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Havre de Grace swears in new Youth Commission members, honors students of the month

Yisreal Austin and Sarah Goad are the newest members of the Havre de Grace Youth Commission — they are also the first youth members.

Mayor William T. Martin swore the girls in after the City Council unanimously approved them as nominees to the commission.

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“You may be the youngest people ever sworn into a city commission,” Martin remarked Monday after he presided over the oaths of office.

“Way to step up, we really appreciate everything you’re doing,” he added. “[I am] looking forward to everybody working together on the same team here.”

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The Youth Commission was created in 2018 as a way to get more local youths involved in civic and volunteer activities in Havre de Grace. The commission includes nine members — four adults 18 and older, four youths ages 13 to 17 and one City Council member serving in an “ex officio capacity,” according to the ordinance approved by the council last June to create the commission.

The four adult members — Dena Cardwell, Eleicia Henson, William Howard Jr. and Tracy Robertson — were sworn in last November.

Councilman Jason Robertson, who spent months advocating for the creation of a youth commission, is the council liaison. He thanked the new youth members Monday for taking the time to apply and obtain letters of recommendation. He said both girls “came highly recommended” and sat for interviews with the adult commission members.

“Thank you very much for your interest, and I’m really looking forward to getting this thing moving,” Robertson said.

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Goad is a freshman at Havre de Grace High School, where she is in the SGA and Best Buddies. She is also an executive board member with the Harford County Regional Association of Student Councils.

Austin is a senior at HHS, works with youth at Agape Church and has directed a summer dance clinic, which she created, for the Boys and Girls Clubs, according to Robertson.

The commission is seeking two more youth members, anyone interested can visit the city’s website to download an application. More adults and youths can participate as non-voting associate and subcommittee members as well, according to Robertson.

Visit The Havre de Grace Youth Commission page on Facebook for more information.

Students of the month

Havre de Grace Elementary School student Sydnee Hewlett has an overarching goal — making the world a better place — and she is already doing that, according to her school administrators, teachers and family.

“When I think of you the first thing that comes to mind is, how can I make this place this world my part my place, better? How can I make it better for everyone around me?” assistant principal Jennifer Gasdia said Monday night as Hewlett was honored by the Havre de Grace mayor and City Council as student of the month for Havre de Grace Elementary.

Hewlett as one of four local students honored as students of the month for February during the City Council meeting Monday, along with Addison Somogyi of Meadowvale Elementary School, Olivia Hahn of Havre de Grace Middle School and Josh Mergler of Havre de Grace High School.

Gasdia and teacher Thomas Dennison praised Hewlett for her concern and care for all students and her willingness to help anyone, regardless of who they are.

Members of her family described her as loving, caring, a role model, athletic, intelligent and wanting to make the people around her and the world better.

“You say you like solving all the world’s problems,” Martin remarked as he talked with Hewlett.

“Yes, I do,” she replied.

Hewlett praised her school’s teachers and staff for their efforts, as well, saying they are “caring, and they’re concerned about when the kids are having a tough time learning.”

Shelby Houseman, the assistant principal at Meadowvale, praised Somogyi for her positive attitude.

“She is someone who is so caring and we truly are so, so blessed to have you at Meadowvale,” Houseman said.

Somogyi, during her conversation with the mayor, in turn praised her school’s staff for their support of students.

“They always welcome you when you come in, and they help you a lot and the teachers are nice,” she said.

Addison said she wants to work for NASA when she graduates from college.

Mergler, who is looking at several colleges, told Martin he wants to major in finance. Mergler plays football for the Warriors and has served as team captain, but he said he is not 100 percent certain he will play football in college.

“He truly is what it means to be a Warrior,” HHS assistant principal Brac Spence said. “He’s an athlete, he’s a student, he’s a hard worker, doesn’t take himself too seriously.”

Mergler said the HHS teachers and staff “really care about [students], they really want you to succeed, go far in life . . . they’ll do anything they can to help you.”

He is also on the school’s track team, a member of the Fellowship of Christian Athletes and of Best Buddies, according to the proclamation read by the mayor.

Hahn, of Havre de Grace Middle, is active in her school as the secretary for the Student Government Association and a member of the National Junior Honor Society. She also plays soccer and softball, and dances.

“She’s a sweet, loving, caring kid, and I’m very proud to have you in my school,” principal James Johnson said.

Johnson noted that Hahn typically arrives at school early, well before other students, as her mother, Laura Hahn, is a teacher at Havre de Grace Middle. She spends the time before the school day helping other teachers, according to the principal.

Hahn said she plans to attend the Science and Mathematics Academy magnet program at Aberdeen High School.

She said she loves the “caring staff and teachers” at the her middle school, noting “they really want you to do well and succeed.”

Sydnee Hewlett, a Havre de Grace Elementary School student, talks with Mayor William T. Martin during Monday's City Council meeting. Sydnee was one of four students honored as Students of the Month for February.
Sydnee Hewlett, a Havre de Grace Elementary School student, talks with Mayor William T. Martin during Monday's City Council meeting. Sydnee was one of four students honored as Students of the Month for February. (David Anderson/The Aegis)

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