Middle Schooler Yankus Honored for Volunteerism


Middle school seventh-grader Johnathan Yankus was recently honored for exemplary volunteer service with a Certificate of Excellence and President’s Volunteer Service Award by the Prudential Spirit of Community Awards. He was recognized for this achievement at the April 20 Board of Education meeting.

Presented annually by Prudential Financial and the National Association of Secondary School Principals, the Spirit of Community Awards honor young people across America for outstanding volunteer service. The Certificate of Excellence is granted to the top 10 percent of all applicants, while the President’s Volunteer Service Award recognizes Americans of all ages who volunteer significant amounts of time to serving their communities.

Yankus volunteers at the Long Island Aquarium in Riverhead, where his favorite assignment is working in the Butterflies, Bugs & Birds exhibit.

“Johnathan encourages the birds to land on him so people can see them close up and the visitors can have the birds walk on them,” said guidance counselor Peter Ludlow. “He also works with the Keep Islip Clean program where he helps to keep the marina and its beach clean. He is sad to report that he has picked up over 300 cigarette butts in a single day.”