A selfless concern for others - Travelers Protective Assoc.’s Altruism Award presented to area students
Four area high school students recently received the Travelers Protective Association of America’s Altruism Award, which recognizes those who demonstrate a selfless concern for the wellbeing of others. The awards were presented April 6 at Northampton Memorial Community Center in Northampton.
Freedom HS senior Kerry Callaghan was selected for her natural leadership abilities and her mature, selfless nature, both in the classroom and in the community. Loretta Lohenitz, a counselor at Freedom, spoke on Callaghan’s behalf, saying Callaghan has “a heart of gold and a drive, spirit and influence like no other.”
Callaghan wanted to reach out to every single freshman at Freedom and let them know that “someone cares.” This drive to reach out ultimately led to the creation of the Freshman Welcoming Committee. This committee, led by Callaghan and supported by students, staff and administrators, works during the summer to personally welcome each incoming freshman with a ticket to a home football game. In addition to welcoming new students, Callaghan made sure to treasure the thoughts and memories of seniors by interviewing each graduating student and placing the interviews and memories inside a time capsule to be opened at a future high school reunion.
Callaghan is also on the soccer team, student council, MiniTHON, National Honor Society and is involved with the Special Olympics and Riot Squad. She’s managed to do all of this while holding a 4.2 GPA, a part-time job and continuing with her passion for Irish Dancing for 14 years.
Callaghan plans to attend the University of South Carolina in the fall.
Liberty HS senior Liam Mulligan was chosen for his hard-working, dependable, diligent, caring and compassionate nature. Jennifer Chomo, a Spanish teacher at Liberty spoke on Mulligan’s behalf, and Stephanie Berry, a guidance counselor at Liberty, provided feedback on why Liam was chosen for this award. Both shared that he was a remarkable example to follow for his classmates in school and in the community and they were proud to have met Mulligan and have a student like him at Liberty.
Recently, Mulligan organized a Broadway show tune and holiday coffeehouse at his church to benefit homeless women, with admission being hats, gloves and other winter items to be distributed to the Bethlehem Emergency Shelter System. Mulligan and other students at Liberty came out to entertain with their musical talents in order to help others in need.
In addition to his dedication in the community and academically, Mulligan also served as a leader in the Liberty Grenadier Marching Band, Liberty Theatre, and the Liberty Choir. He was a member of the orchestra, a director at drama camp, the mathematics team, the National Honor Society and the worship team at his church, where he performs music.
Bethlehem Catholic HS senior Dorothy Brill was chosen for her character, integrity and fortitude. John Petruzzelli, Bethlehem Catholic principal, spoke on Brill’s behalf, saying she was an outstanding role model for her peers and faces difficulties with poise.
Brill served as co-captain on the Debate Team, vice president of the Peer Listeners and is a four-year member of the drama club, acting in fall plays and spring musicals. In addition to her involvement in activities, she also coordinated and raised money to fight pediatric cancer with her work and involvement with Mini-THON as the committee head. Brill takes great care in showing kindness in the school community and outside the school, and she will be sorely missed as she moves on to further her education, Petruzzelli said.
Notre Dame HS senior Catherine Kelly was selected for her dedication to her studies, peers and her community. Cheryl Fenton, admissions director at Notre Dame, spoke on Kelly’s behalf, saying she was an outstanding member of her senior class and deserves recognition for all the hard work she has done throughout high school to help others.
Kelly is currently third in her class and is captain of both the soccer and basketball programs, and is also a member of varsity track. She is involved in National Honor Society, SADD, Key Club, Foreign Language Honor Society and Friends Peer Listeners. She is currently vice president of the executive board of Student Council as a co-bonding coordinator and has participated in Notre Dame’s Mini-THON since her freshman year.
Kelly volunteers in the community with the Special Olympics, Miracle League, and girls athletic camps. She plans to attend Villanova University in the fall.
Northampton County Court of Common Pleas Judge Samuel P. Murray was a guest speaker at the awards event. Murray presides over civil and criminal trials and is an associate judge of domestic relations. Murray thanked the students for their service and dedication to the community and for serving as outstanding examples for their peers to follow. He also offered well wishes and career advice for the recipients in their future endeavors.
Saucon Valley HS senior Celia Heenan was chosen for her citizenship, kindness, selflessness and integrity. Cheri Chisesi, a mathematics teacher and co-adviser of student government association at Saucon Valley, spoke on Heenan’s behalf, saying Heenan will be sorely missed when she moves on to college next year.
Heenan has been a dedicated member of the varsity girls soccer team throughout high school and helped deliver the team to a second place finish in the Colonial League and in District XI in 2014. Heenan challenged herself to take on advanced classes such as AP Statistics, and she has done very well academically, keeping up her grades and staying focused. She has been a member of the Homecoming Dance Committee and co-chair of the Mr. Saucon event as well. For three years straight, this event, which Heenan has taken it upon herself to do nearly everything for, has raised over $3,000 dollars for the Four Diamonds charity to provide aid to children with cancer. Chisesi said Heenan displays constant optimism, dedication and a quest for knowledge and she’s made a profound impact on her teachers, classmates and community.
The TPA Post L in the Lehigh Valley is a national nonprofit organization and the largest post of the Pennsylvania division. TPA also has a Post L Deaf and Near Deaf Trust Fund and at this year’s altruism event, a check was presented to Liberty HS senior Carlo Perugini, a wrestler at the school who recently won the District 11 Class 3A championship title.