Sarah Kim

Sarah Kim is the founder and facilitator of Music for Hearts, an organization that brings musically devout teens together to play instruments and sing at senior care centers and facilities. She is first year member of the Youth Alliance for a Healthier Alaska, where she engages full-heartedly with kindness and compassion and everything that she does. Her thoughtful guidance and tireless support of youth mental health in Alaska inspired her to invest her passion back into the community.

  • Home Town Anchorage
  • School District Anchorage
  • Award Category Humanitarian

Renee Peterson

Renee has been active in the West Valley High School student government and recently served as co-host of the WVHS School Board candidate forum. Last October, she and other WVHS students planned a solidarity rally in support of Mat-Su students, who were holding their own walkout that same day to protest the action of their school board in removing 53 books and the school board’s student representative position from the board. Her work in student government and student advocacy provides an important voice often unheard or overlooked when decisions are being made.

  • Home Town Fairbanks
  • School District Fairbanks North Star Borough School District
  • Award Category Humanitarian

Rebekah Hudson

Rebekah is a long time volunteer for many different organizations and causes. She makes the time while balancing school work, being a member of D.Em competitive dance squad, and working. Rebekah volunteers at a local elementary school with students and teachers and helping at their annual school carnival fundraiser. In the summer, she helps assist her dance studio is guiding younger dancers. Rebekah was a guest dignitary at the 1st Walk to End Alzheimers on the Kenai Peninsula. She has also volunteered with Soldotna Chamber of Commerce Pie Auction to raise money for local scholarships and programs.

She believes it is important to help the youth in our community find and use their passion to battle bullying since she herself was the victim of bullying and has worked her way back to a healthy state of mind using dance.

  • Home Town Kenai
  • School District Kenai Peninsula School District
  • Award Category Role Model

Madeleine (Maddy) Reckmeyer

Maddy is passionate about inclusivity, respect, and dignity for the special-needs community in Alaska. She started working with special-needs students in middle school and continued her involvement at Service High in Partner’s Club, a social inclusion club for students with and without intellectual disabilities. Maddy has participated in Unified Track at Service (in which special needs students participate with partners in track and field events) since her freshman year, and helped lead her team to win State and qualify for the 2022 National Special Olympics competition. Maddy has also helped increase access to mental health resources for Alaska teens through her work as a mental health advocate. She has participated in Mental Health Advocacy Through Storytelling as a storyteller, advocate, and facilitator, founded the Health and Wellness Club at Service High, and developed her own mental health platform, The Future Is Good, to further help teens dealing with mental health issues.

  • Home Town Anchorage
  • School District Anchorage School District
  • Award Category Life Saver

Kyler Frazier

Kyler is involved in youth competitive hockey, volunteering in the community, extended learning program, video production, and debate club. He has been a positive role model, loyal friend, and positive and helpful person, always encouraging others to do well. He helps teammates with their homework and acknowledges the younger players that look up to them. Kyler volunteers in the community at many events with his sister, serves as a referee for kids hockey when available, and is always a smiling face to kids around him. He is trustworthy, responsible, and always trying to lead others in the right direction. He is humble, kind, and willing to lend a hand whenever he can.

  • Home Town Fairbanks
  • School District Fairbanks North Star Borough
  • Award Category Role Model

Juli Layton

Juli has been a member of the Mat-Su Youth Orchestra (MSYO) since 2019, and recently stepped up as 1st chair, leading the 1st violins and has demonstrated her dedication and encouragement to her peers.  She serves in her class orchestra at school and also the after school advanced orchestra, and conducted a piece for her class orchestra at their winter concert. In addition to these and other musical pursuits, this is Juli’s third year being on Thrive Mat-Su’s Street Team, promoting and volunteering at Thrive events to welcome youth and build a community where youth feel valued. Wherever Juli goes, whether it be school, church or in the community, she is an outstanding leader and possesses the ability to connect with youth around her.

  • Home Town Palmer
  • School District Matanuska Susitna
  • Award Category Dreamer, Role Model

Nia Dowdy

Nia acts as a teacher and mentor by working with younger children in her community and homeschooling her siblings. Nia demonstrates her abilities through the effort she puts in her teaching and personal skills.

