On Sunday, June 3, Girl Scouts of Connecticut honored 70 2018 Gold Award Girl Scouts at its Gold Award Reception at Cascade in Hamden.

Girl Scouts Kassandra Castaldi and Manya Kidambi have earned the Girl Scout Gold Award, the highest award in Girl Scouting. The Girl Scout Gold Award requires Girl Scouts in grades nine through 12 to spend at least 80 hours researching issues, assessing community needs and resources, building a team, and making a sustainable impact in the community. A Gold Award Girl Scout’s accomplishments reflect leadership and citizenship skills that set her apart as a community leader.

Kassandra addressed the loss of interest in playing a musical instrument among middle school students by creating a presentation exemplifying the scientific and social benefits of playing an instrument. She presented her research to eighth-grade band and orchestra classes and brought in student speakers who recounted personal experiences. She also distributed a brochure for students to take home and share with their families. After her presentation, almost 80 percent of the students said they were at least somewhat likely to continue playing an instrument in high school. Her advisor will continue to help find high school volunteers to update and present her project to students. Kassandra hopes to be a French teacher, and will continue to play the flute.

For her Gold Award project, Manya took on the task of teaching STEAM classes after noticing a lack of STEAM (science, technology, engineering, art, and mathematics) presence in her community. She set up four sessions of experiments to be held on Saturday afternoons for an hour for third through fourth-grade students. These experiments ranged from teaching aerodynamics through making paper airplanes and polymers through slime. Manya then created a STEAM publication with statistics and information and the experiments. The publication will be used for conducting the program at the library. Manya plans to major in molecular, cell, and developmental biology with the hopes of becoming an orthopedic surgeon.

For more information about the Gold Award or how to become a Gold Award volunteer or mentor, visit gsofct.org.