24 students earn Citizen of the Year honors

Twenty-four local students were honored Wednesday as Alachua County's 2023-24 Citizens of the Year.
Twenty-four local students were honored Wednesday as Alachua County's 2023-24 Citizens of the Year.
Photo by Eytan Oren

Alachua County school district officials, parents and students turned out Wednesday to celebrate 24 elementary students who earned 2023-24 Citizen of the Year honors.  

The ceremony took place at Alachua County Library District (ACLD) headquarters downtown and featured remarks from Shaney Livingston, the ACLD director, Shane Andrew, superintendent of Alachua County Public Schools (ACPS), and Lee Pinkoson, chair of the Children’s Trust of Alachua County (CTAC).  

Dr. Sarah Rockwell, a school board member, delivered keynote remarks focused on themes from the television show Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood, including helpfulness, kindness and responsibility. 

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“In this room we have truly great citizens,” she said. “Thank you so much for being our heroes.”  

The Citizen of the Month is a long-running program organized by ACPS and the Kiwanis Club of Gainesville. Other sponsors include CTAC and Mainstreet Daily News.  

The monthly awards, chosen by teachers and students, are based upon scholastic standing, attitude, conduct, contribution to the community and extracurricular activities. At the end of the school year, each school picks a Citizen of the Year.  

Sarah Rockwell
Photo by Eytan Oren Dr. Sarah Rockwell delivers her remarks.

Each winner received a bag of prizes provided by local sponsors.  

The 2023-24 Citizens of the Year are as follows:  

Alachua Elementary—Makenzie Simmons 

Archer Elementary—Marshall Rodriguez 

Chiles Elementary—Alexa Stern 

Foster Elementary—Shreeya Narasimhan 

Glen Springs Elementary—Mark Hickman Jr. 

Hidden Oak Elementary—Finley Powell 

High Springs Community School—Brooklyn Ashraf 

Idylwild Elementary—Hadeel Dagher 

Irby Elementary—Avery Graham 

Lake Forest Elementary—Olympia Bryant 

Littlewood Elementary—Brayden Russell 

Meadowbrook Elementary—Wanying Yu 

Metcalfe Elementary—Zion Hamilton 

Micanopy Area Cooperative School—Hailynn Morris 

Newberry Elementary—Carter Foland 

Norton Elementary—Mya Mayes 

Parker Elementary—Lucy Thompson 

Rawlings Elementary—Anna Teekpeh 

Shell Elementary—Aria Williams 

Sidney Lanier Center—Milenys Sanchez 

Talbot Elementary—Leandro Perez 

Terwilliger Elementary—Payton Cheatham 

Wiles Elementary—Alex Chang 

Williams Elementary—Bryan Davis 

Attendees listen
Photo by Eytan Oren

About 100 people attended Wednesday’s ceremony.

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