Matter Receives Billy Michal Student Leadership Award

John Matter, a senior at Stone Bridge High School, has been named a 2018 Billy Michal Student Leadership Award recipient by the National World War II Museum in New Orleans.

The national honor is awarded annually to one student in every state who has maintained a strong record of volunteerism, demonstrates school and community activism and helps implement creative solutions to recognized problems. Each honoree will be flown to New Orleans to participate in the Museum’s American Spirit Awards program taking place June 7th and 8th.

Stone Bridge High School Principal Matthew Wilburn said, “This is a tremendous honor for John. We are very proud to have him as a representative of Stone Bridge High School. He is definitely deserving of this recognition due to his dedication to our school and our community.”

The leadership award, which the Museum first presented in 2017, was created in honor of Billy Michal, who was a child living in Louisiana during World War II. At only 6 years old, Michal helped his one-room school win a statewide scrap paper-collection contest during the war, proving that every citizen could contribute to victory. Michal’s achievement demonstrated the positive impact the American spirit could have on the war effort.

Matter was nominated by Boy Scout Troop 761 Committee Member Kathleen Quinn, of Ashburn.  An Eagle Scout, National Honor Society student and varsity athlete, Matter is honored as one of the top student leaders in his school, community and state. But it was his service to others that prompted his nomination. Since 2010, Matter and his brother have captained a team of volunteers with the annual Race for Hope in Washington, D.C., to raise funds for brain cancer research in memory of their father.  Working with Troop 761 and the Salvation Army, Matter initiated “Project Starfish” to help victims impacted by Hurricanes Harvey, Irma and Maria.

The National WWII Museum’s American Spirit Awards – presented by Hancock Whitney – is a multi-day event consisting of a patron reception, premier gala and awards luncheon and leadership forum, which is where the Billy Michal students will receive their awards. In addition to the Billy Michal winners, the recipients of the Museum’s American Spirit Award, American Spirit Medallion and Silver Service Medallion will be honored throughout the event. The 2018 American Spirit Award honorees include Sen. John McCain (R-Arizona), actor and humanitarian Gary Sinise and WWII veteran Maurice “Hank” Greenberg.