SCOTCH PLAINS, N.J. -- Union Catholic seniors Ryan Woods and Audrey Davis and faculty member Mr. Elito Tanyag were recently recognized for their commitment to Union Catholic's faith-based community at a special Youth Ministry Recognition Ceremony at the Cathedral Basilica of the Sacred Heart in Newark.

Woods and Davis, who are both Eucharistic Ministers, received the Youth Discipleship Award, which is presented to youths who respond to the call to discipleship through service or ministry to their parish or school community.

Mr. Tanyag, who teaches religion at Union Catholic and is the moderator for UC's Students for Human Dignity, was presented with the Archdiocesan Parish/School Adult Light of the World Award, which is given to adults who have demonstrated commitment to young people and youth ministry to their parish or school.

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The ceremony was organized by the Archdiocese of Newark's Office of Youth and Young Adult Ministry, who ask each parish and high school in the Archdiocese to choose two students and one adult for the respective awards.

Woods, who lives in Basking Ridge, and Davis, who lives in Fanwood, were thrilled to be honored.

"It was a surprise and a great honor,'' said Woods, who is an altar server, works on the UC Livestream and UCTV, is a Student Council homeroom representative and a volunteer firefighter.  "It's really a big thing to add to my resume. It gives me a lot of pride in my school and in myself. It's great to be noticed and recognized. I love Union Catholic. This school has been a godsend for me, and being recognized makes me feel like I'm making a difference here and in my community. I'm getting the word out that Union Catholic is the place to be.''  

Davis was also honored with the award.

"I am grateful and honored to have been nominated and to receive this award,'' said Davis, who is a Student Ambassador, President of the C.R.A.Y.O.N Club, a member of PAC's Executive Board and Students For Human Dignity, a Captain on the Forensics team, and a member of the UCTV staff. "It was really nice to be recognized for all the service I do for the school and for the community. I've always felt compelled and called to service because I've grown up Catholic, so I've always known the importance of it and it's nice to be honored for my work.

Mr. Tanyag said he's grateful for the honor and that his commitment to the students at Union Catholic and to social justice is part of his faith.

"I'm very grateful for the recognition,'' said Mr. Tanyag. "I'm living out my faith, and I feel it's part of our normal responsibility. I feel my faith will never be complete unless I continue to express it somehow with a concrete action.''