2024 Nominee

Isabella Gunther-Chavez

Those that know Bella can attest to her kind heart and caring nature. She lifts others up with a kind words, a helping hand, or by simply being a good listener and confidant. At South Anchorage High School, Bella has continued to serve as a student leader. She served as Freshman Class Vice President last year and was elected to serve as Commissioner of Community Service her Sophomore year. Bella was also elected to serve as a representative to a the Anchorage School District Student Advisory Board last year and this year she is serving on the Executive Board as the Public Relations Officer. Most recently Bella was asked to serve as a Youth Ambassador for the Equal Rights Commission.

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

Sarah Kim

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

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

2023 Nominees

Adeline Perry

Adeline is president of National Honor Society and leads many community service projects. She also serves in AWANA clubs as a leader for the kindergarten-second grade room. She serves at church in multiple capacities which have huge impact to quality of life for the people in our community. Adeline helps run a thrift store that benefits abused women and children’s shelter. She also serves food at the homeless shelter and a Supper Club Program. Adeline also launched a successful fundraising campaign to help a community member facing unjust legal matters around immigration status.

  • Home Town BETHEL
  • School District Lower Kuskokwim School District
  • Award Category Role Model

Alondra Resto

Alondra is an active member of Ketchikan Youth Peer Education and Ketchikan Youth for Change (KYFC), as well as being a member of the Ketchikan High School Honors Band. Alondra has been an integral part of this KYFC group, furthering its mission by authoring many of the group’s presentations and facilitating group discussions. Through this growth, Alondra and the group are allowing students a safe place to share ideas and experiences in substance use prevention. Alondra has been a catalyst in helping create this change and has introduced many new activities that students enjoy including Mario Kart tournaments, art contests, and Waffle Wednesdays.

  • Home Town Ketchikan
  • School District Ketchikan Gateway Borough School District
  • Award Category Life Saver, Role Model

Anamanu Tu’uholoaki

Anamanu is an exceptional young person. She currently works with children at the Hmoob Cultural Center of Alaska. Anamanu has volunteered by cleaning Anchorage, contsructing a blessing box to feed homeless. She’s spent time volunteering with Clare House, Beans Cafe, Food Bank of Alaska and Suicide Prevention Awareness. Additionally, Anamanu has gone on two missions, one to clean up ocean waste in kodiak and another to serve those living on Navajo Land.

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

Anika Biss

Anika has been a very active member of her church and her community. She helped form a teen volunteer program where teens spend time helping teach Sunday School to elementary-aged children and toddlers. Anika also uses her gift of music to play keyboard for worship at her church and school. She encourages young musicians to pursue their passions and inspires young pianists. Anika has been a part of American Heritage Girls for the past five years where she has hosted caroling nights in her neighborhood and participated in other events. She has also made items and set up her own entrepreneur booth to display and sell her items, donating a portion of her proceeds to charity.

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

Arianna Anderson

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

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

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

Ben Kolendo

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

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

Bianca Pagel

Bianca is an active player in the Anchorage community. She volunteers with several local organizations like The Arc of Anchorage, Beans Cafe, Food Bank of Alaska and even donates her birthday to a different charity/nonprofit each year. Bianca was a volunTEEN at  Z.J Loussac Library for 4 years. She also won a National Volunteer Service Award in Chicago at Nationals with the Miss Amazing Pageant 2023. Additionally, Bianca was the youth volunteer for Stone Soup Group at Sou per Gaming Night. She created new flyers, promotes in the community and brings zest and positive energy.

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

Charlotte Cruickshank

Charlotte has the greatest involvement in two youth led activities, serving as the current President of Partner’s Club at Dimond High School, and the lead facilitator of MHATS (Mental Health Advocacy Through Storytelling). She also plays Varsity softball and volleyball, is President of Zonta International Club and Mu Alpha Theta Math National Honor Society Club and is former President of her Class in Student Government and Model United Nations Club. She has accumulated over 700 community service hours throughout high school.

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

Collin Hitchcock

Collin is helping pedestrians on the street by clearing sidewalks adjacent to properties. He helps people out shopping, people going to church on Sunday, and travelers in and out of town. He does this by shoveling snow, which this year is setting records for most snow fall. Each night at 10pm, he goes out to clear snow from banks, a senior center, a church and more! This is a job many people don’t want but it is very necessary. If even one person avoids serious injury or property damage because of a property Collin has cleared, he will be a hero.

  • Home Town Anchorage
  • School District
  • Award Category Life Saver, Role Model

Dimond NOAA Ocean Guardians

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

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

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

Dustty Heckel

Dustty consistently connects with his community and helps no matter what he has going on. He has spent time volunteering at Scout Camp for 3 weeks teaching youth about branding, welding, archery, and survival skills. He also volunteered with Salvation Army in the summer to build food boxes and in the winter wrapping gifts. Dustty is also Fur Rondy Royalty with Fur Ronda and Alaska State Fair. He always has a smile on his face and puts his community first.

  • Home Town Eagle River
  • School District Denali PEAK
  • Award Category Humanitarian, Role Model

Emily Robinson

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

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

Evelyn Mills

Evelyn is an avid chess player in Fairbanks, AK.  Her passion for chess drove her to approach her teacher and ask if she would be the sponsor to start a club at her school.  The chess club is now incredibly active, hosting tournaments for the school and the community at large.  Most recently, Evelyn worked with UAF and coordinated a tournament on an even larger scale. Evelyn is a quiet leader who leads by positive example. She is incredibly respectful and works with the appropriate parties to allow for her idea to come a reality. This activity encourages individuals to stay off of technology and utilize their brains! 

