High school junior Meghan Boehm ’16 gives back to the community in many ways and is this year’s recipient of the Citizen of the World Award. Meghan, who is a student at GPS, accepted the award on Wednesday and spoke to fifth graders, who selected her as the winner.

The Citizen of the World Award recognizes alumni who are fulfilling the school's mission: "The Bright School builds a foundation upon which students become wise and compassionate citizens of the world. Its century of progress fosters the intellectual, artistic, physical, and moral growth of young boys and girls." To be eligible for the award, alumni must be current students in high school (grades 9-12), college. or graduate school. The winning alumni demonstrate leadership in service to others in the broader community. Anyone may nominate an alum for the award. Fifth graders read through the nominations (with names and schools redacted), score the nominees with a rubric, and select the winner.

Two years ago, Meghan decided to start a fundraiser for the Walter E. Boehm Birth Defects Center, which helps babies, children and adults fix or improve brain and spine defects. The fundraiser, dubbed “Share a Scare,” benefited the Boehm Birth Defects Center provides medical care for free to anyone who cannot afford their medical treatment and provides financial support for the families to be able to make trips to receive the medical care they need.  Meghan met with company executives across Chattanooga to ask for sponsorships for “Share a Scare,” in which donors purchase signs to display in lawns at their homes or homes of their friends. She was inspired to find a new type of fundraiser because the pandemic halted many in-person gatherings. So far, $54,000 in sponsorships and an additional $11,650 from selling 570 signs has been raised through the fundraiser. She also spent last summer volunteering at Erlanger Hospital and getting to know patients who benefited from the center.

Meghan, who has played the violin since age 6, is a member of the Chattanooga Youth Symphony Orchestra. Realizing not everyone can afford music lessons, Meghan volunteers in a program to provide free violin lessons to elementary students.
According to her nomination, “Meghan uses her time and talents to give children the same opportunities that she has valued and enjoyed.”

Head of School presented Meghan with a certificate and $100 check in her honor to donate to her non-profit of choice, the Boehm Birth Defects Center. Meghan spoke to the fifth graders about community service, and she answered questions about moving on to middle school and her plans for the future.

The other alumni nominated for the award were:

Alia Sherrow ’16, a junior at Baylor, tutors at an inner-city community center while balancing a rigorous volleyball schedule. She has dedicated more than 140 hours to the program and served in a leadership role this year. Alia planned and raised money for a holiday party for the children and wrote a grant to seek funding for summer camp scholarships for the children at the center.

Lily Monen ’17, a sophomore at Baylor, joined a community service program in 2020 to tutor inner-city children. According to the nomination, Lily was the only one who stayed with the program throughout the 18 months the children were learning on Zoom. She worked one-on-one with a scholar who had significant learning challenges and required a great deal of patience. Lily has accrued more than 280 service hours and earned a position on the leadership board. She worked on a grant proposal for funding for an art program for the children.

Hannah Levin ’15, a senior at GPS, enjoys history and honed critical thinking skills in a social justice class last year. She is a member of Amnesty International, which works to end abuses of human rights. Hannah helped organize and advertise the group’s poetry jams, letter writing campaigns, and fundraising events. Last summer, this she was a counselor in training at a summer camp for Jewish children, mentoring nine- and ten-year-old girls and teaching dance. 

Caroline Clark ’16, a junior at GPS, organized a project to benefit 7th Well, an organization that helps survivors of human trafficking. She collected more than 350 self-care products donated by fellow students and then delivered them to the organization. Caroline also has volunteered at Pilgrim Food Pantry and Chattanooga Area Food Bank and tutored Spanish at school.


Citizen of the World 2022