Kaydee Molnar’s lifelong fascination with the stories that make up local history led her to projects decorating Allentown’s Main Street, planting bulbs in an historic cemetery, and playing the flute for the holidays. It also earned her the distinction of being named the first-ever recipient of the William Augustus Newell Award, presented to her by The Allentown Village Initiative (TAVI) in conjunction with her recent graduation from Allentown High School.
Kaydee credits her grandfather with sowing the seeds of her interest in history. He was an avid Civil War re-enactor, which made quite an impression on Kaydee as a young child. Once she started high school Kaydee sought out history-related courses and activities, taking advanced classes and becoming a member of the History Honor Society. The Society, in turn, introduced Kaydee to TAVI and its many community projects. It wasn’t long before she found herself helping out at TAVI’s Harvest Fest table and playing the flute for Allentown’s Christmas events. A bit less glamorous (perhaps) was her work helping to install and later store the life-sized Victorian figures which grace Main Street at times throughout the year, and then all of the digging needed to help plant about 900 daffodil bulbs around the Olde Burying Ground on
Kaydee said she values all of her experiences at events and projects around Allentown that have brought people together to interact and help preserve the area’s history. She’s looking forward to continuing her community involvement as she embarks on the path to becoming a licensed electrician. The five year apprenticeship for which she’s applied will eventually lead her to the status of “journeyman” in her chosen profession.
The Newell Award was named in honor of one of Allentown’s most prominent citizens. New Jersey’s 18th Governor, Washington Territory’s 11 th Governor, a member of Congress, physician and Allentown resident, William Augustus Newell was also the founder of the US Coast Guard. The Newell Award recognizes outstanding service to the Allentown community and specifically, significant and tangible contributions in the areas of historic preservation and education, natural resource protection, support of the local business community and advancement of the arts and culture. The TAVI Board noted that, while consistently and repeatedly sharing her time and talent, Kaydee displayed leadership qualities, responsibility and initiative together with a spirit of volunteerism and good citizenship in service to our community. The Newell Award includes a $250 honorarium.
TAVI is a 501(c)(3) volunteer driven organization dedicated to improving the quality of
life in and around Allentown. Whether it’s helping to beautify the town’s public spaces,
restoring and protecting our historic structures, promoting our small businesses, or
providing a forum for the arts and culture, TAVI has our community’s best interests at
heart. In addition to the Newell Award, a sampling of TAVI’s recent projects include: the
Allentown Arts series of free performances and exhibits, publication of the Allentown History Sketchbook (provided to every graduating 8th grader), an Earth Day Clean-up, a Historic Scavenger Hunt, the Holiday Driving Tour, the July 4th Reading of the Declaration of Independence, the Old Burying Ground and Sensi Park Daffodils, TAVI Town Specials bulletins, and the Juneteenth Underground Railroad Walking Tour. For more information and to support TAVI’s work in our community, visit www.allentownvinj.org today.
For more information contact:
Kaydee Molnar(left) with TAVI president Martha Ploshay planting at Sensi Park, Allentown
Kaydee Molnar, Allentown Class of 2021