Local high school students honored with Jefferson Award for hurricane recovery projects

    Local high school students honored with Jefferson Award for hurricane recovery projects (WPDE)

    On Monday, a group of high school students was honored with the Jefferson Award for their hurricane recovery project efforts.

    The Jefferson Award is given to people across the country for their outstanding dedication to public service.

    A group of 16 Socastee High School 10th and 11th grade students knows what it means to lend a helping hand.

    Margaret Adams, the 10th grade guidance counselor at Socastee High School, said the students were inspired by their own experiences during Hurricane Matthew.

    "We put a lot of emphasis on community service and helping others ... Our students decided this year that our biggest project would be Hurricane Matthew because we had a lot of effects from Hurricane Matthew," she said.

    Ashley Jones, an 11th grade student, said it was startling to see how the hurricane impacted everyone.

    "We had students sitting beside us in our classes that had lost their homes and had so much devastation that they couldn't even come to school," she said.

    The 2016-2017 school year is the first time Socastee High School formed a "Students In Action" Group.

    Students got involved quickly, holding food drives and fundraisers, and prepping flood relief kits.

    Ryan Dion, an 11th grade student, said it was nice to be able to give back to those in the community.

    "It was a really rewarding experience to see people that had lost everything finally had something to eat, because a lot of them had nothing," he said. "We ended up fundraising about $4,000 for our flood relief and three trailers full of supplies to give back to the Socastee community."

    For these teens, it was about doing something bigger than themselves.

    Scott Boster, a 10th grade student, said he hopes to inspire others to help their communities.

    "I hope this raises awareness that they are youth out there, and there's plenty of people doing good things for each other," he said.

    Dean Marchant, a 10th grade student, said everyone can do something small to help others.

    "No matter background, what age, you can always help, whether it's donating something you have, or just getting up and going," he said.

    The group was recently honored at the Youth Leadership Academy in Myrtle Beach for their hard work.

    To nominate someone you know for a Jefferson Award, click here.

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