Last night, the Prudential Spirit of Community Awards program honored Montana’s top two youth volunteers for 2011 at the 16th annual national awards ceremony in Washington, D.C.

Kelsey Weyerbacher, 18, of Kinsey, played a leading role in the formation of a student-run group, "PRIDE," that promotes school spirit, provides positive teen role models, and bolsters morale in an area that has one of the highest suicide rates in the nation. Alyssa McCrossin, 13, of Hamilton, volunteered for a weekly cooking program for teens that provides a free meal to needy members of the community, encourages families to eat together, and teaches teens cooking skills and healthy eating habits.

Both students received an award of $1,000, an engraved silver medallion, and an all-expense-paid trip with their parents to Washington, D.C., for this week’s recognition events. At last night’s event the two students received personal congratulations from Academy Award-winning actress Susan Sarandon.