MHS students earn ‘The Girl Scout Gold Award’

Sarah Boylstein.

Shannon Werntz.

Lauren Paine.

MORGANTOWN — Make a note of their names — because all three have just set a gold standard for community service in Morgantown and Monongalia County.

This trio of longtime Girl Scouts each earned the organization’s highest award for outreach: The Girl Scout Gold Award.

Not alone

Sarah conducted an awareness campaign for youngsters at Suncrest Elementary School that addressed Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD).

Sufferers of OCD are plagued by racing thoughts and repetitive behaviors — such as excessive hand-washing.

During her presentation, Boylstein, who just graduated from Morgantown High School and will study business and marketing this fall, drew upon the struggles with OCD she once had.

“I want to people to know they aren’t alone, if they’re dealing with it,” she said.

Sneaky learning

Shannon programmed fun and learning into her project, which was designed to make science, technology, engineering and math education (STEM) appealing to young students.

Her presentation was also at Suncrest Elementary, where she worked her charges through the rudiments of robotics, basic circuitry and other tech-centered pursuits.

“I loved seeing their faces,” said Shannon, also a newly minted Morgantown High graduate who off to Carnegie Mellon University to pursue a business degree, with an emphasis on statistics and decision-making sciences.

“I loved watching everything light up when they realized they were learn-ing something.”

Food for thought (and other nutritional eating)

Lauren Paine didn’t have to look hard at the statistics for her project.

West Virginia is one of the most food-insecure places in the nation — “food security” defined as simply not having enough to eat to sustain one’s self nutritionally — and that includes relatively prosperous Monongalia County.

Lauren, a junior at Morgantown High School, went to Starting Points Food Pantry, in the Arnettsville Community Building, for her work.

She overhauled the pantry to make food distribution there more easy and efficient. She reorganized the inventory and even created a cookbook with recipes using the items mostly stocked at the food pantry.

“I wanted to help people and show them they can have nutritional meals on their table,” said Lauren, who wants to work on sustainable development projects across the world after college.

Sustaining the sustainable

Each scout put in 100 hours of work or more on her project.

“Sustainable,” was the watch-word for Gold Award consideration, Beth Casey said.

Casey is chief executive officer of Charleston-based Girl Scouts of Black Diamond, which oversees the trio’s troops.

She was in Morgantown on Sunday evening for a scout meeting and recognition dinner for the Gold Award winners at St. Paul’s Lutheran Church.

“The project has to be workable, and it has to be sustainable,” Casey said. “All three of these have a real impact.”

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