Twenty-nine students were named from area schools.
Students received gold-trimmed certificates in dark blue binders and a key ring, engraved with "Service Award 1997."
"These students are the cream of the crop in terms of youngsters serving the community," said Superintendent of Schools Wayne F. Gersen. "In my mind, you should be prouder than the valedictorians."
"I think it's a great opportunity for students to learn to give of themselves - to get them away from the `me' orientation they've grown up with," said Valerie Flanigan, 42, mother of awardee Ginger Ridenour. "Especially through high school, where the emphasis is, `What am I going to do and what am I going to be?' Before they concentrate on themselves, they concentrate on someone else."
Ridenour, 17, a junior at Williamsport High School, accumulated her hours in Thailand. She left for one month in June, 1995. Her travel and training was through the Oklahoma-based Teen Mania program.
She said her missionary work took her to the streets and orphanages of Bangkok. She also helped build homes.
"It made me think I had it pretty good," she said. "I have a roof over my head and decent food to eat."
Travis Crowder, who has exceeded the 800-hour mark, agreed. "If you can find something that you're interested in, it's not as difficult as it seems," Crowder said.
Crowder, 18, a senior at Hancock High School started volunteering at Fort Frederick State Park. Now he's paid for his work as a historical interpreter.
Lt. Gov. Kathleen Kennedy Townsend, who presented the awards with Gersen, encouraged students to encourage others.
About half of the 29 students attended the ceremony. Northern Middle School teacher Melissa Gaver also was honored for initiating a Student Service Learning project.