2017 Nominees

Abby Conklin

After applying for and receiving a Disney Grant to host an event, Abby organized a creative fundraiser for The Door Youth Shelter. Her Pool Party raised over $3,000 for the shelter, and cast a spotlight on the needs of homeless youth in Fairbanks.

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

Abigail Couch

Abigail participates in extracurricular activities such as cheerleading and basketball, while also maintaining her GPA. Her drive to continue to improve her grades after family trauma and emotional stress is evident in her work ethic.

  • Home Town Wasilla
  • School District Matanuska Susitna Borough School District
  • Award Category Phoenix

Alicia Smoke

Alicia finds and creates healthy routines for herself and her peers. She participated in an Alaska Geographic summer program and she is always quick to participate and take a leadership role in school events like talent shows, open gym, or bi-monthly skating nights. She was the recipient of the Tyonek Tribal Conservation District’s (TTCD) Volunteer of the Year Award. TTCD facilitates a greenhouse and gardening project to supply the village with produce and, whenever free, Alicia made herself available to work at the garden and contribute to the efforts of getting nutritious food to her community.

  • Home Town Tyonek
  • School District KPBSD
  • Award Category Role Model, Discovery

Anonymous Teen

Anonymous Teen (AT) has volunteered over 200 hours over the past at an organization providing direct services for other teens. AT is gender queer and noticed that a lot of the paperwork and forms at the organization were not gender inclusive and asked to update the materials. It took courage to call out adults and help them to do better for the next teen who walks in the door.

  • Home Town Anchorage
  • School District Private
  • Award Category Phoenix

Ashley Smith

Ashley Smith was elected by her peers to serve as CEO of Northern Lights ABC School’s business with Jr Achievement. Her involvement in Anchorage Youth Court, Special Olympics and the Mobile Food Pantry testify to her selfless desire to be a positive impact on others and her efforts to address and improve the quality of life for others.

  • Home Town Anchorage
  • School District Anchorage School District
  • Award Category Humanitarian, Role Model

Aunika Alch

Aunika began #Hashtaglunchbag in Anchorage. She organizes youth and adults to gather and prepare lunches for the homeless in Anchorage.

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

Avery Palenske

Avery is involved in school’s state-winning Science Olympiad team. She traveled with the team to nationals in May. She is diligent inside and outside of class, she is also kind and respectful to everyone, teachers and students.

  • Home Town Palmer
  • School District Matanuska-Susitna Borough School District
  • Award Category Role Model

Be [You] Team

The Be [You] Team is sponsored by the Fairbanks Wellness Coalition and housed within the North Star Youth Court, where each member is a NSYC trained mediator. Their message is one that promotes being excited about who you are and understanding that youth are not alone in their decision to not drink alcohol. NSYC has set up at many events in Alaska over the past few months with information on teen alcohol consumption.

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

Braiden Owen

Braiden always brings a positive attitude and smile on his face to school, along with his humorous personality. He is eager to help others and is a prime example for those in his grade.

  • Home Town Palmer
  • School District Mat-Su School District
  • Award Category Role Model

Brett Ivan Keene

Brett Ivan Keene is an enthusiastic, involved member of his community. He has spent many hours volunteering with his church to mentor younger children. He has also been involved with JROTC and took leadership courses at Points of Light Youth Leadership Institute. Overcoming personal challenges, Brett has made a large impact on his community and achieved a high level of success.

  • Home Town Anchorage
  • School District
  • Award Category Overcoming Challenges, Service To Community

Carlee Rizzo

Carlee Rizzo saw a need in her community and decided to do something about it. She started a non-profit charitable organization that she named the Nikiski Children’s Fund (NCF). NCF serves the needs of students at Nikiski Northstar Elementary School, Nikiski Middle High School, and children in Nikiski. The idea is simple; school staff often know of children’s needs and now when they see a need, staff can make a request to the NCF building representative.

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

Carol Kegley

Carol is a member of the Future Problem Solving Program, North Star Youth Court, Girl Scouts, Be [You] Team and Barnette Middle School’s Mediators. In all her roles she seeks to bring about a better future for her peers and her community.

  • Home Town Fairbanks
  • School District Fairbanks North Star Borough
  • Award Category Dreamer, Visionary

Charly Rentz

Charly always approaches all of her activities with all of her effort and charisma. She has been a member of National Junior Honor Society, Letters of Love, our CMS Morning Crew (announcement crew), MSBSD speech and debate competitions, Agents for Change, Tri-M (music honor society), and the school’s QPR (suicide prevention program) team.

  • Home Town Palmer
  • School District MSBSD
  • Award Category Role Model

Collin “Max” Friedli

Max Friedli helps other teens improve their ability to cope when things go wrong by being an effective listener and a teenager who is wise beyond his years. When Max notices that a peer is struggling with depression or suicidal thoughts he engages with them. Max co-led an anti-bullying themed school dance for his middle school.

  • Home Town Eagle River
  • School District Anchorage School District
  • Award Category Visionary, Role Model

Cook Inlet Academy High School and Junior High students

The students at Cook Inlet Academy reach out to their entire community. Their Fall Workathon program targets the elderly in their community by helping them get ready for winter. The local Crisis Pregnancy Center holds a pie auction every year, they raised $40,000 for community needs this year with the help of our students. The school holds a Spring Carnival each year and the students are an integral part of it.

  • Home Town Soldotna
  • School District Private
  • Award Category Humanitarian

David Panik

This past summer, David lead the community beautification project. He organized other youth to help by picking up trash and paint trash cans around the village. He ordered the supplies and asked the village council to provide lunch for the student workers as well. He is active in student government, the captain of the basketball team and is always presenting new ideas to help the community and his school become a better place. He also suggests ideas to teachers about how the elders in the community can be taken care of.

  • Home Town Wainwright
  • School District North Slope Borough
  • Award Category Humanitarian, Role Model

Duncan Okitkun

Duncan shares his Yupik culture with the world every chance he gets. His songs and public speaking heals and strengthens people in his village. He has spoken and sang at numerous conferences. He also performs at his school, instilling pride in his peers and is a great role model for the young people of his village.

  • Home Town Kotlik
  • School District
  • Award Category Visionary, Role Model

Emily Gage

Emily worked with her friend to create a Girl Talk chapter for our local middle school. She is a leader within the group and organizes the weekly lessons as well as sets up volunteer activities within the community.

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

Emma Hopkins

Emma volunteered to help coach 6th grade girls basketball this year. She took the initiative to volunteer her time after school for six weeks in order to help. She was an excellent role model and went above and beyond teaching our players.

  • Home Town Palmer
  • School District Mat-Su Borough School District
  • Award Category Role Model

Erika Grover and Hailey Hancock

Erika and Hailey are part of a peer partnership. They are role models and advocates for students with intensive special needs. They assist in being role-models for students with intensive special needs, and raise awareness of special needs of individuals and how to include them in the community as valuable partners.

  • Home Town Palmer
  • School District MSBSD
  • Award Category Role Model

Fayth Gaw

Fayth Gaw stands up against bullying and harassment, and is always willing to support, or be present for her peers.

