Lenape Valley says farewell Girl Scout Troop 326

12 girls worked and served together for over 12 years

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  • Tossing their vests in the air, from left: JillianGrassia, LaurynSchwint, MichelleWolters, NicoleChemi, CarlyTarnowski., CarleySperling, GraceConnery, MollySwiencki, LaurenMarchioni and Caitlin Bailey. Not pictured: Danielle Goncalves and Christina Lavalette photos provided

  • Graduation, from left: MollySwiencki, JillianGrassia, LaurynSchwint, GraceConnery, CaitlinBailey, LaurenMarchioni, CarlyTarnowski, CarleySperling, NicoleChemi and MichelleWolters. Not pictured: Danielle Goncalves and Christina Lavalette

  • All aboard! From left, NicoleChemi, LaurenMarchioni, CarleySperling, MichelleWolters, CaitlinBailey, GraceConnery, LaurynSchwint, JillianGrassia, MollySwiencki and CarlyTarnowski. Not pictured: Danielle Goncalves and Christina Lavalette

— Recently members of Girl Scout Troop 326 graduated high school. What makes them unique is that all twelve troop members have been in Girl Scouts since kindergarten or first grade. They have done service work for 12-13 years and they are only 17 and 18 years old. They showed commitment and service to their organization and to their community as well. The girls made teddy bears and donated to the Byram Police Department, picked up trash and recyclables at C.O. Johnson Field, collected and made a large basket of items for a first grader battling childhood cancer and made cards for soldiers. That was just in Kindergarten. Since then, the girls have done countless hours of service work with coat drives, collecting food, collecting and making care packages and lap blankets for Veterans in East Orange Hospital, adopting a girl from Byram for her birthday, Christmas and back to school, made blankets for Project Hope (Veterans and their families), Operation Christmas Child Boxes, free babysitting at Byram Lakes Parent Conferences, hung pink ribbons for Byram Township for October Breast Cancer Awareness, singing Christmas and holiday songs and handing out new socks at The Andover Nursing Home, painting Starfish ornaments for Hurricane Sandy Victims, money donated for cookie sales to St. Jude's Children's Hospital, worked with girls in younger troops on self-image and self esteem, painting pumpkins for dining hall at Andover Nursing Home, donated cookies and volunteered at The Manna House, planted trees in Forest Lakes and much, much more. The entire troop earned their Bronze Award for their work with animals for BARKS in Byram. Nine of the twelve earned their Silver Award with projects benefitting Veterans all over the world with "Operation Paperback," as well as the Children's Hospital of Philadelphia, St. Michael's Food Pantry and the children's wing of Denville Hospital. One is still waiting for final approval of her Gold Award for Childhood Cancer Awareness.

Besides earning badges and service work, these girls were active. Think Girl Scouts aren't cool? On a personal level, the girls were members of dance, cheerleading, karate, swimming, track, soccer, tennis and basketball. The girls held captain positions in cheerleading, swimming, soccer, tennis and basketball. Some of the girls were on yearbook staff and involved in mock trials. All the members were nominated or members of National Honor Society and most graduated with high honors. The Lenape Valley Regional High School Valedictorian and Salutatorian were troop members who were the oldest and youngest members respectively. They earned the same honors in eighth grade as well. Lenape Valley's Merit Scholarship Winner, the Superintendents' Roundtable Winner, Top Female Athlete and leading basketball scorer of all time are also members of this troop. A lot of these girls were very active in their churches as well.

As the girls will be going off to colleges all over soon, we thank them and wish Caitlin Bailey, Nicole Chemi, Grace Connery, Danielle Goncalves, Jillian Grassia, Christina Lavalette, Lauren Marchioni, Lauryn Schwint, Carley Sperling, Molly Swiencki, Carly Tarnowski and Michelle Wolters the best!

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