PHILADELPHIA >> A 16-year-old from Yardley has been named a Young Hero by the National Liberty Museum in Philadelphia and will publicly be recognized Sept. 12 during a virtual awards ceremony.
Trinity Pryor, who is beginning her senior year at The Pennington School, is among 14 finalists from 11 states, ages 18 and younger, who have been selected to receive the honor after being nominated by friends, teachers and community members for their incredible contributions as outstanding young citizens.
As her Gold Award project for Girl Scouts, Trinity wrote, directed and acted in “Honoring Local Women Impacted by War,” a one act play she staged at the Yardley Community Centre and at her school back in January and February.
Trinity used her love for theater to develop an engaging platform to raise awareness and to honor eight local women impacted by war, not just women who served, but women who had spouses who served and women refugees.
She also repurposed the content into published books that have been shared and presented to the Yardley-Makefield Veterans of Foreign Wars and the Yardley American Legion Post.
Trinity, a member of Troop 2974 in the Oakville Service Unit and the daughter of Tim and Kelly Pryor, put in more than the 80 hours researching, writing and then acting in and directing the production - a series of monologues spotlighting the eight women and their stories.
“Other girls in my Troop had worked with veterans before and I was inspired by those efforts because I had helped with those projects. My grandfather was also a veteran so I was inspired by that,” said Trinity. “But I also wanted to represent women because you don’t hear a lot of stories about women in war and I really wanted to highlight them.”
Trinity worked closely with VFW Commander Russ Davidson in coming up with some of the women featured in her show. She learned about others through community contacts.
After settling on the women, she interviewed and/or researched each woman and included their stories in her performance.
Among them was the wife of a Vietnam War veteran; a nurse who served during the Cold War; a US Air Force major and flight nurse; two US Navy reservists; a US Navy aircraft pilot; and the wife of an Iraq War soldier.
She also spotlighted World War I nurse and Yardley native Miriam Knowles who died while serving her country during the Great War. Today the Knowles-Doyle Post of the American Legion proudly bears her name.
“I learned a lot from each individual woman who had their own life story to tell, but the greatest thing I learned was the amount of determination and commitment it takes to serve in the military or support someone who does,” she said. “And what ties them altogether is their strength. They each had such perseverance and were able to get through the experience and do it with such grace and strength.”
Trinity said she was particularly inspired by Knowles, one of the first nurses from this area to be deployed to France during World War I. “She was very enthusiastic. Unfortunately she died of a sickness while she was over there.
“They all inspired me to not give up when life gets difficult,” she continued. “All these positions these women were in were very, very difficult. They showed such perseverance and inspired me not to give up when things are hard.”
On stage she performed with three other actors, each with a prop for each woman they were portraying and all of them dressed in black.
“We sat on stage and whoever was presenting their monologue would step up and take on the character of that person,” she said.
Pryor was nominated for the TD Bank Young Heroes Award by her Girl Scout leader, Marah Walsh. Trinity has been in Girl Scouting since first grade at the Pen Ryn School in Fairless Hills and has earned both the bronze and silver awards.
“I am very honored to receive this,” Pryor said of the Young Heroes Award. “It means a lot to me and affirms all the work I’ve been doing in Girl Scouts for all these years. Whenever I do a project like this, for me it’s about benefiting and helping others. Anything above and beyond that is very honoring.”
The award recognizes young people who have championed liberty through civic engagement, conflict resolution, diversity promotion, and school or community leadership.
To celebrate the award winners, TD Bank Representatives, National Liberty Museum leadership, friends and family will gather via Zoom for a special event where each Young Hero will be recognized and their stories shared.
Arnav Kaushukwill be the Keynote Speaker. A 2017 Young Hero as an 8th grader, Arnav started the Last Chance Repair Club to reduce landfill waste and teach fellow students at Souderton Charter School repair skills.
“We are proud to honor these young people for using their time, their talents and the needed resources to give selflessly to others, the very attributes of heroism that are ingrained in our museum’s mission,” said Gwen Borowsky, the CEO of the National Liberty Museum. “When these young people address inequities and injustice faced by those in their communities they send a message to others that they are committed to protecting the cornerstones of our democracy – liberty and freedom.
“As they work every day to show that freedom and liberty matter, they make a difference in the world that is larger than their daily routine,” Borowsky continues. “These young heroes deserve recognition for the many purposeful and thoughtful things they do to make their schools and their communities a better place.”
"TD Bank is honored to support this year's TD Bank Young Heroes Awards for the 20th year at the National Liberty Museum," adds Pennsylvania Market President, Tom Shoemaker. "We greatly admire The National Liberty Museum’s dedication to celebrating diversity, promoting respect and defusing violence, qualities reflected in our own community philosophy.”
The Virtual Award Ceremony begins at 1:30 p.m. Each Young Hero will receive a special medal and certificate to commemorate the occasion, prior to the virtual ceremony. Additionally, a plaque featuring the winners’ stories will be displayed for a year in the Museum’s Young Heroes Exhibit.
During the ceremony, one winner will be recognized as the President’s Honor Winner and will receive a $2,000 scholarship.
Other Bucks County award recipients are:Matthew Genatempo, 17, from Sellersville, and Amy Liu, 16, from Warrington.
Matthew used his engineering and 3D Printer skills to create Personal Protection Equipment for community hospitals and frontline workers in the Pennridge and Bucks County communities. Distributing PPE face shields to the Bucks County Intermediate Unit No. 22, he exceeded his goal of 3,000 shields.
Amy founded “Get in Touch!,” helping to integrate the visually-impaired community into daily life and bridge the blind and sighted communities. In addition to raising the money to purchase and distribute thousands of white canes, she started a braille magazine that educates blind individuals on STEM topics and fields.