3.4.20 ‒3.17.20 ‒ vol. 16

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HOP & HOP Jr. Awards Announced

Pelham Together recently announced that the Heart of Pelham (HOP) Awards went senior Russ DeVico and junior Stevie Gristina. The HOP Jr. Awards went to Charlotte Drinkwine (8th grade) and George Negrin (7th grade). Pelham Together would like to thank their sponsors, Pelham Civic Association and Junior League of Pelham for their generosity.


Russ DeVico has been an active leader of the Pelham Together Club and Youth Council for the last two years. As part of his work, Russ has organized and implemented several successful teen events for young people in the community, including the Halloween Scavenger Hunt, Yoga in the Park, and Video Game Night.  Russ’s enthusiasm goes beyond just generating ideas—he recruits other volunteers, rolls up his sleeves ready to help with any task, often putting in time behind the scenes, and spreads a positive energy and a smile that makes others want to join. Russ has also been instrumental in connecting with local businesses regarding community campaigns, like Disconnect to Drive, which encouraged drivers to put their phones away.  Finally, Russ works after-school caring for younger children. His impact on young people is equally as impressive. Best captured through this sentiment expressed by one of the children Russ cares for, this child shared, “I love spending time with Russ because he makes everyone feel loved and is so easy to talk to.” Russ sets the example for how a young person can impact his community and create real connections with others.


Stevie Gristina has set herself apart in her work with children in Pelham and beyond.  She touches kids’ lives in many ways - as a volunteer at the Bronx Zoo Discovery Guide program and the Junior League Toddlers in Science program. Stevie tutors her younger peers and walks several children of PMHS teachers to Siwanoy in the morning before school. Stevie is also a risk-taker. She joined the Ardsley Curling Club and became a member of the Junior Curling Team. She also went out for Varsity Track and Field as a sophomore, where she now specializes in shot put and discus throw. Her nominator put it best in saying, “Stevie is determined to try new things and doesn’t worry about what others might say. . . She always looks to see the greater good in others and chooses to be kind to all.” Stevie is a true role model for other children.

The HOP Jr. Award winners exhibit character traits worthy of celebration as well. Both Charlotte Drinkwine and George Negrin were chosen by PMS teachers, guidance staff and administration. Their tributes below speak volumes about these terrific young people.


Lotti Drinkwine has stood out as an extremely determined young woman since 6th grade. She perseveres through hardships and exhibits a resilience that is beyond her years. Lotti has an inner flame and a beaming smile and is so driven to do the right thing without promise of extrinsic reward. This year in 8th grade, Lotti has played an instrumental role in starting a student-formed club at school called the Common Sense Project, with a main goal to help students feel part of a supportive school community. She is a leader among her peers, organizing weekly meetings, and speaks from the heart about the importance of all students feeling accepted. She is caring, considerate, inclusive, and well respected as a voice of reason. PMS staff describe her in this quote from Fred (“Mr.”) Rogers, “If you could only sense how important you are to the lives of those you meet; how important you can be to the people you may never even dream of.  There is something of yourself that you leave at every meeting with another person.”


The second HOP Jr. winner is George Negrin, who, when he arrived at PMS, made an immediate positive impact. He is easily one of the most respectful and most respected students in the building. He holds doors for everyone; he always focuses on the positive; he never engages in bullying or putdowns. George is a true friend to all. On the playing field, George is an accomplished athlete. He won all of his cross country races in the fall, and he is a leader on the boys basketball team. He never boasts in spite of his obvious skills and looks to engage all of his teammates. He is exceptionally competent and entirely unselfish. He is a coach’s dream. In the classroom, George is equally humble.  He is a first-rate ambassador for our school. He has participated in the Pelham Together Summits as one of our top recruits. George is always there to lend a hand and he always makes the day brighter.


All winners received gift cards and were celebrated at a small ceremony hosted at J Café on January 31, 2020.


Do you know a Pelham teen doing great things in the community and who demonstrates compassion, leadership, integrity or determination? Nominate him or her for the Heart of Pelham (HOP) Award!

(https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/HOP2019-20 ) The next round of nominations is due by May 1, 2020.