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Baldwin High School Student Goes for the Gold

Daniella McCoy Dedicates Girl Scout Gold Award Project to Essential Workers

Baldwin High School student, Daniella McCoy, is nearly finished with her Girl Scout Gold Award project. The Girl Scout Gold Award is the highest honor for Girl Scouts, ages 14-17 or grades 9 through 12, and focuses on leadership, career exploration, challenge for personal growth, and community action. According to the Girl Scout Research Institute, girls who have earned their Gold Award display more positive life outcomes pertaining to their sense of self, satisfaction, leadership, life success, community service and civic engagement. Only 6% of Girl Scouts achieve this distinction. In addition to being honored, college scholarships are presented to the awardees. 

In light of this year’s events, Daniella decided to focus her Gold Award project on “Honoring Our Community Heroes” who have worked throughout the pandemic, from healthcare workers to police officers and firemen to custodians and food service workers.  

“I chose this project because I felt that the essential workers deserved more recognition for all that they do for us, especially since they’ve had to work super hard during the pandemic,” Daniella explained. “I titled my project ‘The Essential Giveback’ because the Baldwin community is giving back to our amazing Baldwin essential workers.” 

As a Plaza Elementary School alum, Daniella worked diligently with the principal, Mark Gray, Plaza’s student council, as well as teachers and 31 classes at her alma mater to create cards and letters of gratitude and gifts to be awarded to these heroes. In addition, she arranged for a tree to be planted at the Community Garden right behind the Walgreens in Baldwin at 1980 Grand Avenue in honor of the Baldwin essential workers to serve as a constant reminder of how much the community appreciates all of their hard work. 

In June, a total of 27 classes, grades K-5, from Plaza visited the garden to see all the gifts and the tree.  

“When the kids came to the garden, I explained how they should feel really proud of themselves that they were a part of a project that's giving back to their community,” said Daniella, who has been in Girl Scouts since the 3rd grade. “I want to become an Elementary School Teacher in the future, so working with all of the different grades at Plaza was definitely something I greatly enjoyed doing.” 

After the tree planting ceremony, Daniella began hand delivering the gifts to all the essential workers across Baldwin. 

“I am extremely proud of all of Daniella’s hard work and dedication to this project,” said Christine Deluca, who served as her advisor and mentor throughout this endeavor. “Navigating her schoolwork, family commitments and the additional responsibility of her Gold Award shows her resilience and drive. She has a very bright future ahead.” 

Daniella has earned countless badges throughout her years as a Girl Scout. She received the "Bronze Award" in elementary school and the “Silver Award” in middle school – the highest honors a junior and cadette in Girl Scouts can achieve. She is also an AP and Honors student and is involved in many other extra-curricular activities, including the National Honor Society, Sportsnite, Intramural Night, and the high school musical. 

By September, her community service project will be complete, leaving her eligible to receive the Gold Award in June of 2022, the same month she graduates from Baldwin High School.