Each year the Cape Ann Forum presents a Gloucester High School senior (or seniors) with an International Awareness Award.
2016 INTERNATIONAL AWARENESS AWARD
Forum organizers bestowed their 11th annual international awareness award on Gloucester High School standout Cara Stockman in recognition of her efforts to bring attention to a wide range of social and environmental issues among her peers, her extensive record of community service and her outstanding academic performance. She is the driving force behind the high school’s Environmental Club and the burgeoning cafeteria composting program there and spearheaded donations of produce from the club’s gardens to the Open Door. She’s also been active in animal rights and, according to her teachers, “brings awareness of the local and global implications of environmental decisions to all her activism.”
Stockman has been active in the community in a variety of capacities that reflect the range of her interests. She was a volunteer at the Sawyer Free Library when she was in middle school and won a Sawyer Medal for meritorious scholarship this year. She played one of Cinderella’s stepsisters in the GHS Theater production of “Into the Woods” this spring and was a mouse in a GHS production of “The Ash Girl” last fall. But her acting career may have been launched four years ago when she appeared in the Annisquam Village Players production of “The Wizard of Oz.” She’s been riding the tornado ever since.
GHS teachers nominated her for the Cape Ann Forum award, which comes with a framed certificate of merit and a $500 scholarship. “Cara is someone we can all be proud of as a community for what she’s done already and what she has in front of her to accomplish,” said Forum chair Dan Connell, who presented the award. “We’re really proud to recognize this now and look forward to following her progress in the future. An honor roll student ever since middle school who was inducted into the National Honor Society last year, she will attend Boston’s Simmons College in the fall to study physical therapy and environmental science.
2015 INTERNATIONAL AWARENESS AWARD
Gloucester High School senior Rachel Shahin received the Cape Ann Forum’s 10th annual international awareness award at City Hall on Sunday, May 3 in recognition of her efforts to bring attention to environmental issues among her peers and for her extensive record of community service. Rachel Shahin is the president of the Gloucester High School Environmental Club and the secretary of Rotary International’s Interact Club, a community service club that raises money for local and global causes. Teachers at the high school nominated her for the award, which came with a framed certificate of merit and a $500 scholarship. “Rachel is someone we can all be proud of as a community, especially the high school, which provided a place for her to thrive and grow despite the tight budgets and limited resources they have to work with there,” said Forum chair Dan Connell, who presented the award. “Kudos to her teachers and her parents for nurturing such an impressive young woman, whose values and aspirations can be seen in her choice of where to go from here.” Shahin has been active in the Backyard Garden project at the school and played a lead role in the E Club’s effort to expand its recycling program this year. They also launched a new composting program for the school cafeteria. The club won an Awesome Gloucester Award this year to fund the new initiatives, an achievement that Shahin said was due to the hard work of all those who worked on it with her. “It was a team effort,” she insisted. She also jumped into the Atlantic in February for the annual Polar Plunge to support Rotary’s campaign to wipe out polio, and she played a character from the movie “Frozen” at last December’s Pathways for Children Christmas party, much to the delight of the children. For all her extra curricular activity, Shahin has been is a top student at the high school throughout her four years there, consistently making the honor roll. Next September she starts a new educational journey at Philadelphia University in sustainable architecture, where they describe their mission as “producing leaders in global sustainability.”
2014 INTERNATIONAL AWARENESS AWARD
Gloucester High School honor student and human rights activist Nicole Bauke received the 2014 award at City Hall during the organization’s final event of the season, which featured nationally known radio personality Christopher Lydon. Dan Connell presented Bauke with an award certificate and a $500 check, saying it was “in recognition of the pursuit of academic, international and cultural enrichment within and beyond the traditional classroom and a demonstration of exceptional creativity and commitment in educating other students and the wider community on these critical issues.” Bauke will graduate in June with Highest Honors. She has been the president of the school’s Human Rights Initiative for the past two years and is the co-president of the local National Honor Society chapter, and has also has been involved with environmental issues, served on student council, worked on the school newspaper, acted and directed in plays staged by the school’s Drama Club, and written poetry for its online literary magazine “The Elicitor.” Throughout her years at the high school, she has been cause-driven, according to Connell. “She’s organized events, raised funds, led book drives—you name it. Whatever she could do to bring attention to and raise resources for others, she did.” He closed the presentation by reading an excerpt of one of Bauke’s poems that appeared in The Elicitor two years ago, titled “Me.”
i dream of times far from now,
i dream of the unreasonable
i dream of the irrational
i try. i try to try.
My efforts soar alongside me.
I am who I make myself to be.
