Local students earn citizenship awards from Milford Daughters of American Revolution

MILFORD — Local students Paige Hottois, Ethan Harrigan and Soledad Meade have received Good Citizenship Awards from the Milford chapter of the Daughters of the American Revolution.

Elizabeth Keefe, chairwoman of the Milford chapter, said the Good Citizen Award recognizes students who possess the four outstanding qualities of a good citizen: dependability, service, leadership and patriotism. Students were chosen by faculty and college counselors’ votes and were required to write an essay with the following prompt: How do the combined actions of so many good citizens keep our nation moving forward?

Meade, of Foran High School, was the overall Milford winner and her essay will be entered in the state competition. She wrote recognizing diversity and appreciating our differences to work toward equal representation was key to moving forward. She said she looked to the example of Susan B. Anthony.

“As a good citizen, Anthony took the initiative to speak up for women that were underrepresented in their government systems, and her efforts would later lead to the establishment of the 19th Amendment allowing women to vote in the United States,” she said.

Not everyone can make an impact like Susan B. Anthony did, but Meade said the abundance of community programs and resources can make a small but significant impact in a person’s life. She cited her experience on a youth group trip to Philadelphia working with a local organization called The Simple Way, a food pantry helping local community members.

“These good citizens are local members of the community that made it their personal mission to provide for those in need without judgment,” Meade said. “In addition to directly aiding their community, organizations like these inspire members of other communities, like myself and other volunteers, to make a difference.”

Harrigan, of Jonathan Law High School, advocated following your moral compass.

“When citizens follow their moral compass and work together to achieve common goals, they advance our nation with those ideals as a framework,” Harrigan said. He said those who make moral decisions part of their mission to help others improves the conditions of the United States.

Harrigan cited the deaths of George Floyd and Breonna Taylor and how people stood up to fight systemic racism in society.

“With the protests of people of every race and background coming together; from athletes to celebrities to normal citizens, there was emphasis on creating equality in this nation,” he said. “This was a chain reaction of people influencing others with their sense of justice e and leading them to influence change.”

Hottois, a Lauralton Hall senior, said positive actions and attributes would keep the nation moving forward.

“For example, one can do service (charity, donation, etc.), which is usually considered a bigger positive action,” she said. “On the other hand, one can help a student with their homework. A smaller positive action, yes, but it still is just as acceptable.”

She added that being aware of one’s environment would make it easier to see where help is needed.

“The more caring, kind, passionate people who are also aware of their surroundings, and try to help as much as they can, when they can, as well as the best they can, the better! It all adds up,” she said.

In addition to their essays, the students completed an application listing their community involvements.

Meade is a member of the National Honor Society, is the senior class vice president, a member of the varsity volleyball and track teams and the editor of the school newspaper. She volunteers with the Get in Touch Foundation for breast cancer awareness. She plans on studying political since and public policy in college.

Harrigan is an Eagle Scout and is part of the Order of the Arrow, Scouting’s national honor society. He is the captain of the varsity indoor and outdoor track teams, plays varsity soccer and an active volunteer. He plans to attend college in California where he intends to study genetics.

Hottois is a counselor-in-training at Lauralton’s summer camps and an aide at Mercy Learning Center in Bridgeport. She has participated in musical theater at Lauralton and is the president of the “All Things Considered” club, which is dedicated to exploring pop culture genres. She plans to attend Sacred Heart University in Fairfield.

Meade said those who have provided goods and services to better their community has contributed to upholding the American values of service and leadership.

“Having equal opportunities for everyone is a message that good citizens will continue to drive forward,” she said.