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Prudential Spirit of Community Awards accepting nominations for WV youth volunteers

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The Prudential Spirit of Community Awards has launched its 19th annual search for West Virginia's top youth volunteers.

Students in grades five through 12 can apply for the awards through Nov. 5 at www.nassp.org/spirit.

Students from Elkview and West Union received the honors for West Virginia in 2013. State honorees receive $1,000, medallions and all-expense-paid trips to Washington, D.C. for national recognition events.

The awards are sponsored by Prudential Financial in partnership with the National Association of Secondary School Principals and were created in 1995 to recognize middle-level students and high school students who helped people in need, promoted health and safety, protected the environment or volunteered in other ways. The awards are presented each year on the local, state and national levels.

"Prudential is proud to honor young people who contribute their time and talents to improving the communities around them," Prudential Chairman and CEO John Strangfeld said in a news release. "We celebrate their service with hope that others will be inspired to follow their fine example."

Applicants must submit their online applications by Nov. 5 and then submit them for certification to a middle or high school principal, Girl Scout council, county 4-H agent, American Red Cross chapter, YMCA or HandsOn Network affiliate.

Participating schools and local organizations will select the local honorees in early November. Local honorees are then reviewed by a state-level judging committee, which will name the top two candidates from each state, one high school student and one middle-level student, as the state honorees Feb. 11, 2014.