2013 INTERNATIONAL AWARENESS AWARD
Gloucester High School seniors Madeleine McDougal (left) Elizabeth Stephens (middle) each received a $300 scholarship from CAF chair Dan Connell with a certificate recognizing their “pursuit of academic, international and cultural enrichment within and beyond the traditional classroom and a demonstration of exceptional creativity and commitment in educating other students and the wider community.” The candidates were nominated by their teachers at GHS. Stephens and McDougal are the co-presidents of the GHS environmental club, which is known as the Student Environmental Action League, and co-editors of the school literary magazine, “The Elicitor.” Among their many other accomplishments, this year they organized raised gardens at the high school to produce food for local charities, according to their teachers. Stephens is a top student and played Thump in David Campton’s “The Cagebirds” at this year’s regional drama competition involving 100 high schools. Her teachers also called her a “remarkable photographer,” working both digitally and with film. McDougal is also the treasurer of the GHS Human Rights Initiative and has worked with the Youth Food Project. She’s an honor student and a former winner of the Sawyer Medal for outstanding academic achievement. She has also been a star performer on the GHS track team, running the low hurdles. Stephens plans to attend UMass Amherst in the fall to study sustainable agriculture; McDougal plans to attend Bennington College in Vermont to pursue her ecological interests. Both students are accomplished poets who have read their work at the Gloucester Writers Center.
2012 INTERNATIONAL AWARENESS AWARD
The Cape Ann Forum named Gloucester High School senior Maryka Gillis (right) the 2012 recipient of its annual international awareness award. The award, which comes with a $500 scholarship, is given in recognition of a student’s “pursuit of academic, international and cultural enrichment within and beyond the traditional classroom” and her “commitment in educating other students and the wider community on these critical issues,” according to Forum chair Dan Connell. Candidates are selected in consultation with GHS teachers. Connell told the audience of more than 120 at the Unitarian Universalist Church that Gillis’s teachers described her as “a very bright kid who ‘gets it.’ ” Gillis ranks near the top of her graduating class and leads both the Human Rights Initiative and the Environmental Club at the high school, he said. She is also a member of the student council and has been active in numerous extracurricular activities, including the tennis team. Last year she went to Nicaragua to help build homes for the poor. Gillis will spend the summer in Gloucester before she leaves in the fall to attend Colorado College where she plans to study Environmental Science. An avid outdoors enthusiast, she says she looks forward to hiking in the Rocky Mountains, which will be a short stroll from the Colorado Springs campus.
2011 INTERNATIONAL AWARENESS AWARD
Gloucester High School senior Elizabeth MacDougal (right) received the Cape Ann Forum’s sixth annual international awareness award at City Hall on Sunday, May 15, 2011 in recognition of her efforts to bring attention to global environmental and human rights issues among her peers. The $500 award was announced by Forum chair Dan Connell. MacDougal is the president of the Gloucester High School Environmental Club and has spearheaded the vitalization of the Amnesty International Chapter there, helping to transform it into a local Human Rights Club. She is also the top student in her graduating class and has been on the GHS honor roll throughout her four years there. “Elizabeth MacDougal is someone we can all be proud of,” said Connell. “And so is the high school, which provided a place for her to thrive and grow despite the ever-tightening budgets and the intensifying pressures on the dedicated people who teach there.” Under MacDougal’s leadership the Environmental Club organized clean-up efforts in Gloucester, participated in international environmental awareness events, planted raised beds with a district elementary school, researched sustainable energy for the high school, collaborated with the Rockport High School Green Team, and expanded its membership. Meanwhile, MacDougal helped organize the new Human Rights Club club’s first initiative: funding a microloan through the San Francisco-based nonprofit organization Kiva, which provides loans averaging under $400 to small businesses in 60 countries in what it calls people-to-people lending and claims a repayment rate of almost 99 percent. Kiva was named one of Oprah’s “Favorite Things” in 2010. Social studies teacher Rich Francis, who nominated MacDougal for the Forum’s award, described her as “organized, enthusiastic, and inspiring. Her approach is to empower peers by distributing leadership and by providing guidance and support. She has helped lay a strong foundation for the future of both clubs.”
2010 INTERNATIONAL AWARENESS AWARD
Gloucester High School senior Terri Moody (right) received the Cape Ann Forum’s annual international awareness award at City Hall on May 16, 2010 in recognition of her efforts to bring attention to the global environmental crisis among her peers at the high school. The $500 award was presented by Forum chair Dan Connell. Terri’s first initiative this school year was to expand the recycling program into the classrooms that were not yet participating, according to the GHS teachers who recommended her for the award. When no school or city funds were available to purchase additional recycling bins, the Environmental Club under Terri’s leadership organized fundraisers, purchased the bins themselves, and then monitored their use through the school year. In October Terri led a “350” climate change awareness campaign in the high school and participated in the “350” protest at the Man at the Wheel. The global campaign’s goal is to reduce levels of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere to 350 parts per million. In March she led an Earth Hour campaign at the high school and with Environmental Club members wrote a letter to the editor of the Gloucester Daily Times encouraging community members to participate. She is now organizing a bike-to-work/bike-to-school event for late May.
