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Hanford High student earns national award for leadership and volunteerism

The National WWII Museum in New Orleans has named Hanford High School student Hannah Doyle as a 2018 Billy Michal Student Leadership Award recipient. The national honor is awarded annually to one student in every state who has maintained a strong record of volunteerism, demonstrates school and community activism, and helps implement creative solutions to recognized problems.

Throughout her time at Hanford High, Doyle has demonstrated leadership, initiative, and a passion for community service, much of which has been related to WWII:

  • In 2016, Doyle was one of 15 Normandy: Sacrifice for Freedom Albert H. Small Student & Teacher Institute scholars. In this project, she extensively researched the life of a fallen WWII soldier to make sure his ultimate sacrifice would not be forgotten. Upon completion of this program, Doyle wanted to continue preserving history to ensure that stories of surviving WWII veterans would not be forgotten
  • In 2017, Doyle became one of eight student ambassadors for the National WWII Museum, interviewing local veterans in-person and on-film. Despite only five interviews being required, she submitted a total of 17 to the Museum. She even collaborated with Quilts of Valor, a local non-profit which awards beautiful handmade quilts to veterans, to arrange surprise ceremonies for multiple WWII veterans.

Each honoree will be flown to New Orleans to participate in the Museum’s American Spirit Awards program taking place June 7 and 8.

The leadership award, which the Museum first presented in 2017, was created in honor of Billy Michal, who was a child living in Louisiana during World War II. At only six years old, Michal helped his one-room school win a statewide scrap paper-collection contest during the war, proving that every citizen could contribute to victory. Michal’s achievement demonstrated the positive impact the American spirit could have on the Home Front war efforts, and he continues to inspire students across America today.

“It’s extremely gratifying to recognize students throughout the nation for the wonderful contributions they make to their local communities,” said Stephen J. Watson, President & CEO at The National WWII Museum. “During World War II, our country needed everyone to come together for a common goal of securing freedom and democracy around the world. Much like Billy Michal’s contribution over 70 years ago, our student honorees prove that their positive actions, no matter how big or small, can make a difference in their communities. We are proud to honor their accomplishments.”                                                                                                     

The National WWII Museum’s American Spirit Awards – presented by Hancock Whitney – is a multiday event consisting of a patron reception, premier gala, and awards luncheon and leadership forum, which is where the Billy Michal students will receive their awards. In addition to the Billy Michal winners, the recipients of the Museum’s American Spirit Award, American Spirit Medallion and Silver Service Medallion will be honored throughout the event. The 2018 American Spirit Award honorees include Senator John McCain, actor and humanitarian Gary Sinise and WWII veteran Maurice “Hank” Greenberg.