FHS Junior Honored for His Service
By Chad Garner
Special to the Sentinel & Enterprise
FITCHBURG -- Fitchburg High School junior Ethan Chandler has been honored for his exemplary volunteer service with a President’s Volunteer Service Award.
This award, which recognizes Americans of all ages who have volunteered significant amounts of their time to serve their communities and their country, was granted by The Prudential Spirit of Community Awards program.
“It’s a great honor to work hard on something and get recognized for something,” said Chandler.
On Feb. 14, 2017, Chandler officially launched his United Way Youth Venture, “Karate For Kids” to provide children the karate experience that he had when growing up.
Karate For Kids has been impacting the community ever since. Last year, Karate For Kids awarded the program’s first scholarship to Reingold Elementary School student, Me’Yah Newton. The $600 scholarship provided six months of karate training at Family Martial Arts Center in Fitchburg. Newton’s scholarship was renewed for another six months on Dec. 27.
“A lot of people think you start it to get recognition, scholarships or be popular or whatever it may be, but I started it because I’ve been doing karate all my life and it’s changed my life for so many things,” Chandler said. “There was so much stuff in my life that I wouldn’t have been able to get through if it wasn’t for the things that I learned in karate, so I think that everyone should have that opportunity.
“I’m fortunate enough that my parents can afford to give me that experience, but not a lot of kids in Fitchburg have that opportunity in their lives.”
FHS Assistant Principal Albert Mercado says he’s impressed with Chandler’s passion to help others and how he’s been able to develop the Karate For Kids brand that is recognized in the community.
“I can only imagine what he’s going to do from this moving on,” Mercado said. “He’s inspired other students to do the same, and I think it’s a testament to why he’s getting this award. You think of volunteer service, and Ethan Chandler’s name comes to mind. It’s just who Ethan is.”
The Prudential Spirit of Community Awards, sponsored by Prudential Financial in partnership with the National Association of Secondary School Principals, recognizes middle level and high school students across America for outstanding volunteer service.
“Across the United States, young volunteers are doing remarkable things to contribute to the well-being of the people and communities around them,” said Prudential CEO Charles Lowrey in a prepared press release. “Prudential is honored to celebrate the contributions of these students, and we hope their stories inspire others to volunteer, too.”
Last year, Fitchburg’s Landon Tucker was named one of the top runners-up in the 2018 Prudential Spirit of Community Awards in Massachusetts. He now attends Union College in Schenectady, N.Y.