  • Home Town Wasilla
  • School District Matsu School District
  • Award Category Role Model

Melissa Maxwell

Despite her young age, Melissa is a lead instructor at the Juneau Karate Academy. She specializes in teaching the younger “Lil Dragons” classes. She has been a member and helps out with other youth on the “Demo” team for the Karate school. Melissa is also currently a captain of Juneau’s Forget Me Not Synchronized Skating Team, the only competitive synchronized skating team in Alaska. Melissa has been a role model for years through her leadership and mentorship in the karate and figure skating community in Juneau.

  • Home Town Juneau
  • School District Juneau
  • Award Category Dreamer, Role Model

Ben Kolendo

Ben is the Student Advisory Representative of the MatSu School District School Board. In this role, he is an outstanding example to his peers. In 2023, the Adult School Board acted to remove the student representatives ability to offer student input to the Board of Education. Despite this, Ben has continued to represent his fellow students in a respectful courteous manner.He has previously participated in the MatSu Youth Orchestra as well as leading podcast for youth during the pandemic. As the Student Advisory Representative, Ben has strived to represent all students throughout the school district not just a select few. He continues to work daily to solve the issues set before him.

  • Home Town Wasilla
  • School District Matanuska Susitna School District
  • Award Category Humanitarian, Role Model

Arianna Anderson

Arianna, as part of the Seward Sources of Strength Peer Leader team, creates and implements youth led campaigns to foster connection, highlight resilience and increase help seeking behaviors in her school and community. She works to normalize conversations about struggle and how teens can recognize resilience in their own lives and get connected to resources to receive the help that they need and deserve through stories of strength. Arianna is incredibly strong and shares stories of strength from her own life that have an impact on her peers.

Arianna also shines as a leader putting on school-wide activities to increase connection and fight isolative factors. She serves as a resource to her peers as she has been trained as a connector to help, and provides other teens with knowledge of local resources and trusted adults that can help in a time of crisis.

  • Home Town Seward
  • School District Kenai Peninsula Borough School District
  • Award Category Life Saver, Role Model

Seward High Sources of Strength Peer Leader Team

The Sources of Strength Peer Leader team creates and implements youth led campaigns to foster connection, highlight resilience and increase help seeking behaviors in their school and community. The team works to normalize conversations about struggle and how teens can recognize resilience in their own lives and get connected to resources to get the help that they need and deserve through stories of strength. Their mission is to ensure that during the rough times no one gets so overwhelmed or hopeless that they want to give up. Being a peer led program- the power of their efforts comes from their youth voice and the influence they have among their peers.

 

  • Home Town Seward
  • School District Kenai Peninsula Borough School District
  • Award Category Humanitarian, Role Model

Lola Swanson

Beginning at the age of 10, Lola decided to share her love for dance with the Seward community and began teaching classes to young people.  She started a business offering week-long summer camps, earning a reputation as a mature and talented youth teacher and leader who inspires her students to love dance.

Before Lola started offering dance classes and camps, there were inconsistent opportunities for young people in Seward to learn to dance. She has filled a need in the community. Recognizing that not all children can afford dance lessons, and determined to not let finances stand in the way of a young person’s desire to learn to dance, Lola formed a partnership with Seward’s Youth360 program to provide dance scholarships to families in need.

  • Home Town Seward
  • School District Kenai Peninsula Borough School District 15
  • Award Category Visionary, Dreamer

Dimond NOAA Ocean Guardians

The Dimond NOAA Ocean Guardians have been involved for the past three years in remote beach cleanups near Whittier. The students have removed over 1,000 pounds of marine debris off of remote beaches in Prince William Sound over the last three years and worked with local engineer, Patrick Simpson, to learn how to sort the debris and grind some of it and extrude it to make recycled lumber.

They have also removed hundreds of pounds of trash from their school campus, performed weekly recycling of paper, aluminum, and plastic bottles, started a coral reef tank to teach their peers and students from nearby Chinook Elementary about the importance of coral reefs, and given out prizes of reusable water bottles decorated with student art and t-shirts decorated with student art to celebrate recycling and trash cleanups.

