Students Earn Presidential Volunteer Service Awards

We are proud to recognize 19 MICDS students for having earned a President’s Volunteer Service Award through MICDS in 2021. These 19 Students volunteered a combined total of over 3,250 hours, with the following award levels being reached: 12 Bronze, 2 Silver, 5 Gold. Two additional students earned Gold Awards outside of MICDS. In total, MICDS volunteers earned over 6,300 hours of community service this year.

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. Although the number of recipients this year is far fewer than MICDS typically recognizes, MICDS is proud of the efforts of these 19 students and the many other student volunteers who found creative and safe ways to volunteer during the COVID-19 pandemic this past recording year.

Erin Hamill, Director of Global Learning & Upper School Community Service, shared this video during the Upper School assembly this week:

I have truly witnessed a heightened sense of urgency and a greater desire for students to find ways to connect with and help others during the pandemic. 

So many of you have found creative ways to volunteer from home or safely out in the community during the pandemic, and this includes many, many of you who are not receiving an award today. 

COVID has taught us that the smallest acts of kindness can have a huge impact on others’ lives. I’m going to highlight some of the ways our students have helped others this year, but this list is by no means complete, and please know we are so happy with all of the volunteering our MICDS students do. 

This past year, many of you sewed cloth masks or designed and produced 3D masks and other personal protective equipment for first responders, others made sandwiches or meals for food pantries and drive-through food distribution events, others transcribed documents online for the Smithsonian, a group of students formed MOtary Connections, an online platform that connects voters and notaries to facilitate absentee voting during the Presidential election, and another group of students expanded their MIST initiative (Mental Illness Support for Teenagers) to numerous high schools across the world. Students organized blood drives with the Red Cross, organized and ran Ace Academy tennis camps for inner-city youth, tutored Beasley students or students all around the country online, started and expanded a T-Shirt business, GOOD, with 100% of profits going to multiple charities, or became penpals with residents in nursing homes, who otherwise might not have had much contact with the outside world due to the pandemic. Congratulations to all of you who remained committed to volunteering this year and found safe and creative ways to help so many in the St. Louis community and beyond. 

“Community service and volunteering have been extremely important especially during the pandemic,” said Emma Shao ’23. “Although opportunities were limited, making masks over the summer and donating them to local hospitals was a great way to give back to healthcare workers.”

“Service allows me to connect with my community while also providing for those who need help,” said Kareena Kanumury ’23. During the pandemic, it was hard to do the service I normally do. However, it provided me with an opportunity to expand my skills nationwide. I tutored kids from California and New York in math and science, which allowed me to realize my passion for teaching. Through online tutoring, I did what I loved and helped ease the tensions of online learning for students across the country.”

Nikitha Ada ’23 helped our local community. “Through the American Red Cross, I conducted a blood drive for MICDS; the community truly amazed me with amazing participation! Blood donations have decreased significantly due to the pandemic, so I was so thankful that our community was able to meet the blood drive goal of 26 units. All in all, volunteering is just about giving a hand to those in need and everyone getting more connected with each other as a whole,” she said.

Upper School students honored for receiving the President’s Volunteer Service Award through MICDS this year are:

Nikitha Ada ’23, Gold

Kendall Curry ’23, Gold

Kareena Kanumury ’23, Gold

Kashish Motwani ’23, Gold

Emma Shao ’23, Gold

Shelly Bhagat ’22, Silver

Patrick Mason ’22, Silver

Lucas McCarty ’21, Bronze

Aryan Motwani ’21, Bronze

Siri Battula ’22, Bronze

Harper Graves ’22, Bronze

Noah Kleinlehrer ’22, Bronze

Layan Salman ’22, Bronze

Keller Goldstein ’23, Bronze

Ava Janes ’23, Bronze

Jason Klutho ’23, Bronze

JC Nguyen ’23, Bronze

Skye Patton ’23, Bronze

Devon Catsavis ’24, Bronze

Two students earned Awards outside of MICDS:

Nicole Dai ’23, Gold

Nathan Yao ’23, Gold

Congratulations to Patrick Mason ’22 for receiving a Congressional Award Silver 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.

Click here for more information on the President’s Volunteer Service Award program.

Well done, Rams volunteers! Thank you for making a difference and congratulations!