The Distinguished Youth Award Program is open to students who want to achieve goals such as personal development, physical fitness, exploration and volunteer service.
Diego Bower Bonvino, a senior, and his brother Alejandro, a freshman, both attend Smithtown High School West, and each completed the necessary requirements to earn the Silver Medal in the Suffolk County Legislature’s Distinguished Youth Award Program. Established in 2017, this program is open to students who range in age from 13 to 18 years old. They meet with their respective legislator and develop a program of action to achieve various goals in such categories as personal development, physical fitness, exploration and volunteer service.
Deigo and Alejandro visited and explored 15 parks, trails and preserves throughout Suffolk County. The brothers hiked together and trained for a half marathon. They both did a lot of walking in the neighborhood and on their treadmill for additional exercise. As he loves to travel, Diegohopes to visit Japan, whichis on his “bucket list.” During the program, he studied the characters of the Japanese alphabet as a means to learn more about the country’s language. Diego has volunteered at the Sweetbriar Nature Center for several years. He is involved with the Boy Scouts andis currently working on achieving the rank of Eagle Scout.
Alejandro wanted to improve his artistic and musical skills so he took several on-line art classes and learned about different mediums and techniques. In his basement, he painted a mural of the characters from South Park. In addition, since he is a member of the school’s brass ensemble, he wanted to improve his ability to play the French horn so he increased his practice time for playing the instrument. Alejandro is also a member of the Boy Scouts and enjoys doing community service projects.
Tara O’Reilly, also of Smithtown and a high school freshman, received her Silver Medal for participating in the physical fitness, exploration and personal development areas of the program. Tara also visited 15 parks with her family and learned that by exploring them,she enjoyed hiking and all that nature has to offer. She participates in gymnastics twice a week and wants to enhance her skills on the beam. This semester she joined the school’s Cross Country team to continue improving her physical well-being. During the summer, she volunteered to weed, trim and water the garden in front of the Suffolk County Legislature’s building in Hauppauge. Tara is a Girl Scout and has been busy working on attaining her Girl Scout Silver Award. For that project, she is educating people about the negative effects that plastic has on marine life. In addition, Tara is in the school band and plays the flute. She was thrilled to be named first chair, but due to COVID, they were unable to play any concerts.
“These youngsters did a great job, especially during the pandemic, andthey accomplished their goals so I am very proud of them and am confident that they will be successful in anything they do. I look forward to seeing Tara and Diego when they get theirrespective scouting awards,” said Suffolk County Legislator Rob Trotta.