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Independent Thoughts: Local Girl Scouts earn highest honor; teens to appear in Worcester play

by | Aug 15, 2023 | Featured, Featured: Features

Hopkinton’s Elizabeth Schneider and Katie Beauvais recently received the prestigious Gold Award, the highest achievement a Girl Scout can earn, from the Girl Scouts of Eastern Massachusetts. The Gold Award is available to girls in high school who create sustainable change on a community or world issue, from teen nutrition to literacy development in youth. Gold Award Girl Scouts address the root cause of a problem, plan and implement innovative solutions to drive change, and lead a team of people to success.

Schneider was awarded for her project Plant Powered — Changing the World One Meal at a Time. Passionate about plant-based eating, with its physical and environmental benefits, Schneider chose to use her Gold Award platform to share her experience. She created seven informational videos about the benefits of a plant-based diet and posted them on YouTube, Instagram, TikTok and Twitter. She also created pamphlets that were displayed and distributed by the Hopkinton Health Department and the Hopkinton Public Library. Additionally, she developed plant-based menus using entirely economical, easily accessible ingredients to create nutritious meals.

“I decided to complete my project on this topic because I know that this manner of eating has helped me personally feel better and has improved my performance in sports,” Schneider said. “I have more energy for the duration of practices, my sleep has improved, and my focus has increased.”

Beauvais’ project, Leave No Trace and Outdoor Skills, sought to inspire members of the community to be respectful of the natural environment when hiking local trails. She spread the word by hosting environmental impact workshops and building a small bridge to concentrate foot traffic into one area. She made her curriculum available to Girl Scout leaders, community educators and younger Girl Scouts via an online post — resources that remain widely available.

“One of my favorite parts of the project was teaching kids about ‘leave no trace’ on a night hike,” Beauvais shared. “It was very rewarding to hear the kids discussing the ways that they could practice ‘leave no trace,’ including when they used what they learned to brainstorm ideas I had not thought of.”

Only about 50 girls in Eastern Massachusetts earned Gold Awards this year.

Hopkinton teens appear in Worcester play

Hopkinton teenagers Urmi Chowdhuri and Sasha Shulman are part of the cast for the Hanover Theatre and Conservatory for the Performing Arts Youth Summer Program’s production of “Fiddler on the Roof.”

Teens in Fiddler on the Roof

Urmi Chowdhuri and Sasha Shulman will appear in “Fiddler on the Roof” Aug. 18-19 at the Hanover Theatre and Conservatory for the Performing Arts in Worcester.

Chowdhuri plays Shprintze and Shulman is Yussel in the iconic show, which won nine Tony Awards when it debuted in 1964.

Performances at the Worcester venue are scheduled for Friday, Aug. 18, at 7 p.m., and Saturday, Aug. 19, at 2 p.m. and 7 p.m. General admission tickets are $25. Visit TheHanoverTheatre.org for more information.

Nearby towns seek aid for refugees

Hopkinton Health Director Shaun McAuliffe put out a call for residents to help with refugees from Haiti and other countries who recently arrived in neighboring towns.

Framingham, Northborough, Westborough and Hudson are the communities where the refugees have landed.

“If Hopkinton’s residents are able to assist, the local health departments and family services groups would be grateful,” McAuliffe shared.

Northborough is hosting a clothing drive that ends Aug. 16. Visit town.northborough.ma.us or email lizard211@gmail.com for details.

Emergency Fund works to build up account

The Hopkinton Emergency Fund is working to bulk up its finances so it can provide assistance to local individuals and families in need.

The HEF recently received a second Community Impact Grant from Eversource to help with that effort.

Additionally, together with the Hopkinton Women’s Club, the HEF is planning its annual Hopkinton Charity Golf Event on Sept. 18 at Shining Rock Golf Club in Northbridge. Participants and sponsors are being sought for the event.

Visit hopgolfcharity.com for details.

Merloni made mark with Marathon

Dorothy Ferriter-Wallace from the Hopkinton Marathon Committee noted the passing of Jim Merloni, the longtime administrator of the New England Laborers Training Trust Fund located in Hopkinton. The Marathon Committee’s annual wrap-up party has been held at the Laborers Training Center on East Street for many years.

Ferriter-Wallace called Merloni a friend to the committee and “a true friend to everyone in Hopkinton and beyond. I hope you all will take a minute to remember the hospitality Jim, his wife Mickey and his entire family shared with all of us over the many years at Marathon time and at our wrap-up parties at Laborers. Jim will truly be missed.”

K-9 key to finding drowning victim

The Boston Globe recently ran a feature on Riggs, a 4-year-old black Labrador retriever who has been trained to find human remains “by sniffing out the odors a body produces as it decomposes.”

Riggs, who works out of the Auburn Fire Department with handler Matt Ethier, was called into action in Hopkinton on July 22, the morning after a Hopkinton man, Wilinson Orbe Quito, drowned in Lake Maspenock off Sandy Beach.

The story indicated that it took less than 20 minutes for Riggs to identify a spot on the lake’s surface just above the body — swimming in circles to alert rescuers. It then took divers 10 minutes to locate Orbe Quito.

Interim Hopkinton Fire Chief Gary Daugherty, who said it was his first time using a dog in a water recovery mission, was impressed.

“Any time that I have a recovery or a missing person, I will use a dog from now on,” Daugherty said.

Local riders take part in Pan-Mass Challenge

The Pan-Mass Challenge, an annual event in which bicyclists ride various distances to raise money for the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, was held Aug. 5-6. Among the 6,000-plus participants were 20 riders from Hopkinton: Kristi Allen, Jesus Amadori, Elizabeth Boland, Rob Cusanelli, Jonathan de Boer, Sean Gassett, Sami Ghaddar, Susan Kenney, Bill Kenney, Brendan Lafferty, Kristina MacPherson, Aimee Mannix, David Maruska, Dorothy Maruska, Stuart Miniman, Susan Perlini, Chris Pobiegio, John Powell, Brian Rosendale and Stephen Smith.

Since its inception in 1980, the event has raised more than $900 million for adult and pediatric patient care and cancer research at the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute through the Jimmy Fund.

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