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Baltimore County

Towson teen named Gloria Barron Prize honoree for heroic service activity

Reed Spaulding, 17, of Towson was named an honoree of the 2022 Gloria Barron Prize for Young Heroes.

“I am so grateful for this chance to be an honoree for the Gloria Barron Prize for Young Heroes,” said Spaulding. “It is so amazing to see that people, like the Gloria Barron Prize, are recognizing that students have the ability to make real changes in the world.”

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Each year, the Barron Prize celebrates 25 inspiring young leaders ages 8 to 18 — 15 top winners and 10 honorees — who have made a significant positive impact on people, their communities and the environment, according .

“Nothing is more inspiring than stories about heroic people who have truly made a difference to the world,” T. A. Barron said in a statement. “And we need our heroes today more than ever. Not celebrities, but heroes — people whose character can inspire us all. That is the purpose of the Barron Prize: to shine the spotlight on these amazing young people so that their stories will inspire others.”

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Spaulding was chosen from more than 500 applicants across the U.S. and Canada.

“This award has also had a major impact on my mindset for the future,” Spaulding said. “It has been instrumental in helping me realize the scope of my actions.”

Spaulding created the Tributary Festival, an annual benefit concert that raises money to protect the Chesapeake Bay. His 2021 event at the Inner Harbor of Baltimore drew more than 500 attendees who donated over $7,000 to the Chesapeake Bay Foundation. The free festival featured live music from a half-dozen professional and student bands, including Spaulding’s own.

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Spaulding grew up kayaking and digging for oysters on the Chesapeake Bay and as he entered Towson High School, felt compelled to protect it. A drummer since age 10, he’d formed a rock band in fifth grade and had seen music festivals rally entire communities behind a cause. So he decided to hold a festival to benefit the bay.

When the pandemic twice delayed his plans, he maintained momentum by staging a backyard concert and hosting a live-streamed festival of pre-recorded band performances.

“With hard work and determination, you really can bring your goals to fruition,” Spaulding said. “I’ve learned I’m more capable than I thought, and that students can make a massive impact.”

Prior to the 2021 festival, Spaulding founded the Tributary Club at his high school to help plan future concerts.

“My idea began as just that, an idea, and has grown into a full-scale, multiyear event, school club and nonprofit organization,” Spaulding said. “I hope that I can help inspire the next wave of student leaders to do great things and not underestimate their abilities as students.”

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The Barron Prize was founded in 2001 by bestselling author T. A. Barron and named afterhis mother, Gloria. Since then, the prize has honored more than 500 young people who reflect the great diversity of America, according to the organization.


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