  • Home Town JBER
  • School District Anchorage
  • Award Category Overcoming Challenges, Service To Peers

Gabriel “Gabe’ Miller

Gabe is a quiet leader who has an exceptional brain to logically think out solutions, and does not shy away from the responsibility to improve the quality and choices for native/non-native teens within his home community.

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

Greg Kraskoff

Greg had some great personal and family situations this year that really affected him. He did his best to rise above them and do his best at school. He is an outgoing young man with a great sense of humor.

  • Home Town Wasillla
  • School District Matanuska-Susitna Borough School District
  • Award Category Phoenix

Hannah Mason

Hannah is a member of the North Star Youth Court where she serves as Defense Attorney, Board Member and Judge. She always seeks to find the best way to affect a positive outcome for the youth court clients. She takes her work seriously and is a positive role model to the new up and coming attorneys, who look up to her.

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

Isabelle Zink

Isabelle helped coach 6th grade girls basketball this year at Colony Middle School. She came to every practice and every game. She was positive and respectful throughout the entire season and the girls truly look up to her.

  • Home Town Palmer
  • School District Mat-Su Borough School District
  • Award Category Role Model

Isaiah Dunegan-Lain

Isaiah was able to utilize his first aide/CPR skills and save a life last week. In a busy classroom, at lunchtime, he was the only person who observed a student choking on food. Adults and several other students heard the student coughing and then the silence, but they didn’t connect the silence with choking. Isaiah did. He sprang into action and did the Heimlich maneuver a few times. A chunk of hot dog came flying out and a young person’s life was saved.

  • Home Town Anchorage
  • School District Anchorage School District
  • Award Category Lifesaver, Role Model

Jack Walters

Jack Walters is the starting goaltender for the Chugiak High School hockey team and volunteers his time to coach a competitive hockey team for children ages 10 and under. Jack is also a member of the National Junior Honor Society.

  • Home Town Eagle River
  • School District Anchorage
  • Award Category Role Model

Jackson Petrie

Jackson has been a great team player in all the sports he has participated in, from t-ball to floor hockey. He has always been supportive of other teammates, always cheering them on, whether he was playing or on the bench. He helps others when needed without prompting and truly cares about his teammates.

  • Home Town Palmer
  • School District MSBSD
  • Award Category Humanitarian

Jullian Parada

Julian does as much as she can to help people realize that they have a reason to live. She has helped many people with problems that range from being sad to being suicidal. She keeps them talking to make sure they’re safe and, on occasions when it gets serious, she will contact parents or police.

  • Home Town JBER
  • School District Anchorage School District
  • Award Category Phoenix, Role Model

Kail Davey

Kail is chosen as a leader among his peers and teachers frequently have him to lead, help, or facilitate during classes. At home, he continues to help his grandparents. He exhibits a great sense of humor and an exceptional ability to see the best in every situation.

  • Home Town Palmer
  • School District Matanuska-Susitna Borough School District
  • Award Category Phoenix

Katelyn Delarosa

Katelyn joined the True North Church YTH group this fall. Her personality is loving and accepting. Most students that attend the local boarding house also come from villages and many tend to struggle with their grades and learning how to study. Katelyn is a prime example of a hard worker, and good example for her peers.

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

Katirina Mowrer

Katirina Mowrer is a self-motivated natural leader. In her position as Youth Intern in Summer Youth Culture camps around the Bristol Bay Region, she taught Native Dance, Native Youth Olympics, and skin sewing youth in grades K-9.

  • Home Town Dillingham
  • School District Dillingham City School
  • Award Category Visionary, Role Model

Kaylee Rose Phillips

Kaylee is a self-starter, independent, and loves to serve others. No matter what group she finds herself in, she finds ways to serve others. All of the projects that she has been involved in address social problems and needs in both Fairbanks and Rampart.

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

Kaylynn Zagyva

Kaylynn leads a Girl Talk group at Colony Middle School. The group concentrates on anti bullying, girls supporting each other, and increasing confidence in teen girls. She is also involved in community and school programs like Special Santa, Rotary Uncorked, Fundraiser for My House, National Technical Honor Society, Student Government, Science Olympiad, and volunteers at the North Star Vet Clinic.

  • Home Town Wasilla
  • School District Mat-Su Borough School District
  • Award Category Role Model

Kelly Mauricio

Kelly has over 300 hours of various community service hours, such as providing support to special needs students during and after school. She has conducted numerous color guards, which provide support across the Anchorage community. She is selfless in her commitment to the community and her school by providing support for teachers and parents during conferences.

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

Khamariah Anderson Yelder

Khamariah not only excels in the classroom by taking several advanced placement courses, she is also part of her school’s varsity cheer teams, is a performer on the dance team and performs in school plays. She is also the current vice president for the Bartlett High School National Honor Society and has been a member of student government. She has volunteered countless hours and was awarded the Youth Citizenship medal by the Daughters of the American Revolution.

  • Home Town Anchorage
  • School District Anchorage School District
  • Award Category Visionary, Role Model

Kiara Johnson

Kiara is an active participant on the cheerleading squad. She brings cheer everywhere she goes. She also was selected as a Sister School Exchange participant and will be traveling to a remote Alaska village to experience the culture and life in rural Alaska. Kiara was selected out of a large pool of applicants due to her positive attitude, willingness to learn and try new things, and her leadership qualities.

  • Home Town Wasilla
  • School District MSBSD
  • Award Category Phoenix, Role Model

Lacie Freeman

Lacie is great at delegating responsibility so those around her are able to shine as well. She is compassionate, and her passion for life is palpable. She is involved in Agents for Change, Tri-M (Modern Music Masters) Honor Society, and National Junior Honor Society as the Vice President. She tries to take leadership roles both in and outside of these activities whenever she is given the opportunity.

  • Home Town Palmer
  • School District MSBSD
  • Award Category Role Model

Liam Atkin

Liam is not only an extremely hard worker, and a model student who strives to give his best in any and all activities, he is a leader. He is also very included in his school, sports, and community outreach.

  • Home Town Wasilla
  • School District Mat-Su Borough School District
  • Award Category Role Model

Makenzie Edgar

Makenzie is a student leader in class on a daily basis. She also takes initiative to participate in activities that take place outside of school, such as a member of the CMS basketball team as well as participating in a district wide junior cooking competition. After winning the Junior Cooking competition, Makenzie and her group were featured at a school district meeting and the district used her recipe to create a lunch menu for one day to serve to all students across the Mat-Su school district.

  • Home Town Palmer
  • School District Matanuska- Susitna Borough School District
  • Award Category Role Model

Mary Pound

Mary Pound is a highly self-motivated teen who is very community minded. She has reached Ambassador level in Girl Scouts, which is the highest level a girl can attain while still in school. She currently helps lead a Girl Scout Daisy troop (kindergarten to first grade).

  • Home Town Dutch Harbor
  • School District Unalaska City School District
  • Award Category Visionary, Role Model

Mattie Gross

Mattie’s goal is to help people who struggle with depression. She volunteers and fundraises for the Kodiak community, is a member of her high school swim team and student government, and has led the community sector on the Executive Board of the Kodiak Student Council. She also works at least 35 hours each semester as secretary for the Kodiak High School Student Body.

