Chance graduated from high school this year with two associates degrees, an Associate of Science and Associate of Arts General Program, with Cum Laude honors.
- Home Town Dot Lake
- School District
- Award Category Role Model
Chance graduated from high school this year with two associates degrees, an Associate of Science and Associate of Arts General Program, with Cum Laude honors.
Charlie has been a volunteer coach every Sunday afternoon for the youngest hockey players of the Homer Hockey Association for four years. He is also a strong leader of Homer High School’s Student Council and Peer Mentor Program.
Jordan runs her own non-profit organization called Jordan’s Junk for Joy. Her organization helps raise money for Special Santa, which helps brings the spirit of Christmas to families in need.
Molly and Lauren McCabe raised more than $10,000 for cancer charity, which was donated directly to the Children’s Hospital at Providence.
The Native Student Leadership Council (NLC) at East High School is an active group of Alaska Native and American Indian students who want to share their pride, cultural values and traditions with the community.
When middle school students were informed about the overhaul happening in their schools, Abigail Burke, Fatoumata Sabally, Jakira Starks and Ana Hokenson decided it was time for action. They created a gofundme account in an effort to a trip to Juneau to advocate for middle school education. By October, they had enough miles and money to commit to a trip for all four girls to go to Juneau during the 2018 legislative session.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Aunika began #Hashtaglunchbag in Anchorage. She organizes youth and adults to gather and prepare lunches for the homeless in Anchorage.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Duncan shares his Yup’ik 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 is also involved in three different dance groups and is the leader of one of them. Additionally, he performs at his school, instilling pride in his peers and is a great role model for the young people of his village.
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.
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.
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.
Fayth Gaw stands up against bullying and harassment, and is always willing to support, or be present for her peers.
Gabe decided to transfer to a larger school in order to pursue his passion for science. The move added three hours to his school day. Yet, when he comes home he makes time, through Ninilchik Tribe Teen Center, to work with others to build clubs, programs and places for Ninilchik youth to go for peer support. Miller sees himself as a scientist who wants to study the micro-systems that keep our world running.
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.
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.
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.
Isaiah was able to utilize his first aid/CPR skills and save a life. 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 and a young person’s life was saved.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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 programs like Special Santa, a fundraiser for My House, and volunteers at the North Star Vet Clinic. She participates in all these activities despite recently having surgery for a brain tumor which caused her to have to relearn much of her speech.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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).
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.
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.
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.
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.
Rafael displays intelligence and leadership skills beyond his years. His strong inner drive 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. He donates 10 percent of Crepe Escape’s profits to the Brother Francis Shelter.
Robert has served as a defense and prosecuting attorney with the Kodiak Teen Court. He 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.
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.
Puck is an assistant scout leader with Boy Scout Troop 209, where he earned the Eagle Scout Award. He has great knowledge of the natural world and extensive backcountry experience. He has developed a keen interest in conservation of the environment. He has lead projects on bird conservation, remediation of natural landscape, documenting and combating invasive species in Alaska. He also conducted an energy audit for his high school.
Rylee supported the Magic Yarn Project. She and the crew made wigs for children with cancer. Over the years, Rylee has continued to grow her range of efforts and services, always shining light into the community and finding ways to be a positive contributor.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Alexia Briggs and her brother single handedly organized a cupcake sale to benefit a former classmate and teacher who are suffering from cancer.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Ella Jordan is involved in an school program at Colony Middle School that works with students who have special needs.
Elsa O’Neil is an openminded student who is always willing to stand up for those who need a friend, and speak her mind.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Jacob Iya is an exceptional student who serves as a Youth Leader at Hogarth Kingeekuk Sr. Memorial School.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Jenysa Ahmaogak is a member of a Alaska Native dance group, makes cultural clothing, and encourages others to value their native cultures.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Makenzie Wikheim has begun advocating for herself and standing up to bullying, which sends a positive message to her peers.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Abigail has had many struggles in life. Due to brain surgery she can no longer use the left side of her body. She started her first job at Steamdriven Boutique where she manages the social media account. She is an inspiration to those who have undergone the same type of surgery and spoke at the Hemispherectomy Conference when she was 14.
Ahlena serves as a babysitter at Alcoholics Anonymous meetings. Her service allows parents to attend AA meetings uninterrupted without being concerned for their children’s welfare. She has been a huge sober support for the city of Anchorage.
Alakanuk Youth Group provides community activities for children in an effort to reduce suicide and bullying. They promote healthy activities and are a support to youth in need.
Alexander designed and constructed mini book distribution centers and installed them around his community in an effort to increase literacy among children and support the 90% by 2020 initiative. Because of his leadership his book centers have distributed more than 1,300 books to children in the Anchorage area.
Alexandra is planning a project to educate others about children who have Dyslexia. She’s working on creating a film, survey and website so users may learn what it is like to live with this disability and teach those who are diagnosed so they can build relationships and promote growth for students.
Alisa is passionate about marine biology. In 2015 she received the Ocean Youth Award for her dedication to promoting the understanding and stewardship of Alaska’s oceans. She was an intern at the Campbell Creek Science Center and has contributed to many re-vegetation and beautification projects around the Campbell tract. Her excitement and commitment to science is an inspiration to her peers.
Alleah provides child care during evening services at her church where she loves reading to children of all ages. She also participates every year in Operation Christmas Child, which sends care packages to children all over the world.
Alta is passionate about the health of Alaska’s waters. She has spent four summers independently researching ocean acidification in Prince William Sound and has presented her findings at the Alaska Marine Science Symposium and the Alaska State Science and Engineering Fair.
Alyssa is dedicated to making her community a better place. Whether it’s counseling her peers, picking up litter, coaching a hockey team or volunteering at a local hospital, Alyssa will do what it takes to make a difference in people’s lives.
Angelica lost both her legs in a car accident in 2014. She has met her new challenges with determination. With the support of her family, friends, community, and people from around the state, along with her optimism and positivity, Angelica has been able to overcome her challenges and lead a normal life.
Annett is president of West High School’s Hearts of Oceania Club, which provides support to Pacific Islander youth. She helps organize events, teaches traditional dances and finds ways for the group to get involved in the community. She is a mentor and role model to her peers.
This is the third year Annie has organized and implemented the Ski-for-Aid, a 5k race to honor her middle school teacher. All the proceeds from the race are donated to Brother Francis Shelter. She has worked with Olympians Holly Brooks and Kikkan Randall on the Fast and Female events, which encourages young girls to be athletic and healthy. Annie also volunteers for local youth skiing programs.
Archie tried to save a neighbor’s life by performing CPR. Since this traumatic experience, he has dedicated himself to educating his peers about suicide prevention. He has become a role model to his friends and classmates by helping them understand that they are not alone and help is always nearby.
Baahii is a member of a robotics team where he leads an outreach program to teach the community about STEM programs. He is also part of a Native dance group where he revitalizes his culture and language.
Bailey has overcome many challenges in her life. She uses her experiences to mentor other teens who suffer from depression and anxiety. She doesn’t let her health problems get in the way of her extensive community service with HOPE worldwide.
Brandon had a challenging early childhood and overcame many obstacles to become a great example to his peers. He routinely volunteers with the Mat-Su Miners baseball team and mentors a boy with special needs.
Brandon is deeply involved in Anchorage Youth Court as well as his school’s JROTC program, both of which give back to the community through peer intervention, leadership training and volunteerism. Through this, Brandon has amassed more than 600 hours of volunteer time in Anchorage and around the state.
Brianna is dedicated to educating her community about childhood cancer. In honor of her close friend who passed away she coordinated a fundraiser and collected more than $1,400 for the community.
