Chiawana H.S. grad earns public service award
A Chiawana High School graduate is awarded one of the top awards in the state for public service - the Jefferson Award.
Jared Costanzo has helped give students in Washington and now across the country a voice, by creating the Student Voice Project.
Costanzo, who graduated from Chiawana High School in Pasco last year, formed the group in 2010.
He created the group after believing that the Kennewick School District had discriminated against gay students by not allowing them to form student clubs.
Costanzo says he felt it was the students' job to stand up for their rights, so he formed a group to give students a voice.
He says he met with Kennewick's superintendent and got the policy changed.
Constanzo says every day, policy makers across the country make policies affecting students, and many times their voices aren't heard.
His group aims to change that.
"Even here in Olympia, policy makers aren't listening to the students. So it's definitely important that the policies that are shaping education for example are actually involving the discussions and groups of people that they're affecting, like students for example" said Costanzo.
Costanzo was notified he won the Jefferson Award for Washington state a couple weeks ago, while he was at school in Washington, D.C.
The award is described as the nobel prize for public service.
Costanzo says he was very surprised to find out he won the award, and he is honored.
Four other people won the award in Washington.
Costanzo will compete against them to represent Washington state in Washington, D.C. to receive the national Jefferson Award.
You can vote online for Costanzo to move on to Washington, D.C. here.
Voting starts March 18th and ends March 25th.