They truly are Bucks’ best.
The senior class of high school scholar-athletes in 2018 achieved greatness to match any of the past couple decades.
That excellence was brought to light this past week at Wednesday night’s 20th annual Kiwanis Scholar-Athlete Awards Banquet at the Sheraton Hotel/Bucks County in Langhorne.
Some 32 of the finest boys and girls achievers from the classroom and the playing field were feted in a celebration of their accomplishments.
On hand to headline this night of recognition was former Philadelphia Flyer great Brian Propp, who served as guest speaker and helped hand out awards plaques.
Each honoree also received a check from the Dick Dougherty Scholarship Fund, which, since 1999, has donated nearly $500,000 in financial assistance to college-bound high school seniors from Bucks County.
The Dougherty Fund is subsidized by the Kiwanis-Sesame Place Classic 5K, which was held for the 20th straight year on Sunday, May 20, at Sesame Place in Langhorne.
Some 650 runners took part in either the Classic 5K, the one-mile run or the kids’ sprint races.
Officials of the Levittown-Bristol Kiwanis Club were excited by both the turnout for the Classic at Sesame Place and the dinner at the Sheraton, where an audience of some 120 — including honorees, family members and guests — were in attendance.
Kiwanis president-elect Mary Berman summed up what many think of these future leaders.
“I felt honored to be a Kiwanian at the dinner to celebrate the achievements of our high school students and their commitment to academics, athletics and service to their community,’’ Berman said.
“Their accomplishments are even more remarkable when one considers the many challenges that they face today.”
Past Kiwanis president Dixie Rhodes, who has served on both the Classic and Banquet organizing committees for many years, was equally impressed.
“The Kiwanis banquet was the perfect culminating celebration,’’ she said. “Everyone in the room was proud of and impressed by the achievements of these young citizens.’’
Ernie Nocito also has been involved in the project for a number of years and continues to provide invaluable assistance in all areas of the events.
“The banquet always amazes, inspires and somewhat humbles me after hearing about what each one of these fine individuals has accomplished at such a young age,’’ Nocito said.
“We all are very proud of each and every one of the students who received the Kiwanis Scholar-Athlete award. Their accomplishments and growth at this early stage will confirm that our future will be in good hands knowing that they all are among our rising leaders.’’
As for the Classic, the turnout on a questionable weather day was equally gratifying.
This was a milestone year, with a new media partner (the Bucks County Herald), several new sponsors and a few surprises.
“The Kiwanis-Sesame Place Classic makes the banquet possible,’’ Rhodes noted. “I hope folks will continue to participate in this fun forum. This year every 5K participant received a finisher’s medal. This delighted many first-time ‘medalists.’ It was a fun day.’’
Added Nocito: “It is a great event bringing together so many from the community and even further away for such a positive fun event. One of the highlights for everybody, young and old, is when the Sesame characters visit and mingle with the crowd. I must say this even brings out the kid in me. We look forward to another 20 years running the event for this great cause.
The 2018 Kiwanis Scholar-Athlete Awards Banquet honorees:
Archbishop Wood: Emma Foley, Luke Moffet.
Bensalem: Simonet Tan, Daniel Esenov.
Bristol: Cara Fabiano, Xavier Corbin.
Central Bucks East: Sophia Mancuso, Marc Motter.
Central Bucks South: Lindsay Scott, Daniel Cohen.
Central Bucks West: Chloe Miller Russo, Tarin Morris.
Conwell-Egan: Maddy Terry, Quameer Francis.
Council Rock North: Becca Margolis, Michael Welde.
Council Rock South: Tori Wright, Christian Jabbar.
George School: Zoe Elise Valdepenas-Mellor, Rex Trice.
Harry S Truman: Tiera Lloyd, Habeeb Baba.
Holy Ghost Prep: Luke Aquaro.
Morrisville: Saige Taylor, Joshua Baldwin.
Neshaminy: Anna Skrot, Greg Deluca.
Pennsbury: Lily Nolan, Michael Gobora.
Villa Joseph Marie: Kaela Jolibois.
William Tennent: Nicole Reh, Brandon Layer.
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