Youth Appreciation Award: Michael Policella

Growth opportunities

The faculty at St. John Neumann High is accustomed to watching students enter the school as boys and leave as young men.

But in the case of Michael Policella, the changes have been much more than physical, says Luis DeVelasco, Neumann’s assistant principal for student affairs.

"Michael has matured a lot at Neumann," he says of the senior. "He is a hard-working and goal-oriented student, is very loyal and dedicated to the student council and works hard to ensure that our activities program at Neumann is very successful."

Michael, of Second and Porter streets, is president of the student council and a model for involvement at Neumann. His activities include the yearbook club, the Ambassadors Club, the Community Service Corps and the usher corps. The youth also played on the varsity ice hockey team.

The 17-year-old has received awards in theology, Italian, chemistry and biology. There may be more to come — senior honors haven’t been announced yet.

Michael hopes to put all of his academic and extracurricular experience to good use in college. He plans to major in criminal justice at La Salle University and wants to eventually attend law school.

The student knows he will face the lure of college parties, but he’ll turn to his mom and role model, Sandra, to keep him on track.

"She always pushes me to do my best," he says. "She tells me not to think about going out with my friends every night — there will be time for that later."

DeVelasco says the young man already knows how to use his time well. "Michael is a very positive force in our school," he says.

Michael Policella will receive a $150 savings bond. The Review has a sufficient amount of nominations for the remainder of the school year, so subsequent nominees will be featured next fall. If you would like to nominate a student (first through 12th grades), call 215-336-2500 ext. 120 or e-mail for a nomination form.

Columbus charters party

Christopher Columbus Charter School celebrated Charter Schools Week last week with a number of activities at its two locations — 916 Christian St. and 13th and Wharton.

On Monday, students’ families received a token of gratitude to commemorate Family Appreciation Day.

Student Appreciation Days were held Tuesday and Thursday. The children at the 13th Street site were treated to a field day at Columbus Square and the children at the Ninth Street site enjoyed their day at Palumbo Field.

On Wednesday, the school honored faculty and staff members with breakfast and lunch and a special commemorative gift. On Friday, principal Rosemary E. Dougherty was recognized with a Principal Appreciation Day. Students at both sites put on surprise shows for Dougherty, who is marking 40 years as an educator.

Businesses throughout South Philly and the city donated materials and services as prizes to be distributed during Charter Schools Week.

Join festivities at Furness

Furness High School, Third and Mifflin streets, will hold a service day on Saturday.

Students, staff and community volunteers will work on several beautification projects, including murals, trash pickup, planting and more from 9 a.m.-2 p.m.

From 2-5 p.m., the school will hold a multicultural festival with ethnic foods, a talent showcase and game booths.

To volunteer, donate food or for more information, call Alice Hurle at 267-386-7040.