On October 24, Dover-Sherborn High School seniors Mollie Brach and Keaton Stoner were honored by Norfolk County District Attorney Michael Morrissey when he presented them with his Peer Leadership Award.
The two students were surprised to learn that they had won an award when they were first told.
"I had no idea," Brach said. "We were called down to the headmaster's office [who told them she had received a call from the police letting telling her they had won the award]. I'm so honored. I was very grateful. It's really exciting for the Raider Way.
Brach and Stoner were 2 of 10 students from Norfolk County to receive this honor by "distinguishing himself or herself in ways that District Attorney Morrissey wishes to encourage and support, by making good decisions, by being considerate and respectful and by making personal sacrifices for others thereby setting a good example for their peers."
"The other kids were doing incredible things," Stoner said while noting how honored he was to be in the company of the other honorees.
Brach, who is also the field hockey captain, and Stoner, one of the football captains, received this award because of the work they've done with the Raider Way, an organization they founded this past year that promotes student leadership and frowns upon substance use.
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Dover Police Chief Peter McGowan was the person who nominated the two Dover-Sherborn teenagers.
"They've been addressing situations every community and police department faces," McGowan said. "They've come up with a way to sustain it. Mollie and Keaton are original and uinque in that they're concerned about today and the future."
When McGowan mentions Brach and Stoner's way to sustain the Raider Way, he's talking about how they've been making plans to go into the middle school and speak to the students from the sixth grade and up about their organization. They hope that this will ensure that their vision will continue even after they're gone.
"When we were first creating the Raider Way, we didn't want the program to die when we graduated," Brach said. "We didn't want it to be a one-year program."
Stoner and Brach are both very modest when asked about what they've done so far with the Raider Way, always thanking other people and giving them credit. Even after getting an award, they still are quick to point out others who have helped them throughout the whole process of starting the organization, and also for helping spread their message and enabling them to receive an award.
"Mimi Krier [from SPAN-DS, an organization of parents working against substance use] orchestrated this whole thing," Stoner said. "And I couldn't have done it without Mollie."
The next step for the Raider Way is to get in the middle school to talk to the younger kids who will be in the high school soon. That's been tough because of the class schedule difference the high school and middle school have, but Brach said she thinks they've figured it out, so it should be happening soon.
Whenever that does happen, what Stoner and Brach have done may have laid the foundation for a strong leadership organization at the high school for years to come.
"They have an incredible amount of maturity," McGowan said. "I'm just very impressed with them, both personally and with their goals and vision."