Connections Academy Students Honored for Community Service
National program recognizes youth making positive impact in their towns and neighborhoods

Six Ohio Connections Academy (OCA) students were recently recognized as winners of the 2017 Prudential Spirit of Community Awards the United States' largest youth recognition program based exclusively on volunteer community service.

The was created in 1995 by Prudential in partnership with the National Association of Secondary School Principals (NASSP) to honor middle school and high school students for outstanding service to others at the local, state, and national level.

 Edna Clark, a ninth grader from Napoleon, was presented a Certificate of Achievement for her support of a program called “Together We Can Make A Difference.” This organization provides low income individuals items they can’t purchase with food stamps such as toothpaste, shampoo, and toilet paper. Edna also volunteers for Lily Creek Farms which provides therapy riding lessons for special needs individuals.

As a recipient of a Certificate of Achievement, Edna is among the nation’s top volunteers for 2016 and is eligible to receive a $1,000 award, a silver medallion, and the opportunity to represent Ohio in Washington D.C., for the national recognition ceremonies later this year.

Each of the other five Ohio Connections Academy students recognized received a Spirit of Community Certificate of Merit.

  • Kasey Mottmiller a sophomore from of Oregon (Lucas County) helps to keep the county fairgrounds and its facilities maintained. She also helps organize food collection drives for the local food pantry works with children at the local YMCA. Kasey also creates care packages for military servicemen and women and cancer patients receiving chemotherapy treatments.
  • Vanessa McCoy, a junior from Gahanna, volunteers at the Byron Saunders Foundation in New Albany delivering meals to families in need during the Thanksgiving holiday.
  • Santiago Pinson, a sixth grader from Columbus participates in a volunteer program established by Foresters Financial. Over the last year Santiago has volunteered at the Ronald McDonald House, served food at a local shelter, helped with a program at Nationwide Children’s Hospital and cleaned and planted plants at a local church. Santiago’s family is also a foster family for dogs rescued by Paws.
  • Khalil Lafdi, a freshman from Dayton volunteers at the local Humane Society in Dayton for the Meowza Cat Boutique where he helps to care for the cats and prepare them for adoption.
  • Seth Lim, an eighth grader from Shaker Heights volunteers at the Outdoor Adventure Camp, the Greater Cleveland Food Bank and the Columbia Baptist Church Food Pantry.

 “The faculty, staff and members of the board at Ohio Connections Academy are so proud of the students and the time and effort they have given to make a positive impact on their communities,” Marie Hanna, OCA Superintendent said. “Each of the students have demonstrated extraordinary leadership and a commitment to making our world a better place – they deserve this recognition and all that they shall receive in the future.”

 The Prudential Spirit of Community Awards are supported by Girl Scouts of the USA, National 4-H Council, American Red Cross, YMCA, HandsOn Network (generated by the Points of Light Institute) and many other national youth, service and educational organizations. Learn more about the Prudential Spirit of Community Awards at

Ohio Connections Academy Assistant Principal Molly Heidenreich (center) presented two OCA students with Prudential Spirit of Community Awards in recognition of their excellent volunteer services in their communities. Edna Clark (left) a ninth grader from Napoleon, was presented a Certificate of Achievement award for her countless hours of volunteer service at a couple local community programs including one that provides low income individuals with items they can’t purchase with food stamps such as toothpaste and shampoo. Kasey Mottmiller (right) a tenth grader from Oregon, received a Certificate of Merit for volunteering to help keep the local county fairgrounds and its facilities maintained and organizing food collection drives for the local pantry.