Pair of Renton teens honored for service

A pair of Renton girls were recognized this week as “distinguished finalists” in the 2012 Prudential Spirit of Community Awards, a nationwide program recognizing outstanding acts of volunteerism.

Melissa Blue and Anastasia Pallis, both 18, were among eight Washington teens honored and will receive engraved bronze medallions.

Blue, a senior at Liberty High School, spent two years while at the American International School in Israel volunteering to conduct research into environmental hazards to encourage farmers to reduce the use of pesticides. Blue is also a volunteer with the Global Awareness Initiative and Action group at her school, worked with five other schools across Israel, and was named the student director of the program in her junior year.

Pallis is a senior at Aviation High School and has been volunteering with Special Olympics for the past seven years. Pallis, who first began helping out at athlete functions, has since become a basketball, soccer and baseball coach and is in the process of coordinating a charity walk to raise money to support the organization.

Vancouver’s Adam Griffiths, 17, and Seattle’s Jessica Chin, 12, were named the state’s top teen volunteers and will receive $1,000, engraved silver medallions and all-expense paid trips to Washington, D.C., to be honored during a national recognition.

The Prudential Spirit of Community Awards represents the United States’ largest youth recognition program based solely on volunteer service. Since the program began in 1995, more than 100,000 young volunteers have been honored at the local, state and national level.

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