Melissa Hamilton was selected as the May 2019 recipient of the Port Allegany Women’s Club Above and Beyond Award.

PAWC members Anna Fair and Sylvia Cole made the presentation during the annual summer picnic held in August at the home and Dave and Anna Fair.

The purpose of the Above and Beyond Award is to recognize women who make an extra effort to improve the lives of others in Port Allegany.

Anna Fair nominated Hamilton for the award.

Hamilton has coordinated, lead and chaperoned many clubs and events. She started the Yellow Ribbon club at the school and helped students organize numerous events promoting Yellow Ribbon.

When the Angel Tree was in danger of failing as no group was coordinating this project, Hamilton took this on with the Peer Helpers that she also advises.

She jumped in to the role of student council advisor and helped the class of 2020 make a memorable prom for the class of 2019.

In her down time, Hamilton enjoys baking and decorating cakes, paintings and crafts.

Hamilton gave the club an update of what’s happening with the groups she works with and said her grandmother, club member Becky Mingo, thought it was important to tell what the kids in the community do behind the scenes. She said she works with incredible kids that are not always given enough credit and she is proud to be their advisor.

Hamilton said, “Some would scan my room for a cot thinking that I never leave the school with my various roles. In addition to being a music booster, an all-seasons sports mother, a ticket-seller for school sporting events and a master’s degree program student, I was also the advisor of the prom committee, student council, Yellow Ribbon Club and was a core SAP team member.”

The prom committee started with $200, then raised funds at bake sales, had two movie night bag raffles, sold carnations for Valentine’s Day and had a soup luncheon and bucket auction. They also had a data match event, junior high formal and Bwana Jim Show. After prom, the committee still had around $1,000 for the 2020 prom.

The purpose of student council is to give students an opportunity to develop leadership by organizing and and carrying out school activities. In addition to planning events that contribute to school spirit, the student council members are the voice of the student body.

They plan the homecoming festivities including the parade, spirit week, two dances, half-time activities and bonfire. Students raised money at bake sales, sold orange and black necklaces and tattoos for spirit week and had family basket bingo night. The council decorated the hallways to boost morale and and a door decorating contest. The student council also planned fun day activities and collected pennies for patients.

The Yellow Ribbon Club started six years ago when a student had first hand experience with suicide and wanted no one else to feel this way. The Yellow Ribbon club learns about warning signs, risk factors, how to respond and what resources are available.

The Yellow Ribbon club holds a yearly toy and warm clothing drives; purchases yearbooks and caps and gowns for those in need; hangs encouraging and educational posters and decorates bulletin boards. They sponsor a winter blues dance, had T-shirts printed to spread the message, sponsor assemblies and organize suicide prevention week activities.

The Yellow Ribbon club had school-wide Christmas gifts, Yellow Out for National Suicide Prevention Day, trainings, sponsored a booth at the Break the Chains Festival, held various fundraisers, sponsored a talent show and have helped save 17 students from self-harm.”

Hamilton was presented with a custom created plate and certificate. Members at the picnic thanked Hamilton for the update as well as her work with the youth in the community.