Local student named state’s top high school volunteer

Lilly Sherburne wins Prudential’s Spirit of Community Award
Posted:  Friday, April 13, 2018 - 12:00pm

A little brotherly love inspired a local student who has now become the state’s top high school volunteer. In an April 10 school assembly, Lilly Sherburne received Prudential Financial’s Spirit of Community Award. Sherburne received a silver medallion presented by Prudential Financial analyst Ed Foley in recognition of her achievement.

The company created the award in 1995. It is awarded annually in each state to one middle and one high school student. The program is the largest U.S. youth recognition program based exclusively on volunteer community service, according to spirit.prudential.com

Sherburne is the Boothbay Region High School student body president, a BRYMCA board member, and she began her community activism as a seventh grader by participating on the student health advisory board. In 2016, the board won a statewide contest for an anti-tobacco public service announcement. Sherburne said the club put in over 200 production hours into the PSA which eventually was shown on statewide television.

When Sherburne learned she was the state’s 2018 Spirit of Community recipient, she was stunned. Prudential sent her an email informing her of being Maine’s top high school volunteer, but Sherburne didn’t know until she was unexpectedly called to the main office and Principal Dan Welch asked her if she had checked her email.

“I was shocked when Mr. Welch told me. It’s one of those things so big you never really expect to win,” she said. Sherburne believes her application was well received because it aligned with the program’s values of service to others, service to community, and service above self.

So what motivated a seventh grade student to become a community activist? According to Sherburne, it was a desire to eat lunch with her brother, who was a member of the health advisory board.

“I didn’t really intend to join the health advisory board, but once I started going every week, I realized I had a real passion for advocacy. I love public speaking and love being an advocate,” she said.

As Maine’s top high school volunteer, Sherburne earns a $1,000 scholarship from Prudential and a trip to Washington, D.C. later this month. She will meet with other middle and high school national recipients and Prudential executives during the four-day event.

She is also eligible for Prudential’s national award for the top 10 high school volunteers. The company is awarding 10 recipients a $5,000 scholarship and a $5,000 donation to a recipient’s choice of nonprofits. Prudential will also award the 10 recipients’ high schools crystal trophies in recognition of the accomplishment.

According to Prudential Financial, the Spirit of Community Award has recognized more than 120,000 young people who’ve made a difference – and inspired countless others to consider how they might contribute to their communities.