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Junior Benjamin Smith has been honored for his exemplary volunteer service with a President’s Volunteer Service Award (Silver Level).

The award, which recognizes Americans of all ages who have volunteered significant amounts of their time to serve their communities and their country, was granted by The Prudential Spirit of Community Awards program. Mount de Sales Academy nominated Benjamin for national honors this fall in recognition of his volunteer service, specifically with the school’s recycling program and eco-initiatives.

Benjamin helped found the Academy’s recycling program as a ninth grader, which included securing recycling bins for the entire campus community (middle school, upper school, and administrative offices) and managing the weekly recycling process. Benjamin has spent approximately 200 hours on sustainability initiatives alone; he also volunteers with the Academy’s Cavalier Ambassador program and his church youth group.

According to Upper School Counselor, Paul Midkiff, “Benjamin has a servant’s heart and he surrounds himself with people who share that characteristic. His and his friends’ dedication to our school’s recycling program is at a level I have rarely seen in my 30-plus years at our school.”

The Prudential Spirit of Community Awards, sponsored by Prudential Financial in partnership with the National Association of Secondary School Principals (NASSP), recognizes middle level and high school students across America for outstanding volunteer service.

“Across the United States, young volunteers are doing remarkable things to contribute to the well-being of the people and communities around them,” said Prudential CEO Charles Lowrey. “Prudential is honored to celebrate the contributions of these students, and we hope their stories inspire others to volunteer, too.”

“Demonstrating civic responsibility through volunteerism is an important part of life,” said NASSP Executive Director JoAnn Bartoletti. “These honorees practice a lesson we hope all young people, as well as adults, will emulate.”

Prudential Spirit of Community Award application details were distributed nationwide last September through middle level and high schools, Girl Scout councils, county 4-H organizations, American Red Cross chapters, YMCAs and Affiliates of Points of Light’s HandsOn Network. These schools and officially-designated local organizations nominated Local Honorees, whose applications were advanced for state-level judging. In addition to granting President’s Volunteer Service Awards, The Prudential Spirit of Community Awards selected State Honorees, Distinguished Finalists and Certificate of Excellence recipients. Volunteer activities were judged on criteria including initiative, effort, impact and personal growth.