SADDLE BROOK, N.J. — Saddle Brook student Amanda Witkowski ascended to the highest rank of the Girl Scouts this month by earning the Gold Award while learning about autism along the way.
Witkowski helped spread autism awareness to earn her award and spoke at events and meetings about the cause. She also distributed information through pamphlets, flyers and online about autism.
“Most people know of autism, but they don’t really know what it is,” Witkowski said. “I hoped to educate the public so they would know the signs of autism because an early diagnosis will result in a healthier outcome for children and families. The autistic community benefits as I continue to champion this message.”
Witkowski is a senior at St. Mary High School in Rutherford, where she is a member of the National Honor Society, National Math Honor Society, National Spanish Honor Society, National Society of High School Scholars, peer leadership, Junior State of America, and varsity cheerleading. She is also president of the Key Club.
She has been a Girl Scout in Troop 60769 since first grade.
The Saddle Brook Scout visited elementary schools to talk with children about autism disorders and spoke about spectrum disorders at community sporting events, pageants, and Girl Scout meetings. She plans to continue educating the public about autism.
“Three years ago, I attended an autism fundraiser and really did not understand the disorder,” she said. “As I asked a lot of questions, I realized there was so much to know and little known. I chose this project because I wanted to [do] something to make a positive change.”
The Girl Scout Gold Award is the highest award a Girl Scout can earn and requires the completion of a leadership project of at least 80 hours.