The Clarke County Rotary honored two Clarke County High School students at its December meeting in Berryville last week. The Rotary selected Anna Louthan and Brett Bunting as examples of community service in action. Ten more students will be honored each month over the remainder of the school year as the Rotary Club seeks to encourage younger community members to establish strong community service habits.
Rotary Club officials worked with Clarke County High School staff to nominate seniors that participated in community service projects that exemplify Rotary’s “Service Above Self” tradition according to Rotary president and Berryville merchant Yousaf Sheikh.
The nominated students were asked to fill out an application followed by interviews by a committee of three Rotarians.
Sheikh said that the committee had the very difficult job of selecting only twelve Students of the Month. “It was so hard to pick only twelve students” Sheikh said. “All of the nominees had tremendous accomplishments.”
At its December luncheon meeting Rotary honored the first two student award winners. Each of the award winners spoke about their accomplishments at the meeting.
Anna Louthan told the Rotary members that she has been very involved in the Berryville Baptist Rascals Puppet Ministry including a mission trip to the Dominican Republic with the group in 2008. She sings in the high school choir, has competed with DECA and attended the 2010 Girls State Convention. Louthan recently performed the role of “Mrs. Webb” in the school’s production of “Our Town”. Anna plans to study Speech Therapy after high school.
Brett Bunting volunteers for Blandy Farm through Future Farmers of America and has volunteered for the Haunted Hay Ride in a local park since he was in 7th grade. In addition he assists in the care of his grandmother. Brett plans to attend college to study forestry or wildlife management.
Rotary Club member Matt Baker of Boyce, Virginia said that he was impressed that the student award winners could accomplish so much community service given the time constraints imposed with school, studies and other activities.
“It’s really good for us as adults to listen to their stories and recognize what they have accomplished” Baker said. “As we all get older it’s easy to become cynical. These students demonstrate that our youth is involved in the community and really care.”
In addition to honoring the Students of the Month the Rotary Club also recognized Clarke County High School math teacher Linda Sedighzadeh as an honorary Rotarian. Ms. Sedighzadeh is the faculty advisor for the CCHS Interact Club which is Rotary’s high school age service club and is sponsored by the Rotary Club.
As part of its commitment to developing young community service leaders the Clarke Rotary sent four high school students to a leadership camp in Blacksburg Virginia over the past weekend.
“It was Marie Murphy’s idea to focus on and honor students who are active in our community” Yousaf Sheikh said. “The idea makes a lot of sense because it’s the combination of many small things that people do that can change the shape of the community.”
Marie Murphy, an active community volunteer and wife of Clarke County Public Schools Superintendent Dr. Michael Murphy, will take over leadership of the Clarke Rotary Club as its new president in 2011.
In addition to being honored with their family members present at the Rotary luncheon, winning students received a certificate and a $100 saving bond.
Rotary’s next Student of the Month lunch will be January 12th, 2011.