  • Home Town
  • School District Anchorage School District
  • Award Category Discovery

Nora McBride

Nora’s work with the Ocean Club has resulted in the removal of hundreds of pounds of marine debris from beaches near Whittier Alaska. She has contributed to college-level papers for the Tsunami Bowl including one on polymetallic nodule harvesting in the deep ocean, one on scaling up mariculture, and one on the impacts and mitigation of climate change on wild salmon fisheries and she helped present those papers to students and scientists at the Tsunami Bowl as well as competed in the quiz bowl.

Nora shared the results of her carbon sequestration experiment with the students in her ocean club and with teachers to share with other students in science classes. By working towards testing a possible solution for climate change, Nora is improving her own mental health as well as those she shares her experiment with. It was an inspiration for other students to see and hear about a youth-led experiment that was related to solving a global problem.

  • Home Town
  • School District Anchorage School District
  • Award Category Innovator, Discovery

Marysue (Manuyak) Beck

Marysue is a teacher at the local tribal immersion school, Nikaitchuat. Marysue graduated from ANSEP in the spring of 2023 in Kotzebue. She stepped in as a relief teacher at the Nikaitchuat school in the fall of 2023 and has now moved up to teacher. As a young child Marysue, who goes by Manuyak, attended Nikaitchuat tribal school and as a young Inupiat lady she is immersed in a language that is being lost. Manuyak loves the kids and it shows in how they look up to her.  Manuyak carries on the Inupiaq language and her love for children.

  • Home Town Kotzebue
  • School District
  • Award Category Dreamer, Role Model

Sara DeVolld

Sara is a 16-year-old, fourth-generation Alaskan whose L.E.D. “Artwear” creations have been recognized by 3M, Discovery Education, and The Alaska Society for Technology in Education for her innovative fusions of science and technology with art and design. Her design company, “Vintage Train Case,” produces dresses, jewelry, and ballet-performance costumes. She is introducing her generation to the beauty and class of the past while encouraging conversations about STEM, fashion, and arts! Sara has also developed and implemented fundraisers for the dance non-profit, Peninsula Artists in Motion (P.A.M.), while also teaching and mentoring 7-12 year old ballet students.

  • Home Town Soldotna
  • School District Kenai Peninsula Borough School District
  • Award Category Dreamer

Emily Robinson

At the young age of 16, Emily Robinson is an inspiration to so many, old and young. She is an accomplished musher who has participated in and won two Junior Iditarods, the Alpine Creek Excursion, and the Willow 150. In January 2024, she bested defending champion Brent Sass to win the Knik 200. Emily is determined, dedicated, and very passionate about her dogs and mushing. However, what is so special about her is her bubbly and positive personality. She has a special connection with her dogs, and is a musher genius. She is also kind and friendly with her competitors and race volunteers.

  • Home Town Nenana
  • School District Nenana School District
  • Award Category Role Model

Sean Middleton

Sean is a role model to those around him and he works hard for the things he wants and genuinely cares about his community. He is on the 15U Team Alaska Hockey, proving that fitness, control and healthy habits are key. Sean shows the younger teams at HCF these traits. He provides words during conflict and encourages the younger teams to not fall into peer pressure. 

  • Home Town Fairbanks
  • School District Anchorage School District
  • Award Category Role Model

Noah Matheson

Noah is what is known as a servant leader. He pushes his friends do to better and work harder, setting this example to participate and help where help is needed. Noah spends his time involved in AWANAS, Young Life, and his hockey team, Team Alaska. He encourages other youth to work hard, eat right, and train harder.

  • Home Town Fairbanks
  • School District FNSBSD
  • Award Category Role Model

Sean Middleton

Sean is a role model to those around him and he works hard for the things he wants and genuinely cares about his community. He is on the 15U Team Alaska Hockey, proving that fitness, control and healthy habits are key. Sean shows the younger teams at HCF these traits. He provides words during conflict and encourages the younger teams to not fall into peer pressure. 

  • Home Town Fairbanks
  • School District Anchorage School District
  • Award Category Role Model