  • Home Town Kodiak
  • School District Kodiak Island Borough
  • Award Category Phoenix

Mia Weiss

Mia organized a school group called Letters of Love. The Letters of Love project addresses a social problem in our local, national, and global community, that there are people in the world who need to hear words of encouragement from someone else.

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

Napaaqtugmiut High School

The students of Napaaqtugmiut High School have been involved in a huge clean-up effort at a century old traditional hunting, fishing and camping location for their village. The project improves the traditional camping site and also improves the environment for plants and animals.

  • Home Town Noatak
  • School District Northwest Arctic Borough School District
  • Award Category Humanitarian, Role Model

NJROTC Program

The NJROTC students at Service High School volunteered for the Salvation Army over the holiday season. They have been trained in cold water survival and will now be able to share that knowledge with younger children. Some of the cadets are a part of the You are Not Alone program, and all are trained in recognizing and taking action to stop bullying behaviors.

  • Home Town Anchorage
  • School District Anchorage School District
  • Award Category Service To Community, Service To Peers

Rafael Bitanga

Rafael has intelligence and leadership skills beyond his years. He has a strong inner drive that does not allow him to be any less than the best, and it has resulted in an academically, emotionally, and socially intelligent young man. He is the owner and director of the Crepe Escape, a food booth in Kodiak, Alaska. Rafael donates 10 percent of Crepe Escape’s profits to the Brother Frances Shelter.

  • Home Town Kodiak
  • School District KIBSD
  • Award Category Role Model

Robert Otto

Robert Otto has served as a defense and prosecuting attorney with the Kodiak Teen Court. Robert is a skillful advocate for his clients, and masterfully applies the principles of restorative justice to all roles that he has taken on in the court. As a judge, he has mentored new youth attorneys, and leads with integrity and honesty.

  • Home Town Kodiak
  • School District Kodiak Island Borough School District
  • Award Category Humanitarian

Robin “Puck” Van Dommelen

Robin “Puck” Van Dommelen has exhibited enthusiastic devotion to the outdoors, to wildlife and to the environment. He was a leader as a Boy Scout, obtaining the Eagle rank, and all of the palms that can be awarded. After receiving his Eagle rank, Puck continued to devote his time to environmental issues, including leading several projects to survey invasive species, cleaning up Beluga Point in the Chugach State Park, and conducting an energy audit for his high school, Steller Secondary.

  • Home Town Anchorage
  • School District Anchorage School District
  • Award Category Dreamer, Humanitarian, Lifesaver, Role Model

Rylee Mcintosh

Over the years, Rylee has continued to grow her range of efforts and service, always shining light into the community and  finding ways that even a 6th grader can be a positive contributor, spreading joy and purpose.

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

Sadie Coyle

Kodiak Island Housing Authority runs an after school program called Family Investment Center. Sadie Coyle has worked as a part of this program to help teach children their Alutiiq language, songs, and dances.  Sadie helps create a safe and empowering space for youth to explore their cultural heritage.

  • Home Town Kodiak
  • School District Kodiak
  • Award Category Cultural Pursuits, Service To Peers, Service To Children

Sarah Churchill

Sarah Churchill is an engaging and active youth in our Matanuska Valley community. Her youth led passion for service addresses some of the most common needs in her community. Across Alaska animals are abandoned and abused. Sarah works in small, powerful ways to combat animal abuse and neglect and to built positive relationships for animals and for the people who adopt them.

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

Service High School Partners Club

The Service High School Partners Club is made up of students with intellectual disabilities and their partners, staff members and peer teachers who work to develop activities that both promote awareness and inclusion of all students. The club works together on educational goals, life skills activities, and community inclusion. Observers and participants say it has encouraged a school culture at Service High where students with disabilities are actively included in school assemblies, drama productions, choir, prom and dances, sporting events, and after school activities.

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

Shayla Titus

Shayla is a youth leader at school. She helps kids her age with peer pressure, she listens and gives a shoulder to cry on. She was given an award for being most respectful at the last school awards assembly. Last month, she was invited to attend the State initiative “Lead On” campaign.

  • Home Town White Mountain
  • School District Bering Straits School District
  • Award Category Dreamer, Role Model

Sierra Tyssedal

Sierra is a leader among her peers. She is co-captain of rifle club, does fencing, was a host for Japanese student exchange, honor society, has a 4.1 GPA and is in the Japanese honor society. She is vice president of youth court, was elected this year as a student mentor at Lathrop high school, and is involved in after school art classes.

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

Sonny Parker

Sonny graduated high school despite being homeless. He is now the manager of Gathering Grounds at MyHouse and acts as a strong advocate for MyHouse and his peers in similar situations. He is a leader for his generation.

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

Taralyn Gwynn

Taralyn has recently started a new life with a loving foster family. She has also started attending a new middle school in the Valley. She shows great resiliency, and has developed strength and coping skills through adversity.

  • Home Town Palmer
  • School District Matanuska-Susitna SD
  • Award Category Phoenix

Tarzan Lavivong

Tarzan is a committed member of Dimond High School’s Z-Club. Tarzan has been a member for 2 years and has taken every opportunity afforded to help our community. He has completed over 120 hours of service in our community and, in addition to working with programs at feeder schools, Tarzan is currently working with Priceless Alaska to help fundraise and increase awareness to provide services for victims and families of human trafficking.

  • Home Town anchorage
  • School District ASD
  • Award Category Role Model

Tyler Belliston

Tyler puts endless amounts of positive energy into everything that he does, and always looks out for anyone that could use a helping hand. He has been involved in several extra curricular activities including Speech Competitions, School Plays, Science Olympiad, and National Junior Honor Society.

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

Vanessa Lopez

Vanessa has many leadership qualities. She is creative in her ideas to solve problems in her community, she is self-motivated , dedicated, and hard working.  Vanessa organized, planned, and implemented the first homeschool prom in May of 2017.  She was able to secure a facility, delegate duties to the other student volunteers,  and held cookie sales and other fundraisers to make it all come together. It was a huge success with over 40 homeschool students participating.

  • Home Town Nikiski
  • School District Kenai Peninsula Borough School District
  • Award Category Phoenix, Visionary

Verina (Rina) Ukatish

Rina is a role model and a strong, quiet leader in school, extra-curricular activities, the community, and at home. She has worked in many youth and community programs including the Nanwalek Summer Youth Program, the Kenatize Tribe Workforce Intern Program at their Head Start Program, many Project GRAD sponsored activities including Summer College Institute, Career Institute, and Leadership Institute. She has been active in Kenai Peninsula Native Youth Leadership Program and served as the Nanwalek KPNYL Student Advisor Assistant and one of their representatives at the Alaska Federation of Natives Conference in 2016. She also attended the UNITY National Native Youth Leadership conference in Oklahoma through KPNYL, a gathering of two thousand native youth and leaders.

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

West High School’s Interact Club

West High School’s Interact Club supports human rights in a variety of ways. They have fundraised by doing miracle minutes at West High Assemblies and continuing to focus on current events and ways in which West High students and staff can get involved in human rights issues. This December they are focusing on human trafficking awareness by participating in Dressember—they’re wearing bowties and dresses all December and are explaining many facts to students about the horrors of human trafficking.