2009 INTERNATIONAL AWARENESS AWARD
On May 3, 2009, the Cape Ann Forum announced its annual International Awareness Award to a graduating Gloucester High School senior who has made an outstanding contribution to increasing awareness of international issues and events to her/his peers. Only this year, there were four awardees. Normally the award is $500 for one recipient, but since GHS teachers had recommended four exceptional candidates this year who had worked as a team on a wide range of social issues since middle school, the Forum decided to increase the award and share it among them. As a result, each received $200. The award winners were Britta Akerly, Emily Castro, Isabel Pett, and Chloe Rideout, cited for their unstinting volunteer work in the school’s Amnesty International chapter, the Model UN, the Environmental Club, and more. Over the past four years, Cape Ann Forum organizers have been developing a relationship with the Gloucester High School out of a concern that the next generation develop the tools and the conceptual framework to grasp what’s going on in the world they will inherit, why that’s important, and what they can do to improve on what we’re leaving them. Forum chair Dan Connell, who teaches journalism and African politics at Simmons College in Boston, has done several assemblies at the high school on his experiences abroad, and the organization is assembling an archive of recordings of previous forums to donate to the school. The Forum, founded in 2001, has been setting aside funds to endow the International Awareness award in perpetuity. Students are selected with the help of GHS social studies teachers.
2008 INTERNATIONAL AWARENESS AWARD
Over last three years, we’ve been steadily developing a relationship with GHS. I went there in February for 3rd time to talk to students about Africa. Meanwhile, GHS teachers worked with us again this year to identify a senior who has made an outstanding contribution to raising international awareness among his or her peers—essentially to do there what we try to do here. And we could not be more pleased with the candidate we have with us this evening to receive the award. Rebecca MacDougal (right) has a lot to be proud of, not least the fact that she comes from an extraordinarily committed family. Her mother, Sarah Latimer, home-schooled her before she entered GHS four years ago. Her older sister Catherine Ann was the coordinator of urgent action for Amnesty International and an activist in the school Environmental Club—what they call the E Eclub—which set the bar high for her little sister. But Rebecca made her own mark over the past 4 years. She spent 3 of them in the E Club and this year was its co-president. She coordinated the school’s recycling program and, according to one of her teachers, she often was the program, running around the school on her own to collect recycling materials. Meanwhile, her family has year in and year out sponsored a child in India and a child in Africa through World Vision, and each Christmas Rebecca has been out cutting wild rose hips with her mom to generate more money for World Vision’s charitable projects. She’s also been out on our beaches with the E-Club in the summers picking up plastic bottles and other recyclable trash. This is a kid who clearly does not let up. And next fall, she’s headed for Messiah College in Grantham, Pennsylvania.
2007 INTERNATIONAL AWARENESS AWARD
This award is given to a Gloucester High School senior who has made an outstanding contribution to raising awareness of international issues among her or his peers. The 2007 award—the Forum’s second—goes to Samantha Alves. Samantha was unable to attend the forum and receive her award, but her mother (in photo at right) accepted it for her. Samantha participates in numerous campus activities that promote an appreciation for human rights and that contribute to international understanding among her peers, and she plays a strong leadership role in several of them. She is the president of the GHS chapter of Amnesty International and an active member of the Model United Nations and Political Asylum, the high school’s political science club. She has written frequently on international issues for the campus paper, The Gillnetter, and she spent two winter breaks doing volunteer humanitarian work in the Dominican Republic. This is a young woman who lives what she believes—and she plans to continue this upon graduation from GHS, working with a major international relief and development organization. We wish her well in these endeavors, and we salute the contributions she has already made to the community and to the wider world in making this a fairer, safer and more just place for all of us.
2006 INTERNATIONAL AWARENESS AWARD
The winner of the 2006 Cape Ann Forum International Awareness Award is graduating GHS senior Laura Griffin (right). This is a young woman who combines high ethical standards with a deep personal commitment to act on what she learns. She is a sparkplug among her peers and exerts strong leadership in almost everything she takes on, according to those who know her. Laura helped start the youth group at the UU Church 4 years ago—many of whose members are with us tonight. Also very active in GHS drama club, writing plays as well as acting in them, with minimal support from a way overstretched faculty—who also deserve recognition for all they do in these belt-tightening times as pressure builds to focus all energy on test-taking rather than critical thinking—but that’s another story—maybe another forum. What brought Laura to our attention is her unstinting work with the GHS chapter of AI and her unrelenting effort to heighten awareness there and in wider community of the genocide talking place in Darfur, Sudan. In this respect, Laura represents the best in her generation—and society at large—someone who cares deeply about the suffering and injustice, but finds that caring is not enough in the face of the worst crime that human beings are capable of—the effort to erase the existence of an entire people—and that action to stop it is necessary not only to help the victims but to maintain her own humanity.