Byron sings and drums traditional Yup’ik songs and writes his own pieces as well. He showcases his performances on his Facebook page, “I Sing. You Dance,” which has nearly 20,000 fans. His original songs inspire youth to embrace their cultural identity.
Cadence has owned her own art business, Yang Wren Art, since she was 14. Last year she undertook a project where she researched, designed and created a mosaic project for a local garden. She has participated in the Copper River Stewardship Program and helped in the design and creation of an interpretive sign for a bioswale project.
Caleb is recovering from brain tumor surgery. Despite his medical struggles, he has put in more than 100 hours of community service and has been involved in band, choir, football, wrestling, and many other school activities.
Calvin understands how much the human spirit relies on support from loving and caring people. Throughout high school he was a constant source of support and friendship to two boys whose mother was diagnosed with cancer. He took guitar lessons with them, tutored them and attended church events with them. He set up a live video feed at their high school graduation so their mother could watch her eldest son receive his diploma.
Carrie helps in raising awareness of the risks of e-cigarettes. She played a big part in the making of an e-cigarette prevention short film from developing the characters to brainstorming the script.
As part of a senior project Casey organized and participated in a campout event in Homer to bring awareness about youth homelessness to her community.
Cephas is the CEO of Second to None Café, which serves food and beverages to students at the King Career Center. He has also spent eight years helping his mom with her assisted living businesses. Through his entrepreneurial experiences he has learned to work well with others and be a problem solver.
Chelsie is committed to helping her community. She volunteers with her church, at school and at Beans Cafe. She is dedicated to making people welcome and accepted.
Christian is dedicated to the student peer council and is an advocate at the local crisis center. She plans several events throughout the year to bring community members together.
Bunno is the President of the Cup’ik Qissunamiut Youth Group in Chevak, which helps out the community and focuses on bullying and suicide prevention. She is also an active member of Alaska Youth for Environmental Action and attended the 2015 Youth Organizer Summit.
Christine participated in the Alaska Native Science & Engineering Program this summer where she worked on hands-on projects with science and engineering professionals. She knows how to work hard to achieve her goals and is an inspiration to her friends and family.
Collin regularly volunteers at the Boys and Girls Club of Metlakatla and assists in special youth events. He helps provide a fun and safe environment for youth outside of school. He encourages and uplifts youth around him.
Conor is a corporal in the Marines JROTC where he is an example for his peers that setting goals is a positive step in achieving success. He is also an active member of North Star Youth Court where he serves as an attorney, board member, PR person and ethics council member.
Corrina struggled as a youth with peer pressure and overcame personal obstacles to become teen president of the Mountain View Boys & Girls Club. She is now devoted to helping staff, introducing new members, planning teen events and helping other youth deal with peer pressure.
David is a tremendous support to his friends and advises them on the choices they’ve made and the possible consequences of their actions. Last year, David helped his best friend who had attempted suicide by picking him up from his house and checking him into the hospital. His thoughtfulness, calmness and loyalty directly influence his friends and family.
Davida enjoys giving back to her community. Whether it’s through Key Club, Youth Court or Fairbanks Literacy Council, she understands the importance of being an active community member. She is a natural leader and advocate for her peers.
This winter Dimond and South High hockey teams asked players and their fellow students to donate goods and funds to Brother Francis Shelter as a part of their scheduled hockey game. They raised nearly $5,000 and donated more than 1000 items.
Dolly Ann is a leader in her small community of Igiugig. She guides her classmates in fundraising activities, banking and finance, service learning projects, caring for elders, and organizing after school activities. Dolly Ann takes pride in her home and has volunteered with a community beautification project.
The East High FIRST Robotics team not only builds and competes with robots, but they also inspire younger students to get involved in STEM-related activities. They host workshops in the community and visit local elementary schools where they perform robot demonstrations.
East High School Interact Club worked on several community projects this year. From creating healthy meals for children to crocheting sleeping mats out of plastic bags for the homeless, they are fully engaged in making their community a better place.
East High School Student Government created two media projects to address teen driving safety issues. They engaged students with positive messages, creating healthy social norms and drawing awareness to the habit of using seat belts and refraining from distracted driving.
Emily participates in the Alaska Department of Fish & Game’s Salmon in the Classroom where students raise salmon from eggs and learn about ways to protect Alaska’s valuable wild salmon stocks for future generations.
Emily is an arachnophile. She has spent countless hours educating youth groups around Eagle River about her pet tarantulas. Her enthusiasm for spider and reptile zoology inspires young people to embrace learning and to be excited about science.
Esau is helping his community of Shishmaref and all of Alaska through his advocacy on behalf of his village and his culture. His actions have helped share the story of a village that is disappearing and will need to relocate because of rising sea levels and erosion. In addition to his environmental endeavors, Esau is also a subsistence hunter, Native Youth Olympics participant, and deeply involved in his Inupiaq culture.
When Evelyn Rose’s mother battled cancer last year she decided to take that experience to raise awareness in her community. She singlehandedly raised more than $3,000 for Anchorage’s Making Strides Against Breast Cancer Walk by selling candy at school events.
Fairbanks Youth for Habitat organized a streambank restoration and rain garden project. Their creation improves the water quality and natural habitats along the Chena River and makes it a better place for salmon and other wildlife.
Faithe has organized several events in Metlakatla such as Red Ribbon Week, Walk for Life and Earth Day. She is committed to improving her community and encourages others to be involved.
Fiona is dedicated to helping others in her community. She is involved in activities at her church and is committed to helping her peers with any problems they may have.
Garrett is helping improve the quality of life for many people in the Tanana Valley through his giving and advocacy on behalf of United Way. He participates in all of his workplace United Way events such as the chili cook off and department competitions. He is an inspiration to all with his leadership and giving.
Teens at Gustavus school have started the first student government in several years. They created a new recycling system, set up hall monitors for school safety and regularly lead pep rallies. The group has started reshaping the community’s attitude toward teens.
Hannah is a member of North Star Youth Court where she’s taken many cases and helped with fundraising. She trained for Conflict Resolutions and Alternatives to Violence – Alaska, which will help her serve as a youth court attorney and mediator.
Hannah spent three months in India helping disadvantaged orphans. From this deeply moving experience she now understands how inequalities play out in her own community, state, nation and world. She teaches others how the power of an individual can make a difference.
Heaven is an active member of the Eagle River Boys & Girls Club where she helps younger members with their homework, reads them stories and plays games with them. She assists at the Bear Paw Festival each year by picking up litter and recycling. She also volunteers with the Bear Mountain Lions doing vision screenings and collecting items for the homeless.
Henry joined West High’s Hearts of Oceania club after experiencing personal challenges. He has embraced the mission of the group, having become a leader in organizing club events and teaching cultural dances that help perpetuate the Pacific Islander culture. Henry is a role model and mentor to his club members.
The Hooper Bay Native Survivors Dance Group perform traditional and modern dances and songs. Through teamwork they create lifelong friendships and encourage one another to face life’s challenges with positivity.
As part of his Eagle Scout service project, Ilia designed and constructed a bike helmet station so that youth at his church could bike more safely. He collected donations of new helmets from the community and has helped make sure kids are safe while riding their bikes.
Jack has a passion for hockey. When he saw that his local rink was in need of improvements, he decided to make it the focus of his Eagle Scout service project. He designed, constructed and installed a trophy case for the Harry J. McDonald Memorial Center in Eagle River.
Jackson has been a volunteer attorney, Judge and Bar Association President for Kenai Peninsula Youth Court. He trains new volunteers and as president of the Statewide Youth Court Association he fully embraces the concept of restorative justice.
Jake is a reindeer apprentice in the Native village of Port Heiden. By caring for and establishing the reindeer herd in his community he is continuing the cultural tradition of providing a natural, sustainable food source.
