development from hardly stringing a sentence together without stuttering due to a lack of confidence to giving highly persuasive, 5+ minute speeches on issues surrounding their communities and families.”

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2021-22 Gold Award Girl Scouts Amalia Ficociello

Littleton Emergency Room Welcome Amalia’s project focused on reducing children’s fears about going to the emergency room. She created “welcome bags” with simple toys, crayons, and coloring sheets to engage the children so their caregivers can focus on emergency room procedures and treatment for their child. Amalia also made reusable, laminated info cards for hospital staff to visually explain to a child what is happening so they are less afraid. “I learned that doing things and reaching out to people can be difficult. This project made me open up and go out of my comfort zone.”

Massimina Hryckowian Littleton Invisible Link

Massimina recognized that people who have invisible illnesses often feel isolated from the rest of society which makes having open conversations about their conditions much more difficult, leading to stigmatism and mistreatment of individuals. Her project focused on raising awareness in of invisible illnesses by speaking publicly at municipal meetings, and distributing educational brochures through town departments. “Speaking at the Select Board meeting really helped to put my project on the map. The reception I got from that meeting was just absolutely incredible, there’s no words to describe it and no other feeling like it. I remember when I was at the Cameron Senior Center with a table someone told me that they recognized me from TV. It meant a lot to know that my project had reached someone even while they were at home.”

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2021-22 Gold Award Girl Scouts Faith Alves

Mansfield Pollinator’s Garden Faith’s project addressed the world-wide loss of habitats and food supply for all types of pollinators—hummingbirds, butterflies, and bees. As a beekeeper, she understood how she could step up and create change. Faith designed and planted a pollinator garden filled with resources without pathogens, pesticides, or pests, and educated her community through several Earth Day presentations. “I learned that I function well under pressure, and that I can handle anything that is thrown at me.”

Lauren Morley

Mansfield Plastic-less Mansfield Lauren developed a comprehensive educational campaign to raise public awareness, and get a bylaw passed enforcing local businesses to reduce their straw and stirrer distribution. She gathered and trained a team of volunteers, and together they hosted educational booths at community events where Lauren spoke to hundreds of residents about the plastic pollution crisis. She successfully passed a bylaw to ban plastic straws and stirrers in her town, making her how a more eco-conscious place. “I was out of my comfort zone public speaking to all these adults. However, I was so knowledgeable on my project that it became easy for me to share with others, no matter their age or title.”

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2021-22 Gold Award Girl Scouts Christina Fisher

Marion Social Activities for Middle School Orientation When students from three elementary schools from three neighboring towns combine to start 7th grade at a new regional junior high school, students often feel alone, lost, and awkward. Christina’s project addressed this issue by creating three supplemental orientation activities for incoming students to get to know each other before the start of school and form new friendships. “The most successful part of my project was helping students make friends and alleviate their stress and fears about starting 7th grade where three schools merged especially in such an unusual and stressful school year due to COVID.”

Lillian Wilson

Maynard The Impact of Music on Neurological Rehabilitation For Lillian’s project, she partnered with Spaulding Rehabilitation Hospital to enhance their music therapy program for children in their Child Life program. While working with Spaulding staff, she conducted an inventory of instruments, then volunteered with patients to understand how to incorporate musical instruments into a patient’s current rehabilitation plan based on their age, ability, and interest. After making a wish list, she secured musical instrument donations for the program, distributed them to patients, parents, and staff, and facilitated a culminating concert event to demonstrate the instruments. “I learned that I love working with kids and that pediatric therapies are an area where I would like to work in in the future. Music was able to bring together patients, families, and therapists with a shared goal of providing another way to help to heal.”

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2021-22 Gold Award Girl Scouts Lydia Olivieri

Medford Teaching Girl Scouts Gardening Lydia’s project focused on nurturing interest in science and gardening in young girls. She advocated for and acquired a permanent garden space next to a small food pantry for Medford Girl Scouts to sustain. She taught her community how to grow vegetables, maintain the garden, and eat healthily, while also raising awareness about food insecurity. Lydia created a website with all of her gardening information so everyone in her community can start and maintain their own garden. “Lack of gardening and healthy eating knowledge is an issue everywhere, and addressing this issue on a local level and getting people interested can have a domino effect. Although these issues exist everywhere, addressing them locally can still have a big impact.”

