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Decatur students score nearly 12,000 service hours

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Sarah Beesley
Gold Award recipients.

On Thursday, Oct. 18, 63 students were commended for outstanding community service at Decatur’s 13th annual Presidential Service Award Ceremony. The event was presented by adviser Mrs. Laurie Chetelat. 

The first three Presidential Award ceremonies in Worcester County were held at the Board of Education, later moved to a school-by-school basis as the number of recipients increased. Involved in Decatur’s community outreach for around 25 years, Chetelat watched the award group grow from six the first year to 63 this October. The vast increase, Chetelat believes, is largely accreditable to opportunities provided through the Connections group that she advises.  

To receive the award, students must work with nonprofit organizations in our community throughout the year to earn service hours, eventually amounting to over 100. There are three levels of the Presidential Service Award that students can reach; Bronze being between 100 and 174 hours of service, Silver being 175 to 200 hours, and Gold representing more than 200. Altogether, the students who received the award served for nearly twelve thousand hours during the past year. The commitment benefits recipients on college resumes and scholarship applications, but also has the potential to reveal new talents or interests. “The award encourages students to take risks and try new things in some areas that they might not have been exposed to before,” Chetelat expresses.  

Speakers at the event included Senior Class President Ally Jones, Principal Thomas Sites, and Superintendent of Schools Louis Taylor as the guest speaker who proudly stated, “Mrs. Chetelat is the heart of the program.” 

Sites, who has been a collaborator of Chetelat in the service field for several years told The Hawk, “to see the number of students who have grown and taken the initiative to put so much time into our community is uplifting,” going on to explain how proud Decatur’s achievers make him. 

By volunteering their time and energy, and by giving up opportunities to work for paid hours or hang out with friends, these students demonstrate not only the sacrifice it takes, but also the rewards. Junior Isy Kristick, a recipient of the Bronze Award, contently explained, “this award means that I’m giving back to my community that has given so much to me.” The Presidential Service Award is much more than a statement on a piece of paper. It represents commitment, sacrifice, and dedication for the betterment of one’s community. 

 

 

 

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Decatur students score nearly 12,000 service hours