BELLOWS FALLS — Grace Waryas has been named the 2022-23 Daughters of the American Revolution (DAR) Good Citizen for Bellows Falls Union High School, where she is a member of the senior class.
The DAR Good Citizen Award and Scholarship Contest, created in 1934, is intended to encourage and reward the qualities of good citizenship and evaluates winners based on criteria set forth by the DAR national organization.
Qualifications include dependability (including truthfulness, loyalty, and punctuality), service (including cooperation, courtesy, and consideration of others), leadership (including personality, self-control, and ability to assume responsibility), and patriotism (including unselfish interest in family, school, community, and nation).
According to the school, Waryas, the daughter of Rebecca Bezanson of Bellows Falls, has “demonstrated dependability through her commitment to her classes, school activities, and her community. She is a dedicated student who works hard in her courses. She completes her work with the quality, attention to due dates, and social consciousness commendable in a high school student.”
A member of the Marilee Huntoon/Jesse A. Judd Chapter of the National Honor Society at BFUHS, Waryas was described by the school as “serving as a good role model to others. She is soft-spoken, yet she asserts herself and voices herself with conviction, dignity, self-respect, and an awareness of multiple perspectives.”
While at BFUHS, Waryas has participated in a number of activities, including the Concert Band and Drama Club, UMatter, the Gender & Sexuality Alliance, and the Diversity and Equity Committee.
Waryas has been an active member of the BFUHS Student Council and has served as president this year. In that role, the school said, she “works hard to get everyone involved in activities and makes sure everyone's voice is heard.”
As a valued member of The Howler, the BFUHS student newspaper, Waryas is dedicated to helping others and “is very interested in activism through her actions, and class assignments,” the school said.
Waryas's volunteerism started at a young age when she had the opportunity to serve as a legislative page at the Vermont State House for six weeks.
She has also volunteered on the Santa Express passenger train and has made bracelets for the seniors in the community who participate in the Meals on Wheels Program.
She has partnered with Vermont Afterschool to advocate for the importance of free and accessible after-school programs for all youth in the state. Her work included an analysis of how to create new programs for people of all interests, how to fund the programs, how much of a factor youth leadership could be, and how to take down barriers to these programs.
This group also launched a project called “Youth Voice,” which worked to collect feedback and answers from youth across the state about their interests, their experiences with, and their wishes for after-school programs.
Waryas also served as a member of the Vermont Student Anti-Racism Network, a completely student-led group.
“She creatively addresses the social, economic, gender, and racial injustices that too often lie at the heart of human struggle and tension,” school officials noted. “Grace's name fits her perfectly; she contributes to the school and community at large in a mature and informed manner.”