Students' community service project earns honors

Ronda Wertman
Special to the News Tribune
Carlie and Clair DelSignore (center) were recognized Saturday with the Aubrey Stewart Award for Excellence for their community service. They are shown with l-r Aubrey Stewart Project president TJ Coleman, Keyser High School principal Lois Spencer and Mineral County superintendent of schools Troy Ravenscroft.
Tom Golden of the Aubrey Stewart Project presented (l-r) Carlie and Claire DelSignore with letters of commendation from Senator Joe Manchin for their efforts in the community.

KEYSER - “We plan for this to be just the beginning of our community service and hope to participate in many community service projects in the future, and encourage others to do the same,” said Carlie and Claire DelSignore as they were recognized Saturday with the Aubrey Stewart Award for Excellence.

The Aubrey Stewart Project recognized the Keyser High School seniors’ outstanding community service for their Valentine’s Day food drive, which included six neighborhoods and resulted in two vehicles and a truckload of donations as well as over $200 for the Faith in Action food pantry.  

“We had a great number of volunteers that came out and helped us with collecting, so we would like to thank the volunteers as well as those who donated to our project. Without the help that we received, the project would not have been as successful,” said Claire DelSignore as tables of grandparents, aunts, uncles and cousins joined them for their special night.

“Claire and I would like to thank TJ Coleman, the Aubrey Stewart Foundation, our family and everyone in attendance. We would also like to recognize the 333rd Artillery Battalion for their contributions and sacrifices for our country. We are both very thankful and honored to have received the Aubrey Stewart Award of Excellence,” Carlie DelSignore said.

“Carlie and I would like to think of ourselves similar to Aubrey Stewart. No, we didn’t make the ultimate sacrifice that Aubrey Stewart made giving his life for his beloved county, but we have been able to represent the belief of helping people, giving to our community, and showing respect to all people regardless of where they come from,” said Claire DelSignore.

“Claire and I have participated in quite of bit of community service projects throughout our middle school and high school experience. We both have participated in Senior Olympics, junior counseling at Mineral County 4-H Camp, meal preparation and delivery to church community shut-ins and placed flags on graves for Veteran’s Day,” shared Carlie DelSignore.

Planning to attend Potomac State College after graduation, both girls have chosen careers where they will continue to help others as Carlie pursues a career in exercise physiology and Claire in health sciences nutrition.

Both Carlie and Claire are on the KHS softball team and are active in their school, church and community. Carlie also plays soccer and is a member of the FFA, student council and Keyser Crazies, while Claire runs cross country and is on the bowling team.

It was last year’s Excellence Award recipient Shawn See who alerted TJ Coleman to the food drive efforts.

“You’re reaching back and being a light for others coming behind you,” said Coleman, president of the Aubrey Stewart Project.

See was instrumental in collecting 184 coats for those in need and Coleman noted that both a sophomore and junior at KHS have expressed interest in continuing this effort.

The DelSignores are also hoping that this year’s junior class will continue their project as well.

See was also recipient of the Aubrey Stewart Scholarship and winner of the Ed Kelley Award.

“Our scholarship winners come back to help,” said Coleman as both See and Philip Biser participated in the recognition program. “I want them to shine in front of others.”

“These children are not lost, but shining in their light. They are saying I want to make a difference,” said Coleman.

“We are the program that has promoted peace and unity for 15 years now,” said Coleman of the Aubrey Stewart Project. “We are so much more than a scholarship and we’re so proud to be.”

In addition to the scholarship and excellence award, the Aubrey Stewart Project participates in the adopt a highway program, sponsors Dads and Little Dudes and Dads and Little Princesses and has been instrumental in recognizing local pioneers including Clifton Brooks and Ida Ruth Price Gulliver.

“We’re in the recognition business,” said Coleman. “Every generation needs light and guidance. I encourage them to lead from the front or the back. These students stay in my life and involved in the community as their schedules allow.”

Tom Golden recognized the DelSignores with comments from Senator Joe Manchin, who praised their efforts of helping those in need.

“You are an inspiration to your school, our state and our nation,’ said Manchin.

Keyser High School principal Lois Spencer also offered praise saying, “You are a blessing to all those around you. Your family and KHS couldn’t be more proud. You will be a success at anything you do.”

Troy Ravenscroft, superintendent of Mineral County Schools, shared his expectation for the DelSignore’s that they will continue to find things that matter and be dedicated volunteers to the community.

“The greatest payment you’ll ever receive is knowing that you were a blessing when you didn’t have to be,” he said.

Coleman praised Tony and Marie DelSignore for inspiring their daughters saying, “They both have gifts of service and that is a beautiful thing.”

“This is what’s cool. You’re doing something that matters, you’re changing lives and there is no greater gift than service to others,” concluded Coleman urging Carlie and Claire to “continue to shine in your life.”