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Good student, good citizen



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Melissa Pavlik (click for larger version)
January 25, 2012 - Melissa Pavlik is Sashabaw Plains Chapter Daughters of the American Revolution's pick for this year's Good Citizen award.

"Wow, I couldn't be more honored or grateful," said Pavlik, Clarkston High School student. "DAR is such a wonderful organization, and I am ecstatic that they're recognizing me in this way."

Pavlik is interested in government and politics, participating in International Baccalaureate, Youth in Government, Mock Trial, and National Honor Society.

"Most of the rest of the things I do involve some sort of political activism," she said. "I guess that goes back to my core beliefs about the importance of at least trying to save the world – even if your piece of saving it happens to be spending Tuesdays walking around picking up recycling at the high school. Everything counts."

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She has won awards in piano competitions, community art shows, and national design competitions.

She also volunteers weekly at Oakland University basketball camp for young autistic children, and she offers free tutoring through National Honor Society, helping children with reading. She has been involved with the SCAMP program for six years, and created a sibling support group for children who have siblings with autism.

"A lot of the volunteer activities I do are related to the autism community, which started, I guess, because my brother has autism," she said. "The autism community is so incredibly important to me."

She also established an international pen pal program between fourth graders at Clarkston Elementary and a primary school in England.

"I guess the most important thing for me is focusing on things wrong in the world that could be right, and fixing them," she said. "I essentially want to have a long activist career that will probably leave me a grumpy cynic – but will hopefully also leave some Third World school with new school supplies. That'd be enough for me!"

The Daughters group will honor outstanding students throughout the area at a special luncheon at Red Knapp's, Feb. 14. All students representing their schools will be awarded Good Citizen pins, certificates, and monetary gifts.

Phil is editor for The Clarkston News. He is a veteran of the first Iraq war, having served in the U.S. Army.
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