A Richmond Hill High School senior has been nominated as one of six distinguished state finalists for her volunteer efforts by the Prudential Spirit of Community Awards.
Katryna McCann, 17, is a member of the Savannah Red Cross. She recently helped create and is currently helping lead the Richmond Hill Red Cross Youth Group.
Out of the estimated 4,500 nominations for the awards, McCann thought of one reason that might’ve set her apart.
"All of the work that I’ve put in with the Red Cross, for me, it’s kind of been my whole life," McCann said. "A lot of people have one thing that they do maybe one or two days a week, but my whole high school career has been devoted to this."
Savannah Red Cross Volunteer Director Geraldine McKinley said the local organization is very proud of McCann.
"She’s really an outstanding young lady," McKinley said. "Most recently, she helped organize the youth group and they’ve done blood drives, safety fairs, fundraisers and they always have a booth at the Ogeechee Seafood Festival."
With assistance from Red Cross officials, McCann also recruited local peers for the group and helped coordinated disaster preparedness training for them.
"Most of my friends hadn’t considered volunteering before the youth group," McCann said. "There’s always one or two that were always helping out, but the majority of the people in the youth group were friends I brought in who hadn’t been involved. Now, they’ve definitely expanded in their leadership skills and gone beyond just the youth group."
McCann’s mother got her involved with the Red Cross when she was 5-years-old. Her father, John, said his daughter’s recognition is an ‘absolute wonder.’
"She’s always been really involved with the Red Cross," he said. "With the youth group, they’ve earned about $10,000 through the Seafood Festival and they’ve done a bunch of work and had a lot of fun. She’s an all around good kid – great grades, great attitude. She’s going to go to the University of Georgia next year."
McCann said college won’t hinder her volunteer efforts. In fact, she thinks it will do just the opposite.
"I’m definitely interested in continuing doing this, so I’m really excited about college. There will be more opportunities to do more volunteering," she said. "My whole life, I’ve been a volunteer and put back into the community. I don’t think I could not volunteer, it’s just a part of me."
During the Savannah Red Cross’s April board of directors meeting, McKinley said she will present McCann with the award medallion and a certificate from President George W. Bush.
The awards are given to young people for outstanding acts of volunteerism, who illustrate "impressive community service activities," according to a press release. The program is conducted by Prudential Financial in partnership with the National Association of Secondary School Principals (NASSP).
For more information visit www.prudential.com/spirit.