Legion Award winners receive their certificates

Katie Catalano and Bryce Widdoss were nominated by the QCHS faculty and chosen by American Legion Post 242.
Posted on 05/27/2020
American Legion School Award medalBy Gary Weckselblatt

Although the Quakertown Memorial Day Parade was canceled, the Quakertown Community High School Freshmen who won the prestigious American Legion School Award have received their certificates.

Katie Catalano and Bryce Widdoss were nominated by the QCHS faculty and chosen by American Legion Post 242 and Parade Committee Chair Les Walters.

Objectives of the American Legion School Award are to “Place emphasis on the development of qualities of Courage, Honor, Leadership, Patriotism, Scholarship and Service. Develop those ideas of Americanism among young people which will make them citizens of the highest type. Give recognition through the award of American Legion School Award Medals to the boy and girl who are deemed most worthy of the high qualities of citizenship and of true Americanism.”

Mary Ann Byatt, who taught both students in her Algebra 2 Honors Classes, had Katie as an
eighth-grader. “She had math first thing in the morning with students from 1 to 3 years older before she'd bus transfer to Strayer for a normal middle school day,” Mrs. Byatt said. “She immediately made us all realize that leadership has nothing to do with age and everything to do with attitude.

“Katie walked in ready to learn. She led by example. She would work with anyone who asked. She'd cheerfully repeat multiple times in multiple ways when she knew someone was still confused. She'd advocate for herself and asked questions when confused. She sought to learn for learning's sake and not just for grades. She was respectful of both adults and peers. Above all, Katie was kind.”

Bryce is currently one of Mrs. Byatt’s students. “He is incredibly involved in extracurricular activities at QCHS. Despite that, Bryce makes learning a priority. He would make time to stay after school to ensure he was well prepared prior to assessments even if that meant squeezing in half an hour between the last bell and a rehearsal. He'd invite peers to come along who might have been hesitant to come alone. He led by example.”

This year was a challenging one for Mrs. Byatt, who lost her mom. “Bryce took the time to make sure I knew he and his classmates were concerned about me and that they were there to support me,” she said. “He displayed maturity beyond his age.”

Social Studies teacher Sean Burke described Katie as “an exceptional student that not only shines academically but provides a model for student conduct. She is always one of the first students to participate in classroom discussions or answer questions. Also, Katie will take the time to help her fellow classmates by creating reviews and then volunteering with other peers to lead the class in reviewing for major assessments.”
The students will receive their medals at a future parade.

Mrs. Byatt said Bryce and Katie “give me comfort that the future of our country is in capable hands. I am proud to have taught each of them.”

Gary Weckselblatt, QCSD Director of Communications, writes about the people and the programs that impact the Quakertown Community School District. He can be reached at gweckselblatt@qcsd.org.

Bryce Widdoss, holding his certificate, is photographed with his mom.

Katie Catalano, holding her certificate, is photographed with her parents.

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