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Fanwood-Scotch Plains Girl Scouts Recognize 2015 Award Recipients

L to r: Samantha McCallion, Troop 40912, Fanwood; Erin O'Connor, Troop 40363, Scotch Plains; Fanwood Councilwoman Kathy Mitchell; Abbie Fossaceca, Troop 40363, Scotch Plains; and Caroline Ringel, Troop 40052, Scotch Plains. Credits: Tom Kranz
Samantha McCallion, Erin O'Connor, Abbie Fossaceca, and Caroline Ringel with award chairperson Michelle Tropper. The girls received commemorative binders containing letters and other remembrances:  Credits: Tom Kranz

SCOTCH PLAINS-FANWOOD, NJ - The Fanwood-Scotch Plains Girl Scouts gathered on May 26 at Immaculate Heart of Mary Church to honor girls who have achieved the organization’s highest medals: the Gold and Silver Awards.

Four girls from Fanwood-Scotch Plains earned the Gold Award this year. After completing a series of prerequisites, the girls must design and carry out a Gold Award project to address a need in the community in a way that can be sustained into the future. The projects carried out by this year’s recipients address a variety of community needs.

Abbie Fossaceca, a junior at SPFHS involved in the National Honor Society and Italian Honor Society, worked with The Boys and Girls Club of Union County in Plainfield, NJ. She secured donations for supplies, materials, and furniture to refurbish the kindergarten classroom and the library. She also led a group of volunteers to spackle, paint, and reorganize the layout of the kindergarten classroom, along with establishing Family Game Night.

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Samantha McCallion, a senior at the Academy for Allied Health Sciences (AAHS), educated children about dietary needs of their classmates and created allergy-free recipes for kids to share. She ultimately created “Kids in the Kitchen,” a cookbook designed for children with allergies that teachers can refer to. Samantha will attend The College of New Jersey in the fall as an education/international studies major and wants to help girls in underprivileged areas in the future.

Erin O'Connor, a junior at SPFHS, created a driver’s education curriculum to make teens aware of the importance of the organ donation box on the New Jersey driver’s license. She gave an informative presentation to the SPFHS Health Education department, who is considering including it to driver’s education courses in the future. Additionally, Erin plays varsity lacrosse at SPFHS and is a member of the National Honor Society. She also volunteers as a peer minister at St. Helen’s Church.  

Caroline Ringel, a junior at SPFHS, organized and held a Veterans Gallery Walk at St. Bartholomew the Apostle Church to honor those who served in our nation’s military. She interviewed local veterans and their family members to gather stories and pictures, where they would be viewed by St. Bart's parishioners, friends and families of veterans, and St. Bart’s Academy students. Caroline is a member of National Honor Society, the SPFHS marching band, and serves as stage manager for SPFHS Repertory Theater.

The also recognized 16 girls who completed the Silver Award, the highest award in Cadette Girl Scouts (grades 6 – 8): Hannah Finan, Sara Miller, Sara Banasiak, Emily Malool, Aubrey Johnson, Briana McGowan, Yustina Alexander-Himlan, Sarah Briante, Alexandra Fischmann, Kate McQuaid, Ciara McParland, Mackenzie Inacker, Hannah Davis, Francesca Carlino, Caitlin Bourke and Madison Goldberg.

Their nine Silver Award projects involved health, reading, support for cancer patients, working with children and establishing a middle school literary magazine.

In the final event of the evening, some of the 15 twelfth-grade Girl Scouts in Fanwood-Scotch Plains were present to symbolically cross a bridge to adult Girl Scouting as they graduate from high school.

The Gold Award recipients have also been recognized by the Girl Scouts Heart of New Jersey on May 3 and at a recent Scotch Plains Township council meeting.

Fanwood-Scotch Plains is one of 138 communities in Girl Scouts Heart of NJ, which serves over 25,000 girls and 11,000 adult members in the counties of Hudson, Essex, Union, Somerset, Hunterdon, Warren and Middlesex. For more info, call (908) 518-4400 or visit


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