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 virtually recognized at the Museum’s American Spirit Awards program taking place June 18, 2021.
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 six years old, Michal helped his one-room school win a statewide scrap metal-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 Home Front war efforts, and he continues to inspire students across America today.
“It’s extremely gratifying to recognize students throughout the nation for the wonderful contributions they make to their local communities,” said Stephen J. Watson, President and CEO at The National WWII Museum. “During World War II, our country needed everyone to come together for a common goal of securing freedom and democracy around the world. Much like Billy Michal’s contribution over 75 years ago, our student honorees prove that their positive actions, no matter how big or small, can make a difference in their communities. We are proud to honor their accomplishments.”
Zantow is Dual Enrolled in the College of Coastal Georgia, active in Girl Scouts and has earned both the Girl Scouts Bronze and Silver Awards. She participates in the Marine Corps Junior ROTC, the Golden Isles Youth Orchestra and is captain of the Glynn Academy Rifle Team. She serves on the school’s Student Council, Environmental Club, Beta Club and National Honor Society, as well as her church’s council as the church youth representative.
Zantow was nominated by George Cressman, staff historian for the Camp Blanding (Florida) Museum, vice president of the Guale Historical Society, and a docent at the Home Front Museum on St. Simons Island.
For more information about the 2021 Billy Michal Student Leadership Award, contact Keith M. Darcey, the National WWII Museum public relations manager, at 504-528-1944 x 488 or visit http://www.nationalww2museum.org.