Whenever Michael W. Fedder started something -- a sport, playing an instrument, community service -- he would go as far as he could with it.
"He never did not finish anything he started," Shelly Fedder said of her son. "Whatever he got involved in, he stuck with it. He had that kind of dedication -- whatever he did, he thought about it and he got into it to stay."
This stick-to-itiveness led to Fedder being named the 1998-1999 Teen-ager of the Year for Maryland, Virginia, Delaware and Washington by the Capital District of Kiwanis International Inc. The award was announced in August, just after the 18-year-old had left for college in Florida.
He had won the Teen-ager of the Year award from the Kiwanis Club of Greater Westminster in June and the Kiwanis Division 9 title (from Carroll to Allegany counties) in July.
"I was delighted," Fedder said from Eckerd College in St. Petersburg. "I was so excited because I wasn't expecting to win. The other people [in the competition] were of the same caliber. I guess what I did -- all I was involved in -- contributed to the award."
The regional award came with a $1,000 cash prize, which was put toward college.
"What we want to do is honor the best of the best students," said Donald W. Jones, district chairman of the award program. "What we look for is students who must have good to excellent academic performance, all-around good citizenship, excellent peer leadership, and outstanding community and charitable initiatives and follow through.
"Based on that, Mike was the very best; we were very impressed with his credentials," Jones said.
About 10 youths competed for the top prize, Jones said.
Fedder had to turn down the Capital District Kiwanis offer to fly him from Florida for the award because he was taking a class. His parents accepted the award for him Aug. 28 at ceremonies in Hunt Valley.
Fedder graduated in June from South Carroll High School, a short distance from his Linton Springs home. Through high school, he maintained perfect attendance and a 3.97 grade point average.
Musically talented, he played the piano and alto and baritone saxophones. He was in the school jazz band and marching band all four years and made the All-County Jazz Band from 10th through 12th grades.
Fedder was inducted into the National Honor Society and included in "Who's Who Among American High School Students." He has certificates from the Maryland Distinguished Scholar Program, State of Maryland Merit Scholastic Program and the state Department of Education's Meritorious Service Award for Community Service.
He played recreational soccer and basketball.
And with all that, he earned 805 1/2 hours of community service. He helped with school environmental projects, helped build accessible walkways for the handicapped over streams at Piney Ridge Elementary School and South Carroll and worked with Habitat for Humanity through St. Michael's Roman Catholic Church in Mount Airy.
As part of his community service efforts, he was a counselor at Camp Milldale, a summer day camp in Baltimore County near the Carroll border. He enjoyed working with developmentally disabled youths at the camp.
"Michael went through the whole program, as a camper when he was 8, to counselor," Shelly Fedder said. "He was a counselor-in-training the summer of 1996 and 1997, a junior counselor in 1998 and a paid counselor this summer."
Estelle Sanzenbacher, coordinator for Carroll's service learning program, said Fedder wasn't alone in earning so many community service hours, but "to go over 500 or 600 hours is unusual."
To help pay his way through college, Fedder "applied for 18 to 20 scholarships," his father, Ken Fedder, said.
Michael Fedder also won Eckerd College's Presidential Scholarship, the Freedom District Lioness Club scholarship for community service and the Ernestine Matthews Trust, a five-state area scholarship that focuses on community service and scholastic achievement.
"He was one of our outstanding candidates," said Herbert Stutts, treasurer for the Ernestine Matthews Trust in Rockville. "We were very pleased with his community service record and glad to give him the award. His parents should be very proud."