On Thursday, April 12, Post L Lehigh Valley of the Travelers Protective Association (TPA) honored sixteen area high school students who embody the spirit of community leadership and giving back. The young men and women recognized by the 127-year-old organization are active both in and out of the classroom. They are star students, athletes, and volunteers who have taken the time to not only give back to others, but who have also inspired their peers to follow their altruistic lead.

“Tonight is about you,” said Pat Palencar, officer of the TPA’s Altruism Program and director of the TPA’s Deaf and Near Deaf Trust Fund.

Northampton Area High School senior Kate Gogel was among the students awarded by the TPA.

Northampton Area High School guidance counselor Kim Butryn had nothing but praise for Gogel. Over the years she has worked with many students, she said, but very few who demonstrated the selflessness and humility of Gogel.

“There has never been a task too small or too beneath her to complete,” she said.

Gogel has spent the majority of her academic career giving back to her school and larger community. Whether she’s in the classroom, on the field hockey pitch, working, or volunteering, she has demonstrated an unyielding dedication to hard work, leadership, and humanitarianism.

Gogel is a peer tutor to special-needs students and a Special Olympics volunteer. She also volunteers at area elementary schools and has organized Northampton Area High School’s mini-THON, luncheons, and homecoming. She has led many other activities as a member of her high school’s student council.

She has also been an avid volunteer outside of school for nearly a decade. She has volunteered with Dream Come True, community athletic organizations, Camp Invention, and her church. She has raised funds for Peaceable Kingdom and the Rail Trail. She also raised nearly $12,000 for the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society and was named the Lehigh Valley’s Student of the Year.

Gogel plans to attend St. Joseph’s University in the fall, where she will study business and continue to play field hockey.

Those in attendance at the banquet were glad to learn about the positive actions of Gogel and the other students honored by the TPA.

Keynote speaker Katrina Fritz was honored to “recognize the difference [students] have made in the lives of others.”

“Many of you are going to go on to different careers, but you want to do your best in all of them,” the St. Luke’s Hospital supervisor and community leader told students. “Use your actions and words for truth and love. How do you choose to use your influence?”

It is clear that Gogel and the other students present will continue to spread their influence as they move on to exciting new opportunities.

More about TPA

The Travelers Protective Association, or TPA, has helped keep children, the elderly, and other members of the community safe for over 127 years.

Dedicated to truthfulness, patriotism, and altruism, TPA has paved the way for some of our country’s most important safety measures. The organization implemented the painting of white lines on highways, promoted the Absent Voter Act-1916 Absentee Ballot System, implemented the changing of sheets in hotels, and made the push for driver training in schools and compulsory motor vehicle inspections.

Meanwhile, the organization’s CHAD stickers, which are placed on child safety seats, have helped identify numerous children in the case of roadway accidents and motor vehicle emergencies.

TPA Post L Lehigh Valley raises funds for hearing-impaired children, young adults, and adults aged 1 through 35. To learn more about the funds and scholarships available, you can visit www.tpahq.org.


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