Niederhaus honored for volunteer service

Daily Clarion archive /Andrea Howe

Princeton Community HIgh School Key Club members prepare holes to plant "fruit salad" (hybrid plum/peach/cherry), peach, cheery and pear trees on a plot northwest of Princeton Community High School to start an orchard on the school property in May 2017. Key Club member Justin Niederhaus (left) earned a grant from Gibson County Community Foundation to start the project.


PRINCETON — Justin Niederhaus of Princeton has been honored for exemplary volunteer service by The Prudential Spirit of Community Awards, and a President’s Volunteer Service Award.

Presented annually by Prudential Financial in partnership with the National Association of Secondary School Principals, The Prudential Spirit of Community Awards honors young people across America for outstanding volunteer service.

Certificates of excellence are granted to the top 10 percent of all Prudential Spirit of Community Award applicants in each state.

Princeton Community High School nominated Niederhaus for national honors this fall in recognition of his volunteer service in creating an orchard at the high school through the PCHS Key Club.

Niederhause came up with the idea to start an orchard for the class, with the idea that fruit from the orchard could be used for home economics classes and for the school cafeteria. The science classes could use the orchard for studies, as well. He applied for a grant from Gibson County Foundation and received $4,000 to start and maintain the orchard. Students planted two fruit cocktail trees, four peach trees, two pear trees, two cherry trees and four applie trees.

Through the summer, he watered the trees daily unless it rained and put a fence around each tree to keep the deer from eating the trees. "Right now I am the only one working on the project, but I will choose an underclassmen to take my spot when I graduate and move out to go to college," Niederhaus said. "The project is still on its way to impact the school. I hope next spring we will bear some fruit to share with the school and community. I also anticipate to expand the orchard once these trees are fully established."

“We at PCHS are extremely proud of Justin being selected for the Prudential Spirit of Community Award and President's Volunteer Service Award," said PCHS Principal Steve Hauger. "He had an idea of starting an orchard at PCHS and with perseverance and hard work completed the project. Congratulations Justin for the well-deserved awards!”

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