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State Honoree

Seth De La Pena

Alpharetta, Georgia

Seth De La Pena, 13, of Alpharetta, Ga., an eighth-grader at Fulton Science Academy, started a service group that provides clothing and school supplies to students in need at an elementary school in an area of the Philippines affected by a volcanic eruption early last year. Seth’s parents immigrated to the United States from that country and took him to visit when he was younger. “I came back home with a heavy heart thinking of the unfortunate kids my age,” said Seth. “My parents’ constant reminders not to waste food and be grateful for what I have convinced me to spend my time not on games or otherwise pointless tasks, but instead on running an organization that would provide for the misfortunate.”

Seth recruited other students at his school to help him begin an information and fundraising campaign in support of students at Tinago Elementary School in Albay, Philippines. The effort got off to a slow start, but after the Mayon volcano erupted and displaced many nearby residents, Seth’s group collected approximately $1,000 and many boxes of clothing, and then delivered school supplies and clothing to young students at the elementary school. “The smile on their faces after seeing their new items and the pure innocence of their lives were heartwarming,” he said.