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Teens Serve Community

Two Vienna teens are recognized for their community service leadership.

When Dominique Dupras heard that she had won the 2002 Outstanding Teen of the Year Award for community service, she was surprised. Volunteering in the community was already a reward for her.

"The key to making my day is making someone else's day," Dupras, 18, said.

The other winner, Mary Ann Kearney, was likewise surprised.

"I was thrilled. I honestly didn't know about the award. There's a lot of students that do beneficial things for our community, and they decided to choose me," said Kearney, also 18.

Last November, the Vienna Teen Foundation awarded two Vienna teens with the 2002 Outstanding Teen of the Year Award. Dominique Dupras and Mary Anne Kearney each received the award, a plaque and a $200 check, which recognizes their contributions to the Vienna community.

"I would like to offer our congratulations to both Mary Ann and Dominique," said Linda Lammersen, Vienna Teen Foundation president. "It is a pleasure to recognize such talented youth in our community, as they have demonstrated a unique ability of balancing their academics with community-oriented volunteerism."

The foundation selected Dupras and Kearney after school administrators nominated them based on their achievements in community service, leadership and academics.

The two teens were recognized at November's Rotary Bowl football game between Madison and Marshall high schools. Dupras and Kearney attend Marshall and Madison, respectively.

ALTHOUGH DOMINIQUE DUPRAS was born in Africa, she has lived in Vienna since she was a toddler. She volunteers in the pediatric ward at Iliff Nursing Home in Merrifield and with Kids Quest at McLean Bible Church. She was vice president of both her junior class and DECA, a marketing club. A member of SADD and the National Honor Society, she has played varsity basketball and softball from freshman to junior years, and she played in junior varsity field hockey her freshman year and varsity all other years.

"Athletically, she's very talented to play varsity for as long as she has," said guidance counselor and boys varsity basketball coach Kevin Weeren, who nominated Dupras for the award.

Last October, Marshall nominated Dupras for the Wendy's High School Heisman Award, which recognizes student athletes-scholars nationally. Dupras was selected as one of the top 10 finalists for Virginia.

Dupras, whose favorite subject is English, will major in communications at Virginia Tech. She aspires to be a sportscaster.

"I think she's grown up to be the kind of person we'd like her to be," said Connie Dupras, her mother.

Weeren nominated Dupras because of her commitment to volunteering.

"She's a great kid. She's a combination of a lot of positive characteristics. When I saw the information [about the award] come cross my desk, she was the first person I thought of," Weeren said. "That's one thing that stood out, her commitment to other people. She's not doing it because she wants people to know she's doing it."

As for Dupras, she said she enjoys all her activities.

"I always feel like I have to be doing something," Dupras said.

LIKE DUPRAS, MARY ANN KEARNEY likes to keep busy. A senior at Madison, Kearney is on the executive board of the student government association, an officer in SADD, and captain of the field hockey and softball teams. Last school year, Kearney was junior class president, and Madison named her Junior of the Year. She was on the first team all-region for softball, with other students from Maryland, Virginia and the District. She was also District Player of the Year for softball.

Kearney also works with behaviorally and mentally challenged students at the Kilmer Center, and she has volunteered with Vienna's youth softball camp for girls.

"She has more energy in her little finger than most people have their whole body," said Dr. Anna Askounis, a counselor at Madison.

Her SADD adviser, John Lingenfelter, agreed. "She is probably the leader of our school. Anything she gets involved with, it turns to gold. I've never dealt with a harder worker, and I've been a part of this school for 23 years."

Kearney hopes to play softball at West Point after graduation. Askounis and Lingenfelter both said her leadership qualities will make her a good fit for the military.

"She'd be the person I'd want to follow into battle. You just trust her without question," Askounis said.

Kearney said the award comes as an honor because it comes from a Vienna organization recognizing Vienna students.

"You just feel great knowing that you've been a part" of serving the community, Kearney said.