Girl Scout award winners pose with state and local officials. At rear are Adithi Mishra, Trisha Sindhu and Elena Boal. Third row are Smita Varia, Carolyn Vaca, Rachel Yaffe-Bellany, Sruthi Katakam and Pooja Neerumalla. In the second row are Assemblyman Dan Benson, Katelyn Saldanha, Nikita Shankar, Neha Aluwalia, Abaan Kermani and Assemblyman Wayne DeAngelo. At front are school board president Anthony Fleres, state Senator Linda Greenstein, Victoria Francois, Pranavi Linga, Ruchi Aluwalia, Simran Korpal and Plainsboro Deputy Mayor Neil Lewis.

A number of Girl Scouts in Plainsboro and West Windsor earned gold and silver awards. A total of 15 girls were awarded Gold Awards, 25 girls received Silver Awards and 41 received Bronze Awards during a recent ceremony.

Katelyn Saldanha, of Troop 70038, created the Sunshine Club that meets twice a month at St. Mary’s Cathedral in Trenton. The purpose of this club is to give children a safe place where they can interact with others and learn more about the world around them. The children enjoy learning new activities and creating artwork which they proudly show off to their loved ones. Her advisors were Kate Henkel and Claire Gmachl.

Victoria Francois, of Troop 70165, worked with Arm in Arm in Trenton. She built cold frames for their garden, so that they can grow produce throughout the year. Her advisors were Sharon Rajarao and Becca Jensen Compton.

Nikita Shankar, of Troop 70694, did “Flashback: Remember the Good Times” as her gold award project. At the Elms of Cranbury, Shankar created personalized memory boxes to inspire hope for retirees by reminding them of positive memories of their life. Her advisors were Lucinda Cochrane and Yuki Faison.

Neha Aluwalia, of Troop 71604, taught computer literacy and skills at the Trenton Free Public Library, to combat digital illiteracy in Trenton. She worked individually with patrons to obtain new opportunities in housing, employment and education. Additionally, she created a 55-page instructional guide to computers for the library. Her advisors were Jane Campbell and Rochelle Stern.

Ruchi Aluwalia, of Troop 71604, created events and permanent activities on the Discovery Trail at the Plainsboro Preserve for children and families. One of these was a musical activity where children explored how percussion instruments sounded like amphibians. The other was a native bird scavenger hunt with 13 painted wooden birds that were nailed around the trail. These activities took place on four Discovery Trail days, where high school volunteers would lead families around the trail. Her advisors were Jane Campbell and Nancy Fiske.

Pranavi Linga, of Troop 71604, created a library for an elementary school in Pallegudem, a small poor village in India. She led activities and lessons with the elementary school children involving reading, writing and spelling. Her advisors were Jane Campbell and Rochelle Stern.

Elena Boal, of Troop 71729, provided supplemental math opportunities for inner-city Trenton students involved in the Urban Promise after-school and summer camp programs. She created math materials and a tutoring program which help bridge the gap between school and home, and increases math literacy skills. Her advisors were Shari Rexroad and Georgia Koenig.

Carolyn Vaca, of Troop 71729, created a music program for children at a low-income affordable housing facility in Trenton. She used music to target the issue of stress, while providing kids with a more global perspective.

Using recycled items, she created instruments from all around the world, such as Kalimbas from South Africa, Bolang Gu from China and Castanets from Spain. This project taught the children how to handle stress by creating outlets such as music, but taught them values such as teamwork, confidence and open-mindedness. Her advisors were Shari Rexroad and Linda Barton.

Rachel Yaffe-Bellany, of Troop 71729, created lesson plans for the preschool program for kids at HomeFront’s Family Campus Center in Ewing. Each lesson plan centered on a book to be read aloud. They included vocabulary words to highlight questions to ask, and a related craft or activity for the children to do. Her advisors were Shari Rexroad and Liza Peck.

Sruthi Katakam of Troop 71731 ran a series of summer science workshops at Pennrose-Rush Crossing in Trenton as part of the free lunch program. She created a science library and experiment kits at Pennrose for the kids to continue exploring their scientific interests after she left. Her advisors were Preeti Bajaj and Linda Barton.

Simran Korpal, of Troop 71731, ran a summer dance camp program at Pennrose-Rush Crossing in Trenton. She taught kids ages 5 to 15 different forms of dance, sharing her passion for dance and the arts. Her advisors were Poornima Katakam and Linda Barton.

Pooja Neerumalla, of Troop 71731, created and ran STEM workshops for children in Trenton. She created an organization, STEM for Kids, to address the lack of science and technology education in impoverished areas in the society. Her advisors were Poornima Katakam and Linda Barton.

Adithi Mishra, of Troop 71731, planned and hosted a prom for senior citizens at the Brookdale Hillsborough Retirement Home. Her project advisors were Poornima Katakam and Linda Pacifico.

Trisha Sindhu, of Troop 71731, addressed the issues of excessive plastic waste and inadequate affordable housing for the homeless. She taught workshops on how to make sleeping mats for homeless people from plastic grocery bags.

Through these workshops and with the help of friends and family, she provided four sleeping mats to Homefront. A local high school club is going to continue to make these sleeping mats. Her advisors were Poornima Katakam and Meghan Cubano.

Abaan N. Kermani, of Troop 72805, created a summer reading and writing program for the Hightstown Memorial Library. The program was aimed at improving the creative writing skills for children from 7 to 14 years old. Each child was given a bound and laminated book of all their work completed over the summer. Her advisors were Louisa Ho, Ellizabeth Hughes and Daniela Simmons.

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The following girls received the silver award, which is the highest award for Cadette Girl Scouts.

