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Young Women of Distinction

Gold Award 1

2017-18 Gold Award recipients: Emily Matthews, Katie Karnes, Hannah James, Danielle Oko, Amanda Higley, Katie Dykstra, Miranda Van Zyl, Celina Johnson, Daria Burdette, and Shreya Ravi. (Not pictured: Brianna Dillard, Jennifer Gordon, Emilie Pearson, Elena Sarabia, Jenni Wilson)

Join Girl Scouts of Gateway Council for an afternoon of celebration honoring girls who have earned their Bronze, Silver or Gold Award. Since 1916, Girl Scouts have been making meaningful, sustainable change in their communities and around the world. These awards acknowledge the power behind each recipient’s dedication to not only empowering and bettering herself, but also to making the world a better place for others. These young women are courageous leaders and visionary change makers. They are our future, and it looks bright!

Gold Award Girl Scouts

Daria Burdette
1Daria Burdette
St. Vincent de Paul thrift store remodel

In her own words: Daria became involved with the St. Vincent dePaul society by helping her grandfather (her sponsor Stephen Sedgwick) deliver gifts from the “Christmas Giving Tree” and her volunteer work with the St. Vincent dePaul thrift store. She recognized a need for improving organization of the merchandise to create a better shopping experience for the customers. Daria and Stephen Sedgwick conferred with the director and transformed the space by cleaning, painting, and designing and installing a movable shelf system. Daria is a senior at Fletcher High School, a four-year varsity swimmer, member of the tennis team, and a member of the National Honor Society.

Brianna Dillard
2Brianna Dillard
Breezy’s Baggies

In her own words: My Gold Award project focused on foster children and their need for everyday items that we tend to take for granted. I met with individuals at Children’s Home Society to discuss the needs of foster children to determine what they needed to be successful in school and at home. I learned that foster children have a great need for hygiene items and school supplies. There is a great need for things like socks, underclothes, deodorant, soap, shampoo, toothpaste and toothbrushes, plus back-to-school items. I created “Breezy’s Baggies” and filled them with school supplies and donated them for the CHS back-to-school drive. I created motivational sayings to uplift their spirits. I created a homework help page outlining libraries throughout Jacksonville, homework helplines and tutoring opportunities. I also donated “Breezy’s Baggies” for the CHS holiday drive. While obtaining donations to create my baggies, I obtained e-mail addresses from as many people as possible to create an e-mail list so that CHS could send communications regarding volunteer opportunities, request donations, etc. Obtaining my Gold Award was a very rewarding project that I will never forget. I have always enjoyed community service but it was very nice to speak with the foster children. I learned that even though they need so much, they were happy and outgoing at the back-to-school event and that they appreciated everything they received. It was a truly humbling experience. My mother’s meet-up group continues to collect donations for back-to-school supplies during the summer and hygiene items during the winter to create Breezy’s Baggies for donations to the foster children in need.

Katie Dykstra
3Katherine Dykstra
Project Carachute

In her own words: My project addressed improving the efficiency of communication between charities and donors to increase community support and involvement. My project addressed the issue of connecting charities and volunteers and pinpointing the donation and volunteer needs of charities. I addressed this issue by creating an Android app, Carachute, which streamlined the connection between charities and volunteers. To bring my project to the community, I partnered with the Beaches Emergency Assistance Ministry (BEAM). I hoped to make an impact by making it easier for volunteers and supporters to obtain information and making it easier for BEAM to communicate that information to their volunteers. Both BEAM and its volunteers and supporters benefitted from my project.

Jennifer Gordon
4Jennifer Gordon
Tourette Tool Kits

In her own words: The goal of my Gold Award project was provide the needed resources about Tourette syndrome to both students and teachers in St. Johns County elementary and middle schools. Growing up as a student with Tourette syndrome, I noticed that although educational materials about Tourette were available, teachers and administrators of schools simply didn’t have the access to the tools to help their students with Tourette succeed. In addition, many families of students with Tourette did not know where to turn to get their students the help they needed.  In order to fix this problem, I decided to create and distribute “Tourette Tool Kits” to all St. Johns County elementary and middle schools. These tool kits contain a binder full of information about Tourette syndrome, helpful tips for teaching and supporting students with Tourette syndrome and accommodation ideas for educators, as well as letters from administers and teachers about how they handled the challenges associated with Tourette in their classroom and school settings. My hope is that through this project no other child will have to experience the hardship of attending a school where their teacher simply did not know how to help them succeed.

