EducationThe Putnam Examiner

‘A Kind Soul’: Serino Recognizes Carmel Student for Her Kindness, Compassion 

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State Senator Sue Serino & Erica Chiarella
State Senator Sue Serino visited Erica Chiarella at her home.

Erica Chiarella, a rising seventh grade student at George Fischer Middle School, was recently recognized by New York State Senator Sue Serino for her extraordinary kindness as one of the 2021 Serino Superstars.

Compassion and showing kindness are values that Carmel Central School District works to instill in its graduates, and Chiarella has been a model student this year which did not go unnoticed.

“It felt really good to be recognized. It was definitely something I did not expect,” said Chiarella.

Serino has been recognizing local students who demonstrate extraordinary kindness toward their peers and work to positively contribute to their learning environments as part of her Serino Superstars initiative. Nominations were solicited from the community and Chiarella was the choice for nomination by her teacher, Mark Richards.

“Erica was nominated for her kindness toward others and the general positive attitude she brings with her every day,” said Richards. “Erica is a kind soul who is always willing to help those around her, whether it be a peer or an adult. She is willing to go the extra step to make someone feel accepted and welcome. I was proud to nominate Erica for this prestigious award and know that she will continue to spread her kindness and good will in the future.”

Richards also noted Chiarella’s preparation, willingness to learn, and active participation in the classroom as a model example for her peers. 

“I like to help people if they need help. I will help them! Whether it is with an assignment or how to navigate to a website, anything like that,” said Chiarella.

In honor of her selection as a Serino Superstar, the Senator surprised Chiarella with a visit at home, coordinated by her mother. Serino presented Chiarella with a certificate and a yard sign and thanked her for being a positive influence in her school community.

“The senator drove more than an hour from Hyde Park to meet Erica, and it was very special and heartfelt,” said Erica’s mother, Stacey Chiarella. “This has been a rough year for so many students, and Erica is no exception, and it was such an honor that Mr. Richards nominated her and that she was chosen. I am really touched by the whole thing!”

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