Jennifer Lentine.


Neshaminy High School in Middletown, where she is a senior.


Lentine, 18, of Langhorne, was named Bucks County Teen Volunteer of the Year for her work with the Lutheran Church of God's Love in Newtown and service organizations including Neshaminy Cares and the March of Dimes.

She was one of 17 high school seniors nominated for the award, which is sponsored annually by the YWCA of Bucks County and this year is co-sponsored by the Anthony Robbins Foundation.

Lentine also has volunteered with Sunrise at Floral Vale retirement community in Lower Makefield, the National Junior Honor Society, and Read Across America.

She received the award April 30 at a ceremony at the Bucks County Intermediate Unit No. 22 in Doylestown, and was given a $250 cash prize.

And the nominee is:

"My English teacher last year and the adviser for Neshaminy Cares, she nominated me. Her name is Suzi Drake. I call her Ms. Drake," Lentine said.

"She had forgotten to give me the application before spring break, and when we came back, it was due that Wednesday. I was saying, 'Oh, I have so much homework.' The first day back is always just so overwhelming."

And then:

"I said, 'Thank you so very much for asking me to be nominated.' I feel so honored that she chose me. She could have chosen anyone, but she picked me."

Them vs. me:

"At the awards ceremony, they had two or three slide shows, and a photo of each nominee came up and a brief description. After reading them and then listening to the teachers who nominated them, I thought, 'These are all amazing; how can they pick one?' I didn't think it would be me."

And the winner is:

"I was shocked. My grandmom and my aunt and my cousin screamed, and my mom, she was all proud and quiet."

On stage:

"I had this shocked face. I couldn't smile. I literally tried to smile and I couldn't. My face was frozen."

Volunteering young:

"I think it started by doing things at my church [the Lutheran Church of God's Love]. We would have Helping Hands Day, and you would go out to different locations every year and do community service.

"Then in ninth grade with the National Junior Honor Society, I did tutoring, and it just escalated. I wanted to do more and more."

Neshaminy Cares:

"I'm a core member. It's like an officer position. We're a community service organization at the high school. We work with local charities. We just had Neshaminy Idol [a talent competition], and raised money for the March of Dimes."

A bright Sunrise:

"Sunrise at Floral Vale is an Alzheimer's community, and it's one of the things that brings so much happiness to my life. I work with two ladies who run the activities.

"I pretty much do whatever they want. One day, they played bowling and I set up the pins. We did a manicure and pedicure day. That was wonderful."

Special congrats:

"One gentleman, on the day they announced the award in the newspaper, he was waiting for me, pacing in front of the door. When I got there, he told me how proud he was of me, and at that moment, there was nowhere else I wanted to be."

Staying close to home:

Lentine plans to attend Holy Family University, which has branches in Northeast Philadelphia, Newtown and Bensalem.

"One of the reasons I chose to go to college where I'm going," she said, "is not just because I want to be near my family and friends, but because I wanted to still be able to do what I'm doing - like at Sunrise at Floral Vale."


"I'm going to study elementary and special ed. I hope to find a teaching position, and I definitely want to teach in the Neshaminy School District."


"My second-grade teacher [Nancy Ludwig] influenced me to be a teacher, her and my grandmother [Lois Lentine]."

The Ludwig way:

"I always got the feeling that she just wasn't there because this was her job. She made it so much fun to learn."

What the Rev. Nancy Ludwig says:

"Jennifer was hardworking, thoughtful, friendly and caring, even in second grade," said Ludwig, who became a minister after she retired from teaching.

"I'm very proud of her and all she has accomplished. She's a special blessing."

- Kristin E. Holmes