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Service Above Self awards given for 14th year

This was the 14th year for the Service Above Self awards.
Three judges reviewed the 209 nominations. Those judges were the Rev. Juanita Allen, director of the College Skills Survival Program at Livingstone College; Dr. Rick Stephens, provost at Catawba College; and Dr. Rod Townley, academic vice president at Rowan Cabarrus Community College.
Individual awardsStudent winners in each division received a medal and a Visa Gift Card. They also were presented a check for one half of their award for the school or organization that nominated them. The second runner-up received $50; the first runner-up received $100; and the first-place person received $250
– K-5
The second runner-up was Matthew Downing, who was nominated by Amy Stokes.
Matthew helps his mother at home in a variety of ways because she is very sick. He helps with house work, including mopping and making beds.
First runner-up was John Bloom, who was nominated by Tanya Hyatt for his dedication to his youth group at Calvary Baptist Tabernacle where he participates in many service projects.
John participates in a community outreach program that visits and talks with other young people. He also volunteers with Relay for Life and Rowan Helping Ministries.
The winner was Bailey Herndon, who was nominated by Gina Phifer.
Bailey visits a young boy in her neighborhood who is severely handicapped and learned to use sign language so they could communicate better. Bailey helps him learn new concepts in writing and math and also gets him involved in recreational activities, which include riding a motorized four-wheeler.
Bailey and her family also took him on his first trip away from home without his parents to the fall festival at her school. Bailey is a great advocate and confidante for her friend.
– Middle school
The second-place award went to Morgan Teodorovici, who was nominated by Trina Bungard for her service work with her church.
Morgan volunteered at the animal shelter and worked for the less fortunate over the summer. She helped to prepare and serve meals at her church’s soup kitchen. She also helped to clean up a home that had been vandalized.
The first runner-up was Dylan Benfield, who was nominated by Trina Bungard.
Dylan volunteered to clean the school grounds and helped plant flowers. He also worked the concession stands at different athletic events and participated in many service opportunities at the Spencer Train Museum. He puts up the school flag when the appointed person is ill or forgets.
The winner was Diamond Smith, who was nominated by Courtney Painter and Bridgette Isaac.
Diamond has put in 1,484 hours of service with the American Red Cross. She worked at the canteen during the blood drives, made welcome banners and called donors to remind them of the upcoming blood drives.
She was also featured in the Piedmont Profile section of the Salisbury Post for her dedication love of community service.
– High school
The second runner-up was Elijah Wittum, who was nominated by Susan Beard.
Eli achieved his Eagle Scout in October 2006 and has also been trained as a lifeguard for the YMCA. He got the opportunity to put his skills to use when he rescued a drowning young man this past May at the Coolemee River Bull Hole. He jumped into raging waters and, although it was rough, he still managed to save the young man while risking his life.
The first runner-up was Tommie Estes, who was nominated by Natalie Gray.
Tommie has volunteered three years for the Rowan County Youth in Action Against Tobacco Council. He has trained more than 2,500 teens about the negative effects of smoking. He has also written letters to the editor and visited stores that sell tobacco products, informing them about North Carolina tobacco sell laws. He distributed flyers and posters for store clerks to put up reminding them to check identification for tobacco products.
The winner was Taylor Bailey, who was nominated by Scott Wilson.
Taylor participated in numerous community service efforts, which included teaching vacation Bible school at Sacred Heart Catholic Church and Trinity Baptist Church. She served as a new student counselor over the summer for students who need help in making the transition from middle to high school. She volunteered at Blackwelder Pre-School, helped aspiring cheerleaders at China Grove Middle and participated in the Big Sweep at High Rock Lake.
One contribution that stands out is her assistance to an elderly man in the community. Taylor and her family found a man that had fallen in a ditch and was injured. After the initial call for help, she continued to check on the man, helped him around the house and served as a friend up until his death.
Group awards
Three organizations or groups were recognized in each division. The second runner-up received a $50 contribution to the organization; the first runner-up received a $100 contribution to the organization; and the winning group received a $500 contribution to the organization.
– K-5
The second runner-up was the Woodleaf Elementary Student Council, nominated by Nancy Goodnight.