Emma Barry

Millis Protecting Our Air: Students Against Idling Emma’s project brought awareness to the negative effects of automobile idling on the environment, as well as the state laws enforced to prohibit it. She presented information to varied community groups, including an assembly of students, a parents’ group at her school, and many community days in her town. Emma connected with the Sustainable Medfield group to include her project as a community-wide “take action” project to encourage the reduction of CO2 emissions in their town. “Throughout this project I learned that I am resilient, and should give myself more credit for that. I was able to weather the challenge thrown my way and still emerge victorious.”

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2021-22 Gold Award Girl Scouts Mary Dougherty

Natick Allergy Awareness Initiative Mary’s project addressed the growing need for knowledge about food allergies, both minor and severe, in school aged children who attend group meals at school. As more and more kids are being diagnosed with a wide range of food allergies, Mary believed it was important to raise awareness in her community. She created four video and lesson plans, each explaining different aspects of food allergies, and presented them to teachers in her school district for the benefit of their students. “Although I faced many setbacks due to COVID-19, school scheduling, and even personal barriers, I am proud that I persisted to complete this monumental project that I can look back on for years to come. This is a sense of pride and confidence that I will carry with me in all of my future life endeavors.”

Fiona Ripp

Natick Coolidge Community Garden Project When Fiona became aware of two run-down garden beds behind a large apartment complex in her town, she stepped up with a solution: create a community garden. Because the residents already expressed interest in this project, Fiona recruited help from local businesses and additional community members to construct the raised beds and donate the fertilized soil and seedlings to bring the garden to life—including four reclaimed metal sculptures created by a local artist. “A community is what creates community, not just one person on their own. I learned that my voice can cause a real impact, and that with my community by my side, I can achieve big things.”

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2021-22 Gold Award Girl Scouts Camille Skala

Needham Promoting the Importance of Local Elections Camille’s project aimed to increase voter turnout in her community and surrounding towns by promoting the role of local government, the positions and responsibilities, and the candidates for this year’s election—specifically raising awareness of the importance of local elections. By partnering with town clerks, she created a direct mail campaign to mail educational pamphlets and voter registration forms to non-registered residents, and created a website for each town to share information about upcoming elections. “The only way to address this national issue is one city or town at a time, which is what I did. I hope I can lead by example for other towns and cities to increase their promotion and education on local elections.”

Audrey Volpe

Needham Dancing to Reduce Textile Waste Audrey’s project addressed the importance of textile recycling by creating a dance costume collection program at her dance studio. She launched the program with a collection event, advocating for repurposing the costumes rather than throwing them away. She collected 246 costumes, and worked with a non-profit to distribute the dance attire to under-resourced children across the globe. Each year, Audrey’s project will be carried on by the oldest students at the studio. “I learned that if I care about something, I can make a difference, even if it is just in my community—any change in the world is a step toward success and any progress is worth it.”

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2021-22 Gold Award Girl Scouts Lauren Walker

Needham Turning Pages for Tomorrow Lauren’s project addressed literacy development in elementary school students. She created a reading program, paring young participants with high school student volunteers for weekly 30-minute reading sessions. Each week, the elementary school student chose to read aloud to, be read to by, or being read to by a high school volunteer with the goal of boosting comprehension, decoding, fluency, language development, and an interest in reading. “I went into the project knowing that I enjoyed working with children and that I enjoy teaching children and other students. No matter what I do in the future career-wise, I hope that I continue to have the opportunity to teach others and/or work with children in some capacity.”

Valerie Goldstein

Newton Highlands Rewriting the Media Narrative Valerie’s project addressed diversity and representation in media. She created a website to promote media diversity, providing an opportunity for anyone in the world to find and rank diverse media. Valerie also hosted a series of events to educate and elevate the importance of a diverse and representative media narrative with experts. Her project will be sustained by the Racial Justice club at her high school. “Media diversity is not only beneficial to minorities, but it helps foster empathy and understanding in people who are used to seeing themselves in the media.”

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2021-22 Gold Award Girl Scouts Evelyn Sanford

Norfolk Crossing the Divide Evelyn’s project addressed the pressing need for positive engagement in civil discourse by promoting healthy conversations between young people, including new voters, who have differing opinions. Through forums and events, she taught people how to actively listen, debate fairly, and use research from credible resources to help her peers engage in current event discussions. Evelyn’s project created a safe space filled with learning opportunities to foster open and honest communication. “I really enjoy researching topics that I am passionate about, and subsequently seeing people’s different perspectives on those issues. I further developed my interest and knowledge in psychology and politics and the intersection between the two.”

