Middle School Upstander

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Congratulations to South Woods Middle School eighth-grader Michael Gadinis, who is the recipient of Claire Friedlander Upstander Award, presented by the Holocaust Memorial and Tolerance Center of Nassau County. The award recognizes students who demonstrate outstanding leadership skills and daily involvement in enhancing the school and community.  

Michael has served as a peer mediator and volunteer tutor at South Woods Middle School, having collaborated with peers to lead and organize a successful blood drive. He also works with preschoolers with special needs at Variety Preschool, and reads to second-graders at Village Elementary School, as well as a person with autism. He also volunteers his time to prepare and distribute lunches for the homeless.  

“Michael is a bright star.  The award he received is richly deserved and I am certain he will prove himself a powerful, compassionate and successful leader [in the future],” said South Woods teacher and Peer Mediation Club adviser Susan Fisher, who nominated Michael for the award. “It has been an honor to know Michael, teach him and learn from him how to be an upstander and an agent for change. He is our hope for a kinder, more compassionate world.”

As a result, Michael received a glass plaque and a check for $2,500 from the Holocaust Memorial and Tolerance Center of Nassau County. He is pictured here displaying his award.