The Student Action Committee consists of juniors and seniors from high schools throughout Greater Hazleton who are appointed as student members of the CAN DO Board of Directors and plan and execute the “Operation: CAN DO” and CAN DO Community Christmas service projects as well as attend board meetings.
The Student Action Committee was formed many years ago to encourage involvement in community advancement and to reach out to those who may someday become future leaders in our area. Nancy Stasko, CAN DO Director of Administration, and Charles Burkhardt, CAN DO Board of Directors member, are the Student Action Committee co-advisers.
Stasko gave a speech during the dinner detailing the Student Action Committee’s efforts over the past fiscal year and presented certificates of participation to the outgoing senior committee members.
The outgoing seniors who received a certificate are:
Monica Abdelmalek, the daughter of Samy and Neama Abdelmalek of Drums, is a member of Hazleton Area High School’s Class of 2016. She will attend Penn State University to major in engineering. When asked what she gained from her experience as a student member, Monica said it helped her to not only give back to the community but to learn and experience things she never would have on her own. She encourages everyone to get more involved in the community.
Natalie Alcantara, the daughter of Alba Castillo of Hazleton, a Hazleton Area High School graduate. She plans to enter college in the fall as a Liberal Arts major. When asked what she gained from her experience as a student member, Natalie said she expanded her knowledge in business. She said CAN DO has been doing an excellent job of helping the community for years and she was glad to have the opportunity to be a part of it.
Brendan Drusda, the son of Jeffrey and Linda Drusda of Drums, is an MMI Preparatory School graduate. He plans to attend the University of Pittsburgh and obtain a degree in Computer Science. When asked what he gained from his experience as a student member, Brendan said he developed his ability as a leader, specifically in conducting organized activities. He said he gained confidence through stepping outside of his comfort zone in asking businesses for “Operation: CAN DO” donations and gained useful insight into how a business runs through the bi-monthly board meetings.
Trent Dempsey, the son of George and Jennifer Dempsey of Weatherly, is a Weatherly Area High School graduate. He plans to attend college to study Aerospace Engineering and be a part of the Naval ROTC. When asked what he gained from his experience as a student member, Trent said he learned how to network and be successful in business and gained the drive to help his community in every and any way possible.
Anthony Kimsal, the son of John and Cynthia Kimsal of Drums, is an Immanuel Christian School graduate. He plans to attend Penn State Hazleton to pursue a degree in Chemistry. When asked what he gained from his experience as a student member, Anthony said he learned to be timely when arriving for meetings or replying to emails, be respectful and courteous to those around you and not be afraid to ask questions.
Dominic Mussoline, the son of Rocco and Diane Mussoline, is a Marian High School graduate. Dominic will continue his academic and athletic endeavors at La Salle University, where he will major in marketing and be a member of the track and cross country teams. When asked what he gained from his experience as a student member, Dominic said that he learned a lot of positive things about Hazleton and participating in the service projects made him see that the little things the committee was doing helped people and put a smile on their faces.
Morgan O’Hara, the daughter of Gerald and Lauretta O’Hara of Sugarloaf, is a member of the Hazleton Area High School Class of 2016. She will attend Susquehanna University to study political science with the hopes of later attending law school. When asked what she gained from her experience as a student member, Morgan said the experience helped her connect with the community and contribute to improving our area. She said that CAN DO helps the community grow and brings people together to work toward common goals.
The junior members of the Student Action Committee who will take over leadership roles in the coming year are: Lauren Pataki and Jerry Gasser, Hazleton Area High School; Dominic Yannuzzi, Hazleton Area Academy of Sciences; Pemely Guzman, Immanuel Christian School; Jenna O’Donnell, Marian High School; Kayla Leonard and Joshua Narrow, MMI Preparatory School; and Samantha DeSpirito, Weatherly Area High School.
“Operation: CAN DO” celebrated its 11th anniversary of collecting items to send to service men and women stationed abroad by bringing in the largest collection of items and monetary donations in its history.
The 23rd annual CAN DO Community Christmas was held in December at Christ Lutheran Church in downtown Hazleton. The Student Action Committee handed out refreshments and helped children write letters to Santa Claus during the annual holiday celebration for community members of all ages. The evening featured talented musicians and singers from Hazleton Area High School, MMI Preparatory School and Heights-Terrace Elementary/Middle School.