Rotarian Vincent Chiravalle presents a Distinguished Student of Service certificate to LAHS junior Emily McLaughlin, on behalf of the Rotary Club of Los Alamos as her parents, Anastasia and Heath McLaughlin share the moment, May 23 at Cottonwood on the Greens. Photo by Tim Bullock.
BY VINCENT CHIRAVALLE
Rotary Club of Los Alamos
The motto of Rotary is Service Above Self. To support this motto in each academic year, the Rotary Club of Los Alamos honors “Distinguished Students of Service” in their junior year of high school. Students are first nominated by their teachers who are asked to select those who:
- Have given positive contributions to their high school and/or in the community;
- Have a good attitude toward learning;
- Are good citizens, are respectful of their peers and teachers; and
- Have good grades, attendance and classroom participation.
The Club then selects students based on demonstrated spirit of service and exemplification of the Rotary 4 Way Test:
- Is it the truth?
- Is it fair to all concerned?
- Will it build good will and better friendships?
- Will it be beneficial to all concerned?
On May 23rd the Rotary Club of Los Alamos presented Emily McLaughlin, a Los Alamos High School junior with a Distinguished Student of Service award. Emily is indeed one who has made service part of her life and she is also a very well-rounded student. In addition to having good grades and classroom attendance, Emily is a member of the National Honor Society, the Student Council, the hip hop club and the ballroom dance club as well as being on the prom decorating committee. Emily is student liaison to the LAPS School Board. She is also a student athlete who is a captain of the swim team, and she is part of the Girl Scouts. Emily is finishing her Girl Scout Gold Award project which will be completed in the near future. In addition to these activities, Emily is writing a book about children with Down Syndrome, and how interacting with them can be rewarding and lead to strong friendships.
In her essay Emily shared with the Club one of the challenges facing today’s youth; namely stress associated with preparing for midterm exams and choosing courses for the coming school year. Emily talked about two proposals she made to the LAPS School Board as a student liaison to help lessen the stress and uncertainty many students feel as they are undertaking these activities. She described her two proposals as follows: “I have seen many instances where preparing for midterm exams and course selection have brought much stress to students. I proposed to the school board that teachers report final semester grades, excluding final exam grades, at least 2 weeks prior to the midterm exams. This would prevent the stress of not knowing what students’grades are and would allow them more time to study to achieve the grade needed for their goals. As a separate issue, to help students better understand what courses they need for graduation, I proposed having teachers advise their students about the other follow-on courses they teach, as the next step up from their current class. This would be beneficial to students that don’t know what classes they would like to take for the upcoming school year.”
The Rotary Club of Los Alamos feels that this is a very worthy effort and commends Emily for her service to the youth in Los Alamos.
When receiving the award Emily was joined by her mother Anastasia McLaughlin and her father Heath McLaughlin. Rotarian Vincent Chiravalle conducted the award ceremony. LAHS teacher Christine Engelbrecht nominated Emily for the award.