One Andover High School senior was recently recognized by Prudential Financial through a nationwide program honoring young people for outstanding acts of volunteerism called The Prudential Spirit of Community Awards.
The awards initiative recognizes one middle level and one high school student from each state, along with numerous Distinguished Finalists. Since the program began in 1995, more than 115,000 young volunteers have been honored at the local, state and national level.
Kerry Manuel, 18, was recognized as one of six Massachusetts students who were recognized as Distinguished Finalists "for their impressive community service activities," according to a press release.
Manuel, a senior at Andover High School, serves a president of the school's Interact Club, a youth offshoot of the Rotary Club focused on planning and carrying out community service projects.
As president of the Interact Club, Manuel helped to coordinate the Andover Cares Concert, an event that has raised thousands of dollars over the past two years to fight the heroin epidemic.
The Interact Club has also undertaken numerous projects and fundraisers around town throughout the year, including the Andover Coalition for Education Scarecrow Festival, Feaster Five, Lazarus House Coat and Christmas Stocking drives, and the Rotary International World Peace and Understanding Dinner.
Manuel also helps to host blood drives as a Red Cross club member, serves on her school’s Board of Directors, and "is a leading force in getting the class of 2017 to complete 2,017 hours of community service," according to the press release.
As a Distinguished Finalist, Manuel will receive an engraved bronze medallion commemorating her work at Andover High School and throughout the community.
The Prudential Spirit of Community Awards, now in its 22nd year, is conducted by Prudential Financial in partnership with the National Association of Secondary School Principals, and "represents the United States’ largest youth recognition program based solely on volunteer service," according to the press release.
All public and private middle level and high schools in the country, as well as all Girl Scout councils, county 4-H organizations, American Red Cross chapters, YMCAs and HandsOn Network affiliates, were eligible to select a student or member for a local Prudential Spirit of Community Award.
The local honorees were then reviewed by an independent judging panel, which selected State Honorees and Distinguished Finalists based on criteria including personal initiative, effort, impact and personal growth.
"Prudential is honored to recognize these young volunteers for their exemplary service," said Prudential Chairman and CEO John Strangfeld. "We hope that their stories inspire others to consider how they, too, can volunteer their time and talents to improve their communities."
Manuel will be attending Bates College in Lewiston, Maine in the fall.