Mossman receives President’s Volunteer Service Award

Mossman+receives+President%27s+Volunteer+Service+Award

Photo by Hoku Krueger

Junior Kaili Mossman receives the President’s Volunteer Service Award from High School Academies Principal Jay-R Kaawa in the high school office on Thursday, August 5.

By Hoku Krueger, news co-editor

PUKALANI – Members of the Kamehameha Schools Maui High School administration team honored junior Kaili Mossman for her exemplary volunteer service with The President’s Volunteer Service Award on Thursday, April 5, 2012, in the high school office.

Mossman’s dedication to volunteering came to the attention of the White House as a result of her application for the Prudential Spirit of Community Awards program, which recognizes Americans of all ages who have volunteered significant amounts of their time to serve their communities and their country.

Mossman has racked up a total of 400 community service hours over her high school career by tutoring at the elementary school. She originally began tutoring every day after school in order to build her resume`.

“After a while, I started going up because I wanted to,” Mossman said.

On top of her volunteering at school, she has also volunteered in the community. The hours that she spends at the elementary school do not count toward the fulfillment of the KSM graduation requirement that says students must complete at least 60 hours of community service.

“I wasn’t expecting any recognition. I was pleasantly surprised,” Mossman said.

Academies Principal Jay-R Kaawa, Grades 9 and 10 Principal Lance Cagasan and Vice Principal Leo Delatori presented Mossman with the a letter of recognition from President Barack Obama, a presidential Certificate of Excellence on behalf of the Prudential program, and a lei on behalf of the school in a personal ceremony before lunch on Thursday.

“Your volunteer service demonstrates the kind of commitment to your community that moves America a step closer to its great promise,” President Obama said in his letter issued through The President’s Council on Service and Civic Participation.

Ms. Kaawa chose Mossman as the single KS Maui representative from among the three students who applied for the Prudential Spirit of Community program at the beginning of the school year.

“There are a couple of students at the elementary who I know that enjoy her. She connects with them, and she’s really helpful,” Ms. Kaawa said.

To apply for the Prudential award, Mossman wrote an essay about her community service activity and requested a recommendation and approval from Ms. Kaawa. Her application made it all the way to the semifinal rounds of the state selection and earned her the certificate of excellence, but it was 16-year-old Candonino Agusen of Kealakehe High School who was chosen as the top high school level state honoree for 2012.

Agusen helped raise more than $64,000 to buy temporary housing kits for displaced victims of the 2011 Tohoku Earthquake.

America’s 102 most outstanding youth volunteers – two from each state and the District of Columbia – were named State Honorees. Each of the 102 State Honorees will receive $1,000, an engraved silver medallion and an all-expense-paid trip to Washington, D.C., May 5-8 for several days of national recognition events. Ten of them will be named America’s top youth volunteers for 2012 at that time.

In addition to the State Honorees, the program’s judges recognized 234 students nationwide as Distinguished Finalists for their impressive community service activities. Each will receive an engraved bronze medallion. More than 500 other applicants, including Mossman, were awarded Certificates of Excellence for their volunteer work.

The Prudential Spirit of Community Awards program is sponsored by Prudential Financial in partnership with the National Association of Secondary School Principals. More than 345,000 young people across America have been considered for these awards since the program began in 1995.

“The recipients of these awards vividly demonstrate that young people across America are making remarkable contributions to the health and vitality of their communities. In recognizing these students and placing a spotlight on their volunteer service activities, we hope to motivate others to consider how they can also contribute to their community,” chairman and CEO of Prudential Financial John R. Strangfeld said in a company press release.

“Demonstrating civic responsibility through community volunteerism is an important part of life. Their [Prudential’s] Honorees practice a lesson we hope all young people, as well as adults, will emulate,” NASSP Executive Director JoAnn Bartoletti said in the same release.

The program distributed applications in September 2011 through all public and private middle level and high schools, and select civic organizations. After each school’s principal named the Local Honorees, state-level judges selected State Honorees, Distinguished Finalists and Certificate of Excellence recipients.

Judges based their decisions on criteria such as personal initiative, creativity, effort, impact and personal growth.