PLAINVILLE - Plainville High School senior Andrew Kane and Cheshire High School senior Alexa Cofrancesco were the recipients of this year’s “Be the Change” awards, presented by the Petit Family Foundation.
The awards were bestowed upon the students at the Petit residence on Red Stone Hill. They were congratulated by several members of the Petit family and Plainville Superintendent of Schools Maureen Brummett.
The “Be the Change” Community Service Awards are earned by Cheshire and Plainville High School students. According to www.petitfamilyfoundation.org , recipients are those who represent the “idealism, activism and kindness demonstrated by Jennifer, Hayley and Michaela Petit.”
Petit said that Jennifer Hawke-Petit was a registered nurse who liked to raise money to fight cancer. Hayley Petit started an MS (Multiple Sclerosis) walk after her mother was diagnosed. She raised $55,000 over 8 years with her team “Hayley’s Hope.” Michaela Petit planned to take over the team after Hayley’s graduation with the team “Michaela’s Miracles.”
Each student received $1,000 and a $500 donation to the charity of their choice Thursday.
“We started this in 2008 because there were awards for every kind of achievement but not community service,” said state Rep. William Petit. “Someone would say that volunteering itself should be the reward, but we think it’s nice to recognize the effort.”
Kane volunteered at Faith Living Church in Plantsville. There, he ran the audio-visual ministry during the Sunday service. He also created CDs and DVDs of the services and volunteered during the church’s summer camp.
Kane chose for his donation to go to Code.org, a nonprofit dedicated to promoting high school students learning computer science.
“I’m incredibly honored to be recognized with this award - my sister got it in 2012,” he said. “I’ve been helping out at my church every Sunday for the past four years. They depend on me to make sure the graphics work and the cameras are pointing at the pastor.”
Kane, who plans to study civil engineering at the University of Connecticut, said he chose code.org as his charity because he said that, while Plainville High School had a good computer science program, he wants other people to be prepared with school projects for an increasingly computer-focused world.
Cofrancesco volunteered with Cheshire’s Lights of Hope. She was named youth ambassador on their executive committee for recruitment of volunteers. She also volunteered for Best Buddies, an organization which helps make friendships for students with intellectual and developmental disabilities.
Cofrancesco chose for her donation to go to Lights of Hope, a group which supports other charities including the Multiple Sclerosis Society, the American Cancer Society, the Cheshire Food Pantry and the Petit Family Foundation.
“It feels pretty good to receive this recognition,” said Cofrancesco. “It’s nice to know that the work that Andrew and myself have done doesn’t go unnoticed. With Best Buddies, the biggest club at our high school, we meet monthly with students with intellectual disabilities and take them out for pizza, proms and parties. I started the Lights of Hope Club at my high school and now it is the second biggest club with 90 members. We raise money for Lights of Hope to give back to charities. It’s nice to know that a lot of that money goes right back into the Cheshire community.”
Cofrancesco plans to study nursing at Sacred Heart University after she graduates.
Brian M. Johnson can be reached at 860-973-1806 or firstname.lastname@example.org.