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Bednarcik Eighth-Grader Receives Recognition for Volunteer Service

Mar 18, 2015 01:04PM ● By Steven Jack
Eighth grader Joseph Mantegna, a student at Bednarcik Junior High School, has been honored with two prestigious awards for his exemplary volunteer service in creating a safe group for students. Mantegna received a Certificate of Excellence from the Prudential Spirit of Community Awards and a President's Volunteer Service Award granted on behalf of President Barack Obama.
Mantegna was honored for creating a safe group for students, called SWAP (Students With a Purpose) that meets during lunch. Students in the group discuss concerns about bullying and offer suggestions on how to foster an even more positive atmosphere at Bednarcik.
"Joe created SWAP to help students who may have felt bullied before,” said Bednarcik Principal Sharon Alexander, who nominated Mantegna for the awards. "He realized there was a need for this type of club and approached me to see if a student could create a club to deal with this issue. Joe felt that students without a strong support group needed help to deal with bullying. He offered this club as a way for these students to meet new people and find ways to address their anxiety and depression.”
Mantegna first met with Alexander to discuss his idea last year. “He decided to create a proposal, meet with counselors, and make his group a reality to assist others,” said Alexander. “Joe isn’t normally a talkative or overly social person, but he exuded confidence and care when thinking about his fellow classmates."
Presented annually by Prudential Financial in partnership with the National Association of Secondary School Principals (NASSP), the Prudential Spirit of Community Awards honor young people across America for their outstanding volunteer service. Certificates of Excellence are granted to the top 10 percent of all Prudential Spirit of Community Awards applicants in each state and the District of Columbia. Volunteer activities were judged on their personal initiative, creativity, effort, impact and personal growth.