CHARLESTON, W.Va. – A Cabell County high school student and a Marion County middle school student have been named top youth volunteers for 2009 and given the national Prudential Spirit of Community Award.
Anastacia Meadows, a 16-year-old junior at Cabell Midland High School in Ona, promoted recycling in her school and community by establishing a recycling program, founding a school environmental club and participating in community events. She started the project after seeing a garbage truck haul away a large number of newspapers from her school one morning.
“I was appalled at the amount of waste my school was making,” Meadows said. “A good environment is not permanent, and I knew that if someone did not start something soon our West Virginia hills would not seem so majestic and grand.”
Cody Gallagher, a 14-year-old eighth-grader at Rivesville Middle School, buys and collects toy bears to give away randomly to children and adults “to make people feel good about themselves.” Gallagher, who previously won the Spirit of Community Award in 2007 for a campaign to provide new and used children’s books to disadvantaged families, expanded his efforts to include the toy bears.
“I want to let people know that someone cares about them as a person,” Gallagher said. “By introducing stuffed animals, I could enhance and reinforce the concept of reading, sharing and caring about others.”
Winners of the Prudential Spirit of Community Award receive $1,000, an engraved silver medallion and a trip to Washington, D.C. The awards are conducted by Prudential Financial in partnership with the National Association of Secondary School Principals. Two winners are chosen from each state and Washington, D.C.
Morgan Richards, 17, of South Charleston High School, and Steven Williams, 18, of Bluefield High School, also were named distinguished finalists and will receive an engraved bronze medallion.
For more information, contact the West Virginia Department of Education’s Office of Communications at (304) 558-2699.