They’ve known each other a very long time; since their first day of kindergarten at Washington Primary School. Katie Reilly and Vinnie Fredericks came through the Huntington School District together, graduating on the same day late last June.
The duo is now set to head off in opposite directions, with Ms. Reilly beginning classes soon at Princeton University and Mr. Fredericks studying at SUNY Geneseo in upstate New York.
American Legion Award recipient Katie Reilly.
The two teenagers are this year’s recipients of the American Legion Citizenship Award medals. The duo was recognized during the senior academic awards ceremony in the high school auditorium.
“Youth are often awarded for their scholastic achievements, but the American Legion believes they should also be praised when they demonstrate strong qualities of character and good citizenship,” states the organization’s website. “That’s why since 1926, the Legion has recognized such students with its school award medal program.”
The award is given annually to one female and one male in the senior class. Recipients must exemplify six qualities that define character: courage, honor, leadership, patriotism, scholarship and service.
“The local American Legion post involved with the school makes the final selection upon receiving recommendation from students and faculty,” according to the organization. Each recipient receives a certificate and a medal with the six qualities listed on the face of the medal. The back bears the Marine Corps motto, “Semper Fidelis” (always faithful).
American Legion Award recipient Vincent Fredericks .
Ms. Reilly played on the Blue Devil soccer, basketball and lacrosse teams, winning All-County honors in each sport and All-Long Island status in lacrosse. Mr. Fredericks won varsity letters with the volleyball and baseball teams. Both teenagers were team captains and both held office with the student government. They played key roles in a long list of initiatives around the school and community.
“I’m truly humbled to have received the American Legion Award,” Mr. Fredericks said. “It’s an honor to be recognized as someone who represents the ideals and values of America.”
“The American Legion was chartered and incorporated by Congress in 1919 as a patriotic veterans organization devoted to mutual helpfulness, states the organization’s website. “It is the nation’s largest wartime veterans’ service organization, committed to mentoring youth and sponsorship of wholesome programs in our communities, advocating patriotism and honor, promoting strong national security, and continued devotion to our fellow service members and veterans.”
The American Legion counts 2.4 million members in nearly 14,000 separate posts in all 50 states and many countries around the world.