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

Women of West

Women of West is a group of young women who are or want to be leaders in their school and community. The past 2 years, they have been very interested in raising awareness about domestic violence with an emphasis on teen dating violence. Their work is aiming to prevent this violence from happening by educating their peers about the warning signs of dating violence.

  • Home Town Anchorage
  • School District Anchorage School District
  • Award Category Humanitarian, Role Model

You Are Not Alone Club at West Anchorage High School

The You Are Not Alone club at West High School has been helpful in getting the word out about suicide awareness. They have created student-led presentations and even presented to the faculty at West. The club provides suicide prevention hotline bracelets and clearly explains that just because someone is suicidal once doesn’t mean they will necessarily dip that low again.

  • Home Town Anchorage
  • School District ASD
  • Award Category Lifesaver, Role Model

Zachary Halstead

Zachary Halstead has been helping with the breakfast program at Kenai Alternative High School since the 1st grade. He arrives every morning at 6:30am with his father to prepare the food. He is now able to do so on his own. Zachary treats all students with dignity and respect.

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

2016 Nominees

Abigail Mainard

Abigail Mainard  is always willing to lend a hand. She will often baby sit for free, and is a kind, hardworking member of her community.

  • Home Town JBER
  • School District Anchorage School District
  • Award Category Overcoming Challenges, Service To Children

Adrian Briggs

Adrian Briggs and his sister recently made cupcakes and held a bake sale to raise money for a fellow student who is currently battling cancer. Adrian is kind and always willing to support his peers.

  • Home Town Wasilla
  • School District MatSu Borough School District
  • Award Category Service To Community, Service To Peers

Alaska Youth Orchestras-Performing Board Members

Amber Pike, Jenna Morris, Isabelle Libbrecht, Charlie Latimer, Aaron Jenkins, Vasily Soloview have all demonstrated exceptional leadership skills in their role as Anchorage Youth Orchestra performing board members. The group of youth act as spokespeople for the orchestra, and are organizing a benefit concert to take place in February 2017.

  • Home Town Anchorage
  • School District Anchorage
  • Award Category Service To Community, Service To Peers

Alexia Briggs

Alexia Briggs and her brother single handedly organized a cupcake sale to benefit a former classmate and teacher who are suffering from cancer.

  • Home Town Wasilla
  • School District MSBSD
  • Award Category Lifesaver & Prevention, Service To Community

Alicia McLelland

Alicia is the youngest assistant instructor in the HIT (Hunter Information and Training) Program as well as the executive secretary on Soldotna High School Student Council. Alicia is always one of the first to stand up for what is right, be it a rule or a person having a hard time.

  • Home Town Sterling
  • School District Kenai Peninsula Bourogh
  • Award Category Service To Community, Service To Peers

Alyssa Madrid

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.

  • Home Town Kodiak
  • School District KIBSD
  • Award Category Cultural Pursuits, Service To Children

Anabelle Neininger

Anabelle volunteers and inspires her peers through 4H, Torch Club, an active Youth Leader with the Army Youth Sponsorship Program, and is an advisor with the Fort Wainwright Pacific Teen Panel where she represented Fort Wainwright Youth Center in Seoul, South Korea this year! Anabelle was recognized as the 2016 Fort Wainwright Youth of the Year for Boys & Girls Clubs of America.

  • Home Town Fort Wainwright
  • School District Fairbanks North Star Borough School District
  • Award Category Service To Peers

Anja Cheyette

Anja Cheyette is a driven, hard-working, and motivated student at Colony Middle School. She delivers morning announcements,  and is a positive role model to students both in and out of the classroom. Anja is always eager to lend a hand and plays an important role in making her school a safe, positive, and caring place.

  • Home Town Palmer
  • School District Mat-Su Borough School District
  • Award Category Service To Community, Service To Peers, Service To Children

Camden Kegley

Camden Kegley performs with the Lathrop Concert Choir, plays clarinet and saxophone, and has performed in a number of productions.  This past year, he performed at Carnegie Hall. Camden is an inspiration to his peers, as well as a professional and eager participant in the Fairbanks’ cultural community.

  • Home Town Fairbanks
  • School District North Star Borough
  • Award Category Cultural Pursuits

Carrie Damian

Carrie Damian played a key role in creating a concept and storyline for a short film about the negative impacts of e-cigarettes on youth. The film aimed to prevent e-cigarettes from making their way Carrie’s hometown of Nanwalek.

  • Home Town Nanwalek
  • School District Kenai Peninsula School District
  • Award Category Service To Peers, Media & Technology

Chloe Kincaid

Chloe Kincaid has created a program called “Hooked on Books” to encourage reading among elementary school children. Each week, she goes into classrooms to read aloud from a new book with the goal of introducing students to new genres and styles. She then works with the class to brainstorm similar books, which the kids cans copy down if they enjoyed the sample book. Chloe compiles lists of students’ favorite books, and posts them at school, and in public libraries as a resource for others.

Chloe also serves as the Student Body Secretary, Class Foreman of her ceramic class, and leader of her Battle of the Books team. She is heavily involved with her church, and is currently President of her youth Sunday School class.

  • Home Town Soldotna
  • School District Soldotna
  • Award Category Faith-Based Service, Service To Children

Clare Cook

Clare is a natural leader and that is reflected in the amazing breadth of experiences she has in a number of youth organizations including serving as attorney with Anchorage Youth Court, private and group instructor for competitive figure skating, junior supervisor for a fund-raising youth-led coffee shop, Birchwood Camp children’s counselor and serving as a volunteer for local ski and running events. She manages to balance all of her volunteer work with her academic studies, musical talents and sports interests. Most importantly, her kind, competent and sensitive nature encourages others to trust and be comfortable in her presence.

  • Home Town EAGLE RIVER
  • School District Anchorage School District

Colony Middle School Cheerleaders

This year, the Colony Middle School cheerleaders accepted the challenge to be ambassadors of kindness and school spirit at school and in the community. They have pledged to end bullying at CMS and to stick up for students who need support.

  • Home Town Palmer
  • School District MSBSD
  • Award Category Service To Community, Service To Peers

Colony Middle School Greeters

Alexia Briggs, Maddy Koehn, Sage Tedds, Amelia Frisby, Mia McCann, Emma Hopkins, and Kayleigh Brager make up the Colony Middle School Greeters.  These students volunteer to arrive 45 minutes before school starts, stand in the lobby, and greet every person who enters CMS with a smile, a handshake and a good morning.  They ensure that the first experience that every student has when they walk through the door is a positive one.

  • Home Town Palmer
  • School District MSBSD
  • Award Category Service To Peers

Corbin Ryan Batzner

Corbin Ryan Batzner is a hard working and highly motivated student at Colony Middle School. He is currently learning construction by helping his dad build their house.

  • Home Town Palmer
  • School District Matsu
  • Award Category Service To Community

Courtney O’Hearn

Courtney O’Hearn has been playing the violin for 10 years. She taught herself to play cello, guitar and piano after learning the violin.  She has gone to state for solo and ensemble every year and received a superior rating each time.  Courtney inspires others with her music.

