Two Jefferson County students were awarded Prudential Spirit of Community Awards, an honor which usually includes an expense paid  trip to Washington, D.C.

The national assembly, however, became a virtual event due to  COVID-19, but the unused funds were given to the honorees to donate to a nonprofit of his or her choice. 

The Prudential Spirit of Community Awards are given out annually to one middle level and one high school level student in each state based on volunteer community service. Both students this year were from the  21st Century Programs at Boulder Elementary and Jefferson High School.

Jefferson High School student Jayden Bellander was honored for her Panther Pantry at Jefferson High School and Kael Hesford at Boulder Elementary School received the award for his work in the Service-Learning Club. 

Because of the special circumstances of not meeting in person, Prudential awarded each state honoree $2,500 to give to a nonprofit of their choice that is helping with the COVID-19 response. With this money, Hesford decided to give it to the Gallatin Valley Food Bank. They are a partner that provides the food used for the weekend KidsPack Program at Boulder Elementary and Basin School. 

Bellander is going to make a donation to Red Ants Pants Foundation for inspiring her to make a difference in her community. In addition, each honoree received a college scholarship of $1,000, given to them through a Virginia 529 college investment fund.

“As a small community, I am proud to have both of the Prudential State Honorees come from our schools! Thanks for your hard work and dedication to our community!” said Rochelle Hesford with the KidsPack Program at Boulder Elementary School.

The virtual celebration, held May 1-3, included Kristin Bell, known for playing the voice of Anna in “Frozen.” 

Students are encouraged to fill out the application in the fall to be considered for the annual award. 

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The Prudential Spirit of Community Awards program is the United States’ largest youth recognition program based exclusively on volunteer community service. 

Created in 1995 by Prudential and the National Association of Secondary School Principals (NASSP), the program honors middle level and high school students for outstanding service to others at the local, state and national level. Thus far, it has recognized more than 130,000 young people in the program.

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