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

Innoko River Middle and High School

Shageluk has a three-mile road between the village and the runway which is under construction. There are ancient pit houses of Shageluk ancestors along the road. This spring, students at Innoko River School ensured their community’s history was being preserved while a construction company came in to resurface the road. Students put markers out that identified the pit houses, which the company honored and left the area alone. They are learning how to own their history including the land, lifestyle and beliefs.

  • Home Town Shageluk
  • School District Iditarod Area School District
  • Award Category Humanitarian, Dreamer

Isaac Setian

Isaac is a coach at the Alaska Rock Gym. He is an outstanding listener and mentor, working with young climbers and encouraging them to solve problems independently. Issac exemplifies allowing kids to climb as they are and meeting them where they are. He is empathetic to his students and creates a safe space for them to take risks, overcome fear and deal with emotional distress. Isaac is outstanding at what he does in the climbing community. 

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

Jack Boelens

Jack has identified a need in his community and has helped fill it. In the rural community of Aniak he secured a coffee machine and sells espressos, lattes, and breves along with food, starting his own entrepreneurial venture to reach his financial goals. He taught other students how to run the espresso machine as well as consumer math, profit margins and customer service. Community members look forward to hot lattes at morning athletic events or hot breakfast items to pick up on busy work days, along with great customer service.

  • Home Town Aniak
  • School District Kuspuk School District
  • Award Category Visionary

Jackson Vincent

Jackson Vincent is a champion of justice, leadership, and spirit! Proudly serving on the Valdez Youth Court, leading as President of the Student Council, and even bringing that vibrant energy as the spirited mascot for his schools cheerleading squad.  Additionally, he finds time to involve himself in his schools theater production, Annie. He completed the season as a member of the cross country team. His dedication and determination enable him to conquer any challenge that crosses his path.

  • Home Town Valdez
  • School District Valdez City Schools
  • Award Category Humanitarian, Role Model

Jamie Twitchell

Jamie is a stand-out alum of a year-long Ilakucaraq cohort, a program that brings together Alaska Native youth in 9-12th grades. This program is designed to form friendships, learn and share about Indigenous cultures, and build confidence in their cultural identities. Although Jamie would never call herself this, she is a great example of an “elder-in-training.” Despite her young age, she is already sharing her Yup’ik culture with pride and embracing her Indigenous heritage.

She yuraqs (traditional dances) and has made her own traditional regalia including a qaspeq, nasqerrun (head dress), dance fans, and uyamik (dance necklace). Jamie brought this regalia on an Ilakucaraq trip and shared them with other participants. She designed and developed a uyamik craft kit so that other youth can learn about and make their own uyamiks. Jamie is helping to reclaim cultural activities suppressed by colonization and to counteract the pressure youth sometimes feel to assimilate into mainstream “western” culture. She is a role model to other youth and is contributing to keeping her culture vibrant. 

  • Home Town Kasigluk
  • School District Lower Kuskokwim School District
  • Award Category Humanitarian, Dreamer

Jayden Lampe

Jayden is the Parliamentarian for Barrow High School Student Council. She has been thee Youth Representative for the North Slope at the First Alaskans Elders and Youth Conference. Additionally, Jayden involves herself  heavily in the North Slope Borough Mayors Youth Advisory Council.  She also encourages her peers to do volunteer work and join community projects through the council. She has a vision for her future and the future of the region and is working to pave the way for future success. 

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

JaZara Ivanoff

JaZara is a young Alaska Native woman who is actively involved in her hometown of Unakaleet. She is readily is available to substitute at her local school. She also used to be an open-gym supervisor for the community of Unalakleet. Eldest sister to her three brothers, she has shown them to keep one foot in front of the other and to stay abstinent of any mind-altering substance. JaZara will be completing her generals for her Associates Degree through U.A.A. Once JaZara sets foot into a field of service of her own, she will excel. She loves any challenges that may arise and helping youth whose families have been affected by substance use disorders.

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

Josephine “Josie” Herbert

Josie has been heavily involved in her community by volunteering for multiple fundraising efforts across Southcentral Alaska. Josie does not allow anything to hold her back, despite a traumatic start in life, and recently won the title of Miss Alaska High School.

Josie wants to be a pillar of hope to girls who might feel alone as they navigate through the emotions of being a teenager or subjected to a bad situation.

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

Juli Layton

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

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

Kaycie Nelson

Kaycie is a student from Metlakatla who excels in school and at the Metlakatla Boys and Girls Club teen events. She was recently accepted into the Johns Hopkins Center for Talented Youth class and looks forward to her goal of attending an Ivy League university.

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

Keiren Fitka

Keiren has been working since age 14 and sought out opportunities to connect with his Yupik, Inupiaq, and Athabascan cultures. This includes being an Alaska Native Heritage Center intern, Raise Program intern, and Ilakucaraq program participant. In these settings, Keiren applies himself, builds bonds with other participants, and learns as much as he can. He continues to look for programs to expand his knowledge and is currently taking welding and aviation classes.

Keiren currently lives in Anchorage but stays connected to his family’s home community of Marshall. He understands the challenges of rural Alaska and is actively making a difference by meeting with politicians in Alaska and Washington DC to advocate for foster youth and their medical needs, for sexual assault victims, and for increased quality rural housing. He also serves as a positive role model for and caretaker of his foster siblings. Keiren shows youth voices matter and that involving themselves in their communities can happen in many different ways.

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

Kyler Frazier

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

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

Lily Gosnell

Lily is a founding member of Ketchikan Youth for Change, a group of youth who are dedicated to substance misuse prevention. Additionally, she serves as the student body president and serves on the school board as the student member. She has volunteered on the Lords Table, a program serving home-cooked meals to community members experiencing homelessness. Lily works as an intern at the Women in Safe Homes Organization and as member of their peer education team.