  • Home Town Fairbanks
  • School District North Star Borough
  • Award Category Fine Arts

Denali Schultz

During her time in high school, Denali Schultz became an involved member of the community. She volunteered often, and joined the Native Youth Leadership team in Kenai. While acting as a leader in her community, Denali was also working two jobs to help pay the bills for her family. Denali overcame a number of personal challenges, but continued to give back to her community and to her peers.

  • Home Town Soldotna
  • School District KPBSD
  • Award Category Phoenix

Destiny Lytle

Destiny has grown up learning the process of dog handling and training. She teaches classes on how to handle dogs in and appropriate manner, and helps with training service dogs.

  • Home Town Palmer
  • School District MatSu
  • Award Category Overcoming Challenges, Service To Community

Dixie George

Dixie George is a dedicated student at Angoon High School. This year, she has overcome personal strife and helped her family through a period of struggle, all while keeping up with her school work.

  • Home Town Angoon
  • School District Chatham
  • Award Category Overcoming Challenges

Duncan Okitkun

Duncan Okitkun is involved in a youth-led Alaska Native singing and drumming group, and is always ready to share his knowledge with others in the community. Following in the footsteps of his family members, Duncan is continuing to learn and live by past traditions.

  • Home Town Kotlik
  • School District Lower Yukon School
  • Award Category Cultural Pursuits, Service To Community

Ella Jordan

Ella Jordan is involved in an school program at Colony Middle School that works with students who have special needs.

  • Home Town Wasilla
  • School District Matanuska-Susitna Borough School District
  • Award Category Service To Peers, Service To Children

Elsa O’Neil

Elsa O’Neil is an openminded student who is always willing to stand up for those who need a friend, and speak her mind.

  • Home Town Wasilla
  • School District Matanuska-Susitna Borough
  • Award Category Overcoming Challenges, Service To Peers

Emily Montanez Rodriguez

Emily Montanez Rodriguez is part of Colony Middle School’s morning crew. She helps read announcements and makes sure that our students are well informed of upcoming events.  Emily is also an active leader in planning classroom and school activities.

  • Home Town Wasilla
  • School District Mat-Su Borough School District
  • Award Category Service To Peers

Esau Sinnok

Esau Sinnok serves as an Arctic Youth Ambassador, and is working to inform communities about the impact of climate change on his native village of Shishmaref. Esau is currently attending the University of Alaska Fairbanks, and is pursuing a degree in Tribal Management with the intention of continuing to act as an advocate for his community.

  • Home Town Shishmaref
  • School District
  • Award Category Cultural Pursuits, Service To Community

Fairbanks Skatepark Coalition

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.

  • Home Town Fairbanks
  • School District Fairbanks North Star Borough
  • Award Category Service To Community, Service To Peers

Fairbanks Wellness Coalition Youth Volunteers

A group of youth volunteers created a PSA to help prevent suicide among teens and young adults in Fairbanks and the surrounding area, as part of a Fairbanks Wellness Coalition initiative. This youth-produced PSA features teen voice, and demonstrates the power of reaching out to peers.

  • Home Town Fairbanks
  • School District

Grace Eldridge

Grace Eldridge is very involved in dramatic and artistic pursuits. For several years, she has choreographed the musical theater productions at neighboring Colony Middle School.  Grace has created dance numbers for The Lion King, The Sound of Music, and others.

  • Home Town Palmer
  • School District Mat-Su Borough School District
  • Award Category Cultural Pursuits, Fine Arts, Service To Peers

Grace Hunter

Grace Hunter is an involved member of her community. She goes above and beyond in all that she does, excels academically, and is a viewed as a role model by her peers.

  • Home Town WASILLA
  • School District Matanuska Susitna Borough School District
  • Award Category Service To Community, Service To Peers

Grace Morrow

Each year, Kenai Middle School celebrates Mix it Up at Lunch Day. This day is part of a national campaign that encourages young people to question norms, cross social boundaries, and foster tolerance by connecting with someone new at lunch. In Kenai, the Mix it Up Activities continue over the course of a month.

Grace Morrow, an eight grade student in Kenai took the lead on organizing this year’s Mix it Up event. She produced a documentary capturing student perspectives. Grace is also a part of a group at school called the Potatoes. The Potatoes do not stand for bullying, and accept people for who they are.

  • Home Town Kenai
  • School District Kenai Peninsula Borough School District
  • Award Category Service To Peers, Media & Technology

Haley Edmondson

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.

  • Home Town Anchorage
  • School District Anchorage School District
  • Award Category Service To Community, Service To Children

Hooper Bay RAY Youth Group

The Hooper Bay RAY Youth Group is working to preserve their community’s traditions through dance, language, and the continued practice of other traditional skills. The group also works with their peers to prevent suicide, as well as drug and alcohol abuse.

  • Home Town Hooper Bay
  • School District LYSD
  • Award Category Cultural Pursuits, Service To Peers

Isa Weiss

Isa Weiss volunteers her time at a local nursing home in Wasilla. She has also helped elders relay their memoirs by recording their stories, and then transcribing them to print.

  • Home Town Palmer
  • School District MSBSD
  • Award Category Service To Community, Media & Technology

Isabelle Lopez

Isabelle Lopez is a member of the Kenai Peninsula Youth Leader Team at her school, Connections in Nikiski. Isabelle balances her education and family life, and is currently holding down a job while going to school in order to help her family. She is proud of her Alaska Native heritage, and shares her passion with her peers. Isabelle is a true leader in her community.

  • Home Town Nikiski
  • School District Kenai Peninsula Borough School District
  • Award Category Cultural Pursuits, Overcoming Challenges

Ivory Gerhardt-Cyrus

In 2014, Ivory Gerhardt-Cyrus started a youth group called OPT IN Kiana with money she obtained through a Stand Up Speak Up grant. OPT IN Kiana recognizes that everyone has value and seeks to engage youth who are often excluded from school activities.

  • Home Town Kiana
  • School District Northwest Arctic Borough School District
  • Award Category Overcoming Challenges, Service To Peers

Jackson Blackwell

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.

  • Home Town Soldotna
  • School District Kenai Peninsula Borough School District
  • Award Category Business & Government, Lifesaver & Prevention, Service To Peers

Jacob Iya

Jacob Iya is an exceptional student who serves as a Youth Leader at Hogarth Kingeekuk Sr. Memorial School.

  • Home Town Savoonga
  • School District Bering Strait School District
  • Award Category Service To Peers

Jasmine A. Suarez

Jasmine Suarez led a suicide prevention presentation and activities with her peers at Colony Middle School. She is a kind and caring student who reaches out to her peers.

  • Home Town Wasilla
  • School District Matsu Borough School District
  • Award Category Service To Peers

Jason Riggs

Jason Riggs is an athlete competing for Lathrop in Wrestling, Cross Country, and Soccer. He is a vital member of the Lathrop Robotics Team. Jason has been an active leader and peer mentor in the youth group at First Presbyterian Church for 5 years. Jason is a hard worker, and always ready to step up.

