John Carter bestows A-Lister Award to CCHS senior
By PAMELA GRANT
Out of all of the students in all of the schools in all of the cities in US Congressional District 31, Elise Fuselier was the one student selected to receive the John Carter A-Lister Award.
Congressman John Carter flew into the city from Washington D.C. to honor Fuselier with the award last Thursday at Copperas Cove High School.
“Each year, the Congressman recognizes excellent middle and high school students from private schools, public schools, and homeschools who reside or attend school in the 31st congressional district of Texas,” said Cheryl Hassmann, Congressional Programs Coordinator for Congressman Carter. “These special students are nominated by an educator, must have demonstrated measurable community service that was voluntary, and must have performed good deeds that benefitted others on campus or in the community.”
Only one winner was chosen in all of Congressional District 31 which now includes Bell, Bosque, Burnet, Coryell, Hamilton, and Williamson counties.
Fuselier, a CCHS senior, was very surprised by the award. She was nominated for the award by Wendy Sledd, CCISD Director of Communications. Sledd was unable to attend the event, so CCISD Superintendent Dr. Joe Burns read about Fuselier’s charitable work as detailed in Sledd’s application.
As the daughter of a teacher, Fuselier knows that many students come to school hungry on Mondays. Seeing the need, Fuselier hosted a fundraiser and started the Blessings in a Backpack program at her former school, Hettie Halstead Elementary, CCISD’s most economically challenged school. Fuselier worked hard on the project publicizing the event and reaching out and gaining sponsors, donors, and volunteers. Despite needing to change the location of her fundraiser at the last minute, Fuselier was able to overcome the hardship and raise $1,807.29 which was used to start the Blessings in a Backpack Program. Fuselier has volunteered for the last three years with CCISD’s Stuff the Bus event, helped establish Chocolate Fantasia which raises money for CCISD’s Special Olympics team, she helped with CCISD’s annual homecoming dance for students receiving special education services, she regularly volunteers with community trash pickup events, worked to raise money for the city’s dog park, helped with laying wreaths on veterans’ graves for Christmas, and even earned the Presidential Volunteer Service Award at the gold, silver, and bronze levels.
“We’re very proud of you, Elise,” said Burns to Fuselier. “To be the only student selected is quite an honor.”
“Without people who do community service the country wouldn’t be in good shape,” said Congressman Carter to Fuselier. “Thank you for what you did and keep doing it.”
Elise Fuselier’s parents, Ya’Shika Fuselier and Johnathan Fuselier were surprised and proud of their daughter for winning the award.
“I was very surprised simply because I was trying to wrap my head around the magnitude,” said Ya’Shika Fuselier. She said, as a teacher, she’s used to her children and her students winning small awards like those for academics and attendance.
Her parents said that their children, especially their daughter, have always given back to other students. Her father recalled strange lunch requests for about a year before he discovered that his children were sharing their lunches with others. They talked about how they’ve helped their daughter with her various community service projects and how it’s just something that their daughter has always done.
“It didn’t occur to me until he was reading, and I was reflecting, ‘Yeah, she did do that’, ‘Yeah, she did that too’, ‘Yeah, she was involved in all of that’. When you are doing it throughout the years, you don’t look and say, ‘Look what I have done,’” said Johnathan Fuselier. “We feel proud of her accomplishments, and we’re excited to see what she brings in the future.”