Exchange Club of Sebastian Students of the Year and ACE Award Winners

Students of the Year
Students of the Year

The Exchange Club of Sebastian is happy to announce their Students of the Year and ACE Award winners Sarah Cosner, Joseph Twomey, and Paityn Johnston.  

One young man and a young woman are chosen from the Students of the Month recipients from the 2020-2021 school year. This year’s recipients were Sarah Cosner and Joseph Twomey. To be considered for this honor, students must submit an essay of 800 words or more on the topic “I recognize my responsibility in shaping America’s future. I have stepped out of my comfort zone during uncertain times and made a difference.” These two students’ essays will be considered for further recognition at the Exchange Club District and National levels.

Sarah Cosner 

Sarah Cosner, an accomplished saxophone player in the Sebastian River High School band, wrote about overcoming the obstacles of not being able to participate during the pandemic. Where many felt lost, Sarah took action by establishing a virtual music platform for students to perform. 

In addition, Sarah states, “I discovered visits to food banks had gone up by 55% in the past year”. So she encouraged patrons who watched the streamed virtual performances of the students to donate to local food banks. Sarah procured help from students in other states, as well, and was able to provide food for many families through her efforts. 

In her essay, she says, “The only thing needed to make a difference is a vision. As a youth in America, it is our responsibility to be the change we wish to see.” Sarah hopes to earn a college degree in Political Science and become a congresswoman.

Joseph Twomey

Joseph Twomey, an avid swimmer and Area Representative for Florida Swimming, was tasked with advocating for athletes when the pandemic affected swim meets and practices. 

Opposed to canceling outdoor swim meets, Joseph states in his essay, “I suggested that we adapt the swim meet format to comply with CDC guidelines.” 

Although Florida Swimming canceled the championship series, Joseph states, “the contribution of my solutions allowed the swimmers to return to competition in August, far before swimmers in other states. My solutions resulted in a small-scale historical decision and impacted the lives of every swimmer within the area governed by Florida Swimming.” 

Paityn Johnston

The ACE (Accepting the Challenge of Excellence) Award recipient is selected by school officials and given to a student who has overcome challenges in their lives in order to succeed as a student. 

This award was presented to Paityn Johnston by the Exchange Club of Sebastian. She, too, prepared and read an essay. Paityn states, “In my freshman year, I was a typical student who procrastinated until the end of each quarter when panic would jump-start my work ethic.” 

She found herself close to failing her freshman year. Her teachers, however, saw the quality of her work and her potential. Paityn says, “their act of genuine kindness had transformed how I viewed communication and made me realize the benefits of time management.” 

Paityn says because of those teachers, she gained insight into her true work potential. Her plans for the future are to study microbiology and investigate or analyze microcosms in the Indian River Lagoon. Using her education, she wants to make her community a happier, healthier place.  

The Exchange Club of Sebastian

The Exchange Club of Sebastian is involved in many youth programs, including providing scholarships for deserving seniors. These Programs of Service are made possible with the proceeds of the Sebastian Exchange Club Foundation Blue Water Open Charity Offshore Fishing Tournament. 

2021 Blue Water Open Charity – Offshore Fishing Tournament

The Blue Water Open Charity Offshore Fishing Tournament will be from June 4th – June 5th, headquartered at Capt. Hiram’s Resort in Sebastian. Festivities will begin at 5 pm on Friday, June 4th, with the weigh-in from 2:00 pm – 5:00 pm on Saturday, June 5th. The community is welcome to join in on the fun!

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About Tina Hodges
Tina Hodges is a Sebastian native. After graduating from Sebastian River High School, she studied Business Management & Marketing at Indian River State College. Tina worked for Dooney & Bourke for many years before she became our VP of Sales & Marketing & Journalist. Tina joined Sebastian Daily in 2016.