Mercy High School seniors Sarah McLarty and Julia Kannam recently received the Girl Scout Gold Award, the highest honor a Girl Scout can earn. Only 5 percent of Girl Scouts nationwide earn this prestigious award.
The Gold Award involves more than a year of work and requires the completion of leadership development, career exploration, and community service projects. The final component is a 65-hour leadership project that each girl plans and executes to benefit her community.
For her community service project, McLarty chose to expand upon the Nature Center at Rocky Neck State Park in East Lyme by adding educational displays using local flora and fauna, taxidermy mounts, and jarred specimens all indigenous to the Connecticut shoreline.
“This project idea seemed so fitting and reflects my love of science and the campground,” she said. “The additions to the Nature Center will broaden the minds and curiosity of visiting campers who will have an educational and fun way of learning during the summer months with hands on experience.”
She has been a Girl Scout since kindergarten and is a member of Troop 6083. Upon graduation, the daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Steve McLarty of Berlin will be attending the University of Connecticut, pursuing a career in pharmacy.
Kannam’s project addressed the need for computer literacy in young children. As a long-term volunteer at the I Have a Friend Youth Center in Middletown, she transformed one room into a technology lab and media room. By organizing donations of supplies, materials and computer equipment, she built a space where kids can access the modern educational resources that will help them with their education for years to come.
Due to the very high caliber of her project, the Girls Scouts of Connecticut are also nominating Kannam for the National Young Women of Distinction Honor. It is conferred by the Girl Scouts of the USA on 10 Girl Scout Gold Award recipients whose final projects demonstrated extraordinary leadership, had a measurable and sustainable impact, and addressed a local challenge that related to a national and/or global issue.
She is the daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Tom Kannam of Durham and plans to attend Dartmouth College in the fall.