Future leader

LIHUE — Visiting landmarks in the nation’s capital — such as the Smithsonian’s Natural History Museum — was exciting for Kauai student Kaytlen Akau.

So was meeting famous people — like co-anchor of “Good Morning America,” Robin Roberts, as well as meeting 100 other students determined to be involved in their communities.

“I enjoyed meeting new people and making new friends from around the U.S.,” wrote Akau, who was honored with the Prudential Spirit of Community Award in a ceremony at the history museum in Washington D.C. “I felt very honored to stand alongside the other 101 honorees in receiving the Prudential Spirit of Community Award.”

Akau was one of the top youth volunteers honored during the 20 presentations of the PSCA on May 3.

For their outstanding service, the youth were given $1,000 awards and a personal congratulations from broadcast star Roberts, in addition to an engraved silver medallion and an all-expenses paid trip with a parent to Washington D.C. for four days of recognition.

“For me, the highlight of the trip was meeting Robin Roberts on the night of our state awards ceremony,” Akau said. “She talked about how we should make our mess our message.”

Each student received a free signed copy of Roberts’ book, “Everybody’s Got Something.”

Akau, a student at Chiefess Kamakahelei Middle School, was recognized for her work with children as an assistant teacher at the Aloha Dance Studio and for her service as a junior leader at the Kauai County Parks and Recreation summer enrichment program.

She has logged over 300 hours of community service one year prior to the award application she turned in last year.

Honolulu senior student Alexandra Skrocki was also honored for her efforts to make new students from military families feel welcome into her community, and to make the transition into school easier, at her “Back to School Teen Party,” according to a press release.

As she watched her daughter receive her award, Akau’s mother, Teresa Caires, said she couldn’t be happier for her.

“I’m very proud of her. She has a good heart,” Caires said. “She is only 13 years old and has learned the value of doing good in her community without expecting anything in return.”

Caires said her daughter enjoys her time as an assistant dance instructor and is looking forward to spending this summer as a junior leader again.

“I hope that Kaytlen continues on the path that she is on,” Caires said.

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