The 7th Annual Brookline Youth Awards will be held this Wednesday, May 17 at 7 pm, in the main playhouse of the Coolidge Corner Theater. The event’s Principal Sponsors are Brookline Hub, Inc., the Town of Brookline, Brookline Bank, and Brookline Community Foundation. Thanks to the generosity of the Coolidge Corner Theater, there is no admission charge.

The evening focuses on the unique contributions of teens who either live in or go to school in Brookline, as well as adults who go the extra mile for young people. The event features video interviews of teen and adult award recipients, as well as student performances. Teachers, administrators, guidance counselors, students and residents submit essays to a 25-person nomination committee.

This year, Sen. Elizabeth Warren will deliver a video message to the Brookline community and later in the evening announce the 2017 Brookline Youth of the Year.

Lesly Suriel Guerrero, the 2011 Brookline Youth of the Year, will deliver this year’s Keynote Address.

Adults honored and interviewed by video include:

Brookline High School teacher Malcolm Cawthorne will receive the Roger Grande Social Justice Award.

Abe Faber and Christy Timon of Clear Flour Bread will receive the Ethel Weiss Service Award.

Altagracia Guerrero and Mariano Suriel will be the first recipients of the Suriel Guerrero Parent of the Year Award. In 2003, Altagracia Guerrero and Mariano Suriel gave up high-profile positions in the Dominican Republic to come to the United States with the clothes on their backs and the few suitcases they could carry. Supported by their parents’ love, support, and guidance; Lesly, Mariano and Kerimal Suriel Guerrero have achieved success and admiration. Immigrants to the United States just a short time ago, the Suriel Guerrero family has gone on to become pillars of the Brookline community.

One of this year’s 15 Youth Award recipients will be chosen as the 2017 Brookline Youth of the Year. The recipient will be announced at the theater.

Louie Goldsmith and Marjie Rowe will be receiving their third Brookline Youth Award. You can see their video interviews online.

Joining Louie and Marjie will be 13 new Youth Award recipients, whose videos will be shown for the first time on the big screen at the Coolidge. Listed in alphabetical order by their first name:

Anita Mayfield-Sheehan was forced to stop participating in organized sports in 2016 due to a life-threatening heart condition. Last March, Anita underwent major heart surgery. Her perseverance to get back to the field never wavered and she went on to become captain of this year’s BHS field hockey and ice hockey teams.

Carolyn Parker-Fairbain came to BHS from Boston Latin School and made an immediate impact on her new community. She starred in the BHS Spring Play “Every 28 Hours” and will curate her own art gallery later this month at the high school.

DaHanna Smith Rose founded the group BLACC, which has led a teach-in on Black Lives Matter and sit-in protests for equality at BHS. An aspiring artist, Dahanna is a METCO leader and an inspiring voice for change.

Erik Nakamura is a member of the BHS Greenhouse and Engineering teams and founded the BHS Maker’s Club. A writer, Erik, inspired by the quote, “Every adversity, every failure, every heartache carries with it the seed of an equal or greater benefit.” Erik has endured the sometimes debilitating symptoms of Crohn’s Disease to achieve his goals.

Isaiah Goldsmith, a student at Roxbury Latin School, has stayed connected to his Brookline community. “Izzy” is an active contributor to the Brookline Community Foundation’s Teen Grantmakers, Brookline Food Pantry, the RYFTI Board at Temple Israel and State Representative Frank Smizik’s office.

Jacob Feldgoise, a leader of BHS’s School Within a School, has had a major and lasting effect on how SWS operates. “Jake” also owns an IT business, is an accomplished piano player and has a leadership role in the BHS Model UN club.

Komal Wasif has grown into a master of turning hardship and adversity into constructive instruments for change. Komal is a Student Activist Coordinator for Amnesty International. Bullied in middle school for being “different” from over students, she went on to become a voice for others in her position. Angered by President Trump’s travel ban executive order, which she believed was a disguise for a Muslim ban, she led a peaceful protest of BHS students and faculty.

Makena Binker-Cosen, who came to Brookline from Argentina her freshman year is a force of nature. Makena has produced 54 videos you can find on her YouTube channel, many receiving awards, and recognition. A member of the National Argentinean Debate Team, Makena founded Brookline’s Speech and Debate Group.

Marie Zhang grew up in Brookline, moved to China in 6th grade and then moved back to Brookline for her junior year at BHS. In China, Marie was the Vice-President of the Student Council. Marie is a Tri-Captain on the BHS Math Team, National Finalist in the Chemistry Olympiad and active contributor to the Brookline Tutor-Mentor Program.

Maya Shaughnessy is a talented defender/midfielder on the Chestnut Hill Soccer Club and BHS Varsity Women’s Soccer teams. A member of the BHS Sanctuary City Team, Maya has participated in medical brigades to Honduras and Zanzibar and is an active member of the Brookline Chapter of Amnesty International.

Paul Miller-Schmidt created the Brookline Engineering Project as an avenue for high school students to work autonomously on science and engineering projects they are interested in, and a vehicle for high school students to help teach middle school students in science. Paul has also worked tirelessly to bring Brookline Teen Center’s Makerspace to life.

Rachel Gubar is a leader of the Food Justice Club at BHS, helping the group double in size over the past year. Rachel also tutors middle school students through Stepping Stone Foundation’s College Success Academy. Rachel is an accomplished photographer.

Yama Estime has been the Co-President of the Steps to Success Leadership Team for the last three years. Yama is a youth minister at two churches, a member of the Black Student Union and has logged over 100 hours of community service, all while working for Trader Joe’s the last two years. Yama is a leader with an infectious spirit and attitude.

Also being honored at the Coolidge on May 17 with 2017 Brookline Recognition Awards in alphabetical order by their last names are:

Alma Britran
Andrew Gerber
Arden Kelly
Avery Grace
Bertina Xue
Bobby Stitt
Bridget McMahon
Carson Murphy
Ella Kitterman
Emily Zhu
Emma Grinspoon
Florence Liang
Haley Evans
Hassan Abdirahman
Henry Wells Shaffer
Iman Khan
Jimmy Ricks
Joseph Pierre
Julia O’Connell
Lena Harris
Lydia Xing
Maddie Nagler
Maggie Feingold
Maya Morris
Melissa Bu
Nada Alaeddin
Naomi Goodheart
Nick Brown
Niko Jackson
Odessa Elmore
Oliver Priebe
Peter Fletcher
Sabrina Zhou
Salam Kasu
Thomas Mukundan
Vicka Ter Ovanesyan
Zhongfan Jing
Zohar Preminger

Your tax-deductible contributions to, a 501C3 nonprofit, help us continue to bring events like the Youth Awards and Soul Witness to the community.

These are our young people. This is our community. Come to the Coolidge on May 17.

By R. Harvey Bravman, Publisher