DOWNEY - The leaders of the Warren High School Humanitarian Society were honored Tuesday night by the Downey Unified School District Board of Education for their outstanding community service and citizenship. "At each Board meeting we recognize student groups or teachers or volunteer organizations," District School Board Member Martha Sodetani said. "We were especially proud to recognize the accomplishments of the Warren Humanitarian Society, a truly exceptional group of nearly 200 students who will have been among the most effective volunteer groups in the history of our wonderful city."
"We are also proud to honor the Warren Humanitarian Society's advisor, Jackie Pardo, who has stood shoulder-to-shoulder with her students as they have volunteered at Rancho Los Amigos National Rehabilitation Center and in partnership with the Optimist Club of Downey and many other organizations to bring great credit to their school and city," said Downey Unified School District Superintendent Dr. John A. Garcia.
The students honored by the Board of Education on behalf of all the Warren High School Humanitarian Society members included Paul Lim, Alyssa Moreno, Jessica Lee, Brandon Herrerias, Debora Jeong, Liliana Montes, Melissa Pardo, Emely Lopez, Nancy Figueroa, Cristal Martinez, Ankur Papneja, Ricky Amenero, Pedro Sanchez and Eddie Figueroa. Together these 14 very special teenagers comprise the Humanitarian Society Board.
"The Warren Humanitarian Society members might not be the best at a sport nor have the highest grade point average," Mrs. Pardo said, "but one thing they do possess is the biggest heart. Many of our efforts tend to go unnoticed, nor do we seek to be recognized. Every student who sets foot on our campus is always welcome to join in the effort to lend a hand to Rancho Los Amigos National Rehabilitation Center, the City of Downey and its surrounding communities."
The students were also very excited about being honored by the Board of Education.
"Being recognized at the Board meeting was something very special," said Humanitarian Society Vice President Alyssa Moreno. "I was very happy to have the adults see that not all teenagers are the same and there are many hard working ones out in the community. By volunteering we were not only able to have an impact on the people we work with, but with others in the community as well. And that is very exciting!"
"Getting recognized by the Board of Education was one of the biggest accomplishments that the Warren Humanitarian Society has made this year," said Jessica Lee. "It was a very special moment for us to be presented in front of school staff, teachers, advisors, and the Board of Education. This showed us that hard work really does pay off. This honor will always be remembered not only as an award, but as a reason to work harder and to achieve greater things."
"Being recognized for serving my community felt great," said Ricky Amenero. "I'm proud of my fellow club members and myself for being able to accomplish so many things this year. I'd also like to thank Mrs. Pardo for always supporting us and being there whenever we needed her."
"Being recognized at the District office was amazing," said Pedro Sanchez. "I was actually nervous about going in front of a crowd and being congratulated. It is not every day that a regular high school student like me is awarded for his hard work in community service. This means a lot to me; I cannot even put it in words. This recognition only encourages me to be better, to do more community service, and help people that do not ask to be helped but need it."
"There's nothing on earth that generates joy and satisfaction the way volunteering does, yet being recognized Tuesday night came extremely close," said Cristal Martinez. "Being recognized wasn't only an accomplishment or simply praise, being recognized was an indirect form of motivation and support that basically fueled my desire to do more. Our entire club is extremely grateful to everyone who took time out of their day in order to recognize our passion, because that's what volunteering is to us. I can't wait to see what the future has in store for our club next year but I know that there will be many unforgettable memories to come."
"Receiving the recognition at the District Office was very thrilling," said Emely Lopez. "Our hard work is finally paying off! We put our heart into everything we do, and everything that we are asked to do is always done with 100% effort from each and every one of us. It feels great to be recognized for all the hard work and dedication we have put into our community."
"It was a great honor being recognized," said Eddie Figueroa. "Being in this club has really opened me up to wanting to help people and do more to be a good person and humanitarian. Seeing the hard work that we all do and seeing the reaction and gratitude from everyone that we help makes me feel like we are all truly making a difference in this world one step at a time."
"It was an amazing feeling getting recognized at the District Office," said Debora Jeong. "It really proved to me that the community really appreciates all of our hard work. All year round, Warren Humanitarian Society does a lot of activities and events, and we work very hard. It was so nice to be recognized Tuesday, where we had the chance to rest and look back at the year's worth of hard work and be proud of what we accomplished as a team. I believe that the recognition showed all of us that our hard work was worth it, and that it doesn't go unnoticed."
"Standing in front of high-ranking officials in Downey while being recognized as a youth volunteer felt great!" said Ankur Papneja. "As I walked up to the front of the room, hearing the booming and clapping sounds from the audience, it became crystal clear that volunteering is a great activity if you want to help out the community. Words cannot describe the feelings that you receive from such a high honor and knowing that our society champions the volunteer work that you do."
"Being recognized meant so much to all of the members of this club," said Nancy Figueroa. "Having people notice and appreciate the hard work we do for others truly make us feel like humanitarians. The work we do is always from the bottom of our hearts.
"It's an amazing feeling being able to help others and it's what we all love to do. We help others because we know it's right."
"Getting recognized for our club's hard work felt really amazing, but what feels even better is just knowing everything we've accomplished and all the people we've helped through our volunteer work," said Lily Montes. "It makes me happy knowing that we make the Downey community a better place. Being a part of the Warren Humanitarian Society has opened up my eyes and given me the encouragement to want to volunteer even more."
"We felt very honored to be recognized by the Board of Education," said Humanitarian Society President Paul Lim. "It was the perfect ending to what I thought was a successful year. We not only kept the impact made by the previous year's club but expanded it. This was an invaluable experience to me and I hope that these club awards will provide a legacy to expand this club even more next year. I am proud of and thankful to every member in the club."
"We are so impressed by what these great Warren High students have accomplished," said former Downey Mayor Meredith Perkins, immediate past president of the Optimist Club of Downey, with which the Humanitarian Society is affiliated. "All of us have seen impressive growth in each of these great kids. We are very proud to be associated with young people with a true mission to spend quality time volunteering in their community. At a very young age, they have discovered that one secret to happiness and fulfillment in life is the satisfaction of making a real difference in the lives of others."
"These incredible students showed us all what is possible with integrity, extraordinary effort, and a powerful commitment to help others," Martha said. "By contributing tens of thousands of volunteer hours to help so many others, the members of the Warren Humanitarian Society have truly demonstrated to the world that above all else, character counts."
********** Published: May 9, 2013 - Volume 12 - Issue 04