Godwin senior Lauren Smith has been named as the recipient of the 2020 Godwin Light of Hope award. This award is given in memory of Martin Luther King Jr..

The award is granted to one student from each high school in Henrico County, and the recipients of the award are decided on by the school’s administration.

The winners of the award are students who represent King’s vision of equality and civil rights activism in the Henrico community.  

“I am so proud of this young lady. She and her friends started the first ever Black Student union at Godwin this year!” said Godwin Principal Leigh Dunavant.

Smith has demonstrated her vision of equality and activism in her community as she and several friends founded the first Black Student Union of Godwin in the fall of 2019. 

“The Black Student Union’s [BSU] mission and vision is to support the black student body in order to contribute to leadership, reach academic achievements, and extracurricular success. We really hope to build connectivity with the greater student body,” said Smith. 

In February, the BSU is focusing on the history of black people in the US to celebrate Black History Month. 

“Our next big project is to present various activities in celebration of black history month such as a school wide trivia game and potentially a potluck where students can share authentic African-American dishes,” said Smith. 

Smith is proud of the award, but she is even more proud of the work she has done to get to this point.

“The award makes me feel proud of the hard work I put in. I don’t feel like I just won this award myself, I couldn’t have done any of this if it weren’t for my support system. When I received it, it didn’t feel real. I felt overcome with pride and happiness,” said Smith. 

The recipients of the award from each school were formally recognized at the 34th Commemorative Celebration to honor King. 

The celebration was organized by the Henrico Dr Martin Luther King, Jr. Commemoration Association.

This ceremony honored the Light of Hope award winners as well as other award winners from Henrico County Schools, such as the winner of the “Keeper of the Dream” Scholarship for service in the community. 

The event was held on Martin Luther King Jr. Day, Jan. 20, and it was held at Henrico High School. 

Commonwealth Attorney for Henrico County, Shannon Taylor, was the keynote speaker for the ceremony this year. 

Smith was proud and grateful to be the recipient of this award and to be honored at the ceremony. 

“I feel honored to be recognized for the work I put into my community. It means a lot that I could be amongst so many inspiring community leaders and see the hard work pay off,” said Smith.

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