Service to Youth awards

City of Olean Youth Bureau and Recreation Department Coordinator Kris Shewairy (from left) presented the annual Service to Youth awards to Josh Bihler and Jack Dwaileebe, while Matt Antonioli and Kyle Foster received scholarships from Mayor Bill Aiello during the annual Service to Youth awards dinner held Wednesday at Good Times of Olean.

OLEAN — Eight Olean High School seniors were feted Wednesday for their service to fellow youths.

The City of Olean Youth Bureau and Recreation Department hosted its annual Service to Youth Award Ceremony on Wednesday at Good Times of Olean.

Nominations for the top honor come from members of the Olean Youth Advisory Board, said department coordinator Kris Shewairy.

“They nominate those who they feel provide a great service to the youth in our community,” Shewairy said. “This is one of the happiest events of the year for us.”

Olean High School students Josh Bihler and Jack Dwaileebe were named the Service to Youth award winners for 2019. Both were nominated by Eileen Skrobach.

Bihler is best known as a long-time member of the OHS boys basketball team, Skrobach said.

“But there’s much more to Josh than basketball — he’s also been an integral part of our community,” she said.

He has volunteered for the Olean Sports Booster’s can drive, unified basketball at St. Bonaventure, the Gus Macker tournament, the annual Homeless Huskies event at OHS, Tyler’s Teddy Bears, the St. Mary’s Basilica Christmas Dinner, wrapping gifts at Washington West during the holidays, and for numerous church festivals including St. Mary’s, St. John’s, and St. Joseph’s Maharajan. He is also a member of the National Honor Society.

Dwaileebe has “been dedicated to our community, and leads by example,” Skrobach said. “Jack is willing to do whatever is needed to help … Jack is genuinely concerned about everyone.”

He has volunteered for the Homeless Huskies, the Souper Bowl of Caring event, the Pink Pumpkin Project, church festivals at St. Mary’s, St. John’s, and St. Joseph’s, Soles for Souls collecting shoes for children and adults in need, assisting at St. Stephen’s Church and Salvation Army, and refereeing for unified basketball games. He is a member of the National Honor Society and has a mentorship at Morgan Stanley.

Olean Mayor Bill Aiello awarded the annual mayor’s scholarships to Kyle Foster and Matthew Antonioli. Foster will attend Keuka College to study criminal justice. Antonioli will attend SUNY Geneseo and studying sociology.

The $250 scholarships are funded through donations received by the mayor for performing wedding ceremonies, and are given to graduating OHS seniors interested in studying fields including criminal justice, accounting and sociology.

Also honored were the senior members of the Olean Youth Court, four-year members Olivia Lang and Makenzie Milligan; and Youth Bureau Advisory Board seniors Hannah and Sophia Aiello.

Last year’s Service to Youth recipients were Karen O’Dell, an autism specialist for the Olean City School District; Fred Welch, a computer and technology teacher at Olean Intermediate Middle School for 25 years; and Tom Mehmel, a volunteer with various youth sports and organizations.

(Contact reporter-editor Bob Clark at bclark@olean Follow him on Twitter, @OTHBob)