Jamal helps elders in his small village of Kotlik. There are no roads and people have to walk to get from here to there. Jamal picks up elders in his 4-wheeler and takes them where they need to go.
Janette participates in the Unangam Tunuu Revitalization Project where she helps preserve her Aleut heritage. She also works with her community to enhance language and connections to elders in St. Paul and Anchorage.
Jenevia Jetaun has collected and donated more than 13,000 pairs of jeans for Covenant House as part of DoSomething.org’s “Teens for Jeans” initiative. She has volunteered with Special Olympics Alaska and Kids Kitchen for several years. Jenevia Jetaun also started the “You Are Not Alone” club at her school, which raises awareness for Alaska suicide prevention.
Jillian is a lifeguard and lifeguard instructor in Sand Point. She assists elders with water aerobics classes and gives swim lessons to youth.
Jivan has volunteered hundreds of hours for Fairbanks programs that improve the lives of youth. His work with Fairbanks Prevention Coalition aims to stop underage drinking. As president of North Star Youth Court he helps his peers make better choices. He started a program called Kick-It-Kids, which applies the principles of Tae Kwon Do to help youth build a foundation of respect for themselves and othe
Jocelyn volunteers for Junior Nordic Ski Club where she helps elementary school students learn to ski. She also leads Socially Active Youth Vocalizing Empowerment, a group that helps young people be heard.
Joie led the “Treats for Troops” project at her school where students put together care packages for troops serving overseas. Joie was involved in every step of the project up to and including loading up the packages for shipment. She helped create a sense of community, togetherness and camaraderie among the student body.
Jonathan helped renovate a neighborhood park as part of his Eagle Scout project. From pressure washing the tennis courts to replacing basketball hoops, he embraced the project with positivity and gusto. Community members appreciate his efforts as the park is now a place where children and families can unite and be active.
Joslynn is a leader in her community. She is a volunteer through Kenai Keystone, assists in an anti-bullying program at school and has done fundraising for Boys & Girls Clubs. She is a role model to her peers and inspires them to get involved in their community.
Justin is dedicated to teaching his peers about healthy relationships. He helped create an educational video with Juneau’s Lead-On! group and has given lessons at Juneau high schools. He assisted in planning “TeenTopia,” an event where 150 local teens gathered to discuss the values of healthy relationships and respect.
Katie has spent four years raising money to donate school supplies to students in a rural town outside Nan, Thailand. With her hard work and coordination she was able to donate more than $1,000 worth of school supplies and treat the students to lunch when she visited there in March.
Kayla has a passion for biological science. She has assisted in marine debris research projects, archaeological digs and fish habitat projects in the city of Yakutat. She has taken the lead on several youth science projects including researching the changes of Yakutat’s exposed sandy beaches. She also works with younger children in reading and math groups and assists teachers in prepping science lessons.
Keanu is a mentor and role model for hundreds of students at Bartlett High School. On Earth Day he planned, organized and implemented a community improvement project where 30 youth volunteered to make their neighborhood cleaner and safer. He is a natural leader and is committed to doing the most he can for his school and community.
Keifer volunteers at Mat-Su Regional Hospital where he visits recovering patients and helps them feel more comfortable. He is committed to assisting people in a medical capacity and has already earned his EMT I & II certificates.
Kenisha is one of seven siblings and has overcome many obstacles in life to become a successful student and community member. She is the student council president in Manokotak and represents the student body on the School Community Committee. Kenisha is part of the Community planning committee working on a five-year village improvement plan.
Kerri volunteers at the Anchorage Moose Lodge and uses the skills she gains there to teach young children. She is also involved in fundraising for the Scotty Gomez Foundation and has a passion for helping others.
Kiana is passionate about her community and caring for children. She volunteers with youth in her church and mentors foster children. Her family adopted two children from the Philippines in 2011 and she has been committed to their being healthy and loved.
Kiara spent a year abroad in China and now helps students back home with learning about exchange student programs. By sharing her experiences of living, traveling and going to school in another country she inspires her peers to seek a global cultural education.
Kinani is enthusiastic about music. From bass trombone to piano, music fills her with a feeling beyond words. She got a digeridoo when she was in elementary school and has taught herself to play the indigenous Aboriginal instrument.
John Dunlop, Anna McDonald, Levi Purdy and Kyle Ruotsalainen are working with real-world scientists on earthquake research. They created four Global Earthquake Forecast Systems platforms, which have been installed in different areas on Kodiak Island. They are the first high school team in the world to be accepted to compete in the international university and business level Europa Challenge.
Konaa is a member of the Anchorage Maker Space Robotics Program where he leads outreach programs to teach the community about STEM activities. He is also a dancer and drummer in the Unangan dance group.
Krishna is committed to improving his community. He volunteers at the Fairbanks After Hours Emergency Animal Clinic, is an assistant coach for a youth hockey program, a member of North Star Youth Court and he volunteers with the Civil Air Patrol. He is doing the most he can to make his home an amazing place to grow up.
Lacayah is passionate about becoming an educator and has plans to help change the education system to benefit Alaska Native youth. When she was keynote speaker at the 2015 First Alaskans Elders and Youth Conference she spoke about how Native youth need to learn resilience. She shared that she has suffered during her short life, but faith and persistence got her through those times.
Leah is an active member of her community. She plays several sports and is on student council. She is committed to helping her peers who are dealing with loneliness.
Lillionna is a reindeer apprentice in the Native village of Port Heiden. By caring for and establishing the reindeer herd in her community she is continuing the cultural tradition of providing a natural, sustainable food source.
Lydia has a passion for learning and spends extra time in the classroom helping other students. She wants to become a teacher so she can stay in the village of Gambell and help young people thrive.
MacKenna is committed to bettering her community. She has assisted with putting together Thanksgiving Day food baskets for the homeless, played in her school band at the Pioneer Senior Center, volunteered with the Sleeping Ladies’ Lions Club, and helped out at the Kenai Funny River Senior Community Center. She is a role model to her peers at the Boys & Girls Club.
Makiyan has been a Native Youth Olympics participant for six years. In 2014 he competed in four major Native Games events. His dedication to NYO, self improvement and supporting others in the games makes him a great role model to other young people in his village of Unalakleet.
Cousins Marguerite and Evangeline used their own money and funds collected from the community to donate 17 pet emergency oxygen mask kits to fire stations across the Kenai Peninsula. Their goal is to provide these life-saving tools to every fire station in the state.
Matthew volunteers with Anchorage Youth Soccer Club where he assists the coaches and teaches younger children soccer skills.
Mauri is considerate of others, whether they are human or animal. She has rescued dogs from being abandoned and is always looking out for ways to do good in her community.
Michael has volunteered with the Arctic Winter Games, Salvation Army, Love Inc. and Food Bank of Alaska. In addition to volunteering for school activities he also mentors a kindergarten student.
Michael is a mentor to youth at the Boys & Girls Club. He always sets a positive example and is an exemplary role model. He gives back to his community through ROTC, Boy Scouts, and as a volunteer at the Literacy Council.
Michael spent approximately 500 hours volunteering with his church to replace an unsafe staircase. The new stairs provide safe access for community members who use the church’s resources.
Monica is dedicated to continuing the traditions of her Alaska Native culture. She is a member of the Cup’iit Qissunamiut Youth Group in Chevak where she has learned skills from creating fish traps to traditional mittens. She helps out elders and youth in her community from passing out food at Thanksgiving potlucks to assisting at the youth spaghetti feed.
Morgan is actively engaged in her local Boys & Girls Club. During spring break 2015 she helped process an influx of new members. She also assists in the art and computer programs and gives club tours to parents.
Naasha is a leader in helping others reach their potential in STEM programs. She is a member of a robotics team that provides outreach to the community. She loves to dance and participates weekly in the Unangan Dance Group.
