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Minooka Community High School junior honored for volunteer service

Published: Friday, March 21, 2014 10:21 p.m. CST • Updated: Friday, March 21, 2014 10:27 p.m. CST
(Photo provided)
Minooka Community High School Principal Darcie Kubinski presenting Alex Caraynoff with his Prudential Spirit of Community Award.

MINOOKA – Minooka Community High School junior Alex Caraynoff has been honored once again for his exemplary volunteer service with a Certificate of Excellence from The Prudential Spirit of Community Awards, a national program that honors youth volunteers nationwide for outstanding volunteer service.  

The program, sponsored by Prudential Financial in partnership with the National Association of Secondary School Principals (NASSP), grants Certificates of Excellence to the top 10 percent of all applicants in each state and the District of Columbia, according to a news release.

For the third consecutive year as a student at MCHS, Caraynoff has successfully organized a Pop Tab Pandemonium Drive, which encourages the community to collect and donate pop tabs and aluminum cans for recycling. Funds generated from the recycling efforts are then donated to Ronald McDonald House Charities.

“Most people wouldn’t think that something as small as a pop tab could make such a difference,” Caraynoff said in the release, “but when the community pulls together, a huge difference can be made.”

In three years, Caraynoff’s efforts have yielded close to 10 tons of pop tabs and aluminum cans and over $10,000 donated to charity.

Caraynoff will continue his efforts with another collection drive this fall. A Pop Tab Pandemonium collection day is scheduled for Saturday, Sept. 20.

After the drive in September, Caraynoff will finish his senior year at MCHS and then head off to college to study either biology or criminal justice.  He notes, however, that he would like to see the Pop Tab Pandemonium Drives continue.

“Depending on where I end up going to college, I would still like to see this event continue, whether I organize it or some one else does,” Caraynoff said in the release.  “My little brother, Brayden (Caraynoff-Huber), has already said he is interested in taking over, which is really cool.  Either way, I just want to make sure that we keep trying to make a difference. ”

The Prudential Spirit of Community Awards recognizes students across America for outstanding volunteer service. 

“We applaud each of these young people for their exemplary volunteer service,” said Prudential Chairman and CEO John Strangfeld in the release. “They use their time and talents to make a meaningful difference in their communities, and we hope their example inspires others to do the same.”

Prudential Spirit of Community Award applications were distributed nationwide last September through middle level and high schools, and other organizations. Volunteer activities were judged on criteria including personal initiative, creativity, effort, impact and personal growth.

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