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Acton-Boxborough High School Student Wins Gold Award

Ranjani Saigal

On April 6, Lé Santha Naidoo, a senior at Acton-Boxborough Regional High School, was awarded her Girl Scout Gold Award. Present at the awards ceremony was the Massachusetts State Senator, Pam Resor; Massachusetts State Representative, Cory Atkins; and one of the Acton Selectman, Pam Harting-Barrat. Lé Santha also got letters of recognition from many other dignitaries and organizations such as President G.W. Bush, Senators Kennedy and Kerry, Representative Martin Meehan, Governor Jane Swift, the Army and the Navy.

The Gold Award is the highest honor in Girl Scouting. It is awarded to a very select few. This award is earned by demonstrating leadership, strength of character, commitment to excellence, service to the community, and for exemplifying the ideals of the Girl Scout movement. The final requirement for earning the award is to do a Gold Award project. This project requires a minimum of 50 leadership hours and would demonstrate her commitment to her community. The project that Lé Santha took on was to teach Indian Culture and the Bharatanatyam art form to the non-Indian members in her community. She had organized a workshop open to anyone interested. She was pleased to get students, both male and female. Le'Santha is a student of the Eastern Rhythms dance school, Burlington, MA and recently performed her Arangetram in Durban, South Africa.

"It is so wonderful to see Le'Santha put an effort into sharing her culture with the community" said Senator Pam Resor. The finale for the day was a performance by Le`Santha's students. "As I was watching the beautiful performance I was inspired. I was reminded of the song 'I hope you dance' by Lee-Ann Wormack. The lines "if you have a chance to sit it out or dance I hope you dance" was ringing in my ears and I wanted to dance rather than sit and watch" said State Rep Cory Atkins.

Since completing her Gold Award, Lé Santha has expanded her performance group. "I believe that the best part of my project was that all except one of my students were non-Indians. In a sense, this was like teaching little children who don't yet know much about life and our culture. I started off with a blank page, and was able to mold their knowledge in any way I pleased", said Le`Santha . "I have had a fantastic time learning Indian classical dance. I have learnt so much" said Emily Gardel, a member of Le`Santha's performance group.

"Working toward my Gold Award has also taught me a lot about myself and my community, by doing activities that is useful in life and is fun!" says Le`Santha Naidoo.

As a dance teacher who feels passionately about the greatness of this art form I was touched to see a young high school student work towards sharing her culture with her friends. I think Indian culture, if shared in this manner will certainly flourish in this country.

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