Naomi was president of Future Educators of Alaska and a youth tribal council member on St. Paul Island. She is currently a campus senator at University of Alaska Southeast.
Naomi has taken an active role in advocating for public education for all students in the State of Alaska. She testified to state legislators in support of local, in-person school teachers as opposed to distance education. She believes schools can provide high-quality public education for all students despite budget cuts and legislative changes.
Neni is a member of West High’s Hearts of Oceania Club where she is a dance instructor. She is well educated on all the Pacific Islands and contributes her knowledge to teaching the club members. She is passionately involved with insuring the Pacific Islander culture is shared and represented within the community.
Nunta is active in bullying prevention at her middle school. She is always looking for ways to give back to her community and is a role model to younger students.
PaKou led her peers in developing school-wide peer education programs on seat belt safety and anti-texting. She’s a role model to her Hmong peers and encourages fellow students to be involved in their community.
Paxson uses her love for volleyball to inspire younger girls to lead healthy, active lifestyles. She has coached a 5th grade team, kept score during games and organized an adult women’s team. In high school she and her team participated in the Spike Out Cancer campaign, which helped raise more than $35,000 for the American Cancer Society.
Port Graham Student Council put together fundraisers so their school could have art classes. Middle and high school students lead the younger students in bi-monthly art projects, which creates strong relationships within the community.
This group of Voznesenka students got first-hand experience in local government when they worked with Homer City Council on an agenda last summer. They also led and facilitated the Project Grad Village Youth Forum live on KBBI AM 890 in Homer where they discussed village youth issues and interests.
Reba is an active member of Sitkans Against Family Violence and speaks out in her community against issues affecting teens such as bullying, substance abuse and sexual violence. As a member of the Sitka Youth Leadership Committee, she participated in the “Choose Respect” March and is passionate about building a community of respect and nonviolence.
Renatta had a tough time adjusting to boarding school life, but she has overcome academic and athletic challenges in her time at Mt. Edgecumbe. She is captain of the volleyball team and basketball team, member of the National Honors Society and assists new students with campus orientation.
Middle schoolers at Northern Lights ABC School created the company Rest in Fleece, which sells student-made fleece blankets. The students pay wages to their employees, commission to their sales team, and made a 10% donation to Beans Cafe this year. They are empowered to run their own company, make their own decisions and experience the full life cycle of a business.
Rodney has experienced personal hardships as a youth but he doesn’t let that get in the way of his being an active member of his community and church. In addition to volunteering through the Catholic Schools of Fairbanks he also spends his time helping organizations such as United Way, Santa’s Clearinghouse and the Food Bank of Alaska.
Rowan was the only Alaskan chosen to be a part of the U.S. Women’s Ski Jumping Team’s Fly Girls camp. She is now sharing her experience with other girls and encouraging them to get involved in sports. She inspires girls to be confident and courageous.
Ryan is dedicated to helping her community. She volunteers at the local Pioneer Home, is a tutor to elementary school students and has assisted with numerous organizations around Fairbanks. In addition to her countless volunteer efforts, she also stands up for her peers who experience bullying.
Kassidy and Samantha spent the summer tending to Eagle River’s Town Square flowerbeds. The girls put in 40 hours each, pruning flowers, picking up trash and making sure Town Square looked wonderful for all of Eagle River and its visitors to enjoy. They also helped plant flowers in spring with the Chugiak High School Key Club and helped pull the flowers out in fall.
Sarah has worked for the Forest Service for two summers improving trails and building trails. She also volunteers with Big Brothers, Big Sisters and is a trained emergency trauma technician.
Sera is a member of West High’s Hearts of Oceania club where is a role model and tutor to other club members. She was the only high school students to attend the Pacific Islanders Leaders Of Tomorrow program at USC where she learned how to influence change through governmental structures when assisting her community.
Shannyn Bird has led statewide youth campaigns to fight climate change, protect wild salmon, and advocate for local food. She is a Youth Organizer with Alaska Youth for Environmental Action and has galvanized youth in the interior to stand up for a sustainable future for Alaska.
Shelby is a volunteer volleyball coach for Boys & Girls Clubs Alaska where she teaches self-confidence and teamwork skills. Her young athletes look to her as a role model and an inspiration.
Shiann spent her senior year working on a project to promote healthy diet and regular exercise. She is a positive role model and inspires her peers to make healthy choices. Because of her efforts, students are now exercising more, tracking what they eat and drinking more water.
The Sitka Youth Leadership Committee serve as positive influencers for their peers through peer education, developing media campaigns, administering surveys, and coordinating workshops on identity, diversity, and positive leadership. They are making positive changes to end racial stereotypes and bullying in their community.
Sofia is passionate about climate change issues. She is an active member of Alaska Youth for Environmental Action. She has been involved with habitat restoration and resource monitoring efforts in Prince William Sound and in the Chugach National Forest.
Stacia is an Alutiiq language learner who is passionate about passing on her culture. She teaches Alutiiq to seven different elementary school classes in Kodiak.
Sydney started a group called the Bella Campaign where they reach out to girls who don’t see their own beauty and provide them with a makeover and a photo shoot. Through this transformation, the girls feel beautiful, happy and are confident in themselves.
Tatiana is passionate about learning her Alaska Native culture. She is involved in a Yupik dance group, works as a cultural ambassador at the Alaska Native Heritage Center and is on the Youth Leadership Council at East High School. She is committed to making a difference by changing community norms for her peers.
Taylor and Kate planned, organized and staged a breast cancer walk at South High School, which raised funds for the Alaska Run for Women. The money raised by the cancer walk was a direct contribution to the AKRFW’s grants program and helped support breast cancer outreach, prevention and cure programs supported by the run.
THAT Team visits schools to promote robotics education. They hosted a “build-a-bot” workshop to show younger children how to build a robot and program it to perform tasks.
The Capitol City Fire Rescue Cadets learn the necessary skills needed to assist the fire department in basic fire ground operations. As members of the Capitol City Fire Department, cadets respond to emergencies such as fires, medical situations and vehicle crashes.
The Vinyl Floors, a four-person band, plays at community events around Anchorage from the Mayor’s inauguration to the Earth Care Jamboree. They have released a CD and are a positive example for young people.
Thomas is a creative and inspiring force in the Mat-Su community. He has been a band section leader, band council member, drum major and mentor to younger students. Last year Thomas wrote an original score for the Colony High School performance of “The Tempest.”
Tshanna is dedicated to helping children in her village through volunteering with the Boys & Girls Club. When the facility isn’t available she helps coordinate with the school for gym use time. She knows how to make the most out of limited resources when it comes to teaching and playing with children.
Virginia used her journalism experience to start a student-run newspaper at Mat-Su Career and Technical High School. She participates in many community events including educating middle school students about healthy relationships and teaching disadvantaged youth how to channel their emotions toward creative endeavors.
Will is a youth board member of Radio Free Palmer as well as a volunteer. He fills in for the morning show, produces news pieces and interviews and assists with a student-run monthly radio show.
After years of struggling to find venues for all-ages bands, Zach organized an event called Spacefest at Anchorage Community Works. He fronted the $650 it took to reserve the venue, booked the bands, promoted the event, sold tickets and more.
Zachary is an active member of North Star Youth Court where he serves as Chief Judge and as a board member. This year he successfully negotiated a challenging situation. Zach showed outstanding leadership skills and used his training in mediation to achieve this outcome.
Al participated in the Association of Alaska School Boards’ Youth Leadership Institute where he developed and practiced skills to maintain a strong youth voice to use in his school and community. He connected with peers from across the state and was part of conversations with board members at the AASB annual conference.
