Students Honored for Citizenship, Community Service

By Jann Wiswall

The Cattaraugus County Youth Bureau held a banquet honoring 52 high school seniors who received the Bureau’s Youth Citizenship Awards over the past year. The banquet, held at Holiday Valley’s Main Lodge on Monday, June 22, feted some 180 students and their families and featured guest speaker the Honorable Jeremiah J. Moriarty, III, NYS Supreme Court Justice.

The Youth Bureau has recognized outstanding young citizens of Cattaraugus County each week for more than a dozen years.

Awardees are selected for their demonstrated interest in and commitment to serving their communities and volunteering to help others. Over the past year, awardees have volunteered for fire departments, read to seniors in nursing homes, worked with the SPCA and other community organizations, served with excellence on student councils, contributed time and energy to their churches and devoted themselves to many other leadership and community service opportunities.

During Monday’s banquet, Justice Moriarty thanked the students for “making their communities a better place.”

“Each of us is obligated to undertake something that contributes to the well-being of our society in a very direct way. You are being recognized here for doing just that and I urge you to make that part of your life’s work.”

Moriarty stressed the importance of improving the “quality of life for everyone in your community, especially children. … Some are sick, some are lonely, some are uneducated; most have little or no control over their fate. Give them a hand, give them a chance, give them their dignity,” he said. “No exercise is better for the human heart than reaching down to lift up another person.”

The Youth Citizenship Awards represent an opportunity for the Cattaraugus County Youth Bureau to “celebrate the good,” said Bureau Executive Director Anthony L. Evans. The Bureau’s primary role is to help delinquent, troubled, homeless and other at-risk youth.

The Awards are presented to high school seniors from every school district, town, village and hamlet in the county. If you know a rising senior who you feel is deserving of this award, please download a nomination form at or contact Laurie Peterson at (716) 938-2617.