To be eligible to apply for the Servant Leader Award, a student must:
- Be at least 13 and no more than 19 years old when nominated.
- Live in the United States or one of its territories.
- Be homeschooled and have been continuously for the preceding academic year; if the student applies in the summer after graduating high school, they must have been homeschooled for the past academic year.
- Have completed a significant voluntary community service project or series of continuing service within the past academic year. The community service should meet the following guidelines:
- It must have occurred since June 1st of the prior year (e.g. if a student applies for the 2017 award, the community service must have happened after June 1, 2016)
- It must not have financially benefitted the student nor his or her immediate family.
There is no minimum hours or required impact of the community service for a student to be nominated for this award. If a student’s service is believed to be significant in the lives of people in their community, he or she may be nominated.
Students may involve others in the service and thereby demonstrate leadership abilities. They do not have to do a project all on their own to be eligible. If students work as part of a team, they should describe on their application the totality of the work accomplished by team as well as specify what their individual role and impact was.
Applying for this award is a 2-step process requiring 3 documents:
Step 1: Nomination Form
- A student must be nominated by someone else.
- The nominating person must:
- Be at least 18 years old
- Know the student personally
- Nomination Forms must reach the HSF office by June 1st.
Step 2: Application and Reference Forms
- Student Application
- 1-3 business days after receiving the Nomination Form, HSF will email the Student Application to the student at the email provided on the Nomination Form.
- Complete applications must reach the HSF office by June 30th.
- Pictures and/or links to videos showing the impact of the student’s service are encouraged but not required. If possible, these should be included as attachments to the email the student sends with his or her completed application. If pictures or video links are sent separate from the application, they must arrive before June 30th.
- Reference Form
- 1-3 business days after receiving the Nomination Form, HSF will email the Reference Form to the student along with the Student Application. The student should then forward the Reference Form to the appropriate person.
- A reference must:
- Be at least 18 years old
- Have overseen, witnessed or been involved with the student’s community service
- Not be related to the student
- The reference should send the form to the HSF office directly. HSF must receive it by June 30th.
- A strong reference will be an objective third party who was directly involved with the student’s community service and had many opportunities to witness the student in action.
Important Dates and Deadlines
June 1st of prior year Beginning date of eligible community service
June 1st Last day to submit Nomination Form*
June 30th Last day to submit Student Application and Reference Form*
August 15th All applicants notified of winners by email
Late September Winners awarded at HSLDA National Conference and announced online.
*These forms must be received by the HSF office on the indicated date, not postmarked by.
Is there a restriction on what qualifies as community service? No, so long as the student is serving outside their family and not benefiting from it.
How will the winners be decided? A judging panel comprised of HSF and HSLDA leadership and neutral third parties will review completed applications in early July and decide the winners. The decision of the panel is final.
Aspects that the panel will consider include: the nature and scope of the service; the overall impact on the community; the change in the circumstances of the specific demographic served; the level of independence, initiative and/or leadership demonstrated by the student; and the sustainability of the project.
Are there restrictions on how the prize money may be used? No, the prizes are gifts, not scholarships, and may be used however the winning students choose.
May I nominate my own child? Yes, parents are welcome to nominate their teens, but parents may not serve as references for their child as references may not be related to the student applicant.