Community service award returns to Wilson museum

Michael D. Smith
The Daily Ardmoreite

High school seniors in Wilson will have the opportunity to log some volunteer hours and possibly win $500 beginning next month. The Wilson Historical Society plans to extend their community service award into the summer and give teens a chance to make a big difference in their small town. 

A small plaque outside the Wilson Historical Museum commemorates the 1998 founding of the society and museum.

“The last years that it’s been given out, they started when school started. But this year we’re giving them the opportunity to start on June 1 and that way they’ll have more of an opportunity to get their hours in with us,” said Dottie Stearns, vice president of the Wilson Historical Society. 

Each year since 2018, Wilson High School seniors and those being homeschooled in the district have been asked to log at least 12 community service hours around town. Participants are also asked to interview an older Wilson resident and write a paper on their experience. 

Once an independent panel judges the essays, $500 is awarded to the top male and female seniors based on their essay and the number of volunteer hours recorded in Wilson. Award winners also will have their name engraved on a plaque that will be displayed in the museum.

Teens will have through April 1, 2022, to complete their essays and volunteer hours, which include at least four hours at the Wilson Historical Museum. 

“We can really use their energy. They have done paperwork, they’ve run errands for us, they’ve cleaned. They’ve done anything we ask them to,” Stearns said. 

The project was launched in an effort to get community members, especially younger residents, more interested in the museum and town’s history. Award money is made available from the Historical Society and Stearns said that the seniors’ grades are not considered, only the essay and number of hours.  

Teens in previous years have helped organize the museum storage annex and set up the annual Christmas display next to the museum. Even though Wilson High School normally has one of the smallest graduating classes in the county, Stearns said multiple seniors participate each year. 

“We’re hoping this year things will get started back full force and we’ll have even more participants,” she said. 

Members of the Wilson High School class of 2022, or homeschoolers in Wilson graduating next academic year, interested in taking part can contact Dottie Stearns at (580) 465-6226, reach the museum at (580) 668-2505, or contact Wilson High School counselor Claudia LaBeth.