Fifty-seven Upper School students received the President’s Volunteer Service Award for a combined total of over 8,000 hours of community service. Students reached the following award levels: Bronze (34), Silver (9) and Gold (14).
The President’s Volunteer Service Award program thanks and honors individuals who have demonstrated a commitment to service by helping others and giving back to their community. The goal of the program is to encourage more individuals to embody the spirit of volunteerism that makes this country so great. The award, an initiative of the Corporation for National and Community Service and administered by The Points of Light Institute, is given to individuals, families, and groups that achieve a certain number of volunteer hours during a 12-month period, or over the course of a lifetime.
Upper School students honored for receiving the President’s Volunteer Service Award through MICDS this year are:
From the Class of 2020: Claudia Cheng, Layne Crouthers, Matthew Curtis, Lauren Goldberg, Amarah Friedman, Helen Jiang, Skyler Lesslie, Gabrielle Lozon, Alexander Migala, Palmer Mihalevich, Hope Pohlman and Mereya Riopedre;
From the Class of 2021: Aadhya Chilakala, Henry Coen, Justin Goldenberg, Reginald Holmes, Ashley Kane, Amy Li, Samuel Liu, Haseeb Malik, Aryan Motwani, Sebastian Neumann, Cecilia Nourie, Caitlin Paine, Rich Qian, Courtney Shands, Divya Singh, Bonnie Sneider, Eshaan Tibrewala and Hanna Wurdack;
From the Class of 2022: Siri Battula, Shelly Bhagat, Lea Bishara, Harper Graves, Patrick Mason, Brandon Mitchell-Day, Virginia Naughton, Ria Patil, Layan Salman and Tejal Sasha Shanker;
From the Class of 2023: Nikitha Ada, Penelope Chen, Chloe Cheng, Emma Cohen, Theodore Elfenbein, Ishaan Handa, Kareena Kanumury, Abhinav Kothakota, JC Nguyen, Deren Pellegrini, Happy Phatak, Emma Shao and Sanchi Vishwakarma.
Four students earned awards outside of MICDS:
From the Class of 2021: Lily Baker, Jenna Bernstein and Annalisa Goot
From the Class of 2022: Haylii Sondrol.
MICDS would also like to congratulate Patrick Mason ’22 for receiving a Congressional Award Bronze Medal, a program in which the US Congress recognizes students for reaching goals in four program areas: Voluntary Public Service, Personal Development, Physical Fitness and Expedition/Exploration.
Students provided the following reflections on their service experiences.
Matthew Curtis ’20: Service implies being selfless towards others and putting their needs ahead of your own. Service has meant a great deal to me other the years, particularly my involvement with individuals who have intellectual and developmental disabilities. What makes association with such an underappreciated and exploited community so valuable is the opportunity to witness the subtle improvements you have on their lives. Whether skating or merely playing Bingo, your work somehow has profound effects on both you and those you are helping.
Amarah Friedman ’20: Last summer, I spent a month volunteering to teach English and Dance on the Galapagos Islands. It changed the way I view the world—not only in terms of how humans interact with the environment, but how we build communities and rally together to support one another, as well. What I learned there has become particularly prescient as we move into an uncertain future, and by continuing to reach out, I hope to support and grow my community to positively impact as many people as possible.
Bonnie Sneider ’21: Before entering a community service project, I keep one key thought in mind: community service is just as necessary for the person helping as the person receiving help. I view the projects I work on as an opportunity and privilege that I have to connect, learn and refuel all the while helping others. That moment, when you realize community service is a reciprocal process above all, is when the hierarchy diminishes and the gratitude pours in—not the type of gratitude where you’re grateful for your circumstances, but the type where you feel endlessly thankful you got to learn from incredible people.
For more information on the President’s Volunteer Service Award program, please visit: www.presidentialserviceawards.gov