WINDHAM - A Windham Middle School student with a passion for water-skiing is one of two students in New Hampshire to be honored for her extensive volunteer efforts working with disabled athletes.
Anne Macleod, an eighth-grader, was recently named one of the state's two leading teen volunteers in Prudential's 2013 Spirit of the Community awards program.
MacLeod was presented with a silver medallion at the start of Tuesday night's Windham School Board meeting.
Dan Moulis, middle school principal, said he was particularly excited to hear the news since it's the first time one of his students received the honor.
"Needless to say, this is a huge deal for us," Moulis said.
Tim Skwiot, a financial professional with Prudential, said the company has been honoring student volunteers for the past 17 years.
"Annie's volunteerism with disabled folks really says a lot about her as a person," Skwiot said.
Macleod said she's spent her summers at Squam Lake for as long as she can remember and began water-skiing at the age of 6.
After hearing about New England Disabled Sports, which provides yearround adaptive sports instruction to kids and adults with physical and cognitive disabilities, Macleod knew she wanted to share her knowledge.
"I always had a connection with kids, and when I found out I could teach something I loved so much it kind of just clicked," she said. "Knowing they have to overcome a lot of obstacles in their everyday lives makes it very satisfying."
Macleod said she plans to continue volunteering this summer.
"I feel like I've already established my building blocks and now I'll be ready to help even more," she said.
Having wanted to be a teacher "for as long as she can remember," Macleod said her volunteering experiences have inspired her to consider becoming a special education teacher.
The insurance company selects two young volunteers for the honors each year, with one middle school student and one high school student selected from a pool of hundreds of candidates.
Derry's Mariah Larocque, a junior at Pinkerton Academy, was chosen as the state's high school representative.
As state honorees, both young women will receive $1,000 and an all-expenses-paid trip in early May to Washington, D.C., where they'll join more than 100 other top honorees from across the country for several days of national recognition events. Ten of them will be named America's top youth volunteers for 2013 at that firstname.lastname@example.org