Katelyn Ravasini of BCMS is state winner; Maryn White of LSWHS among finalists
Katelyn Ravasini, a student at Bernard Campbell Middle School, is one of two state winners of the Prudential Spirit of Community Award. The program honors young people for outstanding acts of volunteerism.
As state winners, Katelyn and Sophie Bernstein of St. Louis each receive $1,000, an engraved medallion and an all-expense-paid trip in late April to Washington, D.C., where they will join the top two honorees from each state for four days of recognition events. During the trip, 10 students will be named America’s top youth volunteers of 2018.
Katelyn, an eighth-grader and the Prudential middle-level winner for Missouri, organized a bowl-a-thon last year to raise money for multiple sclerosis at an area hospital. When her English teacher challenged each member of her class to do something to make a positive impact on the world, Katelyn thought of her aunt, who had recently been diagnosed with MS.
“I had heard my family talk a lot about her recent diagnosis, but I didn’t really know what it meant,” Katelyn said.
After researching MS, she decided she needed to do something to raise awareness of MS and support the quest for a cure. Katelyn brainstormed fundraising ideas with her parents and decided to hold a bowl-a-thon. She contacted the owner of a local bowling alley who was also enthusiastic and even suggested adding a raffle to the event.
Katelyn set the date and time, arranged to have T-shirts made, got help designing a website where people could make reservations and order shirts, distributed an event flyer throughout the community and spent weeks visiting local businesses to solicit prizes for the raffle.
More than 100 bowlers participated in Katelyn’s bowl-a-thon and another 25 gave cash donations, allowing Katelyn to present $2,200 to the MS Achievement Center at University of Kansas Medical Center, where her aunt is undergoing treatment.
In addition to the two state winners, six Missouri students were recognized as Distinguished Finalists through the program. Maryn White, a junior at Lee’s Summit West High School, is among the six finalists receiving an engraved bronze medallion. Maryn led an initiative to create an “art cart” at her local hospital, collecting more than 600 art supplies to provide patients with a fun distraction during their hospital stay. Maryn spent most of her fourth-grade year in the hospital where she did art projects. After learning that a local hospital didn’t offer art therapy, she secured the support of the hospital CEO, then started a collection for crayons, paints, coloring books and other supplies.
The Prudential Spirit of Community Awards, now in its 23rd year, is conducted by Prudential Financial in partnership with the National Association of Secondary Principals.