Youth Awards

Rotary Youth Awards

The Annual Youth Awards Program recognizes 40 Madison area high school seniors in the following categories: Academic Achievement, Community Service (including Fay J. Meade Award), Junior and Senior Academic Improvement, Outstanding Senior Award, Student Judges, Wilson Sophomore Academic Improvement Awards, and Youth Leadership.  The students receive certificates and monetary awards.

The Academic Achievement Awards are presented to the students who earn the highest grade point average of their graduating classes.

The Community Service Awards are presented to those graduating seniors who provide exemplary community service throughout their high school careers.  Awardees are selected based on the quantity, quality, and consistency of community service they have provided during their high school years.

The Fay J. Meade Award is given as a scholarship (to be used toward college tuition or vocational training) to a graduating senior who has made a significant difference in a community program, community activity or life of an individual, through community service.  The Fay J. Meade award is distinct from other Rotary Community Service Awards in that it places the emphasis on the impact of an individual’s action above the length of service, or quantity of service provided by applicants.  Fay J. Meade was a member of Rotary for more than 30 years.  He served as President of both the Madison Rotary Club, as well as the Madison Rotary Club Foundation.  He received the Paul Harris Fellow award – Rotary’s highest honor.  The Fay J. Meade Community Service Award was created by a designated gift from Mr. Meade’s daughters to the Rotary Foundation.

The Junior and Senior Academic Improvement Awards are presented to students based on grade point average improvement and evaluation of other factors that may have an impact on academic success (home environment, economic status, employment, etc.)

The Outstanding Senior Awards are ranked from first to third place based on the following criteria:

Academic Achievement
Grade point average and academic improvement will be considered in this criterion.

Community Service
The quantity, quality, and consistency of community service throughout high school are key components of this criterion.

School Service
The quantity, quality, and consistency of school service are key components of this criterion:

Has the nominee exemplified leadership?  If so, how?

-The Rotary Four-Way Test

Members of Rotary adopt a motto of “Service Above Self,” and use the “Four-Way Test” to evaluate what they think, say, and do.  The test includes four questions:

  1. Is it the TRUTH?
  2. Is it FAIR to all concerned?
  4. Will it be BENEFICIAL to all concerned?

The nominees are judged on these principles.  For example, does the nominee endeavor to provide the truth, is the nominee fair in his/her actions, etc.

Student Judges are selected from the high schools to work with members of the Rotary Youth Awards Committee in selecting the Community Service Award recipients.

The Wilson Sophomore Academic Improvement Awards are made possible due to the generosity of Mike and Patty Wilson and are presented to sophomores. Two criteria are used in determining the most appropriate recipient of the award: grade point average improvement and evaluation of other factors that may have an impact on academic success (home environment, economic status, employment, etc.).  With a strong interest in helping youth in our community to succeed, Mike and Patty Wilson made a generous contribution to the Madison Rotary Foundation to establish the annual Wilson Sophomore Academic Improvement Awards category.  Mike Wilson has been a member of our Rotary club since 1987 and has maintained 100% attendance since 1995, and he received a Paul Harris Fellow for this accomplishment.  He served on the Foundation’s Scholarship Committee, the Club Board of Directors and is a past chair of the Club’s Youth Awards Committee.  Mike’s wife, Patty, shares his interest in wanting to recognize youth for their accomplishments.

The Rotary Youth Leadership Award (RYLA) is presented to one student who will attend a youth leadership conference meeting at Camp Manito-wish, Boulder Junction, Wisconsin, in the spring of the year that the award is given. The objective is to offer outstanding high school sophomores an opportunity to live, work and interact in an atmosphere of collaboration which will be structured with programs such as group discussions, career guidance, high and low challenge courses, ethics and contemporary problems.  The greatest benefit will come from sharing this experience with approximately 75 other outstanding students from high schools across Wisconsin.

Applications for the Youth Awards categories listed above are available through participating Madison area high school guidance counselors.

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