  • Home Town Ketchikan
  • School District Ketchikan Gateway Borough School District
  • Award Category Humanitarian

Lola Swanson

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

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

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

Madeleine (Maddy) Reckmeyer

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

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

Marysue (Manuyak) Beck

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

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

Melissa Maxwell

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

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

Nia Dowdy

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

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

Noah Matheson

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

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

Nolan Stephen Freeman

Nolan has been a member of the Kenai Peninsula Native Youth Leadership (KPNYL) team way before being an official member, his freshman year. That is, because his Auntie has been the leader for the last 10 years, which allowed Nolan to grow up with what leadership skills. Nolan has been on many sport teams-football, baseball, wresting, swimming. Yet none of the team awards have been a bigger honor for him and his family, then his personal achievements when Nolan chose to help another person in his community. 

Nolan recently had to make a very difficult decision regarding his dog who needed help to move to the Ancestor world. Despite this, he went to his Elders to ask for support making the arrangements with the family Vet. Their relationship and connection to nature is why Nolan made the career choice to become a Wildlife Rescue Law Enforcement Office with the Canine Unit.

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

Nora McBride

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

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

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

Preston Maes

Preston is an engaged member of Service High Schools Partners Club serving as a peer teacher and community volunteer. He embodies the principles of inclusion, demonstrating acceptance and respect for the differences and inherent dignity of individuals experiencing disabilities. Preston takes a “see a need, meet a need” approach. His coaches honored him with the Deputy Coach Award, and led his teammates to elect him to the role of Team Captain, two years in a row.

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

Rebekah Hudson

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

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

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

Renee Peterson

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

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

Sahara Brentor

Sahara joined the Trapper Creek Community Council in 2022-2023 to represent the youth of the community and participate in local governmental activities. Sahara developed summer Saturday sports that hosted both youth and adults to engage in physical activities such as softball, frisbee, and volleyball. In addition, Sahara and family baked or purchased items to sell to participants. With this money, Sahara started a youth fund under the Trapper Creek Community Council to use in the future for youth activities. The Trapper Creek community does not have sports or youth programs; without Sahara’s efforts locals would need to travel to Talkeetna or Wasilla for youth opportunities.

  • Home Town Trapper Creek
  • School District Matanuska Susitna Borough
  • Award Category Innovator, Visionary, Role Model

Sara DeVolld

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

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

Sean Middleton

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

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

Sean Middleton

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

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

Seward High Sources of Strength Peer Leader Team

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

 

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

Shanella Kashatok

Shanella Kashatok is an outgoing and peachy student in Eek, AK. She attended a CPR class this summer in the efforts to further provide for her community.

  • Home Town Eek
  • School District Lower Kuskokwim School District
  • Award Category Life Saver

Tristan Evanoff-Stickman

Tristan is a kind and insightful deep thinker. He connects with Elders and learns cultural practices while working at his family’s fish camp in Nondalton. Additionally, he has interned at a culture camp held on indigenous lands in partnership with Lake Clark National Park. He is stand-out alum of the year long Ilakucaraq cohort, a program that brings together teens from around the state to learn and share about their cultures and build confidence in their cultural identity. Tristan serves as a role model to other youth as someone who lives in the Anchorage area embracing his culture. 

  • Home Town Eagle River
  • School District Anchorage School District
  • Award Category Humanitarian, Dreamer

Troy Sheldon

Troy has been a member of OPT-In Kiana for six years, starting as an OPT-In Kiana, Jr. Member.  He now serves as an intern with their youth group. He has participated in the LeadOn Summer Planning Group and last year attended LeadON, as he did this year. Troy jumps in to help within the community as well.

  • Home Town KIANA
  • School District NORTHWEST ARCTIC BOROUGH SCHOOL DISTRICT
  • Award Category Role Model

Wally Wallace

Wally, as part of Seward Prevention Coalitions Peer Leader team, created and implemented youth led campaigns to foster connection, highlight resilience and increase help seeking behaviors in their school and community. He works to normalize conversations about struggle. He leads his peers on how to recognize resilience in their own lives and connects them to resources to get the help that they need and deserve through stories of strength. Wally is incredibly strong and is a wonderful public speaker. He takes a leadership role in SPC efforts and draws other kids in with is charisma.

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

2022 Nominees

Aaron Harkley

Aaron is an intuitive, natural leader as a longtime member of the Mountain View Boys and Girls Club, working to set up activities and events for younger members. A gifted student of music and video production, Aaron is a valued member of his high school and neighborhood community.

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

Abbey Markell

Abbey Markell started her own business from scratch, baking healthy, homemade dog cookies and cakes in attractive fun shapes and colors to support a local pet supply store’s two locations. Alaskans can now purchase locally-baked, customized options of cute cookies and adorable birthday and “Gotcha-Day” cakes that are nutritionally-balanced and free from preservatives.

Says Abbey’s nominator, “It’s clear to me that Abbey is not doing this for the money. Indeed, she makes many treats that are intended to give away. Abbey gives away very many treats to family, friends, and their friends. Expired treats (plus bonuses) go to the Alaska SPCA.”

 

Abigail Pruitt

Abigail creates an inclusive, welcoming environment for all students at Next Step Dance Kodiak studio as a teacher. She also volunteers at Kodiak High School’s Food Pantry project, working to help alleviate food insecurity among Kodiak youth.

  • Home Town Kodiak
  • School District Kodiak Island Borough School District
  • Award Category Role Model

Adreanna Nash

Adreanna both participates in and volunteers with the Fairbanks arts community through dance and performance. She uses her talents to speak up and motivate others to live creatively.  Adreanna often travels for performances, and has won awards while representing various Alaska dance companies. She also volunteers her time to the dance community, performs at local charity events, and is a volunteer teacher of younger dance students. It can be difficult for youth in Fairbanks to find an outlet for creativity, but Adreanna works hard to advocate for the power of the arts while also setting an example of what can happen when a youth is given the right opportunities to flourish and motivate others.

