Kennedy Students Chosen for C.A.R.M.A. Award

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For the second quarter of the 2015-16 school year, the Kennedy High School Student Government has selected Mark Reyes and Hamlet Cardenas as recipients of the Cougars as Role Model Americans (C.A.R.M.A.) Award.

When Mark Reyes was 12 years old, he joined the Boy Scouts of America. The goal is to work your way up through seven different ranks by completing certain milestones. After these have been completed and the ranks have been awarded, the boys have the opportunity to obtain the highest and most respected rank of Eagle. This is an extremely high honor that only six percent of scouts go on to achieve and it requires the organization and completion of a service project. This is where Mark stands out from other scouts; he had a larger plan in mind when he joined at 12 years old than the simple projects most boys pick to meet this requirement.  

Mark wanted his service project to leave a mark on the community. He has been working since the age of 12 and saving up his money so that he could use it toward this project that he had planned. Mark also took the initiative of setting up a GoFundMe page to post and send around social media, as well as put together presentations for potential donors in New York City. After much hard work and dedication, Mark was able to raise $3,000 to build swing sets for the ELIJA School, an education center for children with autism.

Mark was inspired to do this project not only by the idea of leaving a legacy on the community through being a scout, but also by the kids that he met during this process. He was reminded of his time in elementary school and saw how similar these children were to him in his childhood desire of having fun. He thought about his favorite school memory, recess, and decided these kids needed to experience the same joy that he had. Now Mark has something to look back on and be proud of as he thinks about all the children that will get to enjoy this amazing contribution that he has made.

Hamlet Cardenas has always been inspired to give back to his community. He feels that his community has been a huge part of shaping who is today and he wants the opportunity to be able to contribute to this essential part of another child’s upbringing. Since he was a little boy, Hamlet has seen firefighters as heroes and has admired them for their bravery and selflessness. This is what inspired Hamlet to become a junior firefighter for the Bellmore Fire Department. He has been a junior firefighter since his freshman year and said he “feels it allows him to give back to his community while achieving the admirable qualities that firefighters possess.”

Every Sunday morning, Hamlet goes to the firehouse in order to participate in firefighter training drills. These drills will allow Hamlet to progress as a firefighter so that one day he will be able to help the community to the best of his abilities. He also uses his free time to be at the firehouse so that he can help clean, check equipment and set up for events.  

Through his work as a junior firefighter, Hamlet has been able to reach his goals of helping the community and the people in it. He feels that he has been able to contribute to keeping the community safe with the help of the other firefighters. He also has been able to help people that have come to the firehouse in a time of need by providing assistance and solutions to different problems.