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HKHS Senior Receives Award for Community Service

Submitted by Connie Bombaci

(July 23, 2023) — Kelsey Piela received the 2023 Connie Bombaci Service Award during Haddam-Killingworth High School’s Senior Awards Ceremony on June 8, 2023. Piela was recognized with this annual Award because of her significant and genuine dedication to voluntary service to the Haddam-Killingworth High School and its community. Chosen by an independent committee of select family and community members, she was announced as this year’s beneficiary by Heather Ferrer, HK science teacher and daughter of Mrs. Bombaci.

This Award was created by former Superintendent Gary Mala and the Board of Education in 2006. Regional School District 17’s purpose was to recognize the ardent service to the school district over Bombaci’s years of commitment and loyal devotion to the students, staff, and HK community.

Bombaci founded the renowned HK Holiday Show in 1990, worked to create a positive and spirited environment for HKHS students and staff, began the mentoring program, found ways to focus on the positive actions of the students and staff, recognized the talents of all students, and energetically supported student education and co-curricular activities.

She also served as an active volunteer outside the school by taking her trained, certified therapy dogs into the community, schools, and health centers to help others. Additionally, she worked to save and train deaf dogs to dispel the myths that surrounded these special needs animals.

Piela received this year’s Award for her outstanding efforts in helping and serving others with more than 200 community service hours. She assisted as an intern at various health organizations, a cadet at the Newington Volunteer Fire Department, a student ambassador for HKHS, and a coach for youth programs.

Piela plans to attend Drexel University to earn her health sciences degree and enter a physician assistant certification program. She states, “I look forward to having a career that will give me the opportunity to help people directly and to make a difference in the world.”

Funding for this Award is made possible through profits from Bombaci’s international multi-award-winning book, “Hogan’s Hope.” The basis of the manuscript is the true and inspirational story of an incredible deaf dog serving others as a certified therapy dog and paving the way for other deaf animals to live and not be destroyed.

Photo by Sheila Reilly

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