The Girl Scouts of Nassau County recently recognized Deanna Parlagreco, a senior at Wellington C. Mepham High School, with the most prestigious award within the Girl Scouts.
Parlagreco received the Girl Scout Gold Award from the organization. Josephine, her mother and a teacher at Mepham, said she and her husband are proud of Deanna’s hard work and also her commitment to helping the community.
“It wasn’t about receiving the award for her,” she said. “It was about sharing her gifts and ideals with the kids.”
Deanna worked with children for her “Take Action” initiative, the 80-plus hour leadership project required of Gold Award recipients. Representatives of the organization explained that the projects should make a sustainable and measurable impact on an important issue, or need in the community, and that they serve to educate and inspire others in the community.
“Signs of Peace,” Deanna’s project, taught elementary school children in the Bellmore-Merrick Child Care Program that cultural and ethnic differences should be celebrated, Scouting officials said.
Deanna explained that she read the students “The Crayon Box That Talked” by Shane Derolf and completed an art project based on the book. Each student drew a self-portrait using only one color. Deanna said they discussed the difference between seeing the drawings individually or mixed together, noting that the monochromatic portraits were more interesting when they were mixed together.
Banners were made with the help of Vital Signs, a Bellmore business. They now hang in the participating elementary schooIs. Deanna said each one has a quote from the book that she feels sums up the project: “We are a box of crayons, each one of us unique; but when we come together, the picture is complete.”
Deanna also donated a copy of “The Crayon Box that Talked” to the school libraries. The book focused on two elements Deanna said she wanted to incorporate into her “Take Action” initiative.
“From the beginning of my Gold Award project, I knew I wanted to combine my love of art and my belief that everyone should be treated equally,” she said.