Superintendent of Schools Donald Fiftal presented awards to eight students on Tuesday night, in recognition of their "qualities of responsibility, concern for other and dedicated efforts on behalf of their respective schools."

The Superintendent's Citizenship Awards are given to a fifth-grade student from each of the district's five schools, an eighth-grade student from Middlesex Middle School and two 12th graders from Darien High School each year.

This year, Fiftal recognized Ryan Gifford from Tokeneke School, Arija Forsyth from Royle, Cameron Shutts from Ox Ridge, Jana Powers from Holmes, Ariel Gianukakis from Hindley, Jordan Cassetta from Middlesex and Stephanie Ko and Suneil Raghvan from DHS.

This marked the second time Fiftal has presented the award to Cassetta, who previously won the acclaim as a student at Ox Ridge Elementary School three years ago.

"The folks at Middlesex think an awful lot of you," Fiftal told the eighth-grader, who he described as mature, polite, caring and kind.

Fiftal read comments from faculty and staff at Cassetta's school while addressing the audience, which included Cassetta's mother and father as well as her sister Ashley.

"The first word that comes to mind about Jordan is sweet. She is the nicest, kindest young lady," he said.

"She is a hard worker, an over-the-top worker," the superintendent said.

Fiftal spoke about the personal characteristics of each award recipient, as well as their track record in the classroom, extra-curricular activities and volunteer work in the community.

While honoring Ko, a DHS senior, Fiftal spoke not just about her superior golf skills and ability to excel at various activities; he also spoke about her sportsmanship and graciousness when she does not come out on top.

Ko has served as a class representative for the Class of 2010, and campaigned for class president last year. She was defeated by another student in the elections, Fiftal said.

"Yet her ability to congratulate a classmate on a job well-done spoke volumes. She's a classy young woman," he said.

Fiftal also spoke about Ko's classmate, Suneil Raghvan.

"In a school with unusually achievement-oriented peers, Suneil falls above most of his peers academically with an outstanding GPA. He's a serious student and puts in a tremendous effort tin his school work," Fiftal said.

But it's his caring and outgoing disposition that really set him apart, Fiftal said.

"He shines in an environment when he provides service to others," the Superintendent said about the teen, who spends time volunteering with the Buddy System and other various organizations in town.