BYS honors students with Compassionate Action Awards

Jesse Theil’s free time has been spent hauling thousands of pounds of food up a hill to Helpline House. Kayla Cortes turned her grief from a friend’s death and the hurricane in Puerto Rico into healing and fundraising actions for the community. While on a service trip to Nepal, Chandler Johnston witnessed a world in need outside the bubble of Bainbridge Island. And Serena Johnson realized that even the smallest acts of kindness can have a huge impact on others.

These four Bainbridge Island High Schoolers were among more than 150 students recently honored for their kindness and philanthropic work in the community at the 16th Annual Bainbridge Youth Services Compassionate Action Awards ceremony.

Cezanne Allen, incoming executive director at Bainbridge Youth Services, welcomed the group Nov. 19 at Grace Episcopal Church by acknowledging all of the honorees for their “acts of compassion and good works to make our community and world a better place in which to live.”

“It never ceases to amaze me to see the generous hearts of our community youth,” Allen said. “During this holiday season, we are reminded of how truly thankful we are for such caring, loving youth.”

Nina Davis, a junior at Bainbridge High, kicked off the ceremony by singing “Stand By Me,” while BHS students Serena Johnson, Kayla Cortes and Chandler Johnston spoke about their individual acts of compassion. Also performing at the event were Sarah Jung (violin); Quinn Lanning and Imane Romangin.

BYS Board Member Shannon Dierickx announced the awards and BYS Board Member Kelly Deis, BYS counselor Courtney Oliver and Youth Champion sponsor Stephanie Jackson presented the certificates.

Students were congratulated by Bainbridge Island Police Chief Matthew Hamner, Mayor Val Tollefson and BHS Principal Kristen Haizlip.

BYS also thanked its Premier sponsors: Windermere Real Estate, CHI Franciscan Health and Kwik Lok; and Silver sponsors: Puget Sound Energy, ACE Hardware, Braces Inc., Clark Construction and Island Fitness.

Gift baskets also were raffled off to five lucky students thanks to Bon Bon, Starbucks, Safeway and Umpqua Bank.

The eight Individual Honorees were:

Ian Lipton for his compassion for classmates;

Barrett Lhamon for his kindness toward young sailors at the Port Madison Yacht Club;

Leah Diamond for her selfless work at the Boys & Girls Club;

Sarah Jung, for her work at CHI Franciscan Health Bainbridge Island Clinic;

Mace Korytko for his compassion for classmates at Hyla Middle School;

Morgan Dierickx for her work with NewLife Youth serving under-privileged kids in Mazatlán;

Kayla Cortes for organizing a community candlelight vigil to honor the death of her best friend and for her work for Puerto Rico Relief efforts to honor and help her grandparents who lived through the hurricane; and

Emma Brundige for her compassion to a stranger in the community who was having a difficult time during a community candlelight vigil.

The Group Honorees included:

BI-K (formerly known as Bainbridge Island Kitezh: Taylor Hall, Ricky Reinke, Chandler Johnston, Sam Barnett, Clay Wren, Jenny Friedman and Emily Glenn;

Helpline House: Kate Jarecke, Alison Spence, Jesse Theil;

Kids In Concert Julia Edwards, Jaqueline Hall, Abby Sullivan, Ava Rockefeller Campbell, Josie Meier, Molly Gildner, Cora Cole, Alison Spence;

Bainbridge Healthy Youth Alliance Teen Council: Madeleine Swietlik, Emma Russell, Lindsay Franznick, Noelle Lipschutz, Erica Sprott, Spencer Bispham, Lauren Quesada, Julia Footh, Kiera Blackford, Rose Bandrowski, Andres Rovalo, Olivia Zacharia, Emma Measer, Garrett Aichele and Avery Johnson;

BYS Youth Advisors: Katie Yoson and Alison Spence;

BYS Compassionate Action: Nina Davis, Sarah Jung, Quinn Lanning, Imane Romangin, Katie Yoson, Serena Johnson, Kayla Cortes and Chandler Johnston;

BYS Think Tank Tutoring: Stella Streufert, Taylor Jumpa, Noah Faust, Gisella Gonzalez, Randi Harrigan, Natalie Taylor, Lexie Taylor, Amelia Hall, Georgia Sauerman, Annie Walsh, Kyle Hamner and Madison Culp;

BHS Link Crew: Julia Batson, Allie Berry, Spencer Bispham, Kiera Blackford, Alli Boden, Amanda Brady, Sawyer Blair, McKenzie Burkard, Julia Brooks, Hailey Capps, Grace Cisneros, Eleanor Collins, Skye Clark, Jane Ekstrand, Nathan Eaton, Emily Feeney, Moorea Eldon-Everts, Julia Footh, Kathryn Feeney, Emily Glenn, Natalie Gillatt, Gisella Gonzalez, Libby Hall Clements, Elizabeth Hambleton, Serena Johnson, Julia Jakubik, Elisabeth Leung, Lauren Witty, Delaney James, Isabella King, Taylor Jumpa, Jackie McVay, Morgan Lasoff, Noelle Lipschutz, Pilar Hemingway, Jakob Mathisen (Squanto), YuYu Madigan, Marianne Milander, Nate Michaels, Jack Naon, Spencer Nicholas, Christian NongaKingonmbe, Erin Miller, Malia Peato, Collin Oliver, Lauren Quesada, Mia Peeples, Anna Scott, Emma Russell, Erica Sprott, Alison Spence, Stella Streufert, Alec Stauffer, Madeline Swietlik, Cruz Strom, Lauren Wallach, Emily Tibbens, Delaney Wiggins, Jillian Webb and Georgia Wood;

TOPSoccer: Madeline Barsotti, Sagel Bush, Cole Beckman, Cosette Miller, Grace Duffy, Emma Brundige, Hailey Capps, Henry Brown, Natalie Gillatt, Paulina Lopez, Jackson Eyrich, Jane Ekstrand, Emma Hall, Miranda Grogger, Mia Hale, Molly Fisher, Kate Jarecke, Alec Stauffer, Ellie Murray, Emerson Nicholas, Jackson Oswald, Sydney Oswald, Sam Torres and Issac Torres;

Grace Church: Julianna Moeller, Taylor Hall, Lizzy Powell, Nina Davis, Kaitlyn Hung, Olivia Vessenes, Zelie Wynne Jones, Emily Hung, Camille Peterson, Cara Rienke, Caroline Payne, Ben Robinson, Cal Breen, Kieran Griffin, Josie Hill, Catharine Fleming and Lyra Cromwell;

Younglife: Morgan Dierickx and Olivia Weibel; and

Wyldlife: Holly Bice and Bridget Weibel.

Bainbridge Youth Services, a nonprofit organization that offers free and confidential counseling for young people ages 12 through 21, has sponsored the Compassionate Action Awards for the past 16 years. Since the program’s inception, BYS has honored more than 2,000 youth for their acts of compassion and kindness in our community.

Nominations for the 2018 Compassionate Action Awards may be submitted to BYS on its website at

Allen said the program seeks to recognize youth in our community who give of themselves in a spirit of generosity.

“We wish to encourage community service and bring to the forefront those youth who do the right thing,” she said.