Alaska Geographic’s Youth Leadership Team engages youth by taking them to public lands to complete stewardship projects, learn outdoor skills and develop a lasting connection to Alaska’s outdoors. The team has helped coordinate events for the Alaska Geographic Outdoor Club and recruited their peers to participate in the events.
Alex started his own videography and photography company at age 15. His talent for capturing special moments was featured on “Good Morning America” when he attached a GoPro camera to a tossed bridal bouquet. He plans on putting his technical skill to use in the community by creating a documentary about homelessness in Anchorage.
Alexis participates in choir, band and school plays. She is a hard worker and is dedicated to helping out her peers.
Alicia is president of her class and volunteers each year for the state fair. She assisted with the Skyview and Soldotna High School merger and through student council has helped with relations between the two student bodies.
Allison and Ariana worked to provide specially designed grocery carts for Sitka’s grocery stores. These carts allow families who would normally need to navigate through the store pushing a wheelchair and a shopping cart the freedom to safely transport their child through the store in a cart.
Angel spent the summer volunteering at Thrifters Rock, a thrift store that raises money to build a new church in Palmer.
Annaka has served as a teaching assistant to a youth program at her church and leads in other areas of worship. Annaka also attended a mission trip to Savoonga, Alaska to help lead a Vacation Bible School and help with repairs to the church.
Annie was selected as one of very few international finalists to sing at Carnegie Hall for the Honors Performance Series in March 2014. Her commitment to music and singing is an inspiration for all.
Annie created, organized and hosted Ski-for-Aid, a 5k race to benefit Brother Francis Shelter. She singlehandedly organized the event and spent countless hours advertising and gathering support from local businesses for donated prizes. The race had 26 participants and raised $550 for the shelter.
Arusha has volunteered with several Interior Alaska Green Star recycling events. She is passionate about reducing e-waste and is working on implementing an electronics recycling drive at her school to help raise awareness among her peers about the availability of electronics recycling in her community.
Ashley wrote more than 1,200 positive messages on sticky notes and affixed them to the lockers of every student in her school. This project had a profound impact on the student body and increased her peers’ confidence.
The Awana student leaders at Montana Creek Baptist Church work as a team to mentor younger children by playing games, conducting story time, and teaching music with sign language. They have a passion for serving the community and are role models to young people in Talkeetna.
Blake is a swim coach and volunteers all around the city of Kodiak. Whether he’s helping kids cross the street at school or assisting at the Pink Salmon Derby, Blake is an enthusiastic leader who inspires others to lend a helping hand.
Brandie is an activist in her small community of Dillingham. Through her participation in several youth-leadership programs she addresses prevention of violence, sexual assault, teen dating violence, drug use, alcohol abuse, early tobacco use, suicide and bullying.
Brandy was severely bullied as a child but overcame this personal obstacle and now uses her experience to become a voice and advocate for those who are afraid to speak up. As an attorney for Anchorage Youth Court she reaches out to youth victimized by bullying and promotes peace and justice for all.
Brianna moved to Alaska as a child and had a difficult time adjusting to the change. She transferred to several different schools over the years and struggled with making connections with people. When she settled into Service High School she was inspired by the school’s nurse to pursue a career in nursing. She has completed 250 hours in the Certified Nursing Assistant program through the Anchorage School District and plans on attending the nursing program at the University of Alaska Anchorage.
Brice created, implemented and now manages a communications app at South Anchorage High School that is central to sharing news and activities with students, staff and parents. The app not only creates a sense of community at school but it has also increased participation in school events.
Bristol Bay River Academy participants learn how to be fishing and hunting guides. They learn about fly fishing and lead their own expedition with mock clients. Their education is essential in keeping the local guiding business thriving.
Brooke Estes, Jerry Swanson, Mathew Moore and Rachel Tougas helped create a 12-episode DVD series about the history of the Eastern Kenai Peninsula. They volunteered countless hours narrating and composing music for the series and made history come alive for hundreds of children who will have access to it.
Brynn volunteered at Benny Benson Secondary School tutoring math and language arts and designing Social Emotional Learning activities. After getting to know her students she designed and implemented special Change of Heart and Be the Change all-day workshops for students and staff.
Burgandy loves to help others. She is tech savvy and assists her classmates and teachers with many technological problems.
Byron participates in the Take Wing Alaska program where he is a role model and a leader to his fellow classmates. On his spare time he shares the singing and dancing traditions of his Alaska Native culture by making YouTube videos and uploading them to his Facebook page, “I Sing. You Dance.”
Caleb is an invaluable assistant to his brother’s non-profit, Kindness for Kids, which creates and distributes small pillows for hospitalized children across the U.S. He helps every step of the way from transporting supplies to sewing and stuffing pillows. He has also participated in several service projects with his scout troop.
Camden Galvin started the group Souper Steller, which makes fresh batches of soup once a week to feed to the students of Steller Secondary School. Souper Steller has contributed to the school’s climate in immeasurable ways. Not only are students eating well, but student volunteers are also learning how to make healthy meals.
Camden is involved in North Star Youth Court and is a member of the Fairbanks Light Opera where he participates in all areas of production. He is also on a robotics team and attended robotics camp last year.
Carl was selected as one of very few international finalists to perform at Carnegie Hall for the Honors Performance Series in March 2014. His commitment to music is an inspiration for all.
Carly is active in student government and represented her peers on Alaska’s State Board of Education & Early Development and the Mat-Su School District’s school board. She advised the school board in their decision to ban e-cigarettes, coordinated and implemented Suicide Prevention Week at school, and is a mentor and role model to her fellow students.
Carrie interviewed elders in her community and created a film on the environmental impacts of the Exxon Valdez Oil Spill. Many of the interviews were conducted in Yup’ik and Sugstun. She shared her final film at a community-wide film screening.
Carson is active as a judge in youth court, where he gives counsel and good advice to clients that help them make better choices.
Chevelle is a teacher’s aide in a special needs classroom where she helps students with daily living skills. She is also a stage hand in school theatrical productions and participates in the music program.
Christian cares deeply about the health and well-being of her peers. She is a student advocate for Unalaskans Against Sexual Assault and Family Violence and is a member of Youth Alliance for a Healthier Alaska. She raised funds and organized a special event that brought community youth and safe adults together to work on a project while exploring and learning about Unalaska’s environment and local resources.
Christopher spends several hours a week volunteering in his community and assisting with lights and sound for school concerts and productions. He greatly enhances the quality of Dillingham events.
Cleonik is active with his Russian Orthodox Church as a volunteer where he’s helped with citywide clean ups, church renovations and assisted at Bean’s Cafe. He promotes treating everyone with dignity and respect and teaches his siblings to take pride in themselves and where they come from.
Colten is a leader among his Sand Point peers. He serves on the Sand Point City Council and works with with Re-Claim Alaska to promote healthy choices for students.
The Cooper Landing Youth Action Group creates service projects to engage their community. For two years they hosted an annual recycled fashion show that educates people about the use of materials and the potential of what is otherwise considered garbage.
Courtney is dedicated to serving her community. Whether she’s helping out at an animal shelter or feeding needy families during the holidays, she always makes time for others.
Derek is a first responder at every community event in Nenana. He has volunteered with the fire department for more than two years and devotes more than 50 hours a month to his EMT work.
Destyne participates in the Kenaitze Indian Tribe’s culture camp, where she has helped in conducting mapping and research on archaeological sites in the Kenai area. She is a leader and mentor to the other campers and loves to work with the Tribe’s Tyotkas Elder Program. Destyne bridges a generational knowledge gap between elders and youth.
Devlin helps keep his Yakutat culture thriving by participating in Native dance and cultural activities such as drawing, carving and language restoration. In 2013 he participated in a three-day historical canoe journey from Juneau to Wrangell to represent the history and culture of Yakutat.
