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Davis, California

Saturday, April 20, 2024

Nomination period for the Golden Heart awards extended

The city of Davis extended nominations for the annual awards that recognize Davis youths’ contributions to the community


By ALEX UPTON — city@theaggie.org 


The city’s annual Golden Heart awards nomination period for 2023 has been extended to April 17, according to a press release on Tuesday. These awards recognize outstanding youth in the community and, in particular, what the city describes as “non-traditional” achievers. There are two award categories, the service award and the personal challenge award. 

The awards were created in remembrance of former Holmes Junior High School student Andrew Mockus, who was tragically killed by his peers in a 1992 incident when he was 14. In 1994,  the Davis city council adopted the Golden Hearts awards, proposed by Recreation and Park Commission which reaffirmed and expanded its commitment to support Davis youth following the event. 

Kellie Vitaich, the community services program coordinator for the city, discussed other steps the city has taken to protect its youth after the death of Mockus. 

“The city has a variety of programming that spans the needs and interests of teens in our community, though that may not necessarily be a direct impact of the death, but as a continued focus towards the well-being of our youth,” Vitaich said. 

Vitaich said that any Davis student between 7th and 12th grade making a positive impact in their community is a good candidate for the award. She explained that there are many different circumstances under which a youth may be awarded for their actions and that the recipient selection committee tries to award youth who are not typically recognized in other forums. 

“Previous recipients have been recognized for volunteer work in their communities, overcoming medical challenges (such as childhood cancer, heart issues or cerebral palsy) and personal obstacles (such as the loss of a parent or sibling) or excelling in school while learning English as a second language,” Vitaich said. 

Mayor Will Arnold said that it is a priority to make sure that “Davis youth feel seen and heard.” 

“Their perspectives are so valuable as we navigate today’s issues,” Arnold said. “The Golden Heart awards honor young people who have demonstrated resilience in the face of hardship and who have devoted themselves to the service of our community. I look forward to meeting the award winners and drawing inspiration from their experiences.”

Written by: Alex Upton — city@theaggie.org