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State Honoree

Photo of State Honoree Hunter Hotaling

Hunter Hotaling

Lansing, Kansas

Hunter Hotaling, 18, of Lansing, Kansas, a senior at Lansing High School, mobilized nine of the schools he’s attended over the years to collect and contribute clothing, supplies and money for students and staff at his former elementary school, following the devastation caused by Hurricane Harvey in the Houston area in 2017. The son of two military veterans, Hunter has had to change schools frequently as his family moved from place to place, but he always had particularly fond memories of his first school, Franz Elementary in Katy, Texas. So when he learned that the school sustained significant damage during Hurricane Harvey, and that students and teachers there lost homes and belongings, Hunter sprang into action.

Hunter found volunteers to sponsor individual classrooms at Franz Elementary and determine their needs, then contacted the principal at each of his former schools — plus more than 40 organizations and individuals around the world — to ask for help in collecting new clothes, school supplies and monetary donations for Franz Elementary. Within a month, Hunter was able to deliver thousands of dollars in contributions to the little school in Katy. In addition, Hunter has spearheaded numerous drives to collect cereal, diapers, hygiene products, clothing and other essentials for a variety of charities, and last winter recruited 20 classmates to give free holiday manicures to residents of a local retirement home. “Because I have the unique privilege of being able to help others in need simply because I can, I feel it is my duty to create these projects in my community,” he said.