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

Agnes Mcguffey

Agnes participated in the Association of Alaska School Boards’ annual Youth Leadership Institute, learning about legislative processes, and gained skills in peer-to-peer leadership and community advocacy.

  • Home Town
  • School District Lower Yukon School District
  • Award Category Humanitarian

Alexa Rollin

Alexa participated in the Association of Alaska School Boards’ annual Youth Leadership Institute, learning about legislative processes, and gained skills in peer-to-peer leadership and community advocacy.

  • Home Town
  • School District Unalaska City School District
  • Award Category Humanitarian

Alexis Moses

Alexis participated in the Association of Alaska School Boards’ annual Youth Leadership Institute, learning about legislative processes, and gained skills in peer-to-peer leadership and community advocacy.

  • Home Town
  • School District Yukon-Koyukuk School District
  • Award Category Humanitarian

Amira Byrd

Amira participated in AASB Youth on Boards, where they provided feedback and insight to their School Boards. This took courage and heart on the part of the students, and they spoke about issues like mental health supports, suicide, the need for caring adults and best ways to support students in leadership roles.

  • Home Town
  • School District Kuspuk School District

Anika Palomar

Anika participated in the Association of Alaska School Boards’ annual Youth Leadership Institute, learning about legislative processes, and gained skills in peer-to-peer leadership and community advocacy.

  • Home Town
  • School District Valdez City Schools
  • Award Category Humanitarian

Annie Downey

Annie participated in the Association of Alaska School Boards’ annual Youth Leadership Institute, learning valuable skills of community advocacy, peer-to-peer leadership, and an understanding of Alaska’s legislative process.

  • Home Town
  • School District Galena City School District
  • Award Category Humanitarian

Aryana Ivanoff

Aryana participated in the Association of Alaska School Boards’ Youth Leadership Institute, gaining important skills in areas like legislative process, advocacy, and peer-to-peer leadership.

  • Home Town
  • School District Bering Strait School District
  • Award Category Humanitarian

Autumn Curtis

Autumn was a participant in the Association of Alaska School Boards’ Youth Leadership Institute, where she gained valuable skills of legislative process, advocacy, and peer-to-peer leadership.

  • Home Town
  • School District Bering Strait School District
  • Award Category Humanitarian

Ayla Nick

Ayla is committed to helping her peers gain a larger understanding of Indigenous cultures, practices, and issues as a president of Chugiak High School’s Indigenous Club. She is also a leader within the school’s Key Club, dedicating her spare time toward service of the community.

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

Bianca Pagel-Miller

Bianca is a teen volunteering powerhouse. Involved with activities in the greater Anchorage area for years, Bianca fills volunteering roles for community organizations. She is respected for her various responsibilities, and takes on these tasks with pride, diligence, a positive attitude, and serious commitment.

Bianca is a highly-recruited volunteer. One of her regular activities is spending time at a local non-profit organization that supports parents of children living with special needs. The organization depends on Bianca to volunteer for events as a positive example to other youth and their families. Bianca truly enjoys sharing her love of volunteerism with peers, encouraging other teens in the community to give back of their time and talents.

Bianca’s nominator says “She is a joy and inspiration to be around and as an agency we have come to rely on Bianca for her support, energy, ideas, influence and support.”

 

 

  • Home Town Chugiak
  • School District Raven Homeschool - YK School District

Briley Loncar

Briley is a mentor, volunteer, and advocate for those less fortunate. She donates her time to help empower young girls to set goals for themselves, improve their self-confidence, and become stewards of their own communities.

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

Calie Conway

Cali participated in the Association of Alaska School Boards’ annual Youth Leadership Institute, gaining valuable skills like advocacy, legislative process, and peer-to-peer leadership.

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

Carrissa Heitstuman

Carrissa is an integral part of the Kasilof Boys and Girls Club, assisting staff with activities and ensuring younger members have positive guidance for their time spent at the club.

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

Carter Uttecht

Carter took initiative to complete the necessary training to become an Emergency Medical Technician (EMT) for the city of King Cove’s EMS system, no small feat considering King Cove is a community located 625 miles from the “big city” of Anchorage.

  • Home Town King cove
  • School District Aleutians East Borough
  • Award Category Life Saver, Role Model

Cassidy Kruse

Cassidy is a member of the youth volunteer team at Kasilof Boys and Girls Club, providing assistance with activities, and acting as a role model for younger club members.

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

Catheryne (Catey) Habberstad

Catey is a member of National Honor Society, South High School’s yearbook staff, and acts as the Community Relations/Service Projects Commissioner for South’s Student Government. She also has mentored other students with Cerebral Palsy at her school and online through a website called CHASA (Childhood Hemiplegia and Stroke Association).

Cheyenne Kookesh

Cheyenne is dedicated to her Tlingit heritage, taking advantage of all learning opportunities, including formline design, beading, dancing and singing, and talking with community elders. As a young woman invested in learning about and preserving her Tlingit culture, she invites and normalizes this level of cultural engagement amongst her peers.

  • Home Town Angoon
  • School District Chatham School District
  • Award Category Dreamer, Role Model

Chloe Askoak

Chloe participated in the Association of Alaska School Boards’ annual Youth Leadership Institute, learning about legislative processes, and gained skills in peer-to-peer leadership and community advocacy.

  • Home Town
  • School District Lower Yukon School District
  • Award Category Humanitarian

Dakota Johnson

Dakota, through hard work and dedication, brought life back to Stellar Secondary School with the establishment of the school’s cafe, ‘Temple of the Bean,’ which serves as a major fundraiser for the community.

