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Valley students honored at CSIU transition conference

Mar. 15—SELINSGROVE — Five Northumberland County students were honored for their resilience and determination to overcome barriers at the CSIU transitions conference Thursday at Susquehanna University.

Three students received awards in honor of Dr. Cynthia Schloss, who was a member of the Bloomsburg University Community and the CSIU Transition Coordinating Councils.

Connor Harris, a Midd-West School District student who studies at SUN Area Technical Institute, received the first place award. Va'Czan Cooper Longer, of Milton Area School District, received second place and Tyler Roberts, of Warrior Run School District, received third place.

Other nominees for the award included Destiny Welch and Nathaniel Hagenbuch, both of Milton Area School District, Hunter Stahl, a Selinsgrove Area School District student who studies at SUN Area Technical Institute, and Lainee Gather, a Shikellamy School District student with CSIU Work Foundations+.

The eyes of teachers and administrators in the room filled with tears as awards in honor of Andrew Hergan were presented.

Stephanie Michaels, Shikellamy School District's director of special education, said it was a difficult moment for all as Hergan passed just last week.

Micah Shively, of Shikellamy School District, and Kaden Hine, of Mount Carmel Area School District, each received awards in honor of Hergan.

The event's keynote speaker, Joanne Cashman, had the assistance of a group of seven students from each of the school districts in Northumberland County.

Cashman and the panel of students discussed various messages and what they meant to the students.

Cashman prompted the students to ponder what it means to "be you."

"You should pursue what you want to do and not let anyone else tell you otherwise," Shively said.

Others discussed a message surrounding resilience. "You get knocked down a lot, but you have to keep going," Hine said.

This theme was near and dear for Roberts, a volunteer firefighter.

"We had a training over the summer and learned that everyone has something they'll struggle with, but when you're scared in those moments, you have to move forward," he said.

Following the speaker and awards ceremony, the students attending the conference attended three panels. The first was on staying safe on social media, presented by Shawn Williams, chief of police at the Shikellamy School District. The second was on first impressions, presented by Laura Taylor of the Office of Vocational Rehabilitation. The third panel featured Ann Dzwonzik of Evangelical Community Hospital, who presented on the truth about vaping.