Over 800 youth, teachers, family members and friends were on hand at Visalia's LJ Williams Theater on Monday, May 2 to celebrate the 5th annual Step Up Youth Challenge Red Carpet Awards program.  

Over 20 schools were recognized for their hard work on various service-learning projects and each student team was acknowledged for their participation in the seven month long program, which begins in October and concluded in April.  

The Youth Challenge program gives students an opportunity to address an issue or concern on their school campus or within their community, and each project was evaluated based on performance.

“All of the projects were completely different,” said Allison Pierce, Program Administrator for Step Up.  “Youth from all over the county tried their very best to make a difference. We are proud of each and every one of them.”  

All teams who participate in the program receive training on leadership, networking, and help in brainstorming their project. Teams submitted their final project last month and winners were announced at the Step Up Red Carpet event held earlier this week. 

The following top preforming schools received the following awards:

Middle School Category

$5,000 Best Overall Project - Burton Middle School, Porterville
$2,500 Community Collaboration Award - Green Acres, Visalia
$1,250 Co-Winner Meeting the Need Award - Kennedy Elementary, Lindsay
$1,250 Co-Winner Meeting the Need Award - Valley Life Charter School, Visalia
$2,500 Sustainability Award - Washington Intermediate, Dinuba
$2,500 Impact Award - Woodlake Valley Middle School, Woodlake

High School Category

$5,000 Best Overall Project – Tech Prep High School, Tulare
$2,500 Community Collaboration Award – Eleanor Roosevelt Community Learning Center, Visalia
$2,500 Meeting the Need Award – Orosi High School, Cutler-Orosi
$2,500 Sustainability Award – University Preparatory High School, Visalia
$2,500 Impact Award – Mission Oak High School, Tulare

Other schools receiving recognition were: Bartlett Middle School of Porterville; Divisadero Middle School of Visalia; Earlimart Middle School; El Monte Middle School of Cutler-Orosi; Pixley Middle School; Reagan Elementary of Lindsay; Sycamore Valley Academy of Visalia; Valley Oak Middle School of Visalia; La Sierra Military Academy of Visalia; and Lindsay High School.