An Old Town High School senior with autism and a Lyman eighth-grader are being honored as the state’s top youth volunteers with The Prudential Spirit of Community Awards.

Connor Archer, 17, and Benjamin Levesque, 14, will each receive a medallion, $1,000 and a trip next week to Washington, D.C., where the top 10 national winners will be selected, officials said.

Levesque, a Boy Scout, started doing town volunteer work by cleaning up veterans’ graves and more recently educating his fellow students at Massabesic Junior High School about climate change.

Levesque also cleaned up a local shopping area, helped with community dinners and built a sandbox at a local elementary school. He also created murals and maps to teach his classmates about climate change, officials said.

“I feel that these actions have positively impacted my community, and I’m honored to have participated,” Levesque said in a news release.

Archer, of Stillwater, created sensory learning gardens for autistic children and raised more than $12,000 through The Courageous Steps Project, which he created in 2014 to help special needs children. Some of the money was used to award scholarships to three graduating seniors who have overcome their own challenges, purchased iPads and a sound system for Archer’s former preschool and conducted two drives to collect supplies for local schools.


“Strong communities begin with individuals who have the support to take their own courageous steps,” he said in the release.

The Prudential Spirit of Community Awards program recognizes young people for their volunteer community service. The program was created in 1995 by Prudential in partnership with the National Association of Secondary School Principals to honor middle and high school students.

Since its inception, the program has recognized more than 115,000 youths for their volunteer efforts.

Noel K. Gallagher can be reached at 791-6387 or at:

Twitter: noelinmaine

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