Altamont Teen Receives State Award, Opportunity at National Recognition

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Published on February 5 2013 7:58 pm
Last Updated on July 14 2013 4:07 pm
Written by Greg Sapp

18-year-old Paige Logan of Altamont has been named one of Illinois' top two youth volunteers of 2013 by The Prudential Spirit of Community Awards, a nationwide program honoring young people for outstanding acts of volunteerism.

Paige was nominated by the Effingham County 4-H.  The other honoree is 13-year-old Jashira Bolden of Belleville.

The Prudential Spirit of Community Awards, now in its 18th year, is conducted by Prudential Financial in partnership with the National Association of Secondary School Principals.

Paige, a senior at Altamont Community High School, became a leading voice against bullying on the local, state and national level after she won a local pageant in the eighth grade and then experienced attacks online and became the subject of gossip and rumors from classmates and, in some cases, even from their parents.

"When it happened, I just started going down and down," said Paige.  "I didn't want to go to school anymore and my grades started slipping."

School officials eventually interceded but, by then, Paige had already decided she had to do something to keep the same thing from happening to others.  She said, "I decided to take action, make a difference not only for my school, but for my community, my country and even my world."

For many years, Paige had been a leader in her local 4-H, teaching cooking classes to youngsters, and helping start a program that has recyclced 1,500 pounds of unused prescription medications.  This time she turned to 4-H to hone her leadership skills so she could speak with authority.  She began traveling to schools and universities to speak about bullying, and won grants to conduct a leadership camp and an anti-bullying program in her county.  She has been invited to serve on several state and local boards, as well as participate at bullying-prevention summits in Washington, DC.  In addition, she serves as a national spokesperson for the Great American No Bull Challenge.

While the public is now more aware of the problem, Paige said bullying is more complicated today than ever before.  "All day it happens at school and then when you think you are safe in your own home, you're not," she said.  "Because of the use of cell phones and social neworks, bullying is now a 24-hour event."

As a State Honoree, Paige will receive $1,000, an engraved silver medallion and an all-expense-paid trip in early May to Washington, where she and Bolden will join the top two honorees from each of the other states and the District of Columbia for four days of national recognition events.  During the trip, 10 students will be named America's top youth volunteers of 2013.