PROVIDENCE — Secretary of State Nellie M. Gorbea honored Aidan Flanagan and Michael (Mac) Cullen, both juniors from Bishop Hendricken High School, last month with the 2020 Rhode Island Civic Leadership Award. The award is given annually to recognize high school students who have made outstanding contributions to their schools and communities over the past year.
The Civic Leadership Awards are typically presented to students during a ceremony at the Rhode Island State House. However, this year’s awards were held during two virtual events with students and their families to follow social distancing best practices during the COVID-19 pandemic.
The events drew more than 80 participants and after congratulations and brief remarks from Secretary Gorbea, students had the opportunity to ask her questions about government service, upcoming elections in 2020, and new Department of State initiatives.
“While I really missed meeting these young leaders in person,” said Secretary Gorbea, “I loved having more time to talk with them to learn about the issues they’re thinking about - which isn’t really possible during the State House event. It’s great when you can turn a challenging circumstance into something that is in some ways even better!”
Bishop Hendricken principal, Mark DeCiccio, added “These two gentlemen are among Hendricken’s finest. Both are very active and involved members of our community and possess the important qualities of good leaders including integrity, accountability, humility, vision, influence, and positivity. We are incredibly proud to have them represent Bishop Hendricken as young civic leaders in Rhode Island.”
The Civic Leadership Awards are part of Secretary Gorbea’s mission to engage and empower Rhode Islanders by connecting them with their government and encouraging civic pride.
Each year, high schools across Rhode Island are invited to nominate two students in the junior class who best meet the ideals of the Civic Leadership Award: public service, leadership ability, and academic achievement. This year, Secretary Gorbea received 118 nominations from 59 schools across Rhode Island.