BRIARCLIFF MANOR, N.Y. The Girl Scouts Heart of the Hudson Centennial Gala honored many women including actress/singer Vanessa Williams and Rep. Nita Lowey (D-Westchester/Rockland). But the most distinguished person honored during the March 15 gala was one of Briarcliff Manors own.
During the ceremony, 16-year-old Briarcliff High School student Marissa Contento received the Young Woman of Leadership and Excellence Award. Contento beat out dozens of candidates from the seven counties in the Hudson region.
In addition to being an honors student and varsity athlete on both the volleyball and basketball teams at Briarcliff High School, Contento is a Girl Scout Gold Award candidate. She also inaugurated the Briarcliff High School Chapter of the American Red Cross, volunteers at Maria Feraris Childrens Hospital, organized dozens of fundraisers and spends time on the weekends volunteering to teach religion.
Its really amazing to see someone else happy, Contento said. As hard as it might be to do everything sometimes, its worth it to get a chance to help someone.
Contento quickly pointed to her mother and troop leader Annette Contento.
My family has always been there and they were the ones that showed me the value of helping people and doing community service, Contento said.
Annette said her daughter is owed all of the acclaim.
When she was in kindergarten she wanted to join Girl Scouts so she could do community service projects, Annette Contento said. So many people think Girl Scouts is all about making crafts or selling cookies. But theres so much more to it than that and Marissa is a great example of what its about.
When she heard her daughter had won the award during the centennial gala, Annette said she felt more pride than surprise.
We always knew she was special but to see her honored like this was really special because she deserved it after all that shes done, Annette Contento said.
Annette Contento added that theres a side to her daughter that many people dont see.
She is an artist and loves to spend her free time painting and drawing, Annette Contento said, adding that Marissa made a coloring book and donated it to the Childrens Hospital.
The award came as no surprise to Regina Leon, service unit manager for the Briarcliff/Pocantico Girl Scouts.
Marissa has been an outstanding Girl Scout in the Briarcliff and Pocantico community, Leon said. We are all so proud of her. She is a role model for our younger scouts and all the work she has tirelessly done has benefitted so many people in need. She embodies the true spirit of Scouting, is bright, energetic, and truly a leader.
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