NORWICH — During the Norwich City School District Board of Education meeting held on Wednesday, April 20, board members and Norwich Police Department Officer Brandon Clarke presented Norwich High School student Evan Sylstra with a Certificate of Commendation.
The certificate was to commend Sylstra's bravery and quick thinking on April 8, when he witnessed and prevented what Clarke called a "potentially catastrophic event."
"A couple young ladies sitting out near Midland Drive after sports practice waiting for, I’m assuming, a ride home. There was a suspicious kind of thing going on," Clarke explained. "A young man here recognized very quickly what was going on and through his own initiative, through his own common sense, through his own bravery and leadership, jumped on the opportunity and kind of cut off any bad from ever happening."
"Far above and beyond what the normal person would do, and he did it without hesitation. It’s a very uncommon thing, but it’s a super welcoming thing to see that Norwich and the district are making young men like Mr. Sylstra," he continued.
To protect the students involved, police could not release any details of the incident.
Sylstra is a senior at the Norwich High School, and was recently signed to play Divison II Football at Lock Haven University.
"Super solid human being. I mean, he sets the example he does and I can't speak highly enough of him," said Clarke. "It's not uncommon that the predators prey on the weak and timid, and this is what was happening and the strong stepped up."
"He's the one, and the guys like him are the ones, that restore faith in humanity. When all we see is the bad and the evil in the world, it's nice to know there's another generation of good humans stepping up," he added.
The Certificate of Commendation was read aloud by Clarke during the meeting, and was followed by a standing ovation from Board of Education members.
"Certificate of Commendation for Evan Sylstra, for displaying steadfast purpose of action, inner strength, courage, poise, and maturity beyond his years," Clarke read. "This demonstration of seldom matched presence of mind under the most demanding circumstances is a testament to Mr. Sylstra’s protective instincts and unwavering followthrough ... Thank you for doing the right thing."
A full recording of the commendation, as well as a full recording of the April 20 Board of Education meeting, can be found on the Norwich CSD YouTube channel at youtube.com/c/NorwichCSDTornado.