Amanda Higley
5Amanda Higley
Anchors Away

In her own words: I organized an introductory workshop for rising sixth graders from Cunningham, Hickory and Timberlin Creek elementary schools to build connections, solve problems and develop leadership skills. Students transitioning from elementary to middle school leave many friends and their teachers and the nurturing environment they are comfortable with and move to a much larger and busier experience with higher expectations. The goal of this workshop was to offer participants a positive experience while making new friends and gaining confidence in themselves. Fifty students  learned about self-confidence, self-worth, self-discipline, motivation and leadership, and had fun with powerful learning, SMART goals, creative critical thinking, problem solving and team building. The participants also donated more than 50 pounds of school supplies to Swiss Point for students in need.

Hannah James
6Hannah James
Enjoying a Beautiful Day!

In her own words: I made two picnic tables for Challenge Enterprise. The reason for doing that was because I was born premature. I weighed 1 pound 8 ounces, and I went to physical therapy and occupational therapy at Light House Learning Center. Unfortunately they closed, so the director partnered with Challenge Enterprise. The only difference between the two is Light House Learning Center is for special needs children and Challenge Enterprise is for special needs adults.

Celina Johnson
7Celina Johnson
Enriching Lives Through Music

In her own words: With my passion for music and my drive to enrich others in culture, I created my project “Enriching Lives Through Music.” The goal of this project was to expose children to the arts, specifically music. Being that music is underrated and seemingly unappreciated in schools, I thought it would be a good opportunity for children to discover a new interest. I first needed to find a place where I could mentor and teach children in need. I landed at the Police Athletic League’s after-school program, and I worked with a group of Girl Scouts there. During the week, I would teach the girls about music theory and the fundamentals of piano, and we also rehearsed various chorus songs of their choice. We learned new things about one another and had fun through the trials, which was the most amazing and fulfilling part of my entire project. At the end of the project, I set up a show for the children to perform in front of their teachers and their peers, which turned out to be a wonderful experience. I wish to work with children like these girls again one day, and improve on myself and enhance what I can do for others.

Kaitlyn Karnes
8Katlyn Karnes
Striving Sea Oats

In her own words: One of the driving factors behind my Gold Award project was human impact and ignorance, which is a main cause of day-to-day beach erosion. I sought to address this issue through public awareness, advocacy, and call to action. I educated members of the public and beachgoers through one-on-one conversations about the importance of the dunes. I presented on the importance of sea oats to our community during an environmental symposium, where I made a major connection to the mayor of Neptune Beach. Afterwards the environmental teacher at Fletcher High School used my poster for other presentations and is keeping it for future events. Through persistent emails with the city manager of Neptune Beach, I accelerated the process of getting signage up at beach accesses that inform the public not to pick the sea oats.

Emily Matthews
9Emily Matthews
Across to Safety

In her own words: Fletcher High School opened in 1964, and since then no effort has been made to implement crosswalks in order to increase pedestrian safety. Located two blocks from the beach, and home to many community events, this struck me as something that needed to be changed for FHS to be a safe zone for the community. Between soccer leagues, football games, and the Boys and Girls Club, we needed crosswalks to safely cross Seagate Avenue on the school’s north side. I worked with both cities of Neptune Beach and Jacksonville Beach, as Seagate Avenue is the dividing line between them. This posed massive communication issues, but with the help of my principal Deal Ledford, my sponsor Joy Chalker, and the entire FHS PTSA I was able to succeed in improving my schools traffic safety, which was astonishingly low with the amount of new teen drivers. In total, three crosswalks, a three-way stop, and the replacement of Seagate Avenue were completed. This has resulted in a drastic decline in the number of accidents, and increased the overall feeling of safety at Fletcher.

Danielle Oko
10Danielle Oko
Sensory Walls for Special Needs Students

In her own words: I created two separate sensory walls for the special needs students at Cunningham Creek Elementary School to provide these amazing children with a place for learning, exploration and fun. I found the current room lacking of supplies, due to limitations in funding and was thrilled to be able to make a lasting impact on the lives of these young students.

Emilie Pearson
11Emilie Pearson
Florida Friendly Gardening and Exotic Dangers

In her own words: My project focused on conservation of native plants and removal of invasive species. I centered my project at my church because there was an extensive problem with invasive species and they needed some new landscaping. My goal was to remove as many invasive species as possible and replace some landscaping with native flowers. I also wanted to educate the parishioners of my church about the dangers of nonnative plants while providing alternative landscaping options for their gardens.