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

Dana Semaken

Dana participated in the Association of Alaska School Boards’ annual Youth Leadership Institute, gaining valuable skills of community advocacy and peer-to-peer leadership, and an understanding of Alaska’s legislative processes.

  • Home Town
  • School District Galena City School District
  • Award Category Humanitarian

Darcy Misel

Darcy leads through teaching new Mock Trial students the processes of how American legal systems work, and has encouraged freshmen and other students to join the team this year. Darcy’s vision is to improve the West Valley Mock Trial team, and in the process help advocate for students’ rights through teaching her peers important skills that will culminate in participation at the 2023 Alaska State Mock Trial.

  • Home Town Fairbanks
  • School District Fairbanks Northstar Borough School District
  • Award Category Role Model

Deja Hitchens

Deja was a participant in the Association of Alaska School Boards’ annual Youth Leadership Institute, and learned valuable skills of community advocacy, peer-to-peer leadership, and gained an understanding of Alaska’s legislative process.

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

Destiny Nusbaum

Destiny participated in the Association of Alaska School Boards’ Youth Leadership Institute, gaining skills of community advocacy, peer-to-peer leadership, and learning about Alaska’s legislative processes.

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

Dylan Soberay

Dylan is a student aide in a special education classroom at West High School. His role in this classroom include supporting the teacher, one-on-one tutoring (especially in math), mentoring, socializing, and being an exceptional role model for students who often do not feel included.

  • Home Town Anchorage
  • School District Anchorage School District

Elizabeth Djajalie

Elizabeth is a motivated innovator who loves learning. Her project titled, “Development of Seaweed Bioplastics to Alleviate Environmental Plastic Pollution,” involved testing protypes of a biodegradable bioplastic cup, with the goal of engineering a cup that could be used in place of traditional plastics. With plastic pollution affecting the oceans, this is an Alaskan and global issue. Elizabeth’s project ended up as a finalist in the Regeneron International Science and Engineering Fair where she won the opportunity to represent Alaska.

Additionally, Elizabeth is the president of the Future Women of STEM club, which forms a community of high-school girls interested in pursuing a career in the field of STEM, an area with traditionally fewer women. Together, the club forms a supportive group that reaches out to local experts in STEM fields to meet up with the members so they can learn more about different STEM pathways. The club also volunteers at local elementary schools in an effort to bring STEM events to younger kids.

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

Elle Garnie

Elle was a member of the Association of Alaska School Boards’ annual Youth Leadership Institute, where participants gained valuable skills in the areas of advocacy, legislative process, and peer-to-peer leadership.

  • Home Town
  • School District Bering Strait School District
  • Award Category Humanitarian

Ellen Redington

Ellen took part in the Association of Alaska School Boards’ Youth Leadership Institute, gaining valuable skills of advocacy, peer-to-peer leadership, and the legislative process.

  • Home Town
  • School District Educators Rising
  • Award Category Humanitarian

Ellie Shaw

Ellie was a participant in the Association of Alaska School Boards’ Youth Leadership Institute, learning valuable skills of advocacy, legislative process, and leadership.

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

Emil Lopez

Emil Lopez believes that all young people deserve to be heard, and he’s working to bring awareness and solutions to amplify the youth voice in Alaska. A keynote speaker for a recent youth summit, Emil brings to the table an awareness of and solutions for the role of young citizens. A student at Bettye Davie East High School in Anchorage, Emil works very hard and has high goals, and participates in additional rigorous programs that provide him many opportunities for postsecondary education. Emil is an obvious inspiration to our student body and was voted Homecoming King in 2022. Emil’s nominator said, “Emil is a student who works hard, treats others with respect, is kind, and a great friend to many in our school.”

 

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

Espen Hennick

Living life on the autism spectrum, Espen is a proud representative of his school in varsity soccer, swimming, and basketball; and as a musician, playing the violin. Espen dedicates the majority of his day to school and activities, but also holds down three different after-school jobs, with the hope to create a non-profit organization to support a youth strings program for six to 12th-grade students at Homer Middle and High Schools. With funding raised, music students would be able to access mentorship, lessons, and instruments.

Espen has risen to the challenges social and behavioral disabilities present, but his diligence and tenacity have proven that one can thrive, not just survive, if given the opportunities and tools. His hope is to attend college and become a special education teacher, to pass along the same support he has received over the years.

 

  • Home Town Ninilchik
  • School District Homer

Everlyn Kate Flores

Everlyn participated in the Association of Alaska School Boards’ annual Youth Leadership Institute, learning important skills like advocacy, legislative process, and peer-to-peer leadership.

  • Home Town
  • School District Cordova
  • Award Category Humanitarian

Felix Myers

Felix participated in the Association of Alaska School Boards’ annual Youth Leadership Institute, learning about legislative processes, and gained skills in peer-to-peer leadership and community advocacy.

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

Gabe Nollner

Gabe participated in the Association of Alaska School Boards’ annual Youth Leadership Institute, learning about legislative processes, and gained skills in peer-to-peer leadership and community advocacy.

  • Home Town
  • School District Yukon-Koyukuk School District
  • Award Category Humanitarian

Hannah Lewellyn

“Making the impossible, possible” is Hannah’s personal motto, and everything she does comes from this tremendous work ethic. Hannah participates in Lego Challenge events, developing robotic figures that challenge students’ abilities in technology and science. She has assisted younger students with the skills of coding and problem-solving, helping them to develop into worthy members of Lego clubs and competitions.

Hannah also contributes to her community in service-oriented ways, working with homeless youth and traveling to Peru on a humanitarian mission trip. She looks forward to attending a trade school and furthering her interest in technology and science by studying electrical engineering, and applying those skills to a community’s needs.

