Students from Hewlett and Hauppauge won a local award for acting as “upstanders” against bullying.
George W. Hewlett High School sophomore Sophie Riegel and Hauppauge High School senior Amy Petrocelli received Friedlander Upstander Awards from the Holocaust Memorial & Tolerance Center of Nassau County and the Claire Friedlander Family Foundation, in conjunction with the Nassau County and Suffolk County police departments.
The teenagers had submitted essays describing their efforts standing up for others. The award came with a $3,000 scholarship.
“Bullying is the reason kids kill themselves,” Riegel said. “If kids stick together, it makes a big difference.”
Riegel, 16, is a member of her school’s cross-country and track teams, youth leadership club and math tutoring club. Last month, she placed eighth nationwide as a competitive race walker in the New Balance Nationals Outdoor in North Carolina, and last summer she helped build a house in Nicaragua through the Union for Reform Judaism’s Mitzvah Corps.
Petrocelli, 17, has been vice president of Student Council, a track team captain with All-American honors, and president of Best Buddies Club and Ignition, a peer-mentoring program. She is an executive board member of her school’s DECA Chapter and on the Town of Islip’s Anti-Bias Task Force.
“The bottom line is we all need to do the right thing and be good people,” Petrocelli said.