Young Citizen of the Year for 2017
This Westie will be awarded to a high school student in the Westlake area who has contributed time, energy, and heart to both their school community and the Westlake community at large. It is in recognition of their outstanding contributions through community service activities that have made them an inspirational role model for other students in the Westlake community.
Diego Miro, WHS Senior
Diego is a member of the National Honor Society of Westlake High School, Boy Scout Troop 990, and other organizations. He also volunteers his time with the TopSoccer program and Junior Special Olympics, where he serves as a coach/buddy to special needs children.
Diego’s involvement with the Westlake Youth Soccer Association for many years inspired his Eagle Scout Project. As a player, he received a new uniform at the start of every season. He noticed that he had a box accumulating and decided he wanted to donate the uniforms. He organized a collection drive, reaching out to WYSA, coaches, parents, and soccer players, and successfully gathered about 500 full sets of jerseys, shorts, and socks, most being in almost perfect condition. When it came time to donate them, he partnered with the Rohi Foundation which serves a colonia in the outskirts of Reynosa, Mexico, a community where the average family makes only $6 a day. Rohi was setting up a temporary health clinic but had trouble getting kids to attend. The day before the clinic, Diego worked as a translator to spread the word of the clinic and the services Rohi provides, delivered much-needed toiletries, and used the uniforms as incentives for the children to get wellness checks. The day of the clinic, the turnout of children was amazing! Over three days, over 250 kids got a wellness check and soccer uniform, two things they don't receive very often. Months later, Diego was informed that school attendance rates increased because kids went to the schoolyard to play soccer together and then stayed for classes.
He documented his entire project and trip in a video that captures the excitement of the children when they received their soccer uniforms. Following his Board of Review meeting, a scout leader asked me if I could speak at an upcoming fundraising event. After telling my story and showing the video, nearly half of the crowd was in tears. Thanks to my efforts, as well as those of another guest scout speaker, BSA raised more funds for our less fortunate central TX scout community.
Eve Churchill, WHS Senior
Eve Churchill is a senior at Westlake High School. She has been President of her school’s Community Emergency Response Team (CERT) Club for the last two years. Through her leadership, the CERT Club has volunteered at many different events in the Westlake and greater Austin community, namely providing first aid at home football games and volunteering at the Turkey Trot and Trail of Lights, in addition to assisting with disaster drills for the Hospital at Westlake Medical and the Austin/Westlake Police Departments. Most notably, Eve and her fellow CERT officers have taught hands-only CPR to 740 EISD middle-schoolers in the last two years, inspiring young students to join the health science program at WHS and potentially saving countless lives. In addition, school administrators requested Eve and her CERT Club create an age-appropriate active shooter video for the EISD elementary and middle school students. Due to their heavy involvement in the Eanes community, accumulating several thousand combined service hours, the CERT Club was awarded the Eanes School Safety and Health Advisory Council Honorary Lifesavers Award last May.
Outside of CERT, Eve works as a lifeguard and is very involved with the St. John Neumann youth group. In the past three years she has served as a youth group peer leader, guiding younger students in their faith. Eve was also a member of the Chick-fil-A Leader Academy for two years, organizing service projects for those least recognized in the Eanes school district. Within WHS, Eve is involved with other service groups such as National Honor Society and the Girls’ Education Organization, a group of Westlake students who build feminine hygiene kits for girls in Rwanda. Eve has been awarded the Chaparral Champion Award three times by the WHS administration for her outstanding leadership and involvement both in and outside of the classroom. Through her contributions to the Westlake community and beyond, Eve has earned over 400 service hours during her high school career.
Julia Breeden, WHS Senior
Julia says she has always felt a burning passion to improve the lives and well-being of others. Her high school experiences have allowed her to turn that passion into action. First, she’s been involved in organizations such as National Charity League and Girls Energized Towards Making a Difference. It was her involvement in organizations like these that opened her mind and heart towards what it means to submit time and energy to other people.
She has launched two main initiatives thus far, and each one of them came from a desire to follow passions on particular matters. First, she has always been interested in improving inclusion of special education students and being a friend to all. An unfortunate reality is that special education students are often underrepresented when it comes to school activities and inclusion with general education students with extracurriculars. As a student with a desire to advocate for the equal treatment of others, she decided to extend her relationships with special ed students from inside the classroom to life outside of school. She started an inclusive volleyball team at WHS, where general ed students and special ed students participated in practices and one game during the spring of 2017. With this team, many students from different backgrounds where brought together to form new and valuable relationships, practice teamwork, and simply have fun in a non-school environment. The success of this team was greatly rewarding. Each week she saw the barriers come down and new relationships form. As teenagers, she felt they all just want to feel included and loved.
Aside from special education, her other great passion in life is empowering girls and women, and helping them achieve confidence and equality. Last year, she co-founded a nonprofit called The GEO Foundation- Girls Education Organization. Through this organization, they supply school girls in the East African Region, particularly poor districts in Rwanda, with supplies to sew their own menstrual products. Unbeknownst to many, girls in these areas often miss out on educational opportunities due to their periods. When they begin menstruation, with no medical supplies to handle their periods, these girls will miss almost a quarter of their school days. These missed days compile until many girls often drop out of school, leading to early marriages and the furthering of the poverty cycle. The mission of GEO is to empower girls and instill a sense of self-worth through supplying the tools to attain educations and become the powerful global citizens each and every girl deserves to be.
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