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City of Fall River announces Youth of the Year



Photo courtesy of Christian McCloskey

Mayor Paul Coogan, in conjunction with the School-Community Partnership, announced on Absolutely Incredible Kid Day that Ashley De Pina Nunes is the 2021 Fall River Youth of the Year.

Sponsored by Partners for a Healthier Community, the award is designed to recognize and encourage the contributions and excellence of the young people of Fall River who have built their character and competence through the fulfillment of America’s Promises.

The award is a three-part process: a nomination by a caring adult, an essay by the youth, and an interview. The nominations are based on personal achievement, leadership abilities, extracurricular activities, healthy living, effective learning opportunities, and/or community involvement. The essay required the youth to write about how the youth had been able to overcome the obstacles of the pandemic with their dedication to the community and commitment to helping others.

According to her nomination, De Pina Nunes, who will be graduating from Durfee High School in June and will be attending Brown University to major in Neuroscience and Deaf Culture, is always the first one to step up and help others; her altruistic way has earned her the respect of her classmates, teachers and administrators.

As an active member of such leadership groups as National Honor Society and Project 351, she was focused and determined to give back to the community and assure that she established entities that not only would aid her community in the short term but in the long term as well.

Mayor Coogan said: “We had a fantastic group of nominees who represent the heart and the character of the Fall River community. This year, more than ever, it is important to recognize our young people’s accomplishments in the face of significant challenges.”

The other finalists from Durfee, Diman and Connolly representing a wide range of youth leadership groups included Alysha Ras, Charles Bembery, Dakota Patin, Hannah Pereira, Isabella Moniz, Isaiah Raines, Kilee Thibault, Lerelei Hetzler, Sophie McDonnell and Zachary Massa.

“The announcement of the Youth of the Year on Absolutely Incredible Kid Day was deliberate.” said Youth Services Coordinator and Co-Chair of Youth CHOICES Christian McCloskey. “The award reinforces the premise of the day which is to highlight how incredible and how important the youth truly are. The YOTY and AIKD are a celebration for all youth and what they mean for not only the future, but for the betterment of Fall River now.”

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