Samir Akal – Anchorage
Samir Akal came to Anchorage two years ago after leaving a refugee camp in Egypt. Going above and beyond what was required of him, Samir has achieved a high level of academic success. But his hard work has not stopped there. Living with diabetes himself, Samir hopes to help others combat the disease by working towards becoming a nurse. He has volunteered at Providence Hospital, tutored other Somali speaking students in math, and spent this most recent summer volunteering at the Mountain View Public Library.
Award Category – Phoenix
Alyssa Madrid – Kodiak
Alyssa Madrid has been a member of Kodiak Island’s Alutiiq Dancers since 2011, and is now training to become a leader drummer and song caller. Alyssa has also served as a youth ambassador for the Alaska Tobacco Control Alliance, and currently acts as the Cultural Programs Assistant for the Sun’aq Tribe of Kodiak.
Award Category – Dreamer
Jivan Gordon-Wolfe – Fairbanks
Jivan has led a Make A Difference Day project in October every year for the past 4 years. He has also been involved with the Alaska Tobacco Control Alliance Youth leaders program for over a year, and has attended two trainings in Anchorage on tobacco education, prevention, and advocacy topics. Jivan has worked and volunteered for Green Star, and raised awareness of plastic bag waste.
Award Category – Humanitarian
Haley Edmondson – Anchorage
Haley Edmondson is an active member of her community and volunteers her time to better the lives of those in her community, particularly other youth. Her achievements include hosting a fashion show to raise money for Breast Cancer research, raising over $4,000 for the Children’s Hospital, helping to create a nationally recognized “Raise Your Voice” video with the Alaska Injury Prevention Center, and organizing bonding activities with life skills students attending South Anchorage High School.
Award Category – Visionary
Jackson Blackwell – Soldotna
Jackson has been involved in Teens Against Tobacco Use for the past 4 years. He has given tobacco prevention lessons to his peers, and has also testified to the Alaska state legislature on the importance of a smoke-free workplace.
Award Category – Lifesaver
Tasha Elizarde – Juneau
Tasha Elizarde works as a Peer Educator with the Juneau Teen Council, which focuses on teaching teens about healthy sexuality and healthy relationships. Tasha attended the 2016 Teen Council Summit in Washington DC and co-presented a workshop about youth involvement in advocacy efforts. After the summit, Tasha was invited to write an article for an MTV news blog. Tasha exhibits exceptional skills in leadership, writing, and advocacy.
Award Category – Role Model
Fairbanks Skate Park Coalition – Fairbanks
Fairbanks Skate Park Coalition was formed in April 2016 by a group of young skateboarders, BMX bikers and other action sport riders who want to create safe, fun skate parks in the Fairbanks North Star Borough. Since that time, they have gained non-profit status, assisted in designing and refurbishing the North Pole Skate Park and then hosted a grand opening and competition. They have started working with our Borough and Parks and Rec department to get a new skate park built in Fairbanks to replace the 20 year old park that has become unsafe.
Award Category – Innovator
Port Graham High School – Port Graham
8th through 12th grade students in Port Graham spearheaded a project to raise rabbits that would eventually be used for skin-sewing and tanning hides. The students were involved in the process from beginning to end and used hands-on experience to build scientific and traditional skills. The rabbits were raised and treated with the utmost care and respect.
Award Category – Discovery