Missouri Students Recognized for Outstanding Volunteer Service

Fri 02/19/21 - 10:10

The Prudential Spirit of Community Awards bestowed top honors to two Missouri students for their exceptional acts of volunteerism in their local communities last week. Missouri’s top youth volunteers for 2021 include:

  • Shruti Gautam, Rock Bridge High School, Columbia Public Schools
  • Karlee Doak, Lexington Middle School, Lexington R-V School District

Gautam, a high school senior, arranged to place free feminine hygiene products in the bathrooms of every high school in her school district, and worked on legislation to require that these products be readily available in high schools throughout Missouri. Doak, a seventh-grader, made hundreds of face masks and donated them to nursing homes, a local hospital, a pharmacy, friends and others who needed them during the COVID-19 pandemic.

“We are proud to celebrate Shruti and Karlee for their dedication to improving the lives of those in their schools and local communities,” said Commissioner of Education Margie Vandeven. “It is important that we take time to recognize not only our students’ academic achievements, but also the work they’re doing to grow into exceptional citizens and neighbors. I commend each of these young women for their inspiring efforts and know they will represent Missouri well at the national level.”

As state honorees, Gautam and Doak will each receive a $2,500 scholarship, an engraved silver medallion and an invitation to the program’s virtual recognition event in April, when 10 of the 102 state honorees will be named America’s top youth volunteers of the year. Those 10 national honorees will earn an additional $5,000 scholarship, a gold medallion, a crystal trophy for their nominating organization and a $5,000 grant for a nonprofit charitable organization of their choice.

Six additional Missouri students were named distinguished finalists in the Prudential Spirit of Community Awards program, including:

  • Vishwasri Aleti, Marquette High School, Rockwood School District
  • Aaliyah Aramjoo-Hull, Staley High School, North Kansas City Schools
  • Agha Haider, Whitfield School, St. Louis
  • Rincon Jagarlamudi, Marquette High School, Rockwood School District
  • Devin Kancherla, Saint Louis Priory School, St. Louis
  • Emily Yn, Villa Duchesne and Oak Hill School, St. Louis

The Prudential Spirit of Community Awards were created in 1995 in partnership with the National Association of Secondary School Principals (NASSP) to emphasize the importance of service to others and to encourage all students to contribute to their communities.

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Thu 02/20/20 - 13:00

The Prudential Spirit of Community Awards bestowed top honors to two Missouri students for their exceptional acts of volunteerism in their local communities.

Missouri’s 2020 youth volunteer awardees are:

  • Abigail Mueller, Whitfield School, St. Louis
  • Elizabeth Ravasini, Bernard C. Campbell Middle School, Lee’s Summit R-VII School District

Mueller, a high school junior, created a self-image education and mentoring program that included live presentations, an educational website, volunteering for Girls on the Run and writing articles for an internet safety organization about being authentic on social media. For the past four years, Mueller has been developing and managing a program called “Self-ValYOU: Promoting Positive Personal Imagery,” which is committed to giving people the tools needed to turn negative self-talk into positive self-image.

Ravasini, an eighth-grader, recruits family members, friends and other students to give monthly musical performances at local nursing homes. After researching and learning that musical therapy can aid the elderly with stress reduction, relaxation and socialization, Ravasini began visiting nursing homes to sing, dance, play instruments, read poetry and provide other forms of entertainment for residents. During the events, Ravasini and her fellow performers visit with audience members and hand out small gifts and snacks.

As state honorees, Mueller and Ravasini will each receive a $1,000 scholarship, an engraved silver medallion and a trip to Washington, D.C., in May where they will join the top two honorees from each state – one middle and one high school student – for national recognition events. As part of the trip, 10 students will be named America’s top youth volunteers of 2020.

“These Missouri students are inspiring examples for their peers and teachers,” said Commissioner of Education Margie Vandeven. “It is important for us to recognize not just work performed inside the classroom, but also the extra effort put in by students to better their local communities. I commend Abigail, Elizabeth, and all of the Missouri finalists for their dedication to improving the lives of those around them.”

Six additional Missouri students were named as distinguished finalists:

  • Grace Billhartz, Villa Duchesne and Oak Hill School, St. Louis
  • Caleb Craft, Jackson High School, Jackson R-II School District
  • Kiley Daniels, Liberty North High School, Liberty 53 School District
  • Catherine Hannon, Cor Jesu Academy, St. Louis
  • Caden Rardon, Lathrop High School, Lathrop R-II School District
  • Samiya Sajid, Al-Salam Day School, Ballwin

The Prudential Spirit of Community Awards were created in 1995 in partnership with the National Association of Secondary School Principals (NASSP). They are designed to emphasize the importance our nation places on service to others, and to encourage all young Americans to contribute to their communities.