One hundred and four Mount St. Mary Academy
students have been awarded the President’s Volunteer Service Award, the nation’s highest honor of recognition for student service.
The President’s Volunteer Service Award recognizes young adults who have demonstrated exemplary citizenship through volunteering. Thirty-four students received the Gold Award which recognizes 250 or more service hours performed over a 12-month time period. Sixteen students received the Silver Award, recognizing 175 - 249 service hours. Fifty-four students received the Bronze Award, recognizing 100-174 service hours.
Mount St. Mary Academy’s Class of 2013 averaged 110 hours per student, leading the school to a total of over 23,000 service hours. The school’s volunteer total has increased by over 2000 hours from the 2010-11 school year.
“Mount St. Mary Academy was founded on a mission of service.” says principal, Dawn Riggie. “To see students strive to find volunteer opportunities, compete for the most service hours and ultimately receive recognition from the President of the United States shows a realization of our purpose.”
Under the leadership of Campus Ministry Director, Helen Scimeca, the Mount St. Mary student service program has expanded and has reached new heights in student popularity.
Service is an integral part of the school’s curriculum. Each student is required to participate in a quota of service hours, depending on her grade level. Seniors are required to perform 60 service hours, a requirement which Scimeca feels trains students to consider service a necessary component of their adult life.
“Each of us is blessed abundantly in our lives,” says Scimeca. “Community service allows us to use these blessings and give back to people in need in our school, community, neighborhood and society. We may appreciate what we have more because of community service.”
Students volunteer in their communities, parishes and even in the school neighborhood. School-organized volunteer hours have included working at St. Luke’s Mission of Mercy, an inner city mission which strives to help some of Buffalo’s neediest.
Though most volunteer hours are performed independently, many participate in schoolwide initiatives including UNYTS Blood Drive, food drives and collecting Christmas gifts for the needy.
The President’s Volunteer Service Awards have motivated students to volunteer more than needed for class participation. Over 25% of the student body performed substantially more service hours than the school requirement and received the Presidential Award.
Highest honors were awarded to Kenmore resident Kristian Walker who performed 420 service hours, the most of any Mount St. Mary student this year. Walker graduated on June 3 and intends to continue her service efforts as she attends Cornell University in the fall.
Mount St. Mary Academy, founded by the Sisters of St. Mary of Namur in 1927, is an all-girls Catholic college-preparatory high school located at 3756 Delaware Avenue in Kenmore. Mount St. Mary’s is consistently ranked among the top Western New York public and private high schools.