Wayzata High School

Wayzata High School is at 4955 Peony Lane N in Plymouth.

PLYMOUTH — A Wayzata High School student is a finalist for the Prudential Spirit of Community Awards, according to a news release from Prudential.

Maria Wajahat, 15, of Plymouth, is a junior at Wayzata High School and helped create and fund raise for Zoya Pediatric Palliative Care an endowment fund that provides funds for training palliative care specialists, the release says.

Wajahat has helped recruit volunteers, spread awareness of the endowment, solicit donations and organize the annual fundraising dinners and bake sales, the release says.

Wajahat and her family started the endowment fund in honor of her sister, who died of cancer in 2015, the releases says.

“In our 25th year of honoring young volunteers, we are as inspired as ever by the work students are doing to address the needs of a changing world,” Charles Lowrey, chairman and CEO of Prudential Financial, Inc., said in the release. “We hope that their resolve, their initiative and their perspectives on society’s challenges move others to consider how they can make a difference, too.”

Prudential named two Minnesota top youth volunteers of 2020 — Grace Myler from Shakopee and Addison Loerzel from Moorhead — and six finalists for the awards.

Myler and Loerzel will receive $1,000 and an all-expense-paid trip to Washington, D.C., to join the two honorees from each state in the United States and the District of Columbia.

This is the 25th year Prudential Financial has conducted the Prudential Spirit of Community Awards in partnership with the National Association of Secondary School Principals, the release says.

Public and private middle and high schools in the country, along with many organizations such as Girl Scouts, 4-H and more, were able to select a student to nominate for the award. The nominees were then reviewed by an independent judging panel who selected the finalists and winners based on personal initiative, effort, impact and personal growth, the release says.

Frances Stevenson is a reporter for the Lakeshore Weekly News, covering the communities around Lake Minnetonka.

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