Shreya Ravi
12Shreya Ravi
Spreading STEM: A Camp for Students and Info Session for Organizers

In her own words: Roboneers is a program I created to help introduce elementary and middle school students to STEM and robotics. In noticing a disparity between the number of Lego robotics programs that exist in the Jacksonville area and the number of these opportunities that exist for low-income elementary and middle school students near my high school, I decided to create Roboneers. I created a weeklong summer camp for rising fourth-, fifth- and sixth-grade students at elementary schools near Stanton College Prep. I hosted the camp at my high school, reached out to various organizations such as Stanton PTSA, STEM2 Hub, and Renaissance Jax for support, and was able to create this free opportunity for students to come and learn about engineering and problem-solving. I was able to do so with the help of more than 30 other Stanton students, who have and will continue to help elementary and middle schools students develop engineering and problem-solving skills throughout the school year by establishing and mentoring Lego Robotics after-school programs at their schools via the Stanton branch of the Roboneers Mentoring Club. Since the camp, there has been a growing interest in the community to expand Roboneers, with more than 50 people subscribed to our newsletter, teachers reaching out to establish these teams, and more than 90 percent of students who came to the camp expressing an interest an engineering and science as a career.

Elena Sarabia
13Elena Sarabia
The Morning Star Ambassador Program

In her own words: My project, The Morning Star Ambassador Program, was inspired by my youngest brother who has Down syndrome. I wanted to get involved in his education in some way and ended up gathering a group of high school students to volunteer at my brother’s school, St. Patrick’s Interparish in Gainesville, Fla. Twice a week, the high school volunteers and I would meet in the library and create lesson plans that focused on social work that the kids could work on. The class that we worked with specifically ranged from second- to fifth-grade students. To continue the program, I have left instructions on how to run the program, my book of contacts among various staff members from various schools as well as nine lesson plans for future volunteers. Since the program started and ended, I have already seen an impact on both schools individually. My high school (St. Francis Catholic Academy) now started a Morning Star program of their own, and St. Patrick’s is continuing to pursue in the idea of having the older children come to the school by starting a buddy program.

Miranda Van Zyl
14MirandaVan Zyl
USA Rhino Hero

In her own words: My project focused on the conservation of the worlds’ Rhino population, and to eliminate continued poaching of these gentle giants through education and awareness. To do so, I conducted community presentations to enlighten children and adults to the plight of the Rhino population and the astounding rates at which they are being poached for their horns around the world, that will ultimately force the species into extinction within the next decade. To further extend my reach, I developed a worldwide social media campaign using the handle USARhinoHero. Finally, through identifying the source of the demand I set my sights on connecting with youth in Asian countries to enlist their assistance in educating the older generations. I recruited scouts in these countries to join the fight to save these mammals and help stop the demand for rhino horn, by educating their elders on the fallacies and myths regarding the powers attributed to the rhino horns. I plan to continue my quest to end the poaching that is driving the rhino species to extinction, through social media and the partnerships I have formed with other conservation groups around the globe.

Jenni Wilson
15Jenni WIlson
Another Way Serenity Garden

In her own words: My project was to build a serenity garden at the Another Way shelter for the women and children to give them an area where they can think about their future and process what is happening. It is right next to the playground so the moms can watch their children while relaxing.

Silver Award Girl Scouts

  • Melanie Agustin
    Molly Allen
    Krystabella Anna
    Zoe Bailey
    Kristen Beland
    Shaelyn Bell
    Alexis Brockway
    Grace Bunch
    Lindsay Carnes
    Summer Carrier
    Anne Case
    Sierra Chaney
    Samantha Coen
    Bella Coleman
    Sydney Conrad-Howard
    Marisa Costello
    Kailyn D’Aguiar
    Ella Davey
    Ellie DeVault
    Deanna Dingle
    Madison Dominger
    Alyssa Dunkle
    Briyana Flowers
    Julie Gachette
    Sierra Goodale
    Samantha Grayauskie
    Carmella Green
    Amelia Haynes
    Ashlynn Heron
    Caroline Hiscock
    Brianna Hoffman
    Kenyatta Hogan
    Zoe Holden
    Demi Hudson
    Jaidlyn Jaffe
    Erin Kavanugh
    Morgan Lackey
    Laci LaDue
    Julianna Lee
    Diana Lindros
  • Aliyah Mann
    Rebekah Marcott
    Emily Martin
    Jordan McAlister
    Lauren McCannell
    Abby McCullough
    Alexandria Morejon
    Niala Morris
    Audrianna Mosley
    Kadance Nickmeyer
    Madison Norton
    Elizabeth Nowak
    Erin O’Malley
    Claire Paley
    Bridget Peeples
    Cassandra Peniza
    Darian Pisano
    Kimara Pretlow
    Katelyn Quick
    Veronica Reilly
    Erin Sears
    Lila Sellers
    Lillian Smith
    Grace Stephens
    Molly Straub
    Amber Terrill
    Sophia Tiempo
    Shyanne Totman
    Gabriella Valdivia
    Lailan Walker
    Trinity Warden
    Holly Weeks
    Emily Wilmot
    Amelia Wondracek
    Melanie Wondracek
    Anna Woody
    Savannah Woolever

