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Utah students honored for voluntarism

SALT LAKE CITY — Two Utah students have been named the state's top youth volunteers by a nationwide program.

John Wesley Orton, 18, of Salt Lake City and Amelia Slama-Catron, 13, of Sandy were honored by the Prudential Spirit of Community Awards, which recognizes young people for outstanding acts of voluntarism. Orton was nominated by Innovations Early College High School in Salt Lake City, and Amelia was nominated by Midvale Middle School in Midvale.

The awards are conducted by Prudential Financial in partnership with the National Association of Secondary School Principals.

Orton was honored for running “Camp Shakespeare" on a Navajo reservation. At each camp, young Navajo students are taught by trained middle and high school student volunteers, using lesson plans created by older high school and college students.

Amelia, an eighth-grader, devoted more than 100 hours of her time last summer to developing an activity booklet to help older children enjoy and learn more from the exhibits at the Treehouse Museum in Ogden.

As state honorees, John and Amelia each will receive $1,000, an engraved silver medallion and a trip to Washington, D.C, in May where national honorees will be named.

The program also honored four Distinguished Finalists in the state: Alexis Carlsen, 17, a senior at Davis High School; Emilee Hamilton, 17, a senior at Mountain Crest High School; Marina McNeill, 17, a senior at Riverton High School; and Yvonne Ward, 17, a senior at Bountiful High School.