Hall Senior Named a Top Youth Volunteer Finalist by Prudential Spirit of Community Awards

Lauren Mahler. Courtesy photo

Lauren Mahler of West Hartford’s Hall High School is among four ‘Distinguished Finalists’ in Connecticut.

By Ronni Newton

Hall High School senior Lauren Mahler has been named a “Distinguished Finalist” in The Prudential Spirit of Community Awards national program that recognizes outstanding acts of volunteerism.

Mahler, 17, is one of just four Distinguished Finalists from Connecticut, and the only one from West Hartford. She will receive an engraved bronze medallion.

A press release issued by Prudential notes that Mahler “has volunteered hundreds of hours of her time tutoring a local student, meeting with him twice a week, and working with his counselor, teachers and parents to help set him up for success. Lauren has worked with the student to help him improve his grades and pursue his interest in graphic novels, and hopes to continue their tutoring sessions when she goes to college in the fall.”

Gabriela Garcia-Perez, 18, a senior at Guilford High School, was named the state’s top volunteer among high school students, and Dhruv Suryadevara of Ellington Middle School was named the state’s top middle school volunteer. Both will receive $1,000, an engraved silver medallion and an all-expense-paid trip in early May to Washington, D.C., where they will join the top two honorees from each of the other states and the District of Columbia for four days of national recognition events, the release states. Ten students will ultimately be named America’s top youth volunteers of 2020. 

“In our 25th year of honoring young volunteers, we are as inspired as ever by the work students are doing to address the needs of a changing world,” Charles Lowrey, chairman and CEO of Prudential Financial, Inc., said in the release. “We hope that their resolve, their initiative and their perspectives on society’s challenges move others to consider how they can make a difference, too.”

“Middle level and high school students are doing remarkable things to shape the future of their communities through volunteer service. They inspire all students and schools to drive learning with real-world challenges,” JoAnn Bartoletti, executive director of the National Association of Secondary School Principals (NASSP), said in the release. “Congratulations to each of the 2020 honorees – it’s an honor to celebrate your commitment to creating positive change.”

After being nominated by their school or a nonprofit organization, the students were reviewed by an independent panel of judges that selected the state’s honorees and finalists. Criteria included “personal initiative, effort, impact and personal growth.”

More information about the program can be found on the Prudential website.

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