Students honored for outstanding volunteer service

Four Tivy High School students were recognized for their outstanding volunteer service with a national award.

The President’s Volunteer Service Award was presented to Tivy seniors Adin Viera, Makayla Waiser, Bryanna Rodriguez and Bella King.

Superintendent Mark Foust presented the students with their certificates during a pep rally at Tivy High School on Sept. 27.

“We are incredibly proud of our students who earned this prestigious recognition through hundreds of hours of being servant leaders in our community,” Dr. Foust said. 

“They are incredible representations of what we are all about in KISD and Kerrville.”

All four students are in the Peer Assisted Leadership Class taught by April McComack-Haas and are required to put in service hours outside of the class period. McComack said these four students went well beyond that, so she looked into nominating them for this award after a parent mentioned it to her.

"These students display an exceptional commitment to volunteering and serve as shining examples of what it means to be a PAL—leading, learning, and serving for the betterment of their school and community," said PAL Teacher April McComack-Haas. 

"They should feel proud of being awarded at the national level. Moreover, I know that they will continue to use their leadership, innovation, and dedication to make meaningful and lasting differences wherever they go." 

The Tivy PAL Program became a certifying agency of the President’s Volunteer Service Award in 2018. The students who earn the PVSA have gone above and beyond the requirements of the PAL program.

The President’s Volunteer Service Award was founded by the President’s Council on Service and Civic Participation in 2003 to recognize the role of volunteers in our country’s national identity.

To be eligible for the award, volunteers must be a U.S. Citizen at least five years old and complete the service within a 12-month period.

Adin Viera earned the Gold Level of the President’s Volunteer Service Award with 550 service hours during the 2018-2019 school year. His service projects included the Tivy Scholarship Wall, volunteering for the Alzheimer’s Race for the Cure and coaching U8 boys and U6 girls AYSO Soccer.

“Throughout my junior year, I challenged myself to become more integrated and influential within my community,” Viera said. After struggling with figuring out where he wanted to dedicate his time, Viera realized how impactful the youth soccer organization was for him as a kid.

The Tivy Scholarship Wall came about after seeing an opportunity to help underclassmen begin their scholarship search before their senior year. Viera coordinated with Tivy’s College Advisor to create a scholarship wall that applied to specific grade levels and career paths.

“In the end, both of these services taught me the importance of selflessness and showed me the impact my actions have on my surroundings,” Viera said.

Makayla Waiser also earned the Gold Level of the President’s Volunteer Service Award with 319 service hours put in during the 2018-2019 school year. She served as a Dream Kamp Counselor at Camp La Junta and volunteered with the San Antonio Stock Show, Ag Extension Office, Kerr County 4H, Kerr County Livestock Show and Calvary Temple Church children’s program. Her service project was the “Empower Me” mentoring group with Hal Peterson Middle School girls to design and paint inspiring messages for restrooms at the middle school.

Bryanna Rodriguez earned the silver level with 225 hours. Her volunteerism included coaching YMCA first and second grade girls’ basketball, handmaking 15 textile pillows for dementia patients at Brookdale Nursing Home and volunteering with Kerrville Little League Majors softball and Kerrville ALL-STARS Major League Softball.

The textile pillows consist of buttons, beads, Velcro and bells to stimulate the hands and cognitive functions of patients with dementia, Rodriguez said.

“Seeing the smiles on their faces after receiving the pillows inspired me to continue my journey of service through impacting younger generations,” Rodriguez said.  

“Coaching YMCA first and second grade girls’ basketball nurtured my leadership and communication abilities that lead to my involvement in the Kerrville All-Stars Softball League.

“Through these experiences, I have come to realize the level of influence my service has on the members of my community,” she added.

Bella King earned the Silver level of the award with 208 hours. She volunteered as a YoungLife group leader for WyldLife, with the Texas Lions Camp Mother/Daughter Camp and served as a counselor for “Camp to Success” Camp for inner-city youth sponsored by Camp Honey Creek.