Lindsey Mann North Easton Art Outreach

Lindsey’s project addressed the isolation and lack of creativity, especially among the elderly. She introduced an art and creativity program at a local senior living community to encourage opportunities for residents to interact and share a common joy for art. Lindsey created videos to teach various techniques to nurture and express creativity, and the residents learned how to paint and enjoy the process of making beautiful art. “I am very proud of myself and how I was able to persevere through the challenges I faced this year, and was able to organize myself to become very efficient and successful with my project.”

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2021-22 Gold Award Girl Scouts Sarah Taylor North Easton STEM Sisters

Sarah’s project addressed a startling statistic that girls begin show low confidence in STEM at an early age, and often make decisions to not participate in STEM activities. Through a series of robotics workshops, Sarah taught local Girl Scouts about robots in a fun and engaging way virtually, and built LEGO EV3 Robots to complete a challenge that they chose. She connected these activities with robotics badges to build excitement for STEM, and trained her high school robotics team to continue to teach these skills to young girls. “Girls often do not see themselves as capable of being successful in STEM, and so they do not get involved. I worked to change this.”

Cassandra Gordon

Quincy Healthy Home Gardening Cassandra’s project addressed healthy eating through home gardening. She created curriculum for teachers to share with students that includes lessons about why fruits and vegetables are good to eat. Cassandra used a popular online quiz app to get students interested and excited about growing food, and included a hands-on seed germination activity. She made all of this information—and more—readily available through a website, and supplemented the curriculum and tips with family recipes that use at least one ingredient grown in a home garden. “By educating children on this issue, and teaching them to grow their own food, I can help them to create healthy eating habits for the future.”

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2021-22 Gold Award Girl Scouts Grace Hu

Sharon The Breath: Connecting and Bringing Positivity to The Community Grace’s project addressed mental health issues in her community, specifically at her high school which only briefly covers mental health awareness. She created a digital publication, The Breath, as a positive form of media to combat an influx of negativity from social media and news outlets to increase collaboration and cohesion within her school community. “I am most proud that The Breath has become a long-term, sustained project. Some students write every single week, and many have also turned to create illustrations and ideas for the expansion of the newsletter. Instead of something that students would submit to only one time, The Breath has garnered long-term involvement and commitment.”

Jessica Kalmowitz Sharon Kid Connections

Jessica’s project brings attention to the emotional and mental wellbeing of middle school students. She connected middle school students with high school students who met bi-weekly on Zoom— the older students provided mentorship, and the younger students created a new connection that reduced their stress about entering high school. Jessica’s project and curriculum will be incorporated into her school’s Peer Leaders middle school program to continue the focus on peer relationships, mental health, and emotional well-being.

“Mental and emotional health is an important issue to address and now that we have a global pandemic it is even more necessary because it is now a community issue.”

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2021-22 Gold Award Girl Scouts Avery McStravick

Sherborn Expand School District Health Curriculum to Include First Aid for Food Allergies Avery’s project expanded her school district’s health education program to include food allergies, providing students with helpful emergency information, as well as increased empathy coaching for their peers with allergies. She created all the materials to deliver the program, including a slide presentation, video, game, and a hands-on demonstration. In addition to facilitating some of the workshops with 8th grade students, Avery’s work has been incorporated into the district’s first aid curriculum. “By raising awareness and providing education to students in my town, it is my hope that they can help others in any location in the future.”

Emily Worcester Sherborn Women of Sherborn

Emily’s project brought awareness to the lack of representation and recognition of those who identify as women in her town; there is no public documentation—past or present— of accomplishments made by women. After researching her town’s history of women through online databases, primary sources, and the town library’s documents, Emily wrote and designed a book filled with short stories and biographies of dozens of women of history and today, that will be shared with the town library, public schools, and Historical Society. “I was able to advocate for many different causes by writing about the women. These included gender equity, the importance of history, environmentalism, volunteerism, diversity, and others, to influence the lives of young people, and those that read the book.”

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2021-22 Gold Award Girl Scouts Carmela Silvia

Sudbury Building and Supporting Self-Esteem in Elementary School Girls When Carmela discovered that the elementary school in her town did not have receptacles in the bathroom stalls for sanitary products, she created a plan to renovate the restrooms to make sure they were a comfortable place for girls. She painted four bathrooms with calming colors, decorated the walls with words of encouragement, and ensured that each stall had a trash receptacle. Carmela also created a video to remind young people that it’s okay to not feel happy all the time, and to reach out if they see someone who might need a friend. “Elementary school, especially fourth and fifth grade, can be an extremely difficult time for girls emotionally, socially, and physically as their bodies change.”

