Emmy-winning actor Viola Davis, left, congratulates metro Atlanta students Anish Bikmal, center, and Seth De La Pena at the The Prudential Spirit of Community Awards program in early May 2019.
Photo: Courtesy of Prudential
Photo: Courtesy of Prudential

Oscar-winning Viola Davis honors two metro Atlanta students

Two metro Atlanta teens were recently honored as the state’s top two youth volunteers of 2019.

The National Association of Secondary School Principals in February named Cumming’s Anish Bikmal, 18, and Alpharetta’s Seth De La Pena, 13, as the best in all of Georgia’s high and middle schools.

The Prudential Spirit of Community Awards program, started in 1995, took place on May 5 in the Smithsonian’s National Museum of Natural History in Washington, D.C. The trip’s cost was covered for both families, and the prize for each recipient included a $1,000 reward.

On hand to give them the awards was actor Viola Davis, a respected actor who is three-quarters of the way to becoming the winner of a coveted EGOT — the abbreviation denoting an artist who has won an Emmy, Grammy, Oscar and Tony award. 

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Anish, a South Forsyth High senior, was picked because of the non-profit he co-founded tutoring students and using the proceeds to help charities in India that feed and heal people.

As The Atlanta Journal-Constitution reported in April, Anish got the idea during a middle school trip to India.

Anish took over Motivate and Inspire from his brother and has grown it to 40 students and 14 tutors who receive volunteer service hours for their time. So far, they’ve raised $50,000.

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Seth, in eighth grade at Fulton Science Academy, started a campaign to raise money for elementary school students in the Philippines displaced by the Mayon volcano eruptions in 2018.

He raised $1,000 and gathered clothing along with school supplies for students at Tinago Elementary School in the Albay area.

The award’s volunteers range from grades 5 to 12 and were invited to apply last fall, according to a news release. More than 29,000 middle level and high school students across the country participated in this year’s program.

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