For several years, one Knox County student has traveled more than a thousand miles in an un-air-conditioned bus to help prevent child suicides. Another formed a 501(c)(3) charity for at-risk youth. These efforts stand as just two ways young people in the Knoxville area look beyond themselves to help others. Earlier this month, the Optimist Club of Knoxville honored 18 such remarkable students, who have collectively served an estimated 4,000 hours, with the Service to Humanity award.
Among the services the honorees have offered:
• Tutoring Physics students
• Volunteering at East Tennessee Children’s Hospital
• Serving at Vine Health Clinic
• Running a donation drive that raised $1,000 for Hurricane Harvey relief

2017 Service to Humanity Award Honorees
(Alphabetical by school with partial description of services)

Austin East High School
Jahson Jackson
• Leader in his church youth group
• Role model for all students
Bearden High School
Sydney Craig
• Manna House Food Pantry
• Volunteer at S.T.A.R. therapeutic horseback riding academy for people with disabilities
Carter High School
Alainna Kirkland
• Gold Presidential Service Award
• Serves as a peer tutor with thenCDC-A classes
Catholic High School
Breanna Jeffries
• Volunteers and organizes activities at Courtyards Senior Living
• Has given more than 300 hours to many community charities

Central High School
Steven Williams
• Tutors and mentors physics students
• Helped build a shed for Boys and Girls Club Christian Academy of Knoxville
Cooper Jackson
• Each summer helps children at suicide risk on Pine Ridge Reservation in South Dakota
• Helps elderly neighbors with home repairs and maintenance
Farragut High School
Michelle He
• Logged over 200 volunteer hours to the Knox County Public Library
• Volunteered thirty hours with Mu Alpha Theta tutoring students who struggle in math
Fulton High School
Tyler Cooper
• Volunteers at Oakwood Senior Living
• Peer leader offering encouragement and support to struggling students

Gibbs High School
Rachel McFarling
• KARM volunteer
• VolunTeen at East Tennessee Children’s Hospital
Grace Christian Academy
Katlyn Ray
• More than 190 hours volunteering at Medic-Samaritan
• Volunteers at camp Bayoca


Halls High School
Brianna Yanniello
• Volunteered at Halls area elementary schools
• As Halls cheerleader, volunteered with The Angel Tree, Race for the Cure and other charities
Hardin Valley Academy
Matthew Goldstine
• Organized and ran donation drive for victims of Hurricane Harvey in Houston, raising more than $1,000 in cash and item donations
• Volunteering at the Knox Area Rescue Ministries homeless shelter


Karns High School
Lincoln Dillman
• AWANA Special Needs Ministry
• Eagle Scout


L&N STEM Academy
Taylor Flores
• Student Ambassador program –Gryphon Guides
• Vine Health Clinic volunteer
Powell High School
Chen Hong
• Leader in Project U anti-bullying program for middle school students
• Volunteers at many community charities
South-Doyle High School
Krista Perry
• Volunteers with Caris, a hospice organization
• Volunteers with many community charities
Webb School of Knoxville
Elizabeth Hethmon
• Worked with Navajo people in Arizona
• Volunteered more than 100 hours at many community charities
West High School
Kinley Koontz
• Founder and President of The Garden Project, a 501(c)(3) organization that provides resources and tools for artistic projects serving at risk youth.
• Knox County Board of Education Student Representative