Rotary President-Elect said that Ledia Koco was a wonderful example of the importance of the Interact Club at Chelsea High School.
Koco, 25, was a member and president of the CHS Interact Club during her four years at the school. Interact Club is sponsored by the Chelsea Rotary Club and introduces students to the club’s service to the community and its international reach.
For her outstanding efforts as an Interact leader and senior facilitator of Rotary Youth Leadership Awards (RYLA) her 1,000 hours of community service, and her continued work in the community, Koco was honored as the recipient of the Rotary Foundation of Rotary International’s Paul Harris Fellow Award at the club’s Installation of Officers Reception at the Homewood Suites Hotel.
Past President Allan Alpert handled the formal presentation of the award to Koco.
“All Paul Harris Awards are important and very distinguished, but this one is a little more special because it’s the members of the Rotary Club that honored you by making you a Paul Harris Fellow for all the things that you have done in your very short time here,” said Alpert.
Koco is the daughter of Luan and Manjola Koco, who are originally from Albania. A former model who finished as first-runnerup in a major pageant, Ledia graduated in 2011 from Chelsea High where she was an honor roll student and member of the National Honor Society. She continued her education at Bucknell University in Pennsylvania, receiving her degree in International Relations and Spanish.
Koco continued her membership in RYLA while at Bucknell, teaching other students in work force development. She is a member of the Chelsea Enhacement Team, which is a volunteer organization who participates in community service such as beautification efforts in the city.
“Ledia is the administrative assistant to the Chelsea City Council and probably the youngest person that has ever held that very distinguished honor,” said Alpert.
Koco humbly accepted the prestigious award.
“This is such an honor – I’m overwhelmed right now,” she said. “I just want to say that I feel incredibly honored to be gifted the Paul Harris Fellow Award, especially because it helps raise millions of dollars for the Rotary Foundation.”
Koco said her commitment to public service began early in her life.
“I always knew I wanted to make a difference, especially having emigrated to the States from a Third World country, Albania,” said Koco. “But it wasn’t until I joined Interact and started doing community service, that I realized how much of an impact you can make starting from the bottom up. I didn’t need a fancy job or to be an adult to make a difference. Through Rotary and Interact, I was able to give back to my community regardless.”
She thanked the Rotary Club for presenting her a college scholarship, along with helping to build her leadership skills.
“The irony here is while Rotary is recognizing me, I feel like I should really be recognizing Rotary,” she added thoughtfully.
Koco concluded her remarks by thanking her mentors, including her favorite high school teacher, Ilana Ascher, the Chelsea City Council, Council Clerk Paul Casino, and “my parents, the hardest-working people I know –
I want to thank you for your unconditional love and support.”
Koco received a warm ovation from the many Rotary members and guests in attendance.
“This was an outstanding honor for one of Chelsea’s young adults who is making a difference in our community,” said Councillor-at-Large Leo Robinson. “I wanted to be here tonight to join the Rotary in this much-deserved recognition of Ledia’s contributions to Chelsea with this prestigious award. I congratulate her on behalf of all my colleagues in city government and the citizens of Chelsea.”