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Samantha Kerker, 17, a junior at Atlantic High School, was recently named one of America’s top 10 youth volunteers of the year at a ceremony in Washington, D.C., by The Prudential Spirit of Community Awards. As a National Honoree, she will receive $5,000 award, an engraved gold medallion, and a crystal trophy for her school. She also will be able to choose a nonprofit charitable organization to receive a $5,000 grant from The Prudential Foundation.

Samantha has founded a student club with chapters in all 28 high schools in Palm Beach County to promote monthly service projects benefiting poor people. She is now working to send 60 students on a poverty-focused mission to a third-world country.

“We are so proud of Samantha.  Not only has she raised money and traveled to Nicaragua, but she has taught other students the importance of making a difference in the world.  Sami’s determination to help others and raise global awareness is inspirational,” said Kelly Bruce, the school guidance counselor.

According to the event organizer, the 10 National Honorees, who range in age from 12 to17, were selected from 102 State Honorees and more than 26,000 applicants based on the initiative, effort, impact and personal growth demonstrated in the course of their volunteer service. The recognition ceremony was part of a four-day celebration that brought the top two youth volunteers from each state to Washington, D.C., with their parents, to be recognized for their outstanding acts of community service.  These 102 State Honorees – one middle level and one high school student from each state and the District of Columbia – were personally congratulated by New York Giants quarterback and 2012 Super Bowl MVP Eli Manning at a gala dinner reception at the Smithsonian’s National Museum of Natural History on Sunday, May 6, 2012.

About The Prudential Spirit of Community Awards the Prudential Spirit of Community Awards, created in 1995 by Prudential Financial in partnership with the National Association of Secondary School Principals (NASSP), are designed to emphasize the importance our nation places on service to others, and to encourage all young Americans to contribute to their communities.

For additional information, please contact Kelly Bruce at kelly.bruce@palmbeachschool.org.

[Editors: Full-color pictures of the Spirit of Community Awards program logo and medallions are available at http://spirit.prudential.com. Digital photos of the National Honorees are available by calling Harold Banks of Prudential at 973-802-8974 or 973-216-4833.]

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