SANTEE — An 11th-grader at Lake Marion High School has received a national award for his exemplary volunteer service.
Torrey E. Benjamin, 16, of Eutawville, received the President’s Volunteer Service Award, which recognizes Americans of all ages who have volunteered significant amounts of their time to serve their communities and their country. The award was granted by The Prudential Spirit of Community Awards program on behalf of President Barack Obama.
Lake Marion High School nominated Benjamin for the national honors this fall in recognition of his volunteer service. He has participated in several community service activities as a part of the JROTC program at his school, such as visiting the Veterans Administration hospital, participating in the Greater Unity food basket drive and marching in several parades in the Orangeburg area.
At Holly Hill-Roberts Middle, Benjamin was a speaker for the school’s boys’ mentoring program. He is a musician at GAMAY Faith Ministries, a community-based church in Eutawville. In addition to his service at the church, he takes part in an outreach ministry, traveling to visit the sick and shut-in around his area to perform.
Benjamin said he lives by his quote: “If you want to achieve as much as you need to breathe, that is when you will truly succeed.” He said he is continuously supported by his family and peers to strive for the best and is also encouraged by his principal, Rose Pelzer, who tells him, “Why settle for good when there’s great!”
The Prudential Spirit of Community Awards, sponsored by Prudential Financial in partnership with the National Association of Secondary School Principals, recognizes middle level and high school students across America for outstanding volunteer service.
“The recipients of these awards demonstrate that young people across America are making remarkable contributions to the health and vitality of their communities,” said John Strangfeld, chairman and CEO of Prudential Financial. “By recognizing these students and placing a spotlight on their volunteer activities, we hope to motivate others to consider how they can also contribute to their community.”
NASSP Executive Director JoAnn Bartoletti said, “Demonstrating civic responsibility through volunteerism is an important part of life. These honorees practice a lesson we hope all young people, as well as adults, will emulate.”
Prudential Spirit of Community Award applications were distributed nationwide last September through middle level and high schools, Girl Scout councils, county 4-H organizations, American Red Cross chapters, YMCAs and HandsOn Network affiliates. These schools and officially-designated local organizations nominated Local Honorees, whose applications were advanced for state-level judging. In addition to granting President’s Volunteer Service Awards on behalf of President Barack Obama, The Prudential Spirit of Community Awards selected State Honorees, Distinguished Finalists and Certificate of Excellence recipients.
Volunteer activities were judged on criteria including personal initiative, creativity, effort, impact and personal growth.