Three Franconia Conference-related high school students honored with citizenship award

Sheldon Good

Three Philadelphia region high school students were honored with the Student Citizenship Award, an annual award given out by the Philadelphia Inquirer to those who demonstrate outstanding scholastic and community service.

All three students are high school seniors who attend a Franconia Mennonite Conference related organization and/or congregation: Aaron G. Allen of Philadelphia Mennonite High School; Bobby Wibowo from Preparatory Charter High School and Philadelphia Praise Center, a Franconia Conference congregation; and Steve Rittenhouse from Christopher Dock Mennonite High School and the Souderton congregation.

Allen is a frequent volunteer at school, where there are opportunities to serve with such organizations as the Salvation Army and Mennonite Central Committee (MCC). He is the director of the audio/video crew at his home church, Sharon Baptist Church. Allen has also been the treasurer of student government for four years. He plans to attend Shippensburg University next year, where he will be undeclared but will most likely move towards a business major.

This is not the first time Wibowo has been recognized for his contribution to the community, as the Boys’ and Girls’ Club of America named him Youth of the Year 2007. He is heavily involved in school clubs and serves as the president of the “One World Keystone” club, an extension of the Boys’ and Girls’ Club. “The One World Keystone is a place where teenagers can hang out together once a week, kind of like a youth group,” he said. “We do a lot of fundraising to help get rid of malaria.” Wibowo plans to attend Temple University where he will be majoring in communication. He is also participating in Eastern Mennonite Seminary’s LEAP program this summer.

Rittenhouse shares the interests of Allen and Wibowo, as he acts as Christopher Dock’s National Honor Society treasurer. Like Allen, he has been involved in volunteering. Rittenhouse has served various times with his church youth group, helped out at Souderton Mennonite Homes retirement community, and participated in collecting cans for Manna on Main Street. He enjoys music and is a member of the school touring choir and chamber choir, his church choir, and a community orchestra.

The Philadelphia Inquirer has been awarding students who “actively participate in our community’s civic life” since 1829. Seniors from schools in and around the city of Philadelphia are chosen based on the qualities of “civic or community contribution, good scholarship, and school participation.” This year’s awards ceremony was held at the National Constitution Center in Philadelphia.