Kayla Bright, a junior at MOT Charter High School, was honored for her community service, particularly as a senior cadet member of the Delaware City Fire Company.

Kayla Bright, a junior at MOT Charter High School, was selected as a distinguished state finalist in The Prudential Spirit of Community Awards, a nationwide program honoring young people for outstanding acts of volunteerism.

Bright, 16, of Middletown, is a senior cadet member at the Delaware City Volunteer Fire Company, where she helps people involved in medical or disaster situations and assists new cadets during their training. Inspired by her great-grandfather, who served in the department for 75 years, Bright joined the moment she was eligible at age 14. She has taken numerous classes to develop her skills in firefighting, vehicle rescue, hazmat awareness and more.

The other Delaware distinguished finalist was Jacqueline Means, 16, of Wilmington, a junior at Delaware Military Academy.

The two state winners in the Spirit of Community Awards were Harrison Barnes, 17, from Woodbridge High School, and Shelby Farris, 13, from Woodbridge Middle School. They will each receive $1,000, an engraved silver medallion and an all-expenses-paid trip in early May to Washington, D.C., where they will join the top two honorees from each of the other states and the District of Columbia for four days of national recognition events.

“These young volunteers learned and demonstrated that they can make meaningful contributions to individuals and communities through their service,” said Prudential CEO Charles Lowrey. “It's an honor to recognize their great work, and we hope that shining a spotlight on their service inspires others to consider how they might make a difference.”

Now in its 24th year, the awards program is conducted by Prudential Financial in partnership with the National Association of Secondary School Principals (NASSP).

All public and private middle level and high schools in the country, as well as various youth leadership organizations were eligible to select a student or member for a local Prudential Spirit of Community Award. These local honorees were reviewed by an independent judging panel, which selected state honorees and distinguished finalists based on criteria including personal initiative, effort, impact and personal growth.

“Each of these honorees is proof that students have the energy, creativity and unique perspectives to create positive change,” said JoAnn Bartoletti, executive director of NASSP. “We commend each of the 2019 honorees for their outstanding volunteer service, and for the invaluable example they’ve set for their peers.”

From the state award winners, five middle level and five high school students will be named America’s top youth volunteers of2019 and will receive an additional $5,000, gold medallions, crystal trophies and $5,000 grants from The Prudential Foundation for nonprofit charitable organizations of their choice.

Since the program began in 1995, more than 125,000 young volunteers have been honored at the local, state and national level.