Santa Monica resident Annemarie Kelleghan is one of 255 Girl Scouts in the greater Los Angeles area who have recently earned the Gold Award, Girl Scouts’ highest honor.

Kelleghan and the other scouts were presented their Gold Award pins at the Girl Scouts of Greater Los Angeles Inaugural Gold Award Ceremony Sunday, June 14th.

Nationwide, only 4.5 percent of all eligible Girl Scouts achieve the Gold Award. This year, Girl Scouts of Greater Los Angeles exceeded the national average with 19 percent of eligible girls in grades ten to 12 receiving the honor.

Earning the Gold Award is a multi-year process in which a girl plans and implements a large-scale community project. Overall, the 255 young women logged more than 17,000 hours of leadership, advocacy and service. This year’s projects spotlighted critical issues such as cancer awareness, environmental concerns and solutions, childhood obesity, and community revitalization.

“These young women have imagined outside the box, responsibly challenged the status quo, found the courage to speak up, and to persevere when life didn’t go according to plan,” Lise L. Luttgens, CEO of GSGLA, said. “They’ve shown us what it means to set a goal and achieve it, take a passion and turn it into a cause, and that one individual’s actions has a ripple effect, often beyond what we expect.”