OSWEGO – An Oswego High School student has been recognized by the White House for outstanding contributions to community service, one of the highest honors a high school student is eligible to receive from the United States federal government.
Claudia Chetney, a senior at OHS, was honored with the President’s Volunteer Service Award at a recent Oswego City School District Board of Education meeting.
The award is presented to students who complete an exceptional number of volunteer hours and receive a nomination from their school principal.
“Volunteering and helping people for no particular reason really is a great satisfaction and can do wonders for your heart,” said Chetney, who will attend Le Moyne College in the fall. “I just don’t see myself living a lifestyle in which I don’t participate in community service.”
Along with the ultimate honor of presidential recognition, Chetney received a personalized certificate, an official pin, medallion or coin and a congratulatory letter from the President of the United States.
Among Chetney’s myriad service projects is a program she founded known as “Doing It Our Way,” a component of the Parents of Special Children organization. “Doing It Out Way” provides opportunities for children with disabilities to play soccer in a fun, collaborative environment with their peers.
“At the beginning of the program many of the children are quiet and stuck in their own little world,” she said. “The best moment has to be when you finally convince a certain child who has been resistant for so long to finally do something ‘out of their norm.’”
“Seeing them excel, seeing their parents surprised/overjoyed faces. It is a great feeling knowing that I got to help someone experience something they haven’t yet enjoyed,” Chetney added.
Chetney was also recently presented with the Prudential Spirit of Community Certificate of Excellence, as her volunteer activities were judged to be among the top 10 percent in the entire state of New York.