Spirit of Community Award Won by Woodland Student

By Jayna Smith

Brianna Jack, daughter of Paul and Billie Jack of Baileyville, shows her notification letter which recognizes her as a Spirit of Community Award winner.  As part of the award, Brianna has won $1,000 and an all-expense paid trip to Washington, D.C. with the other 101 state and District of Columbia honorees.

Ten year old Brianna Jack of Baileyville received a pleasant surprise last week when she learned she had been selected as a Prudential Spirit of Community Award recipient.  Only two such awards are presented in each state and in the District of Columbia, one at the high school level and one at the middle school level.   The Prudential Spirit of Community Awards, now in its 19th year, is conducted by Prudential Financial in partnership with the National Association of Secondary School Principals (NASSP).

Brianna’s notification letter, signed by John Strangfeld, Chairman and CEO of Prudential Financial, and JoAnn Bartoletti, Executive Director of the NASSP, read, “Our judges were so impressed with your outstanding volunteer work that they chose you from among all of the other Maine nominees in this year’s program…”  She will soon be presented at her school with an engraved Prudential Spirit of Community silver medallion. 

What is more, as part of the award, Brianna has also been invited to Washington, D.C. for an all-expense paid trip along with the other 101 state and District of Columbia honorees.  While there, she will receive $1,000 and be considered for one of ten national awards. 

Brianna’s Principal Jane Smith at Woodland Elementary School nominated Brianna for the Prudential Spirit of Community Award.  She explained, “Brianna was nominated not only for her academic achievement and social activities here at school, but also because of the many hours of volunteer work that she puts in.  Brianna is one of those well-grounded, all-around students who really goes above and beyond what is expected of a fifth grader.  For a ten year old, she is just extraordinary.” 

Two years ago, Brianna founded her nonprofit organization, Maine Books for Maine Kids.  This allows Brianna to share her love of reading by donating books to children throughout the state with an emphasis on those written by Maine authors.  So far, Brianna has been able to donate more than 1,000 books to kids in Maine at schools, public events, a social service agency, and a hospital. 

An exciting event for Brianna taking place during her Washington, D.C. visit is a scheduled community service project.  “We all are going to a school to go around to classrooms and read and donate books,” she said with a smile, acknowledging that this project is certainly right up her alley.  Since the age of only 7, Brianna has been reading regularly to children at her local library during her “story time.”  This event allows children to hear stories, take part in a craft relevant to the story, and enjoy a snack. 

Brianna volunteers at other events as well.  She and her younger sister Eliza help out in many ways during the annual Baileyville’s Octoberfest, raise funds and participate annually in the St. Croix Valley Walk to End Alzheimer’s, among many other things, all while maintaining high honors at school and staying busy with many classes at Barbara’s School of Dance. 

Since meeting with Brianna last week to discuss her Prudential Spirit of Community Award, her mother Billie Jo Jack informed The Calais Advertiser that Brianna just received the President’s Volunteer Service Award.  This program was created to thank and honor Americans who, by their demonstrated commitment and example, inspire others to engage in volunteer service.  The award, received by Brianna on Saturday, included a certificate and letter from the President.