Matthew Benjamin, 14, an eighth-grade student at Regent Preparatory School in Tulsa, has been named one of America’s top ten youth volunteers for 2012 by The Prudential Spirit of Community Awards.
Also recognized as a State Honoree was Jonathan Crider, 18, a senior at Central High School in Marlow.
“I’d like to say thank you to these students for their service to their community through volunteerism,” said State Superintendent Janet Barresi. “They are truly embracing what it means to be a good citizens. Our state and nation are better for their contributions.”
Prudential Financial and the National Association of Secondary School Principals selected 102 high school and middle school students from an initial field of more than 26,000 youth volunteers from all 50 states and the District of Columbia for their outstanding achievements in community service.
Students were recognized at a ceremony held in Washington, D.C. earlier this month.
Benjamin was recognized for raising more than $30,000 to build a home for 33 orphans in Uganda by attracting sponsorships as he trained and ran a half-marathon last year. He received $6,000 in prizes, a gold medallion, a crystal trophy, and a $5,000 grant from The Prudential Foundation for a charitable organization of his choice.
Crider organized rocking-chair marathons in his community and raised more than $45,000 to feed children at risk of going hungry on the weekends. He received a $1,000 prize.
At the national ceremony, both honorees were congratulated personally by New York Giants Quarterback and Super Bowl MVP Eli Manning. They also visited their U.S. Senators on Capitol Hill and toured historic sights in the Nation’s Capital.
Benjamin was recognized at Thursday’s State Board of Education meeting. Crider could not attend.