Dover, Del.–February 25, 2003 Sonide Blanchard, 17, of Seaford and Jeffrey Lawson, 13, of Newark have been named Delaware’s top two youth volunteers for 2003by the Prudential Spirit of Community Awards, a nationwide program honoring young people for outstanding acts of volunteerism. The awards program, now in its eighth year, is conducted in partnership with the National Association of Secondary School Principals (NASSP). More than 24,000 middle and high school students submitted applications for this year’s program.
As state honorees, Sonide and Jeffrey will each receive $1,000, an engraved silver medallion, and an all-expenses paid trip to Washington D.C. in May,where they will join the top two honorees—one middle school and one high school student—from each of the other states,the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico for several days of national recognition events.
Sonide, a senior at Seaford High School in Seaford, volunteers a significant amount of time to tutoring Haitian studentsin the English as a Second Language (ESL) program at her school, and also serves as a translator for both students and adults. She also spends two hours a day working with ESL students to help them succeed in school despite their limited English skills.
Jeffrey, a seventh-grader at St. Edmonds Academy in Wilmington, is a peer mentor to second-grade special education childrenand also volunteers with the Delaware Special Olympics. While attending elementary school, Jeffrey had volunteered with a special education class by reading books to students and giving up recess time to mentor other children. After transferring to a private school, Jeffrey continued to volunteer his time as much as he could with the children he had previously mentored.
Two other Delaware students were also recognized as Distinguished Finalists for their impressive community service activities.Each will receive an engraved bronze medallion:
Jennifer Crouse, 14, of Harrington, a freshman at Lake Forest High School in Felton, has produced more than 1,500 “fun packs”filled with games, books and other activities for children at a local hospital and at Dover Air Force Base.
Miaela Thomas, 17, of New Castle, a senior at Hodgson Vocational Technical School District in Newark,founded a step team and academic enrichment program through the local Police Athletic League to offer middle school girls a positive social activity.
During their stay in Washington, ten of the 104 state honorees will be named as America’s top youth volunteers for 2003. These students will receive an additional $5,000, a gold medallion and a crystal trophy.The ten honorees will also have a total of $250,000 in children’s products donated in their names to needy children in their communities.
Delaware Department of Education
401 Federal Street, Suite #2
Dover, Delaware 19901
Phone: (302) 735-4035
Fax: (302) 739-4654
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