  • Home Town Fairbanks
  • School District IDEA Homeschool
  • Award Category Innovator, Visionary, Role Model

Honey Kadake

Honey participated in the Association of Alaska School Boards’ annual Youth Leadership Institute, learning about legislative processes, and gained skills in peer-to-peer leadership and community advocacy.

  • Home Town
  • School District Kake City School District
  • Award Category Humanitarian

Huffman Science Club Leaders

Through a partnership with the Huffman Elementary PTO, three students, Mo Narus, Skylar Berg, and Grainne Rogacki, students at South High School, started a Science Club for students at their former elementary school.

They wanted to inspire young students to love science as much as they do, and provided all of the planning and supplies for a six-session course that included a hands-on experiment.

Jaeden Binion

Jaeden is an incredible leader and is passionate about spreading the message of inclusion. He is a Special Olympics Alaska athlete and is one of two Special Olympics U.S. Youth Ambassadors representing Alaska. Jaeden takes seriously his role as an inspirational advocate for those with intellectual disabilities.

 

Jahira Towner

Jahira participated in AASB Youth on Boards, where they provided feedback and insight to their School Boards. This took courage and heart on the part of the students, and they spoke about issues like mental health supports, suicide, the need for caring adults and best ways to support students in leadership roles.

  • Home Town
  • School District Lower Kuskokwim School District

Jamie Allain

Jamie participated in AASB Youth on Boards, where they provided feedback and insight to their School Boards. This took courage and heart on the part of the students, and they spoke about issues like mental health supports, suicide, the need for caring adults and best ways to support students in leadership roles.

  • Home Town
  • School District Yupiit School District

Jeffrey Martin, Jr.

Jeff overcame personal obstacles to become a peer mentor and role model at the Fairbanks Boys and Girls Club. His nominators say “In the face of adversity, Jeff has consistently persevered and channeled the challenges he has faced to work in his favor.”

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

Jeffry Alsup

Jeffry was a member of the Association of Alaska School Boards’ Youth Leadership Institute, learning valuable skills of advocacy, legislative process, and leadership.

  • Home Town
  • School District Alaska Gateway School District
  • Award Category Humanitarian

Jennifer Bell

Jennifer was a member of the Association of Alaska School Boards’ Youth Leadership Institute, gaining valuable skills of advocacy, legislative process, and leadership.

 

  • Home Town
  • School District Bering Strait School District
  • Award Category Humanitarian

John Moses

Larenti participated in AASB Youth on Boards, where they provided feedback and insight to their School Boards. This took courage and heart on the part of the students, and they spoke about issues like mental health supports, suicide, the need for caring adults and best ways to support students in leadership roles.

  • Home Town
  • School District Kashunamiut School District

Josephine Violet Adasiak

Josephine (Josie) is the only Fairbanks representative for Alaska Youth for Environmental Action, or AYEA, a youth-oriented program that brings together young environmental activists from around the state to define and address environmental issues. This year, Josie is tackling the issue of food justice and food security in Fairbanks in an effort to improve sustainable and inclusive access to food in her community.

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

Kaela Woods

Skyview Middle School student Kaela is a volunteer at Boys and Girls Club, working hard to ensure the younger members have the tools they need to have a great day.

  • Home Town Kasilof
  • School District KPBSD

Kailene Vea-Spencer

Kailene serves on the Anchorage Youth Court with aspirations of becoming a lawyer. She also stepped up to participate in the Pacific Community of Alaska’s “Bridging the Gaps” project, to bring awareness of unique mental health and identity struggles faced by Alaska’s Pacific Islander community.

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

Kaleb Baker

Kaleb participated in AASB Youth on Boards, where they provided feedback and insight to their School Boards. This took courage and heart on the part of the students, and they spoke about issues like mental health supports, suicide, the need for caring adults and best ways to support students in leadership roles.

  • Home Town
  • School District Yakutat School District

Katelyn Piper

Katelyn participated in the Association of Alaska School Boards’ annual Youth Leadership Institute, learning about legislative processes, and gained skills in peer-to-peer leadership and community advocacy.

  • Home Town
  • School District Northwest Arctic Borough School District
  • Award Category Humanitarian

Kayla Effemka

Kayla participated in AASB Youth on Boards, where they provided feedback and insight to their School Boards. This took courage and heart on the part of the students, and they spoke about issues like mental health supports, suicide, the need for caring adults and best ways to support students in leadership roles.

  • Home Town
  • School District Kuspuk School District

Kaylea Eller

Kaylea was a participant at the Association of Alaska School Boards’ Youth Leadership Institute, learning valuable skills of legislative process, advocacy, and leadership.

  • Home Town
  • School District Bering Strait School District
  • Award Category Humanitarian

Kenneth Reed

Kenneth participated in the Association of Alaska School Boards’ annual Youth Leadership Institute, learning about legislative processes, and gained skills in peer-to-peer leadership and community advocacy.

  • Home Town
  • School District Lower Yukon School District
  • Award Category Humanitarian

Kinley Erickson

Kinley takes her role as a student-athlete seriously as a member of the University of Alaska Fairbanks volleyball team. But playing the sport isn’t her only goal. Since she was a high school player in North Pole, Kinley has taken time to work with younger players through camps, volleyball clubs, and at local middle schools. This, she believes, offers others interested in volleyball the chance to be positively mentored, and hopefully play into the future, even if they come from a much smaller Alaska community. Kinley’s nominator said “Kinley ensures everyone they are important and seen,” building up confidence for the future student-athletes as a leader, confidant, and role model.

  • Home Town North Pole
  • School District University of Alaska Fairbanks
  • Award Category Role Model

Larenti Kashatok

Larenti participated in AASB Youth on Boards, where they provided feedback and insight to their School Boards. This took courage and heart on the part of the students, and they spoke about issues like mental health supports, suicide, the need for caring adults and best ways to support students in leadership roles.

