Abigail Jacunski was recently honored at a school assembly for winning the middle level Prudential Spirit of Community Award for the State of Vermont. This is the third year in a row that a Mater Christi School student has been recognized and honored by Prudential. The entire school was present as Catholic School Superintendent, Sr. Laura Della Santa; Mayor of Burlington, Miro Weinberger, and MCS religion teacher, Julia Melloni, each spoke briefly about the significance of the award and congratulating Abi for her generous volunteer efforts.
Ms. Melloni presented the Prudential Spirit of Community silver medallion; Tre` Diemer, MCS student council president and last year’s winner of this Prudential Award, presented Abi with a gift from the school. Mr. Fontana, school principal, also extended his congratulations, as well as leading the prayer, Pledge and recognizing the school band which played music appropriate for the occasion.
Mayor Weinberger’s speech was humorous, yet sincere. “This has become a great event annually – one of my favorite of the year. This is the 3rd time I’ve come here and I’ve come to learn a few things about Mater Christi as a result. First of all, you have you a wonderful and unique band… I think Mater Christi is probably unique by having the Principal has the best fast ball out of any school in New England and the North Country. But most importantly, it is just amazing how year after year, from this community, you produce the winner of this prestigious award. It’s an award that stands for something so important as community service and community spirit… I want to congratulate Abi and thank you for everything you have done already to make this a stronger community… I want to congratulate and thank all of the faculty and teachers – everyone involved here – on creating this ethic that clearly is having an impact and inspiring your students, really early in life, to take on the concept of community service…”
As winner of this award, Abi will receive $1,000 and an all-expense-paid trip to Washington, D.C. for a week of events with the recipients of this award from the other 49 States and the District of Columbia. She will also be a candidate for winning a national award of $5,000 for herself and $5,000 for a non-profit institution of her choice.
About Abi Jacunski
Abi Jacunski has been involved in many volunteer activities, many of which are through her church youth group. Abi did the “30 Hour Fast” twice, eating only broth and juice, to raise money for World Vision. They did a “Three Squares” challenge where participants had to buy two different dinners for a family of four which had all the necessary nutrients and had to purchase the food on a $20 budget. The group also makes sandwiches for the emergency shelter, snacks for Vacation Bible School and dinner at the Ronald McDonald House.
Abi did an “Imagine No Malaria” sleep-out under mosquito nets to raise money so that people in parts of Africa could have mosquito nets. She is also involved with Pedals for Progress which helps people in third world countries get bicycles.
Finally, Abi has stuffed letters for JUMP (Joint Urban Ministry Project) which helps low income people meet their daily needs. Abi’s community outreach activities are an on-going effort.
The Prudential Spirit of Community Awards program is the United States’ largest youth recognition program based exclusively on volunteer community service. The program was created in 1995 by Prudential in partnership with the National Association of Secondary School Principals (NASSP) to honor middle level and high school students for outstanding service to others at the local, state, and national level.
The program’s goals are to applaud young people who already are making a positive difference in their towns and neighborhoods, and to inspire others to think about how they might contribute to their communities. Click here to learn more.
Learn About Our Past Recipients
• 2013: Michaela Forgione, Grade 8: BusinessWire.com: Vermont Youth Honored Volunteerism National Award Ceremony
• 2014: Tre Diemer, Grade 7: Burlington Free Press: Mater Christi Student Tre Diemer Offers Measure of Green Gumption
About Mater Christi School
Mater Christi School is a private Catholic school, sponsored by the Sisters of Mercy, that combines rigorous, 21st-century academics with a values-centered, global philosophy. From the first day of pre-school through eighth grade graduation, Mater Christi School guides students’ success by helping them develop their unique strengths.
Sister Joanne LaFreniere, RSM
Director of Public Relations and Spiritual Life