  • Home Town Fairbanks
  • School District Fairbanks North Star
  • Award Category Faith-Based Service, Science & Environment, Media & Technology

Jedediah Dean

For the past four years, Colony High School Senior Jedediah Dean has been conducting independent research to determine whether radiation levels have been rising on the beaches of Prince William Sound as a result of the 2011 nuclear disaster at Fukushima. Jedediah has won a number of awards at the Alaska State Science and Engineering Fair, and placed second at the Intel International Science and Engineering Fair.

  • Home Town Palmer
  • School District Matanuska-Susitna Borough School District
  • Award Category Discovery

Jeffrey Asbury

Jeffrey Asbury is a dedicated volunteer at Colony Middle School. He volunteers his time to assist the school’s lunch workers with cleaning, and is always willing to help his teachers.

  • Home Town Palmer
  • School District Matanuska-Susitna Borough School District
  • Award Category Service To Community, Service To Peers

Jenevia Jetaun Wika

Jenevia Jetaun Wika started the You Are Not Alone club at South Anchorage High School. This club offers a safe space for students to receive support, and information regarding suicide prevention. Jenevia’s goal is to educate high school teens on warning signs and preventative tools, as well as to offer hope to her peers. The You Are Not Alone Club gives students a place where they can feel accepted and supported for who they are. Jenevia was instrumental in helping to make this possible.

  • Home Town Anchorage
  • School District ASD
  • Award Category Lifesaver & Prevention, Service To Peers

Jennifer Sage

Jennifer Sage is captain of Youth Leaders, a peer mentoring group in Noatak that offer support to youth, including suicide prevention. Jennifer has been involved with Youth Leaders for the last four years.

  • Home Town Noatak
  • School District Noatak
  • Award Category Service To Community, Service To Peers

Jenysa Ahmaogak

Jenysa Ahmaogak is a member of a Alaska Native dance group, makes cultural clothing, and encourages others to value their native cultures.

  • Home Town Wainwright
  • School District North Slope School District
  • Award Category Cultural Pursuits

Jivan Gordon-Wolfe

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.

  • Home Town Fairbanks
  • School District Fairbanks North Star
  • Award Category Science & Environment, Service To Community, Service To Children

Johnnie Avakumoff

Johnnie Avakumoff is an excellent role model for his peers. He works hard at school, holds a job at Sam’s club, and is a talented jewelry-maker. Johnnie also enjoys writing essays that he can share with his peers and community. He has written about the importance of staying away from drugs and alcohol, healthy relationships, his faith in God, and most recently, he wrote an essay about bullying.

  • Home Town Fairbanks
  • School District Fairbanks North Star Borough
  • Award Category Faith-Based Service, Overcoming Challenges

Julianne Wilson

Julianne Wilson is involved with a number of youth programs held by the Kenaitze Indian Tribe each summer. These camps and programs offer youth an opportunity to learn life skills and culture. Julianne’s willingness to learn and to teach is obvious and her love for the work is inspiring.

  • Home Town Kenai
  • School District Kenai Peninsula School District
  • Award Category Cultural Pursuits

Kaisa Reese Ahluniq Kotch

Kaisa Reese Ahluniq Kotch is devoted to combating suicide in her community. Kaisa is a member of the TECK Youth Leader’s Program, a school district program in which youth are trained in bullying and suicide prevention. She also serves as a youth representative with the Maniilaq Behavioral Health Program, which works to identify and combat primary causes of suicide. Kaisa volunteers frequently, singing for the community’s elders at the Long Term Care Unit, helping out with shiifish and hotcake feeds, and participating in Elders Council potlucks, among other pursuits.

  • Home Town Kotzebue
  • School District Northwest Arctic Borough School District
  • Award Category Lifesaver

Kali Metlicka

Kali Metlicka is a kind a respectful student.  She is always willing to help her peers or volunteer to support a teacher.  Kali has a great attitude and gives 100% in all that she does.

  • Home Town Eagle River
  • School District Matsu
  • Award Category Service To Peers

Katya Mozalevskaya

Katya Mozalevskaya volunteered with Royal Family Kids Anchorage for one year before starting Royal Family Kids Mat-Su Valley in 2014. Royal Family Kids is an organization that works to better the lives of children who have experienced abuse. Katya is a highly motivated and compassionate member of her community.

  • Home Town Palmer
  • School District Matanuska-Susitna Borough School District
  • Award Category Service To Community, Service To Children

Kaulani Napoleon

Kaulani Napoleon organized a donation drive aimed at collecting school supplies for refugee youth in the community. He began by presenting the idea to the Refugee Assistance and Immigration Services program run by Catholic Social Services in Anchorage. After receiving the green light from RAIS, Kaulani began reaching out, organizing, and educating the community. At the end of three months, Kaulani had collected hundred of school supplies from people across the country. The supplies were meticulously organized based on the individual needs of each student.

  • Home Town Eagle River
  • School District
  • Award Category Humanitarian

Kendra Brush

Kendra has taken it upon herself to work with youth and teens in a positive way. She is deeply committed to introducing the sport of archery, bowhunting and the great outdoors with others. She has volunteered to teach numerous Women On Target archery classes over the past three years as well as lead archery classes in her previous school.

  • Home Town Soldotna
  • School District Soldotna
  • Award Category Service To Peers

Kenny Stiebritz

Kenny Stiebritz has had to overcome many challenges in life, but always maintains an upbeat and positive attitude. Kenny enjoys taking on leadership roles and is always willing to help his peers.

  • Home Town Palmer
  • School District Mat-Su Borough School District
  • Award Category Overcoming Challenges

Leena Robinson

Leena Robinson is involved with a group called People in Need of Knowledge, which works to raise awareness about the dangers of tobacco use. Organizing events aimed at educating the community about tobacco, participating in student council, and even helping to start up a Girl Scouts group in Nenana, Leena is a passionate local leader.

  • Home Town Nenana
  • School District Nenana
  • Award Category Lifesaver & Prevention, Service To Community

Leneil Hafford

Leneil Hafford is the heart and soul of Young Native Fiddlers, a nonprofit that offers guitar and violin lessons to Alaska Native youth, as well as numerous opportunities to perform. Leneil is a selfless and effective leader, and a professional performer who also sees to the needs of the group. She inspires the best in others—youth and adults alike.

  • Home Town North Pole
  • School District Yukon-Koyukuk School District
  • Award Category Cultural Pursuits, Fine Arts, Service To Peers

Lonicera Lindquist

Lonicera Lindquist volunteers her time during PE class to support and aid special needs students. Lonicera is compassionate, caring, and brings laughter to the entire class.

  • Home Town Palmer
  • School District Mat-Su Borough
  • Award Category Service To Peers

Lucas Dinsmore

Lucas Dinsmore has overcome immense health challenges, and continues to fight for his life. He exhibits great strength and kindness  in the face of adversity. The Colony Middle School community is rooting for him.

  • Home Town Palmer
  • School District Matsuk12.us
  • Award Category Overcoming Challenges

Maiya Anderson

Bringing together her passion for music and psychology, Maiya Anderson started a piano lesson program at the senior center in Kenai. The lessons bring joy to the elders in the community, while also helping to bridge a generational divide. Not only is Maiya able to create a strong bond with elders—the program also gives elders the opportunity to share their traditional knowledge and wisdom.