  • Home Town
  • School District Kashunamiut School District

Lauryn Nanouk Jones

Lauryn is addressing problems like renewable energy and sustainability for rural Alaskans, and is focused on the bigger picture of helping remote communities regarding environmental issues, renewable energies, and gathering people together.

  • Home Town Unalakleet
  • School District Bering Straits School District, Mt. Edgecumbe High School Alumni
  • Award Category Discovery
  • Radio Story Listen to Lauryn's story here

Leena Edais

Leena has been a dauntless advocate for tobacco prevention activities among her peers. She co-wrote a prerecorded video/slide presentation about the negative health effects and danger of nicotine addiction, that was shown to hundreds of other students in the Northwest Arctic Borough School District via video chat. She is presently planning the Youth Encouraging Alaskans Health (YEAH) Summit for 2023, and will be one of the main emcees.

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

Lola Swanson

Since 2018, at the age of 10, Lola has been instructing young children of the Seward community in the art of dance. Over the course of the last four and a half years, she has taught more than 100 youth ranging in age from three to 14 the basics of  ballet, jazz, and tap through regular classes and summer day camp opportunities. Lola also partnered with the Seward Community Foundation and Youth 360 to offer scholarships for students of need.

  • Home Town Seward
  • School District Kenai Peninsula Borough School District

Luke Jack

Luke is a longtime volunteer in the Alaska Youth Stewards program, addressing the issues of local littering and regional marine debris  across the Southeast Alaska region. Additionally, Luke serves his fellow classmates through a small school cafe’, managing all aspects of the business himself.

  • Home Town Angoon
  • School District Chatham School District
  • Award Category Visionary, Discovery

Madeline Hall

Madeline participated in the Association of Alaska School Boards’ annual Youth Leadership Institute, learning about legislative processes, and gained skills in peer-to-peer leadership and community advocacy.

  • Home Town
  • School District Valdez City Schools
  • Award Category Humanitarian

Madison Carlton

Madison participated in the Association of Alaska School Boards’ Youth Leadership Institute, gaining valuable skills of advocacy, legislative process, and peer-to-peer leadership.

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

Madison Fagerstrom

Madison was a member of the Association of Alaska School Boards’ Youth Leadership Institute, where she gained valuable skills in areas of legislative process, advocacy, and peer-to-peer leadership.

  • Home Town
  • School District Bering Strait School District
  • Award Category Humanitarian

Madison Katchatag

Madison was a participant in the Association of Alaska School Boards’ annual Youth Leadership Institute, gaining valuable skills of advocacy, legislative process, and peer-to-peer leadership.

  • Home Town
  • School District Bering Strait School District
  • Award Category Humanitarian

Magdelina Stringer

Magdelina participated in the Association of Alaska School Boards’ annual Youth Leadership Institute, learning about legislative processes, and gained skills in peer-to-peer leadership and community advocacy.

  • Home Town
  • School District North Slope Borough School District
  • Award Category Humanitarian

Max Pfeiffenberger

Max took initiative to refurbish Seward’s only outdoor basketball court as a recreational gathering place for older youth. He organized a group of volunteers to replace the aging cement court with a new play surface, raising funds and gathering donations from local businesses to complete the project. Max took on fundraising and business donations, and in the end a volunteer crew to paint the new surface, making the Seward community a better place to live and play. Without his constant push to make the court something the community would find valuable, Max and his friends, family, and fans found ways to make a forgotten court better.

 

 

 

 

 

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

Mazzy Adkins

Mazzy is a skilled beader. An important part of her Athabaskan culture, she wanted to teach beading to other kids, so Mazzy created a class for third and fourth-graders at her school. Mazzy helped shine a light on Indigenous knowledge and made it something desirable and important.

 

 

  • Home Town Anchorage
  • School District Anchorage School District

Moody Barr

Moody participated in the Association of Alaska School Boards’ annual Youth Leadership Institute, learning about legislative processes, and gained skills in peer-to-peer leadership and community advocacy.

  • Home Town
  • School District Northwest Arctic Borough School District
  • Award Category Humanitarian

North Crawford

North created the ‘Hidden Parks of Anchorage’ guide, and presented it in both online and print versions while in the 8th grade. Now a sophomore, North continues his service to Anchorage through additional volunteer opportunities in the Service High Partners Club, Providence Horizon House, and in park cleanups and work days.

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

Olivia Smith

Olivia was a member of the Youth Leadership Institute, sponsored by the Association of Alaska School Boards. She gained valuable skills of advocacy, peer-to-peer leadership, and understanding the legislative process.

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

Owen Bill

Owen participated in the Association of Alaska School Boards’ annual Youth Leadership Institute, learning about legislative processes, and gained skills in peer-to-peer leadership and community advocacy.

  • Home Town
  • School District Lower Yukon School District
  • Award Category Humanitarian

Preston Hammond

Preston took part in the Association of Alaska School Boards’ annual Youth Leadership Institute, learning skills of advocacy, peer-to-peer leadership, and legislative process.

  • Home Town
  • School District Denali Borough School District
  • Award Category Humanitarian

Princess Matthias

Princess participated in the Association of Alaska School Boards’ annual Youth Leadership Institute, learning about legislative processes, and gained skills in peer-to-peer leadership and community advocacy.

  • Home Town
  • School District Lower Yukon School District
  • Award Category Humanitarian

Rebecca Tyler

In 2020 Rebecca started her own non-profit organization, Big Air Becca, dedicated to providing opportunities for underserved youth to experience the outdoors. An avid free-skier, Rebecca brings skills of advocacy, fundraising, and leadership to her sessions teaching kids to ski, climb, and enjoy Alaska’s outside spaces.

