HENDERSON, Ky. (WEHT)- A student in Huntingburg got a special surprise today.

Maleah Dearing is a soon-to-be high school freshman.

She was shocked to find out she was being honored with the Lieutenant Governor’s “Brilliant Fire-Fly Award.”

Indiana Lieutenant Governor Suzanne Crouch says the award recognizes young people who are lighting up the future for Indiana.

The award came after Maleah’s teacher assigned a marketing project. Maleah took it a step further by setting up an event for people with special needs and disabilities.

She said it’s something that’s personal to her. 

“My nephew has Down syndrome, so life is not easy for him all the time. So, there’s just some things where you have to put yourself on the sidelines and think of everybody else because not everything always comes as easy.”

Maleah shares her hope that her community will continue to lead with open arms for all.