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Actor and TV personality Nick Cannon poses with ECU sophomore Taylor Waters after presenting her with the TeenNick HALO Award, given annually to young adults across the country for service and leadership. The honor comes with a $10,000 prize to go toward her cause - disaster relief through the American Red Cross. (Photo by Cliff Hollis)


ECU student earns Nickelodeon service, leadership award

October 30, 2012

By Kathryn Kennedy
ECU News Services

An East Carolina University sophomore is among four young adults who will be honored next month for service and leadership as part of a nationally televised award ceremony.

Taylor Waters, 19, will be featured in this year’s TeenNick HALO Awards, scheduled to air on Nickelodeon on Nov. 19. The award recognizes teens who are “Helping and Leading Others” (HALO), according to network sources. She founded and is president of the Red Cross at East Carolina University student organization.

Waters learned of the award after she agreed to be featured in a Nickelodeon segment about teen volunteers. Filming took place at ECU on Oct. 19, and in her hometown, Sanford.

She realized that feature was only half the story as she was filmed leading a student organization meeting in the Mendenhall Student Center’s Cynthia Lounge. During a scavenger hunt, a familiar face appeared holding a Red Cross duffle bag.

Actor and TV personality Nick Cannon, who hosts and produces the HALO awards, presented her with the news and an oversized check for $10,000 that afternoon.

“I was in complete and total shock,” Waters recalled in an interview this week. “I had no idea why he was there and what was happening.”

Waters, an elementary education major and Teaching Fellows scholar, first got involved with the Red Cross when her grandmother’s house burned down in January 2010.

“As painful as it was for my family and I, the Red Cross volunteers held our hands and prepared my grandmother for the next steps in coping,” she recalled. “Following the disaster and being able to see my grandmother move on, I recall the words in Luke 12:48 when Luke told us:  ‘To whom much is given, much will be required.’”

Cannon lauded Waters’ “selfless” work.

“I believe she’ll do the right things with (the money),” he added. “That’s the beauty of being able to put money into hands of people that want to do positive things. I’m pretty sure she’ll come up with some creative ideas to help further her mission and her cause.”

After the filming, Waters was flown to Los Angeles to meet actor Josh Duhamel. He supports disaster relief efforts of the American Red Cross, as well as his hometown’s Minot Area Community Foundation in North Dakota, which establishes permanently endowed funds to support both local and national charities and charitable causes.

“The experience…has truly been, and continues to be, amazing,” Waters gushed.

Segments for Waters’ portion of the fourth annual HALO Awards were shot in the Mendenhall Student Center, Dowdy Student Stores and at other locations around campus.

More information about the HALO Awards is available online at 



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