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Briarcliff Teen Honored by Girl Scouts

Marissa Contento organizes a club at Briarcliff High School and continues to set an example through her community service efforts.

Name, Age: Marissa Contento, 16

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Accomplishment: Honored with the “Young Woman of Leadership and Excellence” award at the Girl Scout Centennial Gala.

Key to Awesomeness: On March 15, Briarcliff Manor’s Marissa Contento joined such notable women as Congresswoman Nita Lowey and actress Vanessa Willams who were honored as role models at a gala celebration marking the 100th anniversary of the founding of Girl Scouts.

The Pleasantville-based , the council which oversees the programs for members in the Lower Hudson Valley, hosted the event.

For Contento, who has been a Girl Scout for the past twelve years, winning the “Young Woman of Leadership and Excellence” award came as a huge surprise.

“I had no idea that I was going to be nominated for such a prestigious award and then actually win it,” Contento said. “It feels great to be recognized for all of the hard work I do, especially because so many Girl Scouts do so many wonderful things for their communities.”

Marissa is currently a Girl Scout Gold Award candidate for her project, "Caring and Sharing"—one in which she started a Briarcliff High School Chapter of the American Red Cross.

“Many people in high school want to do service, but they do not know what to do or where to go to help,” she said. “With the Red Cross chapter in my high school, the members are involved in a great amount of service locally, nationally, and globally—young people need to realize that they can make a difference now and in the future as well.”

The 16 year-old Ambassador Girl Scout’s other service-oriented endeavors include volunteering at the Maria Fereri's Children's Hospital in Valhalla, where she and the American Red Cross Club members participated in fundraising activities to supply activity kits for the children there—including 50 copies of a coloring book that Contento created herself.

Toward her Gold Award, Marissa and the club have collected supplies for US.. soldiers overseas, and have made various holiday cards for heroes overseas and here in the United States.

Under Contento's leadership, BHS celebrated American Red Cross month and marked the one year anniversary of Japan's earthquake, tsunami and nuclear disaster by hosting a "Wear Red Day" at the high school.

This busy and very giving teen is also an athlete who plays volleyball and basketball and likes to draw and paint for fun.

Not surprisingly her future aspirations include helping others.

“I want to be a doctor because I like to help people and I am very interested in biology,” she said. “Also, I want to have a family of my own one day.”

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