The McLean Citizens Association is awarding six teens a Teen Character Award in the 17th annual award ceremony at McLean Day on Saturday, May 17. The award ceremony will be held at 3 p.m. at Lewinsville Park on Chain Bridge Road in McLean. Dranesville District Supervisor John Foust; Janie Strauss, Dranesville District School Board Member; and Sally Horn, McLean Citizens Association President; will present the awards.
The award is to honor teens who demonstrate outstanding character. Teens who have, on their own and without compensation, helped out in their neighborhood or community, are being recognized not only for themselves but as an example to others.
This year's six awardees are:
Kathryn Callahan – Junior at McLean High School, for volunteering to coach an elementary and a middle school girls volleyball team. Chuck Pruitt, Director of McLean Youth Volleyball, wrote, “Kate’s enthusiasm and commitment to the teams she coached and to the individual players kept her team engaged, eager to play, and interested in coming back for another season. Kate focused on improving skills rather than winning. During practices and games, Kate provided appropriate instruction and encouragement to all her girls. She recognized her team members’ efforts and accomplishments through frequent compliments, high-fives and personalized end of the season awards. Kate’s good sense of humor is contagious and the girls had fun together.”
Megan Ganley – Senior at Thomas Jefferson High School.
After seeing a large number of winter jackets going unclaimed in her school’s Lost and Found, Megan decided to start a project called Lost and Refound. For the last three years, she contacted the principals of local Fairfax County public schools and asked to gather their lost-and-found items. Megan collects the items multiple times during the school year, washes the large loads, sorts the items, repacks them, and then stores them over the warm-weather months. When it’s cold, Megan contacts FCPS Title 1 schools and Fairfax’s Department of Family Services and delivers the washed and sorted items. Colvin Run principal Stephen Hockett wrote that Megan “has become comfortable asking for assistance, leading groups, speaking up about her cause, and gaining buy-in from county leaders. These traits are not often seen in today’s youth, and I’ve enjoyed watching Megan develop these skills.”
Meredith Harris - Junior at McLean High School, for co-chairing with fellow awardee Madison Jones the annual Shouse Village swimathon to raise funds for Friends of Homeless Animals and for tutoring children in her neighborhood. For the swimathon, she and Madison identified the charity, prepared permission slips and other materials necessary to conduct the swimathon, met with the swimmers, obtained donations of food and supplies from local stores, coordinated volunteers, swam in the event, collected donations, and presented them to the charity. The parent of children that she tutors wrote, “It is evident that Meredith really enjoys working with children and getting them excited about learning. Meredith shows maturity and responsibility as well as caring and compassion for the children she is working with. Meredith is also incredibly enthusiastic and my children really look forward to working with her each week.”
Madison Jones – Junior at McLean High School, for co-chairing with fellow awardee Meredith Harris the annual Shouse Village swimathon to raise funds for Friends of Homeless Animals and for coaching an elementary and a middle school girls volleyball team. For the swimathon, she and Meredith identified the charity, prepared permission slips and other materials necessary to conduct the swimathon, met with the swimmers, obtained donations of food and supplies from local stores, coordinated volunteers, swam in the event, collected donations, and presented them to the charity. Her father wrote of her coaching that “Like many youth coaches, Madison loves her sport and volunteers…in an effort to give players an appreciation for the game of volleyball, instill team work, and see the girls improve. Her goal is to have the players look for more opportunities to play volleyball in the future and ultimately to try out for the McLean High school team.”
Alexander Pfadenhauer – Senior at Langley High School, for
volunteering with Share since 2011 to refurbish 128 old computers to give to needy families, rebuild and relaunch the Share website, upgrade the wireless network within the Share facility, and create a computer equipment inventory database. When Alex started, he assessed the tools needed to manage the program and created databases and spreadsheets to maintain inventory and optimize equipment. Project leader Hunter Pollitt wrote, “Alex developed a passion and dedication to the program that far exceeded the typical student volunteer. Alex’s attitude toward community service is positive and focused. He understands how his contribution helps our clients and their families improve their education experience with access to fully functional computers.”
- John Worm – Junior at Langley High School, for volunteering at Vinson Hall. Volunteer Coordinator Sara Sims wrote, “He is punctual, friendly and also represents himself and Vinson Hall with dignity … John…provides assistance [to residents] with both technical and household tasks. John developed meaningful relationships with our residents. He connects with residents and staff of all generations and backgrounds, exemplifying his highly developed communication skills….His most recent contribution to Vinson Hall is becoming the new voice of our in house television station. The station was created to keep residents informed about current and upcoming events and having a voice to go along with the running slides will be beneficial to the residents with visual impairments.”