Bronze Award Girl Scouts

  • Alexandra Abutin
    Jacqui Adams
    Asya Agarwal
    Liliana Alvarado
    Shayln Alvarado
    Kelsey Authelet
    Lily Ball
    Ally Baltean
    Madison Barger
    Kayla Barrett
    Natalie Bastow
    Kaleigh Berley
    Hannah Bier
    Hadley Trista Blitchington
    Moria Bowman
    Angelique Boyette
    Chloe Boyle
    Sydney Brockway
    Vanessa Buckley
    Katrina Bujak
    Kyla Bullock
    Isabel Burke
    Ella Burke
    Naomi Burke-Frey
    Emma Burns
    Trinity Byler
    Alondra Caban
    lsabella Caceras
    Makaila Cain
    Lola Carter
    Cha’nell Chery
    Diana Chirilla
    Amanda Coehlo
    Hannah Coffey
    Kazandra Colbert
    Rose Concannon
    Kirsten Cooper
    Hannah Copper
    Danielle Cowie
    Roisin Crowley
    Abby Dagins
    Madeline Davidson
    Elinor Davidson
    Madeline Davis
    Ella Day
    Allison Dey
    Isabella Dhanpaul
    Mariah Diaz
    Taylor Dickinson
    Layla Driscoll
    Grace Dudding
    Thalia Dunkle
    Mireja Eason
    Abigail Eisen
    Kyra Ellis
    Amber Epperson
    Bre’Asia Faire
    Emily Favorite
    Isabel Fleming
    Samyra Ford
    Margarita Ford
    Larisa Foster
    Lauren Galison
    Kate Gallagher
    Abigale Gartner
    Phoenix Gilstrap
    Macy Gleason
    Iyanna Gross
    Olivia Guernon
    Josephine Guillory
    Emily Hanson
    Brooklyn Hilman
    Kathleen Hippensteel
    Macy Hood
    Nevaeh Hope
    Delaney Howard
    Whitney Howard
    Akayla Jennings
    Julianna Johnson
    Ella Jordan
    Sophia Joyner
    Isabella Joyner
    Ashley Kaufold
    Kaylee Kear
    Bridget Kuhn
    Mallory King
    Bella Lambert
    Megan Lay
    Emma Lemaster
    Victoria Lenoir
    Audrey Leveille
    Abigail Libertone
    Katherine Logan
    Amy Longobucco
    Sarah Lower
    Mimi Macklin
    Ariana Mancheno
    Sofia Maria
    Karlyn Marte
    Julie Martin
    Ella Martinez
    Catalina Martinez-Wittingham
    Kayla Massey
    Karen May
  • Autum McCall
    Madison McInnis
    Madison Merritt
    Julissa Moore
    Dakota Moores
    Eliane Morgan
    Athena Mortimer
    Abbey Muller
    Kara Murphy
    Patricia Nordstrom
    Elizabeth Pall
    Daijah Parrish
    Madison Patchen
    Moira Pechacek
    Lauren Peck
    Isabella Phelps
    Sophia Pollock
    Addison Pollock
    Skylar Prescott
    Mia Prince
    Sierra Proffitt
    Elizabeth Quick
    Julianna Raimondi
    Mackenzie Reed
    Autumn Reed
    Lauren Reichard
    Natalie Reinholz
    Addison Revels
    Aubrey Ritter
    Sarah Delaney Rodkin
    Valentina Romero
    Daisy Ross
    Sydney Roundtree
    Grace Roy
    Catherine Schaefer
    Trinity Senior
    Indigo Senior
    Avery Serokee
    Miranda Shalters
    Grace Shannon
    Lily Sherwood
    Grace Simone
    Natalya Siqueira
    Sidney Snyder
    Megan St. Lawrence
    Addison Stapleton
    Kennedy Stitt
    Emma Strickler
    Xyla Strohecker
    Amelia Jane Sturgeon
    Brianna Sweatt
    Morgan Talton
    Rebecca Tattersall
    Elizabeth Grace Tews
    Paige Thomas
    Ashley Thompson
    Anna Tomlinson
    Lindsey Toombs
    Emilie Toussi
    Brooke Turner
    Anabella Valdivia
    Kimberly VanHoy
    Olivia VanVorst
    Gracie Warring
    Katelyn Webb
    Madisyn Welch
    Eleanor Whisler
    Audrey Whisler
    Piper White
    Zoe White
    Emily Wight
    Abigial Williams
    Jada Williamson
    Shila Wright
    Zoie Wright
    Reagan Yallaly
    Maya Zaldivar
    Camille Zeigler
    Caragh Zeigler
    Elizabeth Zuback