The Woodleaf Student Council participated in many service projects which included creating holiday greeting cards for soldiers in Iraq. They also sold Valentine’s Day cards to raise money for Relay for Life and they conducted a food drive which brought in more than 1,500 food items.
The first runner-up was the Overton Elementary Student Council, nominated by Elizabeth Sippel.
The Overton Student Council dedicated more than 1,000 hours to projects, including hosting a blood drive in the school’s gym, sending Christmas cards to the 991st Division in Iraq, raising money for Relay for Life and participating in the Salvation Army Canned Food Drive.
The winner was the Elizabeth Duncan Koontz Elementary Student Body, nominated by Beth Houck.
The student body raised money for the 1st Battalion 8th Marines by having a “coin challenge.”
All funds raised helped soldiers wounded in the Battle for Fallujah in Iraq come together for their first reunion in Washington, D.C. About 200 Marines were able to attend the reunion.
– Middle schoool
The second runner-up was the Corriher-Lipe Middle School Mix It Up Council, nominated by Karen Peck Harris.
This diversity-based group advises the principal about current trends and ways to improve the campus. The group went above and beyond to promote diversity throughout its school. The council conducted a Mix It Up at Lunch Day, where students learned to sit with different students, rather than with their own cliques.
They were also able to reach beyong the campus and influence the community at large by collaborating with Mayor Susan Kluttz on diversity issues.
The first runner-up was Just STOMP of Corriher-Lipe Middle, nominated by Gregory Lowe.
The Just STOMP students worked all year to raise teen awareness on tabacco use issues. They have written Public Service announcements for school, written letters to the editor and make sure the tobacco prevention club is featured in the yearbook and school newspaper. They are active in the community and in parades, hosting workshops and providing information and literature at ball games.
The winner was the American Legion Unit 448 Junior Members, nominated by Amy Cozart.
The group collected coupons to send to an army base in Grafenwoehr, Germany, and spent more than 110 hours clipping, packing and shipping more than $5,000 worth of coupons. It also sponsored a school uniform drive for residents at the Nazareth Children’s Home. The group collected and laundered 31 pairs of pants and 26 shirts. It also collected school supplies for children in need.
Additionally, the group sponsored a project to send supplies to a unit of Marines in Iraq. It spent hours collecting donations, shopping, making thank-you cards and packing boxes filled with more than $440 worth of goods.
– High school
The second runner-up was the Salisbury High Air Force JROTC, nominated by Robert Blackburn.
It teamed up with Downtown Salisbury to make the Night Out events successful. This group provided volunteers who assisted in the task of setting up and tearing down after the Night Out. The group has supported 100 percent of the events and has helped serve many people within the community who enjoy this community gathering.
The first runner-up was the East Rowan High School Junior Civitans, nominated by Meredith Abramson.
This group devoted more than 700 hours of community service and volunteer efforts, which included partnering with fellow senior Civitans in projects, collecting canned goods brought in through a Miss Junior Civitan Pageant and spending time with guests from Abundant Living Adult Day Care. The group also participated in a courtyard clean-up project for the school and volunteered with the East YMCA and the Special Olympics.
The winner was West Rowan JROTC, nominated by Herman Peterson.
The Cadets participated in several parades, posted colors at various events, adopted Veterans at the VA and participated in Pennies for Troops, in which they raised more than $300 in change. They also worked with the Tobacco Reality Unfiltered program in which they gave classes to middle schools and set up tables in their cafeteria that encouraged students to pledge in writing that they would not use tobacco products. They got more than 100 teens to submit to the pledge. They also assisted in planting more than 2,000 flags at the National Cemetery and the VA Cemetery during Memorial Day.
School awards
Presentation of school awards are for those schools presenting numerous quality nominations submitted in a timely manner. Each winning school received a check for $500.
– K-5 ó Granite Quarry Elementary School
– Middle school ó North Rowan Middle School
– High school ó East Rowan High School
“We are all so proud of you and thank you for placing your service to others above yourself. Each of you has given to others so unselfishly, and you are all winners,” said Chairman Dr. Jerry Chandler.
The Service Above Self Committee was made up of Chairman Dr. Jerry Chandler, Tom Childress, Dr. Jim Duncan, Rita Foil, Penny Greer-Link and Deb Young.

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