Devon is an inspiration to other students on how a positive attitude, a good work ethic and perseverance lead to success. He uses his own life experiences to advise his peers in need.
Diana is an ambassador for the University of Alaska Anchorage Educational Talent Search program where she mentors other students. She embraces her education with gusto and empowers other students to reach their full potential regardless of their race or gender.
Donvin and a friend are planning on creating a school-wide campaign to address the issues of bullying and judgment. They hope to spread their message at assemblies and with posters.
Dougie volunteers with Holland America, Princess Tours and the Student Conservation Association. He helps homeless people by giving them clothes and always puts others before himself.
The Eagle River High School hockey team volunteers in the community every year. This holiday season they helped the Salvation Army distribute food and gifts. They also worked on leadership development with Joint Base Elmandorf-Richardson paratroopers.
The East Anchorage High School Ukulele Society for Better Living is a fun and vibrant group that performs around Anchorage throughout the school year. Many participants are new to the ukulele and they are eager to play and improve their musical skill. The group present a positive image of teens in Southcentral Alaska.
Elena is legally blind, but she doesn’t let this get in the way of pursuing her goals and serving her community. She volunteers with her church, does community outreach in the Mat-Su area and is an excellent student.
Lizzie is a JROTC participant and plans on a career in the military. She is dedicated to her community and her country. Her kind and self-giving spirit infects everyone she encounters.
Elliese was a summer intern for the Begich campaign. She organized a successful youth rally and recruited several schoolmates to participate. She is passionate about bettering her community through educating youth, recycling and supporting LGBTQ rights.
Elliott volunteered with UAA’s STEM-based summer camps for middle and high school students. He assisted students with robot design, construction, programming and testing. In addition to his countless hours planning curriculum and setting up sessions he was also a mentor to the campers and inspired them to continue their interest in science, technology, engineering and math.
Emilia volunteers with The Literacy Council of Alaska and a local afterschool program. She helps young children with reading skills, facilitates craft projects, offers advice and is an overall role model to those around her.
Emma has been the lead choreographer of the Colony Middle School musical each year. She participates in community theater both on and off-stage and she is drum major in the school band.
Ethan serves as a youth leader, supporter, and role model for his peers, fellow classmates, and other youth in the small community of Shaktoolik. He provides counseling to his peers in need and is a subsistence provider for his family and elders.
Lifesaver & Prevention, Service to Community: The Fairbanks Prevention Coalition addresses the problems of underage drinking through digital storytelling, gaming competitions and other youth-oriented projects. They are passionate advocates for the prevention of substance abuse in youth.
Fiona is a natural-born leader. She is a star cross-country runner at Bartlett and when her coach left a week before the season started she assisted the new coach in all aspects of getting to know the team. She was instrumental in recruiting new team members and motivates other young women to participate in athletic activities.
Schrödinger’s Hat is a team of six Fairbanks teens that builds and programs robots and does extensive outreach at the local, state, national and international levels to help promote STEM (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics) learning. The team gives presentations at schools, local libraries, university events and other community organizations. Additionally, they have given trainings both in-person and virtually for remote Alaska communities and on an international level.
Fourteen students from Galena Interior Learning Academy participated in a riverboat journey to Nulato where they attended the show “Winter Bear.” While there, the students participated in educational workshops with the cast and crew. The students discussed suicide awareness, shared Native dances and participated in other theater and dance exercises.
Gage is active in his community in several ways. As president of the JBER Keystone Club he has provided assistance to wounded warriors in need. He also helped start “Random Texts of Kindness,” which helps teens be resilient in the face of bullying and suicide.
Gerrit invented an ozone water treatment system for his school’s science symposium. He then developed it into a product that could provide clean, safe water in developing countries. He hopes to develop his O3 System as a humanitarian product as well as a consumer product.
Grace is president of Colony Middle School’s National Junior Honor Society where she leads officer and chapter meetings. The chapter is working to raise money and goods for My House, a local organization that supports homeless teens. She is a natural leader and role model to her peers.
Harrison is an active volunteer in his community. Whether he is ringing the Salvation Army bell, helping out at the recycling center or teaching Sunday school at his church, he is committed to helping those around him.
The Homer Middle School Student Council participated in the National Pennies for Patients Leukemia & Lymphoma Fundraiser. Their goal was to raise $200, but due to their competitive strategy they were able to collect more than $700 for the cause. The group has also put on a “Think Pink” breast cancer awareness campaign, Share the Spirit community event and they organize activity nights for students to have fun in a safe environment on Fridays.
The Hydaburg City Schools Youth Leadership Group went to a Ketchikan elementary school to train on peer mediation and anti-bullying techniques. Students were then involved in implementing these techniques in their school.
The Hydaburg Phlight Club is committed to being role models to younger students. Members of the club shadow elementary students during parts of their school days to help develop positive relationships and model positive behavior.
The Hydaburg United Front Entities Youth Activities Committee organizes events and holiday parties for their community’s youth. This group promotes family bonding and positive activities for youth.
Ben participated in the Points of Light Youth Leadership Institute and has goals to provide medical services to disadvantaged communities. When he moved to the U.S. from Korea at age eight he overcame many obstacles from learning English to being bullied in school because of his ethnicity. He uses his life experiences to inspire other youth who face discrimination and lack of support.
Isaac created a vertical garden as part of the Fairbanks Youth For Habitat Restoration Corps. His garden was made of recycled materials such as PVC pipe, rain gutters and burlap. His ingenuity and compassion resulted in a project that provided nourishment and aesthetic for his community.
Isabella writes and produces news stories for her school. She assists other students in their media production projects and also regularly helps out at the local senior center.
Jane has worked with the Kenai Assembly to implement a composting facility at the Homer Transfer Station. Her vision will not only help farmers and gardeners but it will also reduce the amount of garbage shipped out of Homer.
Jared and Quinn created “Hope for Homeless Youth” as part of a theology school project. They collected items from Covenant House’s Wish List, organized a clothing drive and planned and participated in awareness events. They also organized a panel discussion addressing human trafficking and youth.
Jasmine is a self-initiated Filipino ambassador at her school. She helps new students learn the ropes from tutoring them to helping them with social skills. She acts as an interpreter between students and teachers, which is invaluable since her school has no teachers who speak Tagalog. She improves the quality of life for young people who are new to the country.
Jenna raises reindeer and brings them to educational and fundraising events. She and her reindeer have raised thousands of dollars to help homeless youth in the Kenai area from ringing the bell for Salvation Army to offering reindeer photo shoots to the public. Jenna also visits classrooms to teach students about reindeer.
Jessica has served on the Prince of Wales Island Chamber of Commerce and has traveled to Juneau to meet with senators and representatives. She is currently working with the State to get more Scenic By-Ways signs installed around the island to increase public awareness.
Jessica provides swift water training to emergency personnel in Kenai’s community fire departments. She sponsored a fundraiser to train emergency personnel involved in rescue work. Her contribution will benefit people who might find themselves in need of rescue on Kenai’s waterways.
Jessika teaches youth in her community traditional skills such as skin sewing and game processing. She also was integral in organizing a youth softball program in Kotzebue. Jessika is proud to represent her region and makes sure the youth voice of her community is heard statewide.
Jivan created Kick-It-Kids for Change where he uses martial arts training to inspire youth to make a difference in their communities. He is president of the North Star Youth Court bar and volunteers throughout the community.
Jocelyn is a teen assistant at Fairview Elementary School and is a positive role model for young children. She worked in a preschool classroom for one semester where she supervised young children in various activities and projects. She helps empower youth with her enthusiastic attitude and encourages them to do their best.
Joseph has a passion for ham radio and created the Lumen Christi Amateur Radio Club. He secured a sponsor for his club, sought out donations from ham operators across the nation and obtained a license from the FCC. He teaches fellow club members about ham radios and helps prepare students for their ham radio license exams.
