TAVARES — Three Lake County Schools received top honors in the Jefferson Awards Foundation’s Students in Action Oral Presentation competition last week. Eustis High School and Mount Dora High School both received Silver Banner honors, while Leesburg High School received a Gold Banner ranking and will advance to compete for a national title in Washington, D.C. this summer.
The Jefferson Awards Foundation was created in 1972 by the American Institute for Public Service. Awards are given at both national and local levels. The Students in Action competition began in 2006 as a way to encourage leadership through community service and teach high school students how to measure the impact their volunteerism will have on the surrounding community.
The competition is done in four phases. Students form teams at their schools in the fall, come together for a training conference in the winter, prepare written and oral presentations for competition in the spring and possibly move on to compete nationally in the summer.
The Lake County students were among five Florida schools to compete in the regional competition this year. During this phase of the competition, the student groups shared how they led, engaged and impacted their schools through service for the year. Students were permitted six to eight minutes to present a presentation detailing their community service projects, including their successes, challenges and overall lessons they may have learned throughout the process.
Following their presentations, the panel of judges led a question and answer segment that would also factor into their scores. Next, the judges tallied the scores and the program director, Michele Fidance, announced each school’s rankings. That’s when Leesburg High School was named the regional winner.
“We’re just so happy to be able to make an impact on our community and show everyone what we can do,” said Leesburg National Honors Society President Elena Monahan.