Kristen Bestavros

Wayland Picture Posts Project: Documenting Our Environment Kristen’s project tackled two issues: a lack of community awareness and lack of ways to monitor our changing environment. Through digital photography, she created a system for community members to take pictures and upload to a website for the public to view and recognize how particular environments change over time. Kristen built and installed “picture posts” on various trails in her town that are registered with the Digital Earthwatch network, and she educated her community on how to participate to benefit conservation efforts. “I learned the responsibilities a project leader takes on and the value of following through with something once you’ve started it. I’m so proud of myself for following through.”

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2021-22 Gold Award Girl Scouts Darcy Foreman

Wayland The Wayland Pollination Education Initiative Darcy identified a need in her community for public education about pollinators and their importance in our lives. After interviewing beekeepers and conservation commissioners, she learned that she could improve this issue on a local level through education. Through events and webinars, Darcy shared educational resources focused on the importance of pollinators in our ecosystem, and provided tips and tools on how to support a healthy pollinator habitat through thoughtful choices and actions. “Change starts small, and I hope that raising awareness of this issue at the local level will be the first wave in a sea of awareness and expanded change.”

Alice Cook

Wellesley Empowering Girls in Music Alice’s project identified a bias during the instrument selection day in her school district; the gender of a teacher can influence a young person’s decision, perpetuating gender stereotypes in music. Alice teamed up with local musicians and intervened. She created a collection of videos from current performing arts students who answered questions about their instrument, prioritizing gender diversity across each instrument. The videos will be shared online with families, and they showcase at least one girl on each instrument, empowering them to choose an instrument without the pressure of gender bias. “The most important leadership skill I put into practice was empowering others to give back in a meaningful way by sharing their own stories about their love for their instruments.”

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2021-22 Gold Award Girl Scouts Clara Eikeboom

Wellesley Invasive Plants Invade: How to Foster a Sustainable Landscape Clara’s project addressed the issue of invasive species by creating a more environmentally friendly and sustainable ecosystem for insects, birds, and animals. She organized a group of community members of various ages to remove native plants from a sanctuary, and taught her team how to properly remove and dispose of the plants. Then she worked with Girl Scout Daisies to plant native seedlings in a sustainable garden, and shared why native species are important to our ecosystem. “I learned that I am able to manage my time well. I had a few time concerns (ideal planting season, ideal invasive plant removal season, and summer job), but I was able to work around these challenges to continue my project.”

Lily McDonough

Wellesley Empowering Kids with Practical Adult Skills After realizing the lack of education on useful life skills in schools across the country, Lily started an initiative to educate children on essential life skills that are helpful to know as an adult. Through what she called “adulting,” Lily’s project covered essential topics such as financial literacy, first aid, and interview preparation. She hosted six workshops, where in addition to these skills, they also maturity and confidence when they need it most in middle and high school. “Even though I’m not planning on going into education or teaching in the future, it was extremely eye-opening to know that my newfound courage and confidence have had a lasting effect on these girls.”

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2021-22 Gold Award Girl Scouts Andrea Villalba

Wellesley Stamp Out Racism Andrea’s project raised awareness regarding cultural appropriation, and terminology interpretation and application for students in middle and high school. Through a dedicated course curriculum that features culture examination and perceptions of racism in social media, she demonstrated how words/phrases can be interpreted as racist. Andrea’s program allowed students to talk about current events such as police violence and critical race theory within a positive framework that supported education and encouraged problem solving. “Racism is pervasive in society at local, state, national and world levels. In order to promote peace, equality, and justice it is imperative that people learn how to accept that humans are equal and entitled to free will, safety, health, justice, etc.”

Maddie Ward

Wellesley Senior Connections Maddie’s project addressed social isolation and loneliness experienced by seniors in her community. By using video technology, she created a program for residents at a senior living and rehabilitation center to connect with their friends and family during the pandemic. Maddie’s program will continue on as a volunteer opportunity for community members, providing the isolation relief that senior living residents often experience. “One of the most important things that I learned was that I really value community and helping others in my community. I want to continue to make a difference in my community and others around me.”

