Benedictine Academy (BA), the all-female Catholic college prep high school in Elizabeth, New Jersey, has been selected by Jefferson Awards as the number one “Ambassador Gold Medal High School in the Nation” for Public Service Leadership in 2013 for the work of students at the Academy to fight modern day slavery in the form of human trafficking. This is the third year that Benedictine Academy has earned the Jefferson Awards Gold Medal. Jefferson Awards for Public Service”, created in 1972 by Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis, U.S. Senator Robert Taft, Jr. and Sam Beard, are considered the “Nobel Prize” for public and community service in America.
“I am so proud of the outstanding honor of Benedictine Academy receiving for the third year in a row, the distinction of the Jefferson Awards Gold Service banner – this year as an Ambassador School,” Benedictine Academy Principal Kenneth Jennings noted in announcing the award. “The work of Mrs. Michalski, moderator of the Students in Action program, and the new members of her team, has been extraordinary this year. It is remarkable that many of the SIA team members are new and they have continued our school’s tradition of service, especially on behalf of those who have been imprisoned by human trafficking. The work of this team represents the very best of the noble history of Benedictine Academy in service to those in need.”
Since Benedictine Academy was tapped as the highest ranking Ambassador Gold Medal High School in the USA this year, BA students, representative of the top high school in the nation, will travel in June to Washington, DC to the Jefferson Awards National Ceremony. There are only six high schools in the nation who qualify and compete on the “Ambassador” level. An Ambassador High School promotes service within an entire community on behalf of the Jefferson Awards and serves as a model for other Students in Action high schools. Benedictine Academy earned the privilege of being invited to compete on the Ambassador Level this year based on their prior Gold Medal and National winnings two years in a row.
An additional honor given to Benedictine Academy this year was the naming of Linda Michalski, BA’s Jefferson Award Moderator, as recipient of the 2013 Teacher Hero Award sponsored by State Farm Insurance for her work with her students to abolish Modern Day Slavery/ Human Trafficking. The National Liberty Museum’s Teacher Heroes Program honors exceptional teachers for their impact both in the field of education and in the community. Each of the recognized teachers must have demonstrated creativity, overcome challenges, and worked to defuse violence in our society.
“At Benedictine Academy it is our mission to listen to the needs of humanity and form our students to become true leaders in the community,” Michalski said. “21st Century Learning actively engages students beyond the four walls of a classroom,” she added. “Faith in Action reflects our heart commitment to Jesus, the first teacher in every classroom of our school.”
Learn more at the New Jersey Today article: Benedictine Academy Earns National Recognition For Public Service Initiatives.