Analicia Castaneda, Korbyn Powers, Deanna Hobbs, Justin Sleppy, Addisohn Jones, Calvin Zuelow were central in creating a digital story promoting healthy relationships, healthy sexuality, and nonviolence. They led interviews, edited footage and put together the final production.
Kaila is one of three Ketchikan High School students to participate in the Vigor Shipyard training program. She had a rough start her freshman year, but after enrolling in a welding class she discovered she had a spark for hands-on work. Through hard work and dedication she has overcome challenges and achieved unexpected personal success.
Karen is a listener. As one of eight siblings, she knows the value of mediation. She enjoys working out problems between her peers and would like to be a therapist or a sonographer when she is older. She has experienced bullying because of her cultural differences, but that doesn’t get in her way of personal achievement. Her struggle with learning English as a second language has only made her a stronger person who is determined to be self-reliant and successful.
Karly and Abbey are active in their church youth group. They participate in fundraisers, projects and outreach to other youth.
Kate owns and operates Arctic Belle Boutique, a consignment store in Bethel. Her goal is to provide high-quality clothing at a reasonable cost to women and teens of the Yukon-Kuskokwim region and to offer women a much-needed venue for selling their clothing and receiving a portion of the sales.
Kathryn is a member of the Governor’s Statewide Suicide Prevention Council and is a leader in Anchorage for educating peers about recognizing the warning signs of suicide and how to get help. She has led talks with Anchorage School District students and helped organize a peer training at the Boys and Girls Club. She encourages others to not sit by while a peer struggles with life, but to stand up and do something about it.
Katie was a volunteer intern at Make-A-Wish in Anchorage. She helped grant wishes to children battling life-threatening medical conditions and assisted with events that raise awareness for Make-A-Wish. As a former recipient of a wish, Katie brought empathy and a passion to help other kids who face steep challenges similar to her own.
Katy has a prosthetic leg, but doesn’t let her disability get in the way of her passions and goals. She volunteers regularly with her church and is an avid snowboarder.
Keahi led a Teen Buckle Up campaign at his school. He created banners,posters and a mascot; composed a buckle-up jingle and inspired a diverse group of students to spread the word about seat belt safety. Keahi went above the required activities of the campaign by bringing heightened awareness of teen driving concerns to students through peer to peer outreach.
Kindra volunteers in a kindergarten classroom after school each day where she assists the teacher, runs small groups and works with individual students to support their academic and social emotional development. She also assists incoming Steller Secondary School students and is a Municipal Library Teen Liaison.
Kyla has created a number of videos related to Kodiak culture such as the Filipino American culture, the effects of the 1964 earthquake and the Exxon-Valdez oil spill. She volunteers at the Kodiak Wildlife Refuge by assisting in closed captioning videos, prepping for youth programs and staffing the Refuge Visitor Center front desk.
Lane is always willing to lend a hand to people in need from shoveling elder’s driveways to assisting stranded vehicles. He has spent countless hours working toward his certification for structure firefighting. He also loves to DJ and entertains his schoolmates with his lunch time beats. He is the A/V extraordinaire at his school and helps with the technical aspects of many school events.
Larry interviewed elders in his community and created a film on the environmental impacts of the Exxon Valdez Oil Spill. He was instrumental in setting up and running camera equipment. He shared his final film at a community-wide film screening.
Alford Bankston, Kori Itta-Tomas, Kara Smith, and Esther Taalak of Barrow interned with U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service exploring relationships among lemmings and endangered species. The students got an introduction to field research and were able to provide local environmental and traditional knowledge. After the season is over the interns engage in community outreach presentations about their summer experiences.
Linaya is dedicated to helping others in need. She volunteers with Mat-Su Santa and is an aide in her school’s special education class.
Logan is part of a pregnancy prevention program, where he shares information with his peers to help decrease the risk of teen pregnancies. Throughout his two years of involvement he has shared ideas and feedback to help his peers and peer educators.
Lutfi is active in student government and is head of the 90 Percent by 2020 Peer Outreach Committee. He started a non-profit, The Macedonia Education Movement, to support education in the country from where his family originates.
Madison assists in the special needs classroom at Colony Middle School and prepares students for life outside of the home when they are older. She acts as a student delegate on field trips and helps out with the Special Olympics.
Mariana Hererra and brothers German and Francisco Badillo created Mariachi Agave Azul, the only official Mariachi band in Alaska. The 15-member group of teens and young adults performs cultural music from Mexico at special events around Anchorage. Despite their cultural differences, all members of the band are passionate about their music and understand the deep connection of those who hear them play.
Marieana has been at the forefront of the anti-drug movement in Sand Point, leading her peers and telling the adults what teens of the community need to be their healthiest, most successful selves. She initiated, planned and facilitated Red Ribbon Week activities at her school where students of all ages were invited to participate in games and celebrate being drug free.
Marilee is active in her church. She helps out each summer at Vacation Bible School, is a youth leader during youth retreats, and volunteers throughout the year. Through her participation with her church she has learned to love all people regardless of their differences.
Marina is an intern at KMXT Radio in Kodiak where she has produced more than 10 radio stories. She volunteers with Kodiak’s SumArts radio storytelling camp and is a graduate of the Media Action film intensive where she produced a short film documenting the J-1 Visa controversy among Kodiak cannery workers. This year she assisted the Media Action program with their project about the 25-year anniversary of the Exxon Valdez Oil Spill and its effect on her community.
Mason led her school’s Colony Closet project where unclaimed lost and found clothing items get redistributed to students in need.
Meryem was chair of Fairbanks Youth Advocates’ fundraising event “One Homeless Night,” where community members built cardboard shelters and spent the night outside in order to raise awareness around homelessness.
Mickey volunteers with the North Star Youth Court, is involved in church activities and has participated in several youth-led projects. She attends college and works three part-time jobs, all while maintaining a strong work ethic and positive attitude.
Miranda loves to read and write. She also enjoys volunteering and participating in Alaska Native dancing. She has overcome tremendous obstacles in life and would like to use her experiences to increase the number of shelters and programs for Anchorage families in need. She is willing to stand up for peoples’ rights and is a strong advocate for youth who are experiencing family hardships.
Nia volunteers at the Kodiak Wildlife Refuge where she assists with prep, set up and engagement of large groups of children from 3-5 years of age for the youth science education program. She is passionate about helping, volunteerism and mentoring youth.
Nora and Maddie have been instrumental in forming a Spoken Word Club at West High School. They have hosted three school poetry slams and encouraged others to speak and write poetry.
Eight middle school students from Fairbanks, Anchorage and Wasilla spent a week studying subarctic and arctic ecosystems of the Brooks Range. Students camped out and practiced non-lethal bear deterrents, installed and collected GPS data for swallow nest boxes, collected snowshoe hare pellets for a long-term population study, created research transects on the vast tundra, and observed songbird capture and identification with a researcher.
Puck cares deeply for wildlife conservation. As part of his Eagle Scout project he led his troop in building, installing and monitoring swallow nesting boxes at the Dale Saunders Crane Sanctuary. He also volunteers with the Great Land Trust aiding in land surveys, fundraising and general office work.
Reagan assisted with training 4-6th graders in becoming peer mediators for 1st grade students. She helped the students with conflict resolution skills such as active listening and encouraged their participation throughout the training.
Reanna is on the Alaska Association of Student Governments Executive Board and is highly involved in student government. She has led events at her high school to help create a healthier environment and has created leadership conferences that involves all the students in her town.
Rebekah has completed 600 hours of community service in the past year with organizations across Anchorage such as Dare to Care, the Salvation Army and Food Bank of Alaska. She spends six hours a week helping youth at her church. She is a role model to both youth and adults and is helping to shape the kind of world she wants to grow up in.