Troop 70690: Nikita Jain for her project “Lights Out,” Trisha Saldanha for “Science Zone” and Wardah Samad for “Read and Rise.” The troop leaders are Amberine Saldanha and Anuja Jain.

Troop 70965: Nandini Khati and Ishita Taparia for “Junior FLL Jumpstart,” and Vaishnavi Vednere and Rhythm Satav for “STEM+Girls=Bright Future.” The Troop leaders are Priyanka Khati and Darshana Vednere.

Troop 71582: Michelle Agarwal and Lauren Kuczmarski for the West Windsor Library Perennial Garden Project, Lindsay N. Bizenov for “Buddy Bench,” Cherie Anne Fernandes for “Music@CYO,” Aarthi Katakam for “From Paperbacks to Puppets: Teaching Literacy Through Play,” Danielle Lluberes, Varsha Gollarhalli and Pearl Rowland for “Diversity Enrichment for Senior Citizens,” and Vaishali Shah for “Around The World.” Their troop leaders are May Rowland and Alice Fernandes.

Troop 71602: Thea Albin for “Bee Aware.” Her Troop leaders are Lydia Grebe, Gayathri Bantval and Phyllis Church.

Troop 71992: Tanya Banerjee for “A Healthy Meal for Everyone,” Vonesha Shaik for “Introducing Junior FIRST Lego League Program in YWCA Princeton and Mentoring 2 FLL Teams,” and Tesha Sharma for “Operation Smoke Free Zone.” Their troop leaders were Kristin Epstein and Pari Shaik.

Troop 72801: Sedona Dunn and Miriam George for their project “STEAM Summer Extension Camp.” Her troop leaders are Helga Selke-Dunn and Rachel George.

Troop 72806: Nethra Raju for her project “Promote Biking and Walking to School.” Her troop leader is Andrea Salgian.

Independent scouts: Lindsay Kartoz and Caroline Kenny for their project “Music For All.”

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The following girls received bronze awards, which is the highest award for Junior Girl Scouts

Troop 70036, which is led by Kristina Giasi and Maura Nester, provided babysitting for leader meetings and other program support for the West Windsor-Plainsboro Girl Scout Service Unit.

The following girls earned the bronze award for this project: Isabella Araya, Laure E. Baden, Tanvi Bethi, Lily Giasi, Karishma Reddy Kagitala, Eva Nester, Priya Patel and Diya Shah, Olivia Silvester.

Troop 70055, which is led by Jackie Nagin and Kathleen Moriarty, earned the bronze award for collecting books and creating a book storage system for Rush Crossing, a low income Trenton housing complex. Six girls earned the bronze award for this project: Kaylie Doong, Rebecca Nagin, Vindhya Voruganti, Carly Tomfohrde, Hannah Zullow and Camille Takyi.

Troop 70693, which is led by Jyoti Humne and Sumati Vij, earned the bronze award for “Caitlyn’s Smiles,” a project for sick kids. Six girls earned the bronze award for this project: Aayushi Humne, Hasini Thupakula, Manya Vij, Nikita Ananthkar, Shreshtha Halder and Sohini Baidya

Troop 72827, which is led by Peggy Redman, Priya Venkataraman and Amrita Sengupta, helped feed hungry people in central New Jersey for their bronze award project.

The following girls earned the award for this project: Joanne Bennet, Vedanti Dasgupta, Nandita Hareesh, Divyanshi Jain, Anya Joseph, Sanskruti Joshi, Anusha Kumar, Samritha Maharajan, Trisha Nakka, Juhi Parikh, Idaya Sasikumar, Iniya Sasikumar and Mahitha Thippireddy.

Troop 72828, which is led by Sabita Nayak and Chaitanya Godavarthi, made sleeping mats for homeless people out of plastic grocery bags. Girls earning their bronze award for this project were: Shibani Dagalur, Nina Kannan, Jaabili Kuruvella, Lakhi Godavarthi Raju, Nora Asit Patel, Chandni Sharma and Tia Sindhu.

Eagle Scouts honored

Boy Scouts of America’s West Windsor-based Troop 40 recently honored six new Eagle Scouts: Alex Arias, Juan Flores, Richard Pfaltzgraff III, Ribhav Bose, Rohan Krishnakumar and Ajun Wit.

The March 17 Eagle Court of Honor, held at Grover Middle School, celebrated Troop 40’s newest Eagle Scouts for attaining scouting’s highest rank. A large crowd of families and community leaders attended the ceremony, including New Jersey Senator Linda Greenstein and West Windsor Mayor Hemant Marathe, both of whom assisted in the presentations.

The six scouts each served as active leaders for Troop 40 over the past several years. They earned the required 21 merit badges, six preceding ranks and completed an Eagle project.
Alex Arias’ Eagle project focused on encouraging the use of bike riding by installing eight bike racks in four locations in West Windsor Community Park.

Ajun Wit also supported the biking community and led volunteers in installing eight bike racks throughout Duck Pond Park adjacent to the tennis, basketball and soccer fields.

Richard Pfaltzgraff III renovated the playground at his church, Prince of Peace, which included fixing the playground equipment, repairing the picnic tables, and replacing the weed barrier, fence and 40 yards of mulch.

Juan Flores installed 22-mile markers on the Robbinsville Township cross country course, which serves the surrounding community in addition to the student-athletes of the district.

Ribhav Bose planted 10 shade trees in the west side picnic pavilion area of West Windsor Community Park to provide shade for picnic-goers and parents or players at soccer events.

Rohan Krishnakumar helped plan and build the Charbagh Vista Garden at the Nash Park, which included planting trees and laying more than 60 feet of decorative stones to create an aesthetic gathering space in honor of West Windsor mathematician John Nash.