Spirit of Gowanda award winners announced

GOWANDA – The Gowanda Area Chamber of Commerce is pleased to announce this year’s Spirit of Gowanda winners. An awards dinner in their honor will be held on Saturday.

The Chamber of Commerce honors a local business, someone for their community service and an excellence in youth award to a local senior at Gowanda Central School.

The Business Award will be presented to Designer Pools, Nicholas Hodak is this year’s honoree for the Community Service Award and Kelsey Delpriore will be presented with the Excellence in Youth Award.

This year, because of the announcement that St. Joseph’s School in Gowanda will be closing, two eighth graders who will graduate in June have been chosen to also be presented with Excellence in Youth Awards. Megan Stang and Alexis Sager will be honored.

Designer Pools, located on Maltbie Road, was established in 1982 by Norris and Sharon Luther. In 1992, Designer Pools purchased a storefront on the corner of Routes 39 and 20 in Fredonia. By 1997, Designer Pools expanded into Jamestown opening a third retail location. The Jamestown store is their largest location with 4,800-square-feet of retail showroom space.

In 2011, Designer Pools was named Viking Pools Dealer of the Year and has the distinction of being the largest Fiberglas pool dealer in western New York.

Hodak, of Collins, has been active in local community baseball programs for a number of years and is presently coaching a Gowanda Little League Minors team.

A Collins Center exempt fireman and former certified EMT, Hodak has a history of volunteering behind him. He, his wife, Mary, and his family have helped out where needed at the Collins Center Methodist Church, the Gowanda Presbyterian Church and the Gowanda Assembly of God Church. In addition, Hodak and his wife volunteered at the former Gowanda Christian Academy, with Hodak serving as physical education and gym instructor. He also coached the girls’ basketball and volleyball teams, the co-ed softball team and was an assistant coach for the boys’ basketball team.

Megan Stang, the daughter of Karl and Marcia Stang, has attended St. Joseph’s School since preschool. She is very active in the school and has been involved in various community service projects throughout the years. She is a member of St. Joseph’s track and basketball teams.

She is also an eight-year member of the Gowanda WaveRunners Swim Team and has achieved championship and silver qualifying times.

Megan has been a member of the Perrysburg Barn Buddies 4-H Club since she was 5 and currently is president of the club. The Excellence in Youth Award winner has received many awards in competition at the Cattaraugus County Fair and the New York State Fair, participating in horse, livestock and rabbit divisions at the county, regional and state level. At the 2013 state fair, she placed second overall in the New York state 4-H Livestock Skillathon, first place novice team and third place novice individual in the 4-H Horse Judging Contest.

Alexis Marie Sager, 13, is currently an eighth-grade student at St. Joseph School and will graduate in June. She has always maintained a high honor roll average throughout her elementary education, and currently has the top average in her class.

In 2013, Alexis won the spelling bee for St. Joseph’s School, and she received honorable mention in the 2013 Vocation Awareness Contest for students in the Diocese of Buffalo. Also in 2013, she was a Leadership Ambassador for the People to People Ambassador Program, which is based on the demonstration of outstanding scholastic merit, leadership potential and exemplary citizenship.

Delpriore is a senior who has excelled both academically and in sports through the years. She is a National Honor Society and Student Council member, is involved in cross country and track and field, and has participated in high school plays and musicals and in the Chautauqua Children’s Chorale since 2010. Kelsey has also played in recreational leagues for soccer and softball. Her involvement in sports and music has included joining the sound crew for the middle school musicals, and assistant coaching for the Blue By U Youth Track Program.

A high honor roll student, Delpriore is the recipient of the following: Dean’s Scholar in Residence Award from SUNY Brockport, Jamestown Business College School of Excellence Award, George Eastman Young Leaders Award from the University of Rochester, Clarkson University High School Leadership Award and the Century Club Award, for scoring 100 on the ELA Regents exam. Following graduation in June, Kelsey plans to attend SUNY Brockport.

The awards ceremony will be held at 5:30 p.m., at the Gowanda Moose, 201 Aldrich St.