Seventh and eighth graders Nick Sercel and Andrew Nettles, students at St. Bede the Venerable Catholic School, were recently recognized as distinguished service award winners by local branch 374 of the Italian Catholic Federation. Branch president Al Restivo and first vice president Mark Mannarelli presented checks for $100 to both young men at two meetings of ICF held in February and March at the Parish Center of St. Bede’s in La Cañada Flintridge. The boys were also presented with a framed certificate that honored them for their distinguished service to their community, church and school.
A committee of educators and others who are members of the local ICF branch made the selection of the students.
The Distinguished Student Service Award is for students in the seventh and eighth grades at St. Bede School as well as public and private school students who are enrolled in the Religious Education Program conducted by the parish. It was initiated this year by ICF to recognize students who follow in the steps of St. Francis of Assisi by preaching the Gospel in actions besides words.
Both young men provided service to others. Eighth grade student Andrew worked many hours helping at Ronald McDonald House in Pasadena. The House is a place where the parents of young cancer patients are housed so that the parents can be close to their hospitalized children. He also contributed many service hours to the St. Bede Parish as an altar server and in other roles helping the Knights of Columbus.
Seventh grader Nick also performed after school hours providing service to the community, church and school through his work as a mentor to Cub Scouts as a den chief, and for many hours provided to the church as an altar server.
According to branch president Al Restivo, the award program was initiated by the ICF branch to recognize young people for service, unlike scholarships that are awarded for academic honors, the award is solely focused on service in the spirit of St. Francis.
“We felt a strong need to recognize kids who go out of their way to quietly go about doing good things. There are many scholarships and awards for academic excellence, and we provide those, but we wanted something more focused on walking the talk of the Gospel of Jesus Christ, and this Distinguished Student Service Award program is geared to that objective,” he said.
Restivo added that an expanded program will be continued in the next school year and he hopes that more students will apply.