It was a first-ever victory for Rialto High School last week after dozens of students who have committed themselves to service helped bring home a trophy recognizing the campus as a “Top School” in student volunteer efforts.
The top honor was given during the annual “Teens Make a Difference Awards” held May 8 at Inland Center Mall in San Bernardino.
The awards are presented in partnership with Inland Center, Arrowhead United Way’s Volunteers United program and Inland Empire United Way’s Volunteer Initiative, Hands On Inland Empire, to recognize area high school students who log more than 25 hours of volunteer work with area nonprofit groups over the course of the school year.
And for Rialto High, who was up against nine other area high schools, the total hours logged is definitely something they can boast about.
About 200 RHS 9th, 11th and 12th grade students involved in the school’s AVID program logged more than 10,861 community service hours over the course of the year, earning the school the sought after award.
“We now have something to defend and hopefully students are more motivated to volunteer,” RHS AVID Coordinator Patrick Kimmons said proudly. “It’s nice to see our name on this trophy.”
“This just shows the students that hard work does pay off and community service comes with rewards,” said Kimmons. “They may not see the rewards right away, but with a program like this, it encourages them to do more.”
Also taking home the program’s prestigious “Top Dawg” award was Brooke Vigil of Redlands East Valley High School for volunteering 483 service hours.
More than 500 people were in attendance for the event including local dignitaries who presented students that completed over 250 volunteer hours with a certificate of recognition for their efforts.
“It really is a community involved celebration,” said Terri Relf, senior marketing manager at Inland Center Mall, about the teen awards.
“It’s a moment where the kids get cheered on for helping make a difference.”
The program began 21 years ago with the idea to encourage high school students to volunteer, Relf said.
From a starting group of 35 teen volunteers recognized at the inaugural ceremony in 1993, to the 976 students awarded during the May 8 ceremony, the annual teen awards have developed into a much anticipated event for the young community oriented.
“…This program has helped thousands of high school students recognize the value of volunteering and helps them to become better students and community leaders.” said, in a news release.
“We are so proud to be recognizing all the wonderful students who give so much of their time to these worthwhile causes….they are all to be commended and applauded.”
A total of 53,982 hours of service were volunteered by the 976 high school students from 10 area schools over the past year.
All students with 25 hours or more were recognized with awards and received a goodie bag filled with items donated by Arrowhead United Way, Inland Empire United Way and Inland Center stores.