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State Honoree

Samantha McTee

Washington

Samantha McTee, 12, of Yakima, Wash., a sixth-grader at Naches Valley Middle School in Naches, raised $1,200 to help save a community swimming pool by organizing a spaghetti dinner and raffle. When Samantha heard from her school's vice principal that the Naches pool needed money to remain open, she was concerned. "I loved the pool and didn't want it to close," she said. "I wanted to make sure my little sister had a place to go and learn to swim just like I did."

Working with a friend, Samantha began planning a spaghetti dinner to raise money for the pool. They found a place to host the event, set a date, and sought donations of food and raffle prizes. Next, they posted promotional flyers around the community and recruited members of their school leadership club to help cook, serve and clean up at the dinner. "There were people who did not think I could do this, and I knew I had to prove them wrong," said Samantha, who hopes to hold another fund-raiser this year.