Youth Appreciation Award: Monica Huon

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Feel-good story

Monica Huon knows if she wants to pursue her dream of becoming a doctor, she will face a great deal of training.

That’s why, at 12, she figures it’s never too soon to start.

The seventh-grader at Kirkbride Elementary, Seventh and Dickinson streets, is preparing for her future career by volunteering as the school nurse’s helper. Monica works in the nurse’s office whenever her class schedule will allow.

However, the ambitious student, of the 1300 block of South Sixth Street, has many other appointments to keep.

Monica takes violin lessons and Cambodian dance lessons, plays piano and belongs to the newspaper club. She also has a healthy list of academic credits. The brainy preteen belongs to the National Academic League and the mentally gifted program and recently participated in a live academic Chinese television show, on which she earned an award.

Monica derives her will to succeed from her mother and role model, Sodamy Mean. The youth says her mom is the sole supporter of the family and, as such, is very self-sufficient.

Janice Toub, Monica’s seventh-grade teacher, believes the student has learned many positive values at home.

"Monica is a hard-working, success-oriented girl," Toub says. "All of her assignments have that cared-for extra little touch. She wants what she does to be extra-special. Her most outstanding characteristics are her drive to succeed and her varied interests."

All qualities that will look good on that medical-school application. SPR

Monica Huon will receive a $150 savings bond. If you are a teacher or full-time educator and would like to nominate a student (first through 12th grades), call 215-336-2500 ext. 120 or e-mail editor@southphillyreview.com for a nomination form.

Awards for local students

The group Networking for Equal Education and Economic Development recently recognized area students for their academic achievements.

State Rep. Harold James (D-186th Dist.), founder and board member of NEEED, said the students deserved the awards because of their hard work throughout the school year.

Seven students received $500 scholarships for the 2002-03 academic year to help pay for classes at the Pennsylvania universities they attend. Those recipients are: Paula Branson, Jamar Bright, Dyamond Carr, Candace Gibson, Jasmine Herrera, Nefeesah Johnson and Lee Roberts.

The Student Volunteer Recognition Award, this year given to 10 students, acknowledges highly motivated and hard-working pupils with modest academic marks but exemplary community-service records. High-school students receive a $100 savings bond, while the other students receive a $50 bond.

Receiving this award were: Steven Nesmith, Childs Elementary; Marcella Houser, Durham Elementary; Zaakirah Hinson, McDaniel Elementary; Latifah Powell, Smith Elementary; Oretha Hancel, Stanton Elementary; Jeffrey Giddings, Alcorn Elementary; Michelle Jamison, Arthur Elementary; Jovan Gray, Pierce Middle School; Ayanna Walker, Barratt Middle School; and Aja Parks, Audenried High School.

Also recognized Sunday were the four students who participated in NEEED’s summer Youth On The Job training program. Evelyn Harrison, Jason Day, Hani Johnson and Jarvae Reed each received a certificate of participation.

The funding for these scholarships and awards was made possible by a state grant James was able to secure for the organization.