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BHS students awarded for extraordinary volunteerism

Each year, a top student volunteer is chosen to represent Burnsville High School at state-level judging for the Prudential Spirit of Community Award program.

Pictured from left: Juniors Hau Bui, Stephanie Nkatia, Egeziharya Yilma and Jaylin Wong

Egeziharya Yilma (pictured on bottom right of first row) with students in Ethiopia 
This year, Burnsville High School junior Egeziharya Yilma has been selected and is now in the running to be named one of Minnesota's top youth volunteers of 2016. The award is sponsored by Prudential Financial and the National Association of Secondary School Principals to recognize outstanding community service by young Americans.
Egeziharya created Project Pencil last March to collect school supplies for children in Ethiopia. After securing approval from Principal Dave Helke, Egeziharya set up a collection site in the main hall of the school and began gathering new and slightly used school supplies including folders, markers, backpacks, erasers and more.
She hoped to fill six suitcases but surpassed her goal. Over the summer she traveled with her father to Ethiopia with seven suitcases of school supplies, worked with the Ethiopian Department of Education, and distributed supplies at several schools.
“Egeziharya developed a great service project and used real-world ready skills to implement and make it successful,” said Helke. “We’re very proud of our students who work to make a positive difference in the world.”
Five other students received Prudential Spirit of Community Certificates of Merit in recognition of their volunteer service. “All of these students have demonstrated outstanding commitment to volunteering,” according to Bri Ostoff, the Youth Service Coordinator at Burnsville High School.
They are:
Maedin Abegaz, a senior, volunteers at Fairview Ridges in the transport pool. She also participates in many environmental activities.  
Hau Bui, a junior, is an active volunteer at Nicollet Junior High. He also volunteers at a local body shop to clean the shop and tools and help with setting up online advertising for cars.
Benjamin Hubbard, a senior, volunteers numerous hours with the BHS theatre department. His main task is organizing other volunteers for all projects related to set design and he instructs volunteers on how to use tools and assign tasks. He also serves on the school’s Youth Service Advisory Council.
Stephanie Nkatia, a junior, volunteers at Fairview Ridges and with the Red Cross.
Jaylin Wong, a junior, volunteers the majority of her time at Fairview Ridges and at her church, where she tutors young students in reading and writing in the language school.

Learn more about the award at
Posted: Tuesday, November 24, 2015 - 08:40