20 outstanding youths, 3 dedicated adults honored by Youth Board

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 14 May 2015 at 12:00 am

Photos by Marsha Rivers – The Orleans County Youth Board honored these adults – Jeannine Larkin, Kathie Valley and Dr. Clark Godshall – during the 33rd Annual Youth Recognition Banquet at Hickory Ridge Golf and Country Club.

HOLLEY – The Orleans County Youth Board honored 20 youths for community service and, in some cases, for extraordinary efforts in their families.

The students and three adults with a long record of commitment to youths were all recognized on Thursday evening during the 33rd Annual Youth Recognition Banquet.

The Youth Board chose two honorees for the Helen Brinsmaid Professional Award, given to a paid professional “whose work exceeds normal expectations.”

Dr. Clark Godshall has been superintendent the past 16 years at the Orleans/Niagara BOCES. He has been a role model to school administrators and a strong advocate for Orleans County youths. Godshall expanded services for students with disabilities, added electives for students and boosted adult programming at BOCES.

Godshall has pushed for student achievement and academic rigor with a leadership style that is thoughtful, compassionate, empathetic and serious, the Youth Board said.

Jeannine Larkin has worked for the Orleans County Child and Family Services since 1992. For the past decade she has been a supervisor of foster care/preventive services after working as a caseworker in child protective, preventive and youth diversion services.

She oversees a staff that usually is working with 150 children receiving services in the foster care/preventive unit.

“In Jeannine’s line of work, there are no easy answers, no quick fixes, many sleepness nights, countless hours away from her own family and very few win-win situations,” the Youth Board said.

Larkin remains passionate about her job and is committed to local children.

“She is often putting the pieces together for families broken by all manner of social problems of social problems or finding a forever family for children who have suffered neglect or abuse,” the Youth Board said.

Todd Draper, a sergeant with the Medina Police Department, was the event’s keynote speaker. He is pictured with Kathie Valley, who was his fourth grade teacher.

Kathie Valley of Medina was presented with the Eileen Heye Adult Volunteer Award. Valley is a retired elementary teacher from Medina who continues to tutor students who need extra one-on-one attention.

She helps on parent conference days and evening events at the school. She looks for ways to boost parent involvement. She advocates for children by facilitating the United Way campaign at the school district. She volunteers with Habitat for Humanity, a Medina food pantry, the Festival of Lights, and at her church as a Sunday School teacher.

The Youth Board also recognized the following students for their outstanding service:

Albion: Kevin Alvarado-Rosario, Adryan Cheeseboro, Jordan Deskins and Morgan Seielstad.

Holley: Samantha Barniak, Cameron Bennage, Claudia Drechsel, Zachary Farruggia and Lucas Silvis.

Kendall: Tania Arellano, Marisa Hanlon, Taylor Kingsbury and Kellie Moore.

Lyndonville: Trevor Bentley, Rachael Kiefe and Keighlin O’Connor.

Medina: Aracely Hernandez, Abigail Maines, Jonathon Thomas and Emma Wilson.