• The Frankfort-Schuyler Friends of Rachel (FOR) Club was honored for their positive impact on the local community during the 13th Annual Catholic Charities Window of Hope Award Luncheon on September 20 at Francesca’s Banquet Hall in Ilion.


    The Window of Hope Award was established in 2006 to honor individuals and organizations who work tirelessly to assist those in need in Herkimer County, and especially those who serve and empower the poor and vulnerable in the region.


    In their selection of FOR as the 2018 Window of Hope youth award recipient, Catholic Charities noted that "The Friends of Rachel Group has made such a positive change within your school as well as the community and your message of kindness and inclusion is so necessary."


    Frankfort-Schuyler’s FOR Club was formed as part of the nation-wide Rachel’s Challenge program. The program, named in memory of Rachel Scott, the first victim of the Columbine High School tragedy, is designed to inspire, equip and empower people to create a positive culture change in their school and community by starting a chain reaction of respect, kindness and compassion.


    During the ceremony, district Superintendent Mr. Reina spoke about the many activities and events the students have organized over the past several years since the club formed, including a candlelight vigil for the victims of Sandy Hook, helping other districts start their own FOR clubs and sending supplies to classrooms affected by Hurricane Harvey. Most recently, the group created a “connection calendar” to honor the victims of the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School shooting. The calendar featured different themes for each day, which included “Teacher Appreciation Day,” “Random Acts of Kindness Day” and “Connect with Someone Younger Day.” The “connection calendar” culminated with a day where teachers and administrators surprised students by greeting them each with a high five as they arrived at school. “I don’t think we saw a happier, more connected school community than we did that day,” said Mr. Reina.


    Founding FOR members and advisors, along with current club officers Brandon Kosicki, Sophia LoRe, Bryce MacDonald, Collin MacDonald, Sicilia Randazzo, Sofia Randazzo and Derek Yashinski attended the luncheon to accept the award.


    Also recognized during the luncheon was Lydia Sexton, with the individual award, and the Community Foundation of Herkimer and Oneida Counties, with the organization award.