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

Makenzie Wikheim

Makenzie Wikheim has begun advocating for herself and standing up to bullying, which sends a positive message to her peers.

  • Home Town Palmer
  • School District Matsu Borough School District
  • Award Category Overcoming Challenges

Manny Budke

Manny Budke noticed that the Student Council at Hoonah High School did not have a structure, constitution, By-Laws or clear vision for its purpose. This year, he decided to run and was elected as Student Government President. His goal is to build a constitution, work with the principal and school board to advocate for student concerns. He also works with the student body informing them about the purpose of student government  and how it works.

  • Home Town Honnah
  • School District Hoonah Public Schools/ Raven Home School
  • Award Category Business & Government, Service To Peers

Maria Kulikov

Maria Kulikov is a teacher and creative director at Youth on Record, a club that provides resources for young people to record their own music. Maria is currently involved in the student association at Kenai Peninsula College, in addition to tutoring her peers. Maria is a licensed CNA and is working hard to achieve her goals while giving back to her community.

  • Home Town Homer
  • School District
  • Award Category Service To Community

Maya Rivera

Maya Rivera is a kind and compassionate student at Colony Middle School. Her positive attitude and willingness to return to school after experiencing a traumatic accident has been an inspiration to her community.

  • Home Town Wasilla
  • School District MatSu
  • Award Category Overcoming Challenges, Service To Peers

Mia Weiss

Mia Weiss is involved with Agents for Change, a group of Colony Middle School students dedicated to raising awareness and fundraising for children who live in poverty and do not have access to education, clean water, or health care. She is also a member of an after school volunteer group where students meet once a week to plan and implement random acts of kindness for peers and staff.

  • Home Town Palmer
  • School District MSBSD
  • Award Category Service To Peers

Milagro Darby

Milagro Darby has started her own tutoring business, which offers services to youth, as well as students taking lower-level college courses. Milagro has overcome personal health challenges with Lyme Disease, and is working to raise awareness of Lyme Disease and counsel others who are also impacted by this health issue.

  • Home Town Juneau
  • School District Yukon-Koyukuk School District
  • Award Category Overcoming Challenges, Service To Peers

Molly Ekstrom

Molly Ekstrom is a Big Sister in the Big Brothers Big Sisters of Alaska High School program. She is dedicated to acting as a positive role model, and ensuring that her Little Sister achieve success.

  • Home Town Haines
  • School District Haines
  • Award Category Service To Community, Service To Children

Noah Leaf

Noah Leaf and his family started a summer soccer camp in Seldovia, which Noah helps run. The soccer camp gives children the opportunity to be active and gain new experiences.

  • Home Town Kenai
  • School District Private
  • Award Category Service To Community, Service To Children

Noah Sage

Noah Sage is a member of the 4-H Trapping Club, and has developed skills in trapping, caring for meat and fur, skinning, and stretching. He uses his knowledge to assist new club members, and has presented at national conferences on the importance of passing on these skills. Exhibiting extraordinary leadership skills, Noah is helping to continue a longstanding tradition of Alaskan trapping.

  • Home Town Dillingham
  • School District Dillingham
  • Award Category Cultural Pursuits

North Star Youth Court

North Star Youth Court is a program that provides legal and mediator training for youth in Fairbanks. The organization aims to promote restorative justice and alternative dispute resolution practices. Youth adjudicate misdemeanor cases for 1st and 2nd time offenders, acting as clerks, attorneys, and judges. Participants are between the ages of 12 and 18. By taking on a number of cases, North Star Youth Court is able to alleviate a portion of the burden of work carried by the Juvenile Justice System.

  • Home Town Fairbanks
  • School District Fairbanks North Star Borough
  • Award Category Business & Government, Service To Community, Service To Peers

NSBSD Student School Board Representatives: Joseph Ivanoff and Frederick Kanayurak

After learning about the extensive bullying happening within the villages of the North Slope Borough School District, Joseph Ivanoff and Frederick Kanayurak began their Anti-bullying efforts. Throughout the school year they have kept up with their Anti-bullying campaign and served as school board representatives.

  • Home Town Atqasuk
  • School District North Slope Borough School District
  • Award Category Service To Peers

Petersburg Interact Club

The Petersburg Interact Club is a youth group for students 12 to 18 years of age. This year, club members went above and beyond to help the Salvation Army with their Winter Coat Drive, partnering with a local business that sells coats to encourage donations from the community. Thanks to the creativity of the Interact Club, the drive was an immense success.

  • Home Town Petersburg
  • School District Petersburg City Schools
  • Award Category Service To Community

Pole Smortum

Local Punk bank Pole Smortum is passionate about their music and the community surrounding it. A teen band that revels in dancing to the beat of their own drum, Pole Smortum is helping to provide a safe space for youth to express themselves.

  • Home Town Anchorage
  • School District Anchorage School District
  • Award Category Fine Arts

Port Graham High School

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.

  • Home Town Port Graham
  • School District KPBSD
  • Award Category Cultural Pursuits, Science & Environment

Rachelle Persson

Rachelle Persson became a leader at the young age of four when she began tutoring her peers in math. Thanks to her efforts, all of her peers passed their math tests. Today, Rachelle is continuing to tutor others, and has become increasingly involved in the community, helping out with the Traditional Cultural Camp at Junak and the Alaska Cultural Camp. During the summer, Rachelle volunteers at the Kalskag Youth Center as a life skills coach. It her belief that youth become empowered when their basic needs are met.

  • Home Town Kalskag
  • School District Mt. Edgecumbe
  • Award Category Cultural Pursuits, Service To Peers

Resiliant Alaska Youth-Ninilchik Chapter

The Ninilchik chapter of Resilient Alaska Youth works to give back to the community through programs such as the Youth Education Leadership Program, and the Ninilchik Traditional Council.  Youth engage in activities ranging from arts and crafts to fishing, and by becoming engaged in the community, youth gain valuable experiences that can help them become successful adults.

  • Home Town Ninilchik
  • School District Kenai Peninsula Borough School District
  • Award Category Service To Community, Service To Children

Ruby & Sophie Wright

Ruby and Sophie Wright have decided to organize a Community 5K to support and raise money for a student at Colony Middle School who has cancer.

  • Home Town Palmer
  • School District Matsu Borough
  • Award Category Service To Peers

Sage Tedds

This year, Sage Tedds led a fund raising effort aimed at providing support for one of our students who is currently struggling with cancer.  Sage also is a part of a youth group at Colony Middle School that presents information on suicide prevention to peers.

  • Home Town Wasilla
  • School District Mat-Su School District
  • Award Category Service To Peers

Sam Hall

Sam has been an active member of the Anchorage Youth Court juvenile justice system, since the spring of 2015.  Sam has served as a youth jurist, bailiff, clerk, defense attorney, prosecuting attorney, and judge and averages approximately 140 hours of service a year.  He currently serves as lead attorney and judge in this year’s cases.  He is also on the Board of Directors and Ethics Committee for this program and plans to stay involved through his Senior year.

  • Home Town Eagle River
  • School District Anchorage School District
  • Award Category Service To Peers

Samir Akal

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.

