2021 CABE Student Leadership Awards

The CABE Student Leadership Awards Program is designed to honor Connecticut High School and Middle School students who exhibit exemplary leadership skills.  Two students from each school, in a CABE member district, are eligible to receive the CABE Student Leadership Award. Madison's award recipients were recognized at the Board of Education meeting on May 25. 

Daniel Hand High School 

Jackson Kuja

Jackson Kuja

Jackson entered high school with lofty academic goals and personally challenged himself to achieve them. A review of his transcript will clearly confirm that he challenged himself by taking many of our most rigorous courses over the past four years. Due to his strong analytical skills, preparation for course requirements, and a highly organized approach, not surprisingly, Jackson has earned incredible grades in all courses. His work-ethic is impressive as is his relentless approach to his studies. Worth noting is the fact that Jackson is willing and determined to take on the challenges of some of our highest-level courses with a full understanding of the impact these decisions will have on an already demanding workload. Jackson should be commended for his commitment to academics as well as his determination to succeed.

In addition to his impressive academic success, Jackson is a very well-rounded young adult. Many would agree that he is a man in constant motion both in and out of the school community. Although unusual for many adolescents, Jackson's ability to be empathetic is note-worthy. He capitalizes on this character trait and focuses his efforts to improve the lives of those around him. His resume details positive involvement in many organizations and clubs. Some of these include a four-year member of the DHHS baseball team and Marching Band, a peer advocate, a member of our Stock Market Club, and he's the founder of our Business Club that produced a YouTube video focusing on personal finance. Most notably, Jackson was nominated by the DHHS faculty to participate in the American Legion's Boy State program. Due to the pandemic, this program was unfortunately cancelled.

Jackson entered Daniel Hand as a somewhat quiet freshman. By junior year, he emerged as a charismatic and caring individual highly capable of leading others to make a difference in this world. In an unassuming approach, he uses humor and confidence to draw others to him. He recognizes hardship and injustice in the world and it affects him deeply. Jackson has a strong moral compass and is considered a role model for his peers.

A faculty member shared the following; "Jackson is one of the hardest working, self-motivated students that I have met. He sets high standards and does his best to attain them. He doesn't do things for attention or gratification. More importantly, he takes the time to stop and enjoy the various experiences and the people around his daily life." Jackson is an engaging leader who I am confident will continue to have a positive impact on those around him. His ability to relate well with people of all ages is evident and appreciated. He is truly a special young adult who is well­ deserving of this recognition. 


Lindsay Riordan

Lindsay Riordan

Diligent, persistent, motivated, hard-working, and kind natured are just a few of the wonderful traits that Lindsay Riordan possesses. Throughout her high school career, Lindsay has found the perfect balance between her challenging course load while finding time to compete on the DHHS Varsity Girls Tennis Team as well as being a member of a private tennis team. In addition to being a highly successful student-athlete, Lindsay has committed numerous hours to many important community service activities.

Academically, Lindsay has been a very dependable student who has earned impressive grades throughout her high school experience. One of her teachers shared the following about her, "She was well organized, she was an active participant in class, and she produced excellent quality of work and effort". Another teacher viewed Lindsay as a conscientious and diligent student who is a sincere pleasure to have in class. Lindsay's academic confidence has increased over her years in high school and this confidence allows her to challenge herself when taking many high-level courses offered at our school. Lindsay's clear commitment to her academics while balancing her commitments in athletics have resulted in a wonderful level of success! This success is a direct result of her setting attainable goals, working hard, and possessing a never-ending commitment to everything she does. Lindsay is an outstanding young woman who will continue to nourish her passion of learning.

Lindsay is an incredibly kind, down-to-earth, respectful young lady who will no doubt continue to add to her list of personal and academic accomplishments after high school. Teachers love having Lindsay in their classes. They have shared that the believe that she will continue to grow exponentially from the first day of class to the last. This growth is directly attributable to her willingness to learn from her errors, to ask questions, to push herself and take risks, and to an obvious commitment to studying and understanding what she is learning. While she is a capable independent learner, she works just as effectively and efficiently in groups with her peers. Young people like Lindsay are a rare find; she has quietly become a leading force in the classroom by just being herself and learning to balance her humble nature with her drive and ambition to succeed.

Lindsay is an absolute delight of a person. The world needs more people like her who are kind, compassionate, friendly, open-minded, accepting, and sincere. She understands herself well and has maturity that many peers of the same age do not yet possess. There always seems to be a bright, happy light that shines within her. I know that whatever the setting, she will always present the best side of herself and people will want to be around her. She is most certainly deserving of this special recognition.

Polson Middle School 

William McGuire

William McGuire

Leaders at the middle school show their qualities in a variety of ways. For those who stand out, they can be counted on and peers look to them as role models in tough situations and to be there in times of need. Will McGuire exemplifies what it means to be a leader--you can count on him to do the right thing. Will is described by his teachers as a mature, responsible, generous, and humble young man. It is no surprise that Will is a recipient of the CABE leadership award.

Through his time at Polson, Will has earned A's in all of his classes, even while taking advanced math classes. In addition to his exemplary performance academically, Will is an accomplished athlete who plays on travel teams for soccer and recreational basketball. He also spends some of his free time officiating youth soccer games. Some of Will's hobbies outside of sports are rock climbing, hiking, and fishing. He has a sense of adventure and enjoys challenges which makes perfect sense as to why his favorite book is, "Into the Wild". He's captured by the idea of being out in an unknown area and finding food, shelter, and trying to live through the art of survival.

Will cares about others, as evident in his participation in our peer helper program for three years. As a 6th grader, Will was a member of peer allies, and is now a member of peer helpers and is an Allie leader. Will assisted in the planning of the teacher appreciation hearts that are proudly displayed at Polson, along with painting positive messages on rocks and displaying them in downtown Madison last year. Will is an incredible young man, and we are very proud of his accomplishments within and beyond the classroom. I am very excited to see what his future holds.

Georgia Cohen

Georgia cohen

Hard-working, diligent, and caring. These are just a few of the comments made  by the Polson community when referring to Georgia Cohen, a young lady who is well respected by staff and students. Georgia is an exceptional student and a person of outstanding character. Throughout middle school, she has maintained A's in all of her classes, even while taking advanced Math classes. Georgia is a leader inside and outside of the classroom.

Georgia is an accomplished athlete as she is a goalie on her lacrosse team and on a rock climbing team that practices 3x a week. During the winter months, she likes to ski, her favorite mountain being Smugglers Notch. Georgia likes to challenge herself by setting goals either on the slopes or while rock climbing so that she can always improve her craft. Outside of athletics, Georgia loves to read; some of her favorite books are, "Clap when you Land", and "Becoming" by Michelle Obama.

Georgia's positive qualities extend beyond the school day as she was a participant in Mentoring Matters while at Brown school, a member of student council at Polson, and is a girl scout. When Georgia gets older, she would like to be an architect or a geneticist. I'm confident that Georgia will be successful in whatever she chooses.

Georgia is a fabulous young lady, and we are very proud of her commitment and dedication. Polson Middle School is very fortunate to have someone like Georgia Cohen as a member of our community.