The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints (LDS) recently awarded its highest honor for young women, a Personal Progress Medallion, to four local high school students. Those receiving the award were Michaela Proctor, Ariana Grundvig, and Melissa Ayers, students at Robinson Secondary School and Katelyn Crompton who attends West Springfield High School. They received their medallions from local church leaders who recognized their high levels of personal commitment and service.
The LDS church considers the Personal Progress award equivalent to the Eagle Scout for young men. The program challenges young women to build faith and character around eight values— Faith, Divine Nature, Individual Worth, Knowledge, Choice and Accountability, Good Works, and Integrity and Virtue. The program is demanding and takes several years of hard work to complete successfully. For example, a young woman must complete a 10-hour project associated with each of the eight value areas.
“The Personal Progress program has changed my life,” Proctor said. “I had so many growing experiences while doing it. Each value helped me learn something different.”
About her experience Grundvig said, “I’m glad I had the opportunity to earn this, because I think it has helped strengthen my faith and personal integrity.” One of her projects was fundraising for the American Kidney Foundation after her grandfather was diagnosed with kidney disease.
For one of her projects, Ayers volunteered at the Inova Fairfax Hospital gift shop on Tuesday afternoons during one summer. “It was my favorite project, because I enjoyed helping people, and it gave me good work experience for the future,” she said.
“Personal Progress taught me to be less dependent on my parents,” Crompton said. “Most of my projects were done independently, and I was able to learn more about myself and my skills … My favorite project was when I did a benefit concert for Special Olympics with my friend Beth as part of my Capstone West Springfield High School Senior Project.”