2020 Youth Service Award Winners

In 2020 WAHHI recognized five area high school students for their community service by awarding one thousand dollars to each of them. Logan Bedenbaugh, Kierstin Clark, Madison Frank, Laura Huggins, and Anna Sulak are to be congratulated for their understanding of the value of service to others and their willingness to give back to their community. Each person comes highly recommended by those who have taught, mentored or interacted with them on an ongoing basis. Each student has managed to balance academic achievement, participation in school clubs, and sports along with outstanding community service. We are proud to honor them with this award.

Logan Bedenbaugh, a student at Hilton Head High School, has her sights set on law school in order to more effectively pursue her interest in politics and public policy. Her goal is “to help create policies to build the public school system.” Additionally, due to her passion for children, she would like to be a Guardian ad Litem to protect children in foster care. Logan’s passion is evident “I have found that providing a voice for students who do not have one is something I would love to do for the rest of my life”. Logan’s leadership and service led her to organize a volleyball tournament to raise money for Alzheimer’s research, obtain free paint and organize students to paint the middle school bathrooms in one day, and organize and manage HH Middle School’s involvement in the Belk Charity Sale. However, Logan’s experience tutoring at Boys and Girls Club of HHI helped her recognize her love for children and their learning process. Logan felt that the children she tutored needed to see her commitment, since she feels that “love is displayed through the action taken.” A teacher describes Logan as having “an exceptional passion for growing as a learner and supporting others in their endeavors”. While involved in community service, she also is an International Baccalaureate candidate, student body president, member of several honor societies, and student athlete, as well as other extracurricular activities. With Logan’s leadership and passion for young people, as well as public policy we are confident that she will continue to grow and make great strides in our community in the future. Congratulations Logan!

Kierstin Clark, has taken eleven AP classes and eight honors courses while attending Hilton Head Prep. Many of these courses were in areas of science, technology, engineering, and math and were critical to Kierstin’s preparation for her planned career in medical research. “New discoveries are made everyday, and working in the profession of Biomedical Engineering will allow me to have the opportunity to make a difference in this world.” Kierstin has served her community by being an active member of the LowCountry Alliance for Healthy Youths (LACHY),where she served on community forums about issues facing teens today, the Fellowship of Christian Athletes, the Interact Club (sponsored by the Rotary Club) where she serves as president, and the Trew Friends Club that advocates for organ donations. A teacher describes Kierstin as “an exceptional student, inquisitive, hard-working, and always willing to help others who may be struggling.” In addition to her academic achievements and community service, Kierstin has also participated in school sports and clubs including the National Honor Society, yearbook staff, and varsity soccer and basketball. Next year she will attend Cleveland State University as a Chemical Engineering major. “In 20 years I see myself working at the forefront of medical research.” We look forward to seeing the positive outcomes of this young woman as she faces medical and social challenges of today and the future. Congratulations!

Madison (Maddie) Frank says that community service has changed her life, and she has a wealth of experience to prove it. In 2019, she received the Mayor’s Youth Service Award for 195 hours of community service. She has volunteered as a swim and golf coach at two camps in Ohio, volunteered at the Hilton Head Heart Ball, was a member of the Leukemia Lymphoma Society and has served as a mentor to a first grade student. However, most of her service has been through the Fellowship of Christian athletes. Maddie states that “One of the things I have learned through community service is that in the end, you take away so much more than you actually put in.” Maddie transferred to Hilton Head Prep from Ohio in the middle of the tenth grade and immediately enrolled in honors and AP courses and became involved in school activities and clubs. Her Honors Chemistry teacher describes her as, “a young woman with a desire to gain as much knowledge as she could, the grit to accomplish extraordinary goals, and the integrity in herself to be honest in the process.” She has served as yearbook editor, member of the student council, member of the National Honor Society, and has been on the honor roll for every semester of high school. Maddie plans on becoming a pediatric surgeon to expand her ability to help children. “She brings with her an incredible drive and hunger for knowledge that is balanced with integrity and compassion.” Based on this teacher’s observation of Maddie, we are confident that her service through pediatric medicine will benefit the community of the future. Congratulations!

Laura Huggins, Hilton Head High School, believes education has taught her important lessons. “From learning to count to reading Shakespeare, they’ve all had value, but none more valuable than the lesson of giving back.” Laura’s journey of service began when she volunteered at St. Francis Thrift Shop, the Hilton Head Humane Society, and the Hilton Head Hospital. She gained an understanding of how important volunteers can be to keep programs and hospitals running smoothly. Her service and leadership ability were also present when she coordinated Hilton Head Beach Sweeps. However, it was spending 3 summers volunteering at Camp Sweet Escape, a residential camp for children and teens with Type I Diabetes that truly gave her an understanding of the impact of service, not just to the community but to the individual. “Although I participated as a volunteer, I felt as though I was paid in happy camper smiles, laughter, and hugs.” The National Honor Society advisor at Hilton Head Island High school states, “Her patient positivity and self-discipline are consistently present in her service. She is willing to be uncomfortable in her service work as she pushes herself to handle new situations and meet the needs of others.” Laura’s experiences at the camp in dealing with campers with a serious disease while helping them have a safe and enjoyable time definitely challenged her. Through all of this, she maintains high academic standing as an International Baccalaureate candidate, being part of 4 national honor societies. Additionally, Laura was recognized with the Mayor’s Youth Service Award during her sophomore year. Laura plans to continue giving back as she pursues an Environmental and Natural Resources degree hoping to make a “beneficial impact on the environment and to help others appreciate it.” Based on the impact she has made already, Laura will definitely fulfill her goals and continue to serve with grace. Congratulations Laura!

Anna Sulek, a student at Hilton Head Prep, credits last spring’s service trip to Honduras for bringing about a positive transformation in her life. Anna feels the hours of physical labor, basic living conditions, and shared camaraderie while working to build a school for disadvantaged kids “became one of the most rewarding and inspirational things I have ever done.” Other community service projects for Anna include serving as a mentor for Brain Gain, a non-profit organization that provides summer activities for low income, high achieving students, participating in the Beach Sweep, and volunteering in numerous capacities in her 13 years as a Girl Scout. Her Girl Scout Troop leader describes her as having “a caring and nurturing disposition coupled with exemplary leadership qualities which greatly complement her work in the community.” In fact, for the past four years, Anna has received the Mayor’s Youth Service Award for 50+hours of community service. Her teacher and a fellow volunteer in Brain Gain states, “Whether she is helping with cooking and nutrition, teaching chess, leading a class in an activity, or just chaperoning a beach day, Anna inspires those young people and draws them to her.” Not surprisingly, Anna has brought the same focus to her high school endeavors. She has excelled academically, participated in interest clubs, theater presentations, and on two sports teams. Additionally, she was captain of the Varsity Cheerleading Squad and a member of Fellowship of Christian Athletes. As for the future, Anna is interested in pursuing a degree in psychology and hopes to become a therapist, life coach, or teacher. She wants to remain open to what life may bring her, encompassing volunteerism as part of her lifestyle. We are sure that her future will include community service as she continues her “life focus as a giver”. Congratulations, Anna!