Service Above Self: Doing for others never gets old

Published 12:02 am Thursday, January 19, 2023

SALISBURY — Recognizing service should inspire more service, but the latest Rowan County Service Above Self Youth Awards recipients aren’t doing it for the recognition.

The program recognizes young people for their service to others in the community. 

Rowan Rotary Club, Cheerwine and Rowan County United Way, and various organizations and individuals, work together to make these awards possible. 

Service comes in many forms. Samantha Lenig, the second runner-up for the individual high school award, created a little library for students at Corriher-Lipe Middle in China Grove. 

“A little library is just a small box on a post that usually sits outside churches or schools,” Lenig said. “In this case, it was my old middle school.”

She designed the library, painting all the sides to correspond with a different season. More importantly, Lenig led an effort with her girl-scout troop to obtain reading material for the library because, after all, a library without books is no library. 

“I did a fundraiser with my girl scout troop (1316), and we actually filled it with books,” Lenig said. 

Sharing a love for reading inspired Lenig’s creation. For others winners, their own passions played into their service projects.

Brian Hickman, who received first place for the high school category and a $5,000 scholarship to boot, was recognized for teaching pickleball to children at the Nazareth Child and Family Connection Center. 

“I played with some kids at some pickleball courts in Salisbury,” Hickman said. “I just wanted to teach the entire world how to play this game.”

Working with the center, Hickman lined up courts inside their indoor gymnasium.  

Hickman’s love for the game of pickleball is on full display. Meanwhile, middle school winner Aidan Melton’s passion for the theater played out in his service missions. He volunteered to help with day-to-day operations at the Meroney and Norvell theaters in Salisbury. 

Melton indicated that he would like to be an actor. He is currently the narrator in “Into the Woods,” which starts next month at the Norvell. 

The 13-year-old’s service doesn’t stop there. He has worked with Sonic for a toy drive and volunteered at summer camps. 

Nominations for the 2022-2023 awards are now being accepted. Any service projects that took place after Nov. 1, 2022, will be eligible for the program. 

Nominations can be submitted at

Group winners 

Kindergarten-fifth grade:

  1. Cub Scout Pack 306
  2. Sacred Heart Elementary School
  3. Faith Academy Charter School – third grade class

Middle school:

  1. Sacred Heart Middle School Student Council
  2. Faith Academy Charter School – 7th grade class
  3. Faith Academy Charter School – 6th grade class

High School:

  1. North Rowan High School JROTC Battalion 
  2. East Rowan High School JROTC Battalion


Individual winners

Kindergarten-fifth grade:

  1. Maddox Cray 
  2. Abel Greene
  3. London Cooper

Middle school:

  1. Aidan Melton
  2. Ruby Reta
  3. Adam Swanson

High school:

  1. Brian Hickman
  2. Fares Kahia
  3. Samantha Lenig


School winners

Kindergarten-fifth grade:

  1. West Rowan Elementary 

Middle school:

  1. Faith Academy Charter School

High school:

  1. South Rowan High School