Robbie has FASD and educating Alaskans about his disability is one of his top priorities. In addition to taking classes with the Alternative Career Education program and working at Wal-Mart, he talks to UAA nursing students about how to best provide treatment to patients with this disability.
Rose organized a formal dress drive for her school’s end-of-the-year 8th grade dance. She helped collect more than 30 dresses from the community and arranged for the students to shop for the dresses discreetly. Not only did she give students the opportunity to attend a dance in style, but she also helped them with their overall confidence.
Saaren participates in school events and uses his outgoingness to help others and be a good role model.
Sadie is deeply involved in keeping her Alutiiq culture alive. She promotes her heritage through dance, song, language and sewing. She also serves on Kodiak Teen Court and assists young children at an early learning program. She has proven an asset to her community by helping youth, peers and elders.
Sammie is an environmental advocate and attended the 10th Annual World Wilderness Congress in Spain. She was inspired to design an educational kiosk at Worthington Glacier to show visitors how the glacier has receded and to distribute information about climate change and its effects on the environment.
Samuel has a remarkable understanding and empathy for others and is committed to sharing his time and service with groups who work to empower and inspire disadvantaged and disabled youth. He provides reading assistance to blind adults and volunteers with Challenge Alaska, the American Cancer Society’s Camp Goodtimes and the Boys and Girls Clubs.
Sara is an aspiring filmmaker and completed a gifted mentorship in video production at the Alaska Teen Media Institute. Her culminating project was a documentary film on girl wrestlers, which was shown at the King Career Center youth film event at the Bear Tooth Theatre. Sara is an explorer and a freshman she spent a year living in Malaysia. This taste for travel has given her the goal of reaching people around the world with her cinematography.
Sarah founded the non-profit “Alaska Kids for Kids” where she empowers youth to celebrate their birthdays by helping, recognizing and inspiring other youth. Her website features other kids’ service projects and accomplishments. Each year her organization chooses a different youth-serving non-profit and spends the year donating goods, services or raising funds.
Lifesaver & Prevention: Serenity is passionate about suicide prevention and promotes anti-bullying at Colony Middle School.
Shannyn has dedicated hundreds of hours as a certified juvenile attorney, mediator and judge for North Star Youth Court. She has conducted youth trainings on drug and alcohol awareness and is a member of Alaska Youth for Environmental Action where she mentors other AYEA youth with developing their leadership skills, organization and passion toward the environment.
Shantina is committed to helping her community. She has volunteered with Providence Medical Center, the Salvation Army Family Center and church food drives. She also participated in the Color of Justice community program, which promotes diversity in the legal profession.
Shawn is an active member of his church and mentors children age 3-16. He volunteers with Wasilla’s MyHouse, a homeless youth program and has dedicated countless hours to service within his community. Shawn’s kindness, strong work ethic and integrity makes him a role model to his peers.
Sherry enjoys working with children and participating in Alaska Native events. She has a passion for helping Alaska Natives in her community and hopes to be a nurse when she’s older. She was part of the Early Childhood Education program and King Career Center and has become a role model to young students.
Shiann is dedicated to educating her peers about the risks of obesity and the importance of healthy diets and regular exercise. Since her presence at a community health fair and multiple classroom presentations she has seen her peers exercise more, track what they eat and drink more water.
The Shungnak Teck John Baker Youth Leaders were instrumental in emergency efforts when their village was without plumbing for a whole week due to frozen, burst pipes. They retrieved water and delivered it to elders, teachers and family members. Throughout the year they create PSA’s that inform community members about suicide prevention, healthy living, anti-drug & tobacco use, domestic violence awareness, and education, all in an effort to prevent catastrophes and save lives.
Shyanne has completed more than 400 hours of community service in the Mat-Su area during the past year. Whether she’s teaching young children to swim, serving meals to Veterans of Foreign Wars or facilitating a stuffed animal drive for homeless youth, Shyanne understands that serving her community is part of achieving her life goals.
Siena is a Kids Don’t Float ambassador at Steller Secondary School. Her efforts have helped educate Alaska’s youth on the dangers of cold water immersion and the importance of always wearing a life jacket while boating.
Simeon is a positive role model to his peers. He strives for peace and equality and helps to keep the environment of his entire class positive and respectful.
Sophie is the leader of the Pregnancy Prevention Program at Colony High. She shares information with her peers to help decrease the risk of teen pregnancies and increase awareness around STDs, domestic violence and effects of drug and alcohol use.
Stephen created a web-based voting registration app for Alaska voters. His app allows Alaskans to easily register to vote, request an absentee ballot or update their voter registration information from any computer or smart phone in the world. Hundreds of Alaskans have used his website to register. Stephen hopes that his tool will inspire young Alaskans to be active participants in democracy.
Taylor has a passion both for ballet and biotechnology. As a dancer she works with younger students and teaches techniques at local elementary schools. In the field of science, she works with younger students at her school to share information about biotechnology. She has also spent three years developing a simple way to test for Paralytic Shellfish Poisoning.
Teens Acting Against Violence created a video for their peers for Green Dot Bethel, a program dedicated to ending violence in their community. The group voluntarily participated in the Green Dot effort and presented their project to Public Health Nursing and other community partners. TAAV is committed to promoting a safer community through domestic violence prevention.
Tel is the youth liaison for the Anchorage Community of Special Olympics Alaska where he communicates with his peers and learns how individuals with intellectual disabilities are viewed by the younger members of our community. Not only is he a leader among his peers but he’s also a mentor and friend to all the Special Olympic athletes.
Travis is devoted to serving his community. He is part of the group Students of Kodiak Island Learning to Lead, which went to Hawaii this past May for World Indigenous Conference on Education. Travis also helps the elders of Akhiok with everything from butchering subsistence food to pumping their heating fuel.
Triston and Dillon are lifelong hunters, trappers, and commercial and subsistence fisherman who provide for their families and elders. They actively lobby officials and representatives in State and Federal governments to protect their home environment and future ability to commercial fish and subsist in Bristol Bay.
Tyra volunteers twice a week during the winter bowling season to help younger kids develop the skills and enjoyment of a sport she loves. Tyra is on the bowling team at South Anchorage High School and in addition to the time she spends at the alley honing her own skills, she dedicates more time to work with little kids.
Victoria spent the summer volunteering with Thrifters Rock, a second-hand store that raised money to build a new church in Palmer.
Vital Impact Youth performed recently at the Elder and Youth Conference in Anchorage. This group came from Barrow and shared its message of understanding, hope and redemption with a crowd of several hundred. The group connects with people on a spiritual level and spreads love, peace and understanding.
The West High School IB Garden Group created an on-campus community garden where they planted, cultivated and harvested vegetables. Their entire crop was then donated to charity. Students not only gained valuable gardening skills, but they learned how locally-grown food can benefit those around them.
Winter is concerned about homeless youth in the Fairbanks area, especially during the colder months. She started a club at her school called “Knitting for the Kneedy,” where students make winter wear for the homeless. Her creative drive has inspired many of her peers to use their talents to help those in need.
Wyatt participated in a cultural exchange with a school in Tuntutuliak, Alaska. He helped welcome Tuntutuliak students to his school and then spent time going to their school. He was able to bring back a wealth of knowledge about Alaska Native culture and share what he learned with his peers.
The Youth Vote 2014 Planning Team planned and coordinated several youth events such as a televised candidate forum, a candidate meet-and-greet and a student mock ballot. By creating opportunities for politicians to speak directly with youth on their concerns, the Youth Vote Planning Team inspires their peers to be involved in the local democratic process.
Zachary helps manage the North Star Youth Court website. He maintains it regularly to ensure it runs smoothly and is up to date.