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Minnetonka Public Schools

Minnetonka Schools will celebrate its 11th annual Celebration of Service event on Tuesday, Nov. 10. The Celebration of Service recognizes students, families and community members who have served the greater good in significant ways in the past year.

The event will take place virtually this year, through a video premiere airing on YouTube. The virtual premiere begins at 6:30 p.m. The link to view the premiere will be available before the event at minnetonkaschools.org/CelebrationofService

The Celebration of Service showcases the many ways these individuals have positively impacted others in the community. More than 250 students, families and adults who have earned either the President's Volunteer Service Award or a Varsity Letter in Community Service will be recognized.

Minnetonka Schools has been a certifying agent for the United States President's Volunteer Service Award program -- designed to thank Americans who, by demonstrating their commitment, inspire others to serve -- since 2007. Each year, hundreds of Minnetonka students and family members apply and receive the President's Volunteer Service Award.

Connor Clair, a senior at MHS and recipient of the President's Volunteer Service Award, started volunteering as a way to do more for his community. Among other projects, he created a non-profit to coach senior citizens in technology use.

"Volunteering has changed me in such a huge way," said Clair. "Earning the President's Volunteer Service Award shows that hard work pays off, and if you do good things for others, it will be recognized."

Clair encourages other students working toward these awards to make their volunteering fun by finding ways to integrate serving the community with activities they already enjoy.

"My volunteer work has taught me empathy and compassion and has given me a sense of community," Josie Frandrup, another MHS senior and award recipient, said.

Frandrup started a club at MHS called Minnetonka Mail, which focuses on writing letters to seniors in elder care facilities. "The real reward is the feeling you get when you volunteer. That is an award in itself."

"One of Minnetonka Public School's goals is to inspire our students to understand and serve the greater good," Sarah Johnson, Community Services Specialist for Minnetonka Schools, said. "We know that when we give back to others, we get much more in return."

As part of this goal, the District created the Tonka Serves Office. Tonka Serves works to build connections between students in grades K-12 and non-profit organizations in the greater Twin Cities community and hosts Minnetonka Schools' service-related award programs, including the Celebration of Service.