BETHLEHEM — Bethlehem Central High School students Richard Sweeney and McKenzie Koch received the Student Leadership Award from The Capital Zone chapter of the New York State Alliance for Health, Physical Education, Recreation and Dance (NYS AHPERD) on Sunday, Feb. 12.
Each year, the organization honors one young woman and one young man from each school district’s graduating class who meet the following criteria: a high level of physical performance; scholastic achievement — an “A” average in high school physical education and an overall GPA of 3.0 or above at the completion of junior year; exceptional leadership qualities — some leadership role within or outside the school; and outstanding service to the school or community.
Sweeney, currently co-captain of the Bethlehem swim team, has been a member of the team since his freshmen year. He has competed with the Delmar Dolfins since second grade and, as a junior, competed statewide as a member of the high school’s 200 medley relay team.
Sweeney is a member of the BCHS Wind Ensemble, Symphony Orchestra, Pep Band, Jazz Band and Marching Band, where he plays the tuba. At school, he volunteers as a math tutor and is co-president of The Stock Market Club. He was a volunteer counselor with Christian Camps of America, a volunteer instructor with STRIDE Sailing Adaptive Sports, a member of the Bethlehem Town Youth Court and the Bethlehem Lutheran Church Youth Group.
Additionally, Sweeney has received a gold medal in the AASTP National Spanish Exam level 4, the Harvard Book Award, the Spirit of the Eagle award for varsity swimming and is a National Merit Scholar Semifinalist.
Koch has been a dance instructor of tap, jazz, ballet and hip-hop at the Dance Experience for the past two years and was a mentor coach at the Albany Recreational Lacrosse camp.
At school, she is president of the Key Club, a math tutor, was a member of the Principal’s Advisory Committee and has participated in numerous plays, including Oliver, Shakespeare’s The Tempest, and Damn Yankees.
Koch also achieved an advanced skill level placing sixth in the nation on the Grand Concours de Francais exam. She has received the Service Recognition Award for her work as a math tutor, and volunteering at the Pine Hollow Arboretum and Vacation Bible School. She was also a HOBY Community Leadership Workshop nominee.