The following was originally published by NNY360 (Powered by Watertown Daily Times and Northern New York Newspapers).

By Bob Beckstead

MASSENA — Students recognizing students is what it is was all about at J.W. Leary Junior High School.

“Our CFES (College/Career For Every Student) students put on the assembly from setup, to slide show advancement, to reading the award recipients,” Principal Kendra Quinlan said.

J.W. Leary Junior High School was among a select group of 26 schools from across the U.S. and two in Ireland that had been recognized by CFES Brilliant Pathways as Schools of Distinction for their exemplary efforts in helping students become college- and career-ready. CFES Pathways is a nonprofit organization helping low-income K-12 students from rural and urban communities become college- and career-ready.

The majority of seventh- grade students went through the program last year. They asked for volunteers this year, and those students took part in leading the awards assembly. Ms. Quinlan said it was an opportunity for the CFES students to recognize outstanding character and attendance by junior high students for the first half of the year. “All around, an excellent assembly,” she said.

The CFES students who were instrumental in the assembly were coordinator Alyssa Therien; announcers Kitty Summers, Yajna Chakranarayan and Liam Tisdale; Jeric Wolstenholme and Trenton White, who were responsible for technology and setup; and Jordyn Mouthorp, who handled the slide show.

Seventh-graders who were recognized for outstanding character were Miya Nelligan (kindness), Karissa Lashomb (optimism), Neveah Abley (perseverance), Gabrielle Debien (kindness), Raya Ellis (kindness), Hudson Gollinger (supporting others when they struggle), Cooper Kennedy (goal setter), Patrick LeBarge (perseverance), Elise Elliot (above and beyond), Logan David (rising star), Austin Hannah-Albon (strength of character), Gabriel Coe (going the extra mile), Rory Siddon (shining star), Gauge Northrup (going the extra mile) and Brynn DeVivo (awesome attitude).

Eighth-graders who were recognized for outstanding character were Jesse Stokes (optimism), Serenidy Rust (perseverance), Jaydenlee Alvarado (love of learning), Kristy Summers (creativity/supporting others), Taven Tassie (creativity/supporting others), Elizabeth Clark (perseverance), Kyla Donahue (love of learning) and Gregg Staves (optimism).

Students were also recognized for perfect attendance for the first half of the year. They included Jaydenlee Alvarado, Landen Zakarauskas, Elora Barrese, Mia Hamilton, Ian Noreau, Alyssa Bullock, Jordyn Jabaut, Addison Pelletier, Caidyn Bullock, Carter LaPrade, Jasmine Primeau, Milo Bullock, Peyton McDermott, Lynx Smith, Karynn Dow, Chelsie Miller, Jesse Stokes, Jason DuBray, Conner Murtagh, Taven Tassie, Connor Gardner, Owen Nemier and Ava Thompson.

The CFES students also recognized fellow students who had only been absent one or two days in the first half of the year. They included Gracie Berube, Yajna Chakranarayan, Alex Cichetti, Kyra Collins, Tucker Conner, Angelina Daniell, Hayden Fifield, Nevaeh Gardner, Hudson Gollinger, Chloe Gooshaw, Michael Gurrola, Austin Hannah-Albon, Derek Hebert Jr., Summer-Skye Henderson, Maddeh Herne, Kamryn Jandrew, Keagan Jarrett, Spencer Jarrett, VIncent Jarvis, Lexis Kerr, Zaleigh King, Patrick LeBarge, Maddison LaPrade, Karissa LaShomb, Kaylie Ledbetter, Jack Leggue, Tayte Lincoln, Anika MacKinnon and Kira McGee.

Also, Alanna Miller, Brayden Murray, Kylie Murtagh, Montana Nezezon, Kailee Oakes, Addison Pelletier, Mason Phelix, Austin Richards, Brayden Richards, Armani Rife, Keegan Roberts, Gerald Roundpoint, Hannah Roundpoint, Owen Sanchez, Gwen Sharp, Hunter Smith, Michael Smith, Summer Garrow-Thompson, Liam Tisdale, Kole Topa and Cameron Wolcott.