Trinity seniors win national volunteer awards

? Jennifer Kelly, Julie Honcharevich honored for their hundreds of hours of volunteer work

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By BILL DWYER

Trinity High School prides itself on instilling a sense of community service in its student body. Each year it's students average a total of approximately 16,000 hours of volunteer service.

Two Trinity seniors, however, are being recognized for their particularly dedicated volunteer service.

For the second year in a row, Julie Honcharevich has been awarded the President's Volunteer Service Award Bronze medal for her volunteer work at Field Museum. And Jennifer Kelly, who has volunteered at the Hines VA hospital for the past seven years, was recently named the 2004 winner of the James H. Parke Youth Scholarship Award, which comes with a $15,000 scholarship and a trip to Phoenix in May for the annual meeting of the Department of Veterans Affairs Voluntary Service National Advisory Committee.

"They're living out the Trinity mission of care and compassion for others," said a proud Trinity principal, Michele Whitehead of the two young ladies. "They truly have gone far beyond expectations."

Kelly said she first volunteered as an 11 year old in order to spend more time with her grandfather, a Korean War veteran who volunteers at the Hines. She added that she found it rewarding and, in turn, she has had the opportunity to handle a wide array of responsibilities and tasks that most 17 years olds don't experience.

Honcharevich, who started out as a summer intern two years ago, impressed her supervisors enough to be selected as a year-round volunteer. She's spent the past year working as a, "interpretive Station Volunteer," explaining the history of exhibits to museum visitors.

Of course, volunteer work can sometimes be its own reward, providing opportunities to experience things that most people will never experience. Like getting, let's say, up close and personal with antiquity.

"It's not every day you get to take the brains out of a mummy," Honcharevich said with a laugh.

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