Asst. Superintendent, Advanced Studies and Programs
Abigail Zapata - Southern High School
Serving others is not new to Abbie Zapata, but serving her community is a new passion. Abbie, a senior at Southern High School, has been helping her family with tasks such as babysitting cousins to selling Christmas trees with her grandfather since she can remember, but just recently started transferring her love for service to the community and she has no plan to stop anytime soon.
Even with a partial schedule this year, Abbie’s days are anything but partial. Currently a server at Sonic, she says she’s still learning how to skate and serve food at the same time but enjoys her job very much. Despite the hours spent at school and work, Abbie still felt the urge to do more; so she jumped at an opportunity to get involved with Relay for Life through the American Cancer Society.
Her empathy for her friends who have lost loved ones too soon fueled her passion to stay involved with the efforts of the American Cancer Society. Through Relay for Life and all that is involved she became hooked on service. Nancy Miller, the Senior Community Development Manager shared that, “ Abbie is extremely enthusiastic about being a part of our planning process and brings a great perspective to our discussions. We are delighted to have her on our team!” Because of her enthusiasm and perspective, Abbie was invited to be part of Event Leadership Team for Relay for Life.
Some of the other organizations with which Abbie has served include Centro de Ayuda in Annapolis and Smithsonian Environmental Research Center (SERC) in Edgewater. When she serving others through these, she can often be found helping disabled neighbors in the community with yard work. Abbie is motivated by the warm feeling she gets when she sees the reaction of those she helps.
Southern High School’s Spanish Club advisor, Ms. Arnold stated, “It has been an absolute pleasure to work with Abbie Zapata as president of the Spanish Club. Last year, she founded the organization and motivated members of the Southern community to embrace Hispanic culture. Her positivity and love of the Spanish language and culture make her a unique individual in today’s society, and her disposition is contagious among all types of students.” It is amazing Abbie still finds time to be a part of the lighting and design team for the school’s drama department and enjoys calligraphy, writing, and keeping up to date with current events.
After graduation, she has plans to attend Anne Arundel Community College to earn her associate’s degree and then transfer to a university to study communications.
When asked about whether she would recommend serving the community to others, Abbie replied, “Absolutely, it is good to help people without wanting anything in return except for the feeling that you helped somebody.”
2016-2017 Governor’s Service Award Winner- Mina Work
Signature Program Design Preservation & Innovation Student from Southern High School
Congratulations to Signature Program Design Student, and recent AACPS graduate of Southern High School, Mina Work for winning the 2016-2017 Maryland Governor’s Service Award for Exemplary Service-Learning!
The Maryland Governor’s Service Awards have several categories and are open to all state residents. Mina was awarded the Exemplary Service-Learning award after being nominated by the Southern High School Design Preservation and Innovation Signature Program and the AACPS Office of Service Learning for her outstanding commitment and work toward spreading Lyme Disease Awareness throughout the South County community.
Click HERE To read more about Mina’s story and her service project -- which included organizing a Community Panel and establishing partnerships with Anne Arundel Medical Center and Deale Public Library.
Mina and the other Governor’s Service Award recipients will be honored in a special ceremony this coming November. She has also been honored through AACPS, as she was awarded the “Distinguished Service Scholar” award at her senior awards ceremony this past Spring.