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Twenty remarkable Hopewell Valley Girls Scouts will be honored at the annual Hopewell Valley Girl Scouts Open House and Award Ceremony, this Saturday, February 2, 2019, at the Hopewell Presbyterian Church. The open house is from 5:15 to 6pm and the public is welcome to attend.

Visitors will have an opportunity to see displays the Scouts have created, and to speak with the girls directly about the impact of their award projects in the community. Brick Farm Market, The Peasant Grill, and Tomatillos* have generously donated a variety of delicious hors d’oeuvres for guests to enjoy.

Service Unit Co-Managers, Heidi Wilenius and Roxanne Clark encourage members of the community to stop in for a few minutes – or stay for the ceremony.

“It is a truly special evening,” said Wilenius. “Girls from all over the Hopewell Valley are being recognized for their accomplishments.”

Clark agreed, “The Scouts have worked very hard on a variety of community projects. The open house is a wonderful opportunity for the community to show their support and learn more about what Girl Scouts are accomplishing right here in Hopewell Valley.”

Hopewell Valley CHS Senior, Anna Lauricella, will receive the Gold Award, the highest award in girl scouting. Her project centered around increasing the inclusivity of her community.

“I live a minute away from the 144 year old historical Woosamonsa Schoolhouse which, because of its age, was not wheelchair accessible,” Lauricella said. “I constructed a wheelchair ramp using the engineering knowledge I learned in my SPIKE Robotics Club at HVCHS. I also constructed a downspout leader drain to prevent rainwater from destroying the foundation of the schoolhouse. Lastly, I repaved the path to the outhouse with gravel. I chose this project because I saw that those with mobility challenges were completely unable to partake in the fun events that happened at the schoolhouse. I wanted to make sure that everyone, regardless of ability, could enter the historical building and enjoy themselves.”

Pictured: Hopewell Borough Mayor, Paul Anzano, thanked Girl Scouts for their work and congratulated them on their achievements at the 2018 Hopewell Valley Girl Scout Open House.

Five Scouts from Troop 70605 will receive the Silver Award, the highest award available to a Girl Scout Cadette: Sophia Noto, Amanda Long, Quinn Merzena, Diana Benford, and Samantha Shaw. The Scouts attend Hopewell Valley Central High School and Stuart Country Day School.

Sophia Noto partnered with the Watershed Institute to create a 24-page coloring and learning book with information about some of the butterflies that are native to the area. This book was featured during the Institute’s annual Butterfly Festival. It includes the description, habitat, and the caterpillar’s diet for each butterfly. The purpose of these books is to educate children so that they can learn about the butterflies while they are drawing.

Amanda Long and Quinn Merzena paired up for their project: making and donating exercise equipment, cat toys, beds, and blankets to Tabby’s Place Cat Sanctuary, in hopes of lifting the cats’ spirits and making their environment happier.

Diana Benford and Samantha Shaw teamed up to create coloring books for children in the community to use in places like waiting rooms and soup kitchens.

“We wanted to help kids in our area by giving them fun when they could use it most,” said Benford.

“Along with creating themed coloring books, we also collected donated crayons from the community to pair with the coloring books,” said Shaw. “After everything was copied, we delivered the coloring books and crayons to Homefront, TASK, and Mount Carmel Guild.”

Nine Scouts from Troop 70381 will receive the Bronze Award, the highest award available to Junior Girl Scouts. The girls attend Timberlane Middle School and Montgomery Lower Middle School. Cassidy Hartman, Clara Morgan, Ella Hoch, Franny Stroop, Sabrina Simone, Lillian Brennan, Raina Jablonski, Shreya Mookherjee, and Tabitha Webster, all worked together to create a website to counter bullying. The site contains important information about what bullying is, ways to take action, ideas for safe havens, inspirational stories, and a bullying “help kit” that lists resources and ways to boost self-esteem. They also included a section for users to leave comments of their own bullying/recovery stories.  You can visit their site at brainsforbullying.com.

Five girls from Troop 70025 will also receive the Bronze Award. Anusha Agarwal, Kathryn Finn, Deethya Karthkvatsan, Nina Plazonic, and Emily Fang raised money and supplies for Mercer County Wildlife Center. They held several drives in schools, libraries, and businesses for the supplies needed by the Center. They also learned about the wildlife in our area and created a presentation for educating younger Scouts.

Following the ceremony, Scouts and their families will enjoy a formal dinner prepared by Antimo’s Italian Kitchen.

The Hopewell Valley Girl Scouts are especially grateful to Antimo’s for making the banquet both delicious and affordable for the Girl Scouts and their families. The Hopewell Valley Girl Scouts would also like to thank Foodie Flowers for generously providing flowers for the occasion. And a very special thank you to By the Numbers Actuarial Consulting, Lear and Pannepacker CPAs, and The Village Learning Center for their sponsorship of the event.

Editor’s Note: Edited to include Tomatillos on 1/30/19.

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