Local student named finalist for youth volunteerism awards

A Millsboro Middle School student was recently named as one four Delaware finalists for the 2015 Prudential Spirit of Community Awards, a nationwide program honoring young people for outstanding acts of volunteerism, conducted in partnership with the National Association of Secondary School Principals (NASSP).

Two of the students were selected for top honors, to represent the state for national recognition, while the other two were named Distinguished Finalists — including Will Kenney, 12, of Delmar, Del., a seventh-grader at Millsboro Middle School — and will receive engraved bronzed medallions.

Kenney spent the summer of 2014 planning and implementing Will’s Carnival for a Cause, a family-style carnival with games, rides, food, music and more, that raised $5,800 to help fund research for a cure for Sturge-Weber syndrome. Inspired by a 2-year-old friend who has the illness, Kenney has also become an advocate for the Sturge-Weber Foundation and is already planning the second annual carnival for the summer of 2015.

The top two nominees — a 17-year-old Wilmington student and an 11-year-old Dover student — received $1,000, a silver medallion and a trip to Washington, D.C., in May, for a national recognition event that will also name 10 top youth volunteers in the country.

“Prudential is honored to celebrate the contributions of these remarkable young volunteers,” said Prudential Chairman and CEO John Strangfeld. “By shining a spotlight on the difference they’ve made in their communities, we hope others are inspired to volunteer, too.”

“These students have not only improved their communities through their exemplary volunteer service, but also set a fine example for their peers,” said JoAnn Bartoletti, executive director of NASSP. “Each of their stories is proof of the impact one young person can have when they decide to make a difference.”