Gumboro youth’s Sturge Weber awareness efforts are ‘Distinguished’

MILLSBORO – A 12-year-old Gumboro youth’s commitment to raising awareness and funding for research to find a cure for SWeber syndrome has earned him distinguished honors.

Will Kenney, a seventh grade student at Millsboro Middle School, was recently named a distinguished finalist for the 2015 Prudential Spirit of Community Awards.

Will Kenney, a 12-year-old  Gumboro youth is a seventh grader at Millsboro Middle School, has earned Distinguished Finalist honors for his efforts to raise awareness of Sturge Weber syndrome.

Will Kenney, a 12-year-old Gumboro youth and  a seventh grader at Millsboro Middle School, has earned Distinguished Finalist honors for his efforts to raise awareness of Sturge Weber syndrome.

The nationwide awards program – conducted by Prudential Financial in partnership with the National Association of Secondary School Principals – honors young people for outstanding acts of volunteerism.

Will spent the summer of 2014 planning and staging Will’s Carnival for a Cause, a family style carnival with food, games, rides, music and more on a farm near Laurel that raised $5,800 to help research for a cure for Sturge Weber syndrome.

Will’s inspiration is a two-year-old friend, Stella Hastings, who has the rare congenital neurological and skin disorder.

Will, who has also become an advocate for the Sturge Weber Foundation, is already planning the second annual carnival for the summer of 2015.

Also earning Distinguished Finalist honors was Hyung Jun Hahn, an 18-year-old Alexis I. duPont senior from Hockessin. He began teaching senior citizens computer skills in 2013 when he partnered with Jewish Family Services to provide classes on using email and operating laptops and notepad devices.

Will and Hyung both receive bronze medals.

State finalists who will receive $1,000, engraved medallions and a trip to Washington, D.C. to represent Delaware in national competition are Elizabeth Quesenberry, 17, of Wilmington, and Piper Biggs, 11, of Dover.

Elizabeth, a senior at Padua Academy High School, overcame a diagnosis of brain cancer to start a nonprofit organization that has raised $100,000 over the past six years to increase awareness of childhood cancer, help fund the search for a cure, and ease the financial pressure on families of young cancer patients.

Piper, a sixth-grader at Campus Community School, conducted a food drive for a men’s shelter and an orphanage in her city.

“Prudential is honored to celebrate the contributions of these remarkable young volunteers,” said Prudential Chairman and CEO John Strangfeld. “By shining a spotlight on the difference they’ve made in their communities, we hope others are inspired to volunteer, too.”

“These students have not only improved their communities through their exemplary volunteer service, but also set a fine example for their peers,” said JoAnn Bartoletti, executive director of NASSP. “Each of their stories is proof of the impact one young person can have when they decide to make a difference.”

The Sussex County Post delivers news from Georgetown and southern Delaware. Follow @SussexPost on Twitter.

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