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Student of the Month spends hundreds of hours in high school volunteering

Published: Apr. 27, 2021 at 8:08 AM CDT
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CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa (KCRG) - Prairie High School senior Emma Speer totaled 406 hours of volunteering in high school. It’s helped her classmates see the impact of helping others. That’s why she is April’s Student of the Month.

One step at a time, as she volunteers to run errands at school, Emma reaches 10,000 steps a day. It comes as she is nearing her next step in life.

“It’s been a long last year, with trying to figure out hybrid learning, and virtual learning,” Emma said. “It’s really exciting to be coming to a finish, but also bittersweet.”

As she prepares for her first year in college she’s making the most of her senior year of high school. She’s logged hundreds of hours in high school volunteering, through Key Club, Student Council, Gems of Hope, National Honor Society, volunteering at elementary schools, playing piano at church, among other community projects.

Prairie High School Key Club Advisor and District Volunteer Coordinator Kathy Waychoff said Emma is just what is needed in the world.

“Emma is an incredible young lady, she’s so giving,” Waychoff said. “I haven’t run across too many people in my time here who have been as giving as she is.”

This winter, Emma, along with other high school Key Club students made 1,000 valentines for healthcare workers in Cedar Rapids.

“She brings other kids along with her, so it’s not just Emma, she’s saying to her friends come on let’s go help,” Waychoff said.

Emma was recently awarded the United Way of East Central Iowa’s Emerging Volunteer Award.

“You get to see the change and the impact you’ve had on people’s lives,” Emma said.

Speer also works at the College Community Schools Early Childhood Center. She plans to go to the University of Iowa. She wants to be a doctor, and in Doctors without Borders, a goal that hasn’t changed since seventh grade.

“What motivates me is seeing the impact that I can make because you feel like you’re so small and you’re just one person but then you go out and help,” Emma said.

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