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2021-22 Gold Award Girl Scouts Niharika Chawla

Westford Health Awareness Program for Elementary School Children Niharika’s project brought awareness to the affects that increased screen time have on the development of healthy habits in children. Over the course of nine classes, she taught children how to be mindful of their health, covering topics such as hygiene, nutrition, physical fitness, and mindfulness. “I learned that I have the ability to make a positive and effective difference in my community.”

Rachel Dodos

Westford Lights, Camera, Action Rachel created her project to support a creative outlet for expressing ideas and emotions through video storytelling. She launched a moving making club at her high school that quickly grew to nearly 30 members who are interested in learning and practicing visual arts skills. “The power of film sends a message through the community and can teach students life lessons. Just like history and English, film has the power to convey messages and give purpose to our lives.”

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2021-22 Gold Award Girl Scouts Rohita Krishnakumar

Westford Westford Water Conservation Rohita’s project raised awareness of water conservation, as her community regularly faces summer-time droughts. She worked with the water department superintendent to host online webinars for town members explaining how they can still have all their amenities during the summer while also following the imposed water restrictions. Rohita partnered with the local television network to broadcast the webinar, and she spoke directly to students about how the small everyday things they can do to create a big impact. “To me, a leader is a person who can communicate, listen and do anything to make their vision come to life. Throughout my project, I communicated and led all my team members effectively, while also making sure to keep an open mind and listen to other ideas.”

Erin McEwan

Westford Campaign Against Plastics Erin’s project promoted the negative effects of plastic on the environment. Focusing on singleuse plastics, she worked with the board of health to officially implement a straw ban in her town, lobbied two local grocery stores to start selling reusable produce bags, and hosted a “reusable lunchware challenge” at the elementary school. Erin promoted her efforts with posters and videos to encourage her community to reevaluate their dependency on single-use plastic in their daily lives. “I learned that I can be passionate about a project if I want to be, and it’s good to be more confident in myself.”

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2021-22 Gold Award Girl Scouts Peggy Liu Westford I believe...

For Peggy’s project, she created a club for high school students to talk about civics and current events with the goal of educating her peers on the importance of participating in the election process. This club offered a safe space for everyone to listen, learn, and engage with their classmates, and created an environment for robust conversation that would not normally occur in a classroom. “I would love for teens to get to understand the importance of their voting in elections since it is something that will affect them later on in life and the candidate they select is very important in that aspect.”

Julia Barlow

Weston Clean Trails, Clean Water Julia’s project addressed the importance of picking up and properly disposing dog waste from trails in her community. She held in-thefield education events, workshops for kids, and wrote articles for various newsletters to educate residents on how dog waste can lead to pollution in rivers, streams, and drinking water. By sharing educational posts on social media, partnering with local organizations to update the trail signs along these trails, and flagging dog waste piles on public walking trails, Julia brought much needed attention to this issue. “I learned that I can persevere and overcome any obstacles even when the task seems hard and I don’t want to try and complete it. I was able to do things that I would not have done if it weren’t for the Gold Award project.”

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History of the highest award in Girl Scouts

Golden Eagle of Merit 1916 - 1919

Golden Eaglet 1919 - 1938

First Class 1938 - 1940

Curved Bar 1940 - 1963

First Class 1963 - 1980

Gold Award 1980 - present


Graduating? Become a Lifetime Member today! Lifetime membership is granted to any person who is at least 18 years old or is a high school graduate or equivalent who (1) accepts the principles and beliefs of the Girl Scout Movement and (2) has paid lifetime membership dues. Dues are a one-time fee of $400, but we offer a reduced cost lifetime membership of $200 to any Girl Scout alums between the ages of 18 and 29. And now when you sign up as a lifetime member, $25 of your dues automatically fund a year of Girl Scouting for a girl in an underserved community in your area.

Simply register at girlscouts.org/gradltm


Girl Scout Mission

Girl Scouting builds girls of courage, confidence, and character, who make the world a better place.

Girl Scout Promise

On my honor, I will try: To serve God* and my country, To help people at all times, And to live by the Girl Scout Law.

Girl Scout Law

I will do my best to be honest and fair, friendly and helpful, considerate and caring, courageous and strong, and responsible for what I say and do, and to respect myself and others, respect authority, use resources wisely, make the world a better place, and be a sister to every Girl Scout. *Members may substitute for the word God in accordance with their own spiritual beliefs.

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