Hillside Junior High School Student Wins
National Award
Boise, ID -- 02/09/2021 -- Christopher Jones, 12, a seventh grade student at Hillside Junior High School today was named Idaho's top middle school student volunteer of 2021 by The Prudential Spirit of Community Awards, America's largest youth recognition program based exclusively on volunteer service.

As a State Honoree, Christopher will receive a $2,500 scholarship, a silver medallion and an invitation to the program's virtual national recognition celebration in April, where ten of the 102 State Honorees will be named America's top youth volunteers of the year. Those ten National Honorees will earn an additional $5,000 scholarship, a gold medallion, a crystal trophy for their nominating organization and a $5,000 grant for a nonprofit charitable organization of their choice.
Christopher has raised more than $15,000 through his “Lonesome Larry Project,” a conservation initiative dedicated to saving sockeye salmon by selling sockeye-themed socks. When he was in fifth grade, Christopher learned a lot about fish from his science teacher, and was fascinated by the fact that steelhead and salmon swim almost 900 miles from their home streams in Idaho to the ocean and then back to spawn. On a family trip to a fish hatchery, he discovered just how hard it is for fish to make that journey. In fact, he learned that one year, only one sockeye salmon survived the ordeal. The hatchery nicknamed that fish Lonesome Larry. “I knew this was a big problem,” said Christopher, “because if the sockeye don’t return to their home streams to lay their eggs, the next generation of fish is lost.”

So in 2019, he founded the “Lonesome Larry Project” to support sockeye salmon conservation – by selling red and blue socks emblazoned with the image of a male sockeye. First, Christopher held a competition to design his salmon logo, and then enlisted the help of college students to build a website. After his initial order of 2,000 pairs of socks arrived on his doorstep, Christopher began selling them on his website, at sporting and fishing events, and through local businesses. All of his proceeds are being donated to the Idaho Fish and Wildlife Foundation to fund grants for conservation and research. The first grant was awarded last summer to build a kiosk near Redfish Lake explaining sockeye salmon recovery efforts.

State Honorees in The Prudential Spirit of Community Awards Class of 2021 - the top middle level and high school volunteer from all 50 states and the District of Columbia - were selected for service initiatives completed, at least in part, between the fall of 2019 and the fall of 2020. Selection was based on criteria including impact, effort, initiative and the personal growth demonstrated over the course of the project. Several Distinguished Finalists and runners-up were also selected in each state, and all qualifying applicants received President's Volunteer Service Awards.

"It speaks volumes about the character of today's secondary school students that the Spirit of Community program heard from more than 21,000 applicants this fall - most of them stories of young volunteers overcoming the hardships of a global pandemic to support those in need," said Ronn Nozoe, Chief Executive Officer, NASSP. "While we're especially proud to celebrate this year's 102 State Honorees, NASSP applauds every student who has found a way to volunteer this past year. You inspire your peers and adults alike to remember that, even in times of crisis, we all have something to give."
About The Prudential Spirit of Community Awards

The Prudential Spirit of Community Awards program is the United States’ largest youth recognition program based exclusively on volunteer community service. 

Created in 1995 by Prudential and the National Association of Secondary School Principals (NASSP), the program honors middle level and high school students for outstanding service to others at the local, state and national level.

Thus far, it has recognized more than 140,000 young people who’ve made a difference – and inspired countless others to consider how they might contribute to their communities.

The Spirit of Community Awards program also honors youth volunteers in countries outside the U.S. where Prudential has a significant presence: Japan, India, China and Brazil.
News Media Contact:
Dan Hollar
Public Affairs Administrator
Boise School District
(208) 854-4064
Boise School District | 8169 W. Victory Rd., Boise, Idaho | 208-854-4000 | Fax 208-854-4003 | www.boiseschools.org
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