SCASA Awards 2022-2023

Congratulations to this year's South Central Area Superintendents’ Association (SCASA) Student Recognition Award recipients. This award recognizes students’ accomplishments based on academic, extra-curricular, and community service criteria. What a great group nominated this year!

Dunbar Hill School
Oliver Ayellaki

Oliver is one of Dunbar Hill’s brightest and most inquisitive students. He embodies Dunbar Hill P.R.I.D.E as he is positive, responsible, respectful, in control and empathetic.  His academic prowess is second to none and he is always striving to learn more. 

Oliver is the first to lend a hand when a classmate is in need, and he has even been a teacher’s assistant during several classes.  Oliver is a member of the Dunbar Hill band, chorus, and safety patrol.  There truly is no one more deserving of this award than Oliver Ayellaki!

Helen Street School
Rowan Barnes

Rowan came to us via California.  She and her mom converted this move from a trial to a cross-country adventure stopping at a variety of places along the way to take in everything she could.  And to me, this is who she is.  Rowan is highly intellectually inquisitive, universally accepting and fiercely protective of those she sees as marginalized.   She speaks truth to power and shows fearlessness in her convictions that is rare and sorely needed these days.  I have been challenged by her and her questions are deeply probing and make you have to validate your thinking.  

At our school she warmed up slowly, being very deliberate and observant as is her modus operandi.  However, she is now fully immersed.  She has made good friends that will carry over to next year. She speaks her mind freely and challenges her classmates to be better.  She is part of our Helen Street Singers and plays violin in our Orchestra.  She was also a natural selection for the 6th grade Principal Advisory Group which helps create schedules for our school activities and tries to find ways to include and validate all members of our school community.   Her work shows a dry wit and self-propelled attention to detail and attainment of excellence.  When I read her work, it makes my heart happy.  We feel honored to have the opportunity to help her advance in the journey of her educational career.  For these reasons and more, Rowan Barnes is our choice to receive this distinction.

Hamden High School
Anna Wagner

Anna is a natural leader who is well respected by both her peers and faculty. She is a member of the Hamden Engineering Careers Academy and has contributed greatly to the landscape of Hamden High School as an accomplished scholar, motivating leader, and energetic member of our student body. Anna is also a member of Dragons United whose charge is to make our school a more welcoming, equitable and inclusive place. 

Anna is the Historian for the Class of 2023, a member of the National Honor Society and a recipient of the Harvard Book Award.  Anna is an accomplished dancer and a gifted visual artist who recently shared her gift of art by painting a portrait of three Hamden High School students we tragically lost within a year.  In an empathetic gesture, she provided a portrait for each family.  Anna plans to study Psychology in college and wants to combine her academic curiosity, artistic gifts and deep compassion to utilize art therapy as a way to help others heal. 

Hamden High School
Giovanni Odozi

Giovanni is a natural leader who strives to be the best he can be in all aspects of his life. He leads the morning announcements daily which has expanded into a school-based Podcast he hosts called the Dragon’s Den.  Gio’s passion for sharing innovative ideas through public speaking has reached outside of school as well. Last fall, Gio was selected by TedX Harford for his mini talk about the link between socio economics and crime.  He was recognized at the Hartford Convention Center at the TedX Hartford annual event, where his talk was presented to an audience of several hundred. 

Gio is a passionate and committed student whose daily actions demonstrate an unyielding commitment to giving back to his school community.  As a Student Ambassador, Giovanni works to make our school a more welcoming and inclusive place, and supports the underclassmen in their transition into high school. Giovanni is a shining example of a young man who is respectful, hard-working and committed to his education. A student-athlete on the Track and Field Team, Gio plans on attending Southern Connecticut State University.

Hamden Middle School
Luca Esposito

Luca embraces all opportunities to learn. He is a dedicated student who perseveres through challenges. His teachers admire his curiosity and commitment to education. Luca believes the most important aspect of school is being a good friend to others. He has learned how to listen and support others in times of need. Luca has many talents; he is a talented baker.

During the pandemic, Luca started a business, Luca’s Creative Cakes. His love for baking was inspired by his family. He remembers baking with his grandparents, and together they made delicious treats, including breads, cakes, and cookies. Luca is excited for high school and beyond. He has many aspirations, including owning a bakery. He loves to bring happiness to others through his artistic culinary desserts. He is truly an exemplary person.

Hamden Middle School
Jenna Dadio

Jenna is an exemplary student who consistently earns high honors. Jenna shared that knowledge makes her feel powerful. She is motivated to push herself in the classroom and beyond. She is an active member of the National Junior Honor Society. Jenna understands the importance of community service, and she actively supports projects like the Toy Drive and Pennies for Patients.

Jenna can be described as a quiet leader; she consistently demonstrates the core values of kindness, respect, and compassion. She describes herself as shy, but not when she is on the stage. Jenna, a creative person, loves to dance and perform. Dance is a passion, and she is grateful to compete with her team. Jenna has big dreams, including working with children as a Pediatric Oncologist. Without a doubt, Jenna has a bright future!