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

Savannah Rizzo

Savannah Rizzo has worked to establish an organization called T-Books, which provides new books to disadvantaged youth in her community. The goal is to ensure that all young people have access to literature. Through a number of fundraisers, the group was able to raise $3,000, which has been used to purchase new books for students throughout the Kenai Borough School District. They also provided Battle of Books books to Russian schools that would not otherwise be able to afford participation. T-Books is beginning to expand its programs, and is currently working to provide books to schools in Louisiana where many school libraries have lost their collections due to flooding.

Savannah is working hard to inspire youth in her community, and reduce poverty by promoting literacy.

  • Home Town Kenai
  • School District Kenai Peninsula School District
  • Award Category Visionary

Savoonga Youth Leaders

The Savoonga Youth Leaders work hard to better the lives of those around them. They offer counseling to their peers, host community events, help out with the food bank, and provide a taxi service to elders who need assistance getting to community functions. The Savoonga Youth Leaders are always looking for, and finding new ways to build a stronger community.

  • Home Town Savoonga
  • School District BSSD
  • Award Category Service To Community, Service To Peers

Sesika Poleo

Sesika Poleo is a highly motivated student at Clark Middle School. She is an impactful leader, striving to help guide other students who look up to her. Sesika goes above and beyond on school assignments, and helping out at school.

  • Home Town Anchorage
  • School District Anchorage School District
  • Award Category Service To Peers

Shaela Asbury

Shaela created, organized and directed Agents for Change, a youth-led initiative at Colony Middle School designed to study and raise awareness about local and global issues where children face adversity and crisis. Agents for Change members fundraise for organizations that support children. Shaela is driven by her immense compassion for others.

  • Home Town Palmer
  • School District MSBSD
  • Award Category Role Model

Shahaila Nick

Shahaila Nick helped organize her school’s annual Veteran’s Day event. Veterans were able to share a meal with youth in the community, and Shahaila went above and beyond to teach youth about military service, and encourage them to thank those who have served. Shahaila is her school’s Student Body President, a member of the Aniak Fire Department’s Dragon Slayers, and volunteers at the Alaska Commercial Company’s AC Value Center during fundraisers.

  • Home Town Aniak
  • School District Kuspuk School District
  • Award Category Service To Community

Shannon Guthrie

Shannon Guthrie attended the Fall 2016 Eastern Interior Regional Advisory Council, and testified on issues surrounding subsistence living. The council has said that Shannon is a youth leader and will be an asset to the upcoming meeting in February 2017. Shannon was also one of two chosen students who represented the Yukon Flats School District at the 2016 Association of Alaska School Board (AASB) Advocates for Youth.

  • Home Town Beaver
  • School District Yukon Flats S.D.
  • Award Category Cultural Pursuits, Overcoming Challenges

Sierra Tucker

Sierra Tucker is a participant in the Nome Native Youth Leadership Program and the Alaska Federation of Natives Elders and Youth Conference. Her peers selected her to serve on the First Alaskans Institute statewide Elders and Youth Council in 2015. She was also recognized by the Bering Straits Native Corporation as a 2016 Young Provider.

  • Home Town Nome
  • School District Nome City School District
  • Award Category Cultural Pursuits, Service To Community

Sitka Youth Leadership Committee

The Sitka Youth Leadership Committee is a youth group dedicated to promoting respect and building bridges among youth in Sitka and across Alaska. Most recently, SYLC has worked to ease inter-school rivalries and tensions between Sitka High School and Mt. Edgecumbe High School.

  • Home Town Sitka
  • School District Sitka School District
  • Award Category Service To Peers, Media & Technology

Students for Change

Students for Change takes on racism, bullying and other peer to peer problems at Hutchison High School. Members are from all different social groups and work to bring unity to the school. Students for Change is now working to spread their message across the district’s high schools.

  • Home Town Fairbanks
  • School District Fairbanks Northstar Borough
  • Award Category Service To Community, Service To Peers

Summer Sagoonick

Summer Sagoonick is a highly involved member of her community. At the age of 10, she began volunteering to help teach at Vacation Bible School, and has traveled to several villages in the region to assist with this program. She also attended a Covenant Youth in Action training where she learned how to teach VBS as a youth leader. Summer is a role model to her peers.

  • Home Town Unalakleet
  • School District Bering Strait
  • Award Category Faith-Based Service, Service To Peers

Tasha Elizarde

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.

  • Home Town Juneau
  • School District Juneau School District
  • Award Category Business & Government, Service To Community, Media & Technology

Tavis Russo

Tavis Russo is a highly involved student at Colony High School and participates in student leadership, including student government. Tavis is always willing to help others, and is a positive role model to his peers.

  • Home Town Palmer
  • School District Matanuska Susitna Borough School District
  • Award Category Service To Peers

Taylor Engstrom

Taylor Engstrom took action in the prevention of the loss of life of a fellow student. His efforts gave first responders critical time to arrive . His actions were instrumental in preventing a tragedy.

  • Home Town Anchorage
  • School District Anchorage School District
  • Award Category Lifesaver & Prevention

The Quantum Mechanics FTC Robotics Team #11168

The Quantum Mechanics is a rookie, community-based robotics team for the FIRST Tech Challenge (FTC). The team has achieved success with a competitive robot that broke a world record. The members of The Quantum Mechanics team are highly motivated boy scouts that are working to expand STEM activities to all youth, including those with challenges.

  • Home Town Eagle River
  • School District various (ASD & Iditarod Distance Learning Center)
  • Award Category Innovator

TJ Clapp

TJ Clapp worked with Colony Middle School Principal Mary McMahon to come up with a Christmas gift idea for a peer battling cancer. He then coordinated with his family members to gather donations, and raised over $300 to purchase a high end telescope for his science-loving friend.

  • Home Town Wasilla
  • School District MSBSD
  • Award Category Service To Peers

Trenton Wonhola

Through his participation in the 4-H Day Camp, Trenton Wonhola of New Stuyahok showed true dedication to every member of his community. He diligently assisted in chores and activities at Fish Camp, working hard to assist elders, and young children. Trenton is helping to heal the wounds of generational trauma by continuing cultural traditions as an emerging community leader.

  • Home Town New Stuyahok
  • School District Southwest Regional School District
  • Award Category Cultural Pursuits, Service To Community

Tyler Hall

Tyler spent many days after school and during his lunch period to assist the teacher and his fellow peers on STEM projects. He fixed, rewired, and soldered motors and control boxes for an underwater robotics program called SeaPerch to ensure that all his fellow students would have access to working materials.

  • Home Town Wasilla
  • School District Mat-Su School District
  • Award Category Science & Environment, Service To Peers

Vadim Yenan

Vadim Yenan has attended a number of district-wide Youth Leadership trainings, and has had an extremely positive impact on his school’s climate, given his strong leadership skills.

  • Home Town Savoonga
  • School District Bering Strait School District
  • Award Category Service To Community, Service To Peers

Yuting (Tina) Kang

Yuting (Tina) Kang is an involved member of her community, and is committed to academic excellence. Upon arriving at Cook Inlet Academy, she worked hard to overcome language barriers and achieve a high level of success.

  • Home Town Soldotna
  • School District Private
  • Award Category Cultural Pursuits, Overcoming Challenges, Service To Community

2015 Nominees


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