DOBBS FERRY, N.Y. -- The discipline, respect, solidarity and camaraderie of law enforcement work shone brightly as the Westchester Youth Police Academy graduated 34 high school seniors Wednesday, June 4, during a ceremony at Mercy College.
The graduating cadets, 18 boys and 16 girls from 13 Westchester high schools, spent six weeks in intensive physical, classroom and field training as police cadets under the supervision of police officers from 15 town and village police departments, Westchester County and the FBI.
"We have been working with the Youth Police Academy for six years, and this is our biggest class," Dobbs Ferry Youth Officer Justin Kampke said. "The purpose of the program is to familiarize the high school seniors with law enforcement -- who we are and how we relate to the public. We offer discipline, knowledge of police and criminal justice, and most of all team work, family and what it takes to be a positive force in the community."
Croton-Harmon High School senior Amanda Strobl was named the Class of 2014 honor graduate for her leadership qualities.
"As a young person going off to college, this program was life-changing for me," Strobl said. "Learning about law enforcement and respect for authority was important, but the self-discipline, hard work and teamwork meant so much to me."
Devin McManus of Sleepy Hollow, who earned the Committment Award, said he was transformed from a carefree, graduating teen to a respectful adult.
"Seniors usually coast through the last term of high school, but we were committed to waking up early, getting to the academy and being more responsible for ourselves and others on our team." McManus said. "I learned why police officers do what they do and how important it is to represent the uniform and serving to public to protect them. It was the best experience I've had."
Morgan Nugent of Mamaroneck earned the Esprit de Corps Award for her leadership and teamwork, Carlos Barros (Sleepy Hollow) and Hannah Rubino (Byram Hills) were tops in Obstacle Course, Westlake's John Santerelli earned the Persistence Award, and Charles McAuley of Byram Hills was named Most Physically Fit.
The Westchester Youth Police Academy graduates are:
Ardsley High School: Minas Zoulis, Marina Timmins.
Blind Brook: Christopher Arrabane, Matthew Gutner, Michael Sterner.
Byram Hills: Brandon Gunderson, Charles McAuley, Alex Minassian, Sean O'Connell, Benjamin Ratner, Hannah Rubino.
Croton-Harmon: Samantha Furtzaig, Van Asselt, Amanda Strobl.
Dobbs Ferry: Kiran Shabbir, Wilda Marroquin, William Fontana, Roy Benjamin.
Fox Lane: Karina Delgado.
Irvington: Brett Enax.
Lakeland: Olivia C. Avery.
Mamaroneck: Sara DeCosta, Brendan Maguire, Camila Martin, Morgan Nugent.
Peekskill: Carolina Sagnay.
Sleepy Hollow: Carlos Barros, Dante Ellis, Katie Maita, Devin McManus.
Walter Panas: Erica Leonardi,
Westlake: John Santarelli, Amanda Luckie, Julia Muscatella.