 

 

  • Home Town Girdwood
  • School District Anchorage School District
  • Award Category Humanitarian, Visionary

Reed Davidson

Reed Davidson exemplifies what it means to be a role model and humanitarian for others in the community. Dedicated to helping others achieve success, Reed volunteers her time and expertise as Girdwood School’s assistant middle school debate coach, and statewide tournament judge.

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

Rianne Pili

Rianne was a participant in the Association of Alaska School Boards’ annual Youth Leadership Institute, gaining valuable skills of advocacy, legislative process, and peer-to-peer leadership.

  • Home Town
  • School District Bering Strait School District
  • Award Category Humanitarian

Riga Grubis

With a focus on climate and the environment, Riga dedicates her spare time to projects within the Model United Nations project, gaining important negotiation skills. She also serves on the Friends of Creamer’s Field board of directors as its youngest member, and has worked at Tanana Lakes to remove invasive vegetation.

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

Robert Chayalkun

Robert participated in AASB Youth on Boards, where they provided feedback and insight to their School Boards. This took courage and heart on the part of the students, and they spoke about issues like mental health supports, suicide, the need for caring adults and best ways to support students in leadership roles.

  • Home Town
  • School District Kashunamiut School District

Rosie Tocktoo

Rosie participated in the Association of Alaska School Boards’ annual Youth Leadership Institute, where she gained valuable experience in advocacy, legislative process, and peer-to-peer leadership skills.

  • Home Town
  • School District Bering Strait School District
  • Award Category Humanitarian

Rylee Chelette

Rylee participated in the Association of Alaska School Boards’ annual Youth Leadership Institute, learning about legislative processes, and gained skills in peer-to-peer leadership and community advocacy.

  • Home Town
  • School District Wrangell Public Schools
  • Award Category Humanitarian

Sarah Sampson

Sarah participated in the Association of Alaska School Boards’ annual Youth Leadership Institute, gaining valuable skills of legislative process, advocacy, and peer-to-peer leadership.

  • Home Town
  • School District Bering Strait School District
  • Award Category Humanitarian

Savannah Hawkins

Savannah is a volunteer/junior staff member at Kasilof Boys and Girls Club. Says her nominator:  “We became so impressed with her willingness to volunteer and help make sure our kids have the success they need to have a great day.”

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

Sean Middleton

Sean works hard to improve the community by being a great student, a wonderful teammate, and a great friend to others. He encourages everyone to work hard, and cheers for not only his team, but also for those friends on rival teams. Sean encourages everyone (including adults) to work hard. He is so gregorious and silly that he is extremely loved, with little hockey players and little brothers and sisters who adore him because he talks to them, gets down on their level, and hears them. He knows that children have a voice and he encourages them to use it.

He was chosen to be on Team Alaska Tier 1 hockey, and selected an assistant captain because of his strong leadership skills. Sean also works as a hockey referee in his spare time to help mitigate costs of this expensive sport.

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

Serenity Gould

Serenity is a high school sophomore who focuses on life’s bigger picture while working hard to advocate for others in her community. She is a member of the Eagle River Boys and Girls Club, and volunteers with the American Heart Association’s Go Red for Women events each year.

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

Shanley Ekamrak

Shanley participated in AASB Youth on Boards, where they provided feedback and insight to their School Boards. This took courage and heart on the part of the students, and they spoke about issues like mental health supports, suicide, the need for caring adults and best ways to support students in leadership roles.

  • Home Town
  • School District Yupiit School District

Shannon McCarty

Shannon McCarty lives in Metlakatla in Southeast Alaska, a small community where Tsimshian traditions are a foundation of daily life. Shannon is a well-respected caregiver for local children, even encouraging her peers to become babysitters so that other families of Metlakatla will have safe, responsible childcare services for their youngsters. Shannon is also a student-teacher leader for the community’s Vacation Bible School each summer, sharing her compassion and faith with local kids. A member of her high school’s dance group Fourth Generation, Shannon performs regularly as a proud member of the Tsimshian, modeling always the values of respect and caring for others.

  • Home Town Metlakatla
  • School District Annette Island School District
  • Award Category Dreamer

Sophia Layos-Wagaman

Sophia Layos-Wagaman is an aspiring circus arts performer from Fairbanks. A competitive gymnast since 2013, Sophia has competed at U.S. Gymnastics invitationals in Hawaii, Washington, Oregon, Montana and Alaska. She has spent the last four years adding circus skills to her repertoire including straps, lyra, wire and partner acrobatics. She performed with the Golden Heart Performing Arts Studio in the 2021 Solstice Soiree at Golden Heart Performing Arts. Sophia was also the the first-ever recipient of the $5,000 CSAW Tuition Grant for a U.S. Circus Artist of Color.

Additionally, Sophia has volunteered for events at the Fairbanks Children’s Museum, offering her time and talent to brighten the days of her community’s kids. Sophia’s nominator states “Sophia’s backstory is one of tenacity and perseverance. It’s wonderful to see her blossom and pursue her desire to study and perform circus arts, and even more wonderful to see her contributions to the Fairbanks community and beyond through performance, volunteerism, and athletics.”

 

Sophie Nylen

Sophie participated in the Association of Alaska School Boards’ annual Youth Leadership Institute, gaining skills in community advocacy, peer-to-peer leadership, and an understanding of Alaska’s legislative process.

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

Sycely Wheeles

Sycely is a student leader with a passion for student mental health advocacy. Over the past year, Sycely has dedicated significant time and energy to raising public awareness of student mental health issues, and she has sought to improve conditions for young people in our state.

Teagan Guillermo

Teagan is a 6th grade student at Kodiak Middle School with a job at a local doctor’s office – a bit unusual. In the school’s Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts, and Math (STEAM) program, Teagan is involved in a project to create a working rocket, hypothesizing and experimenting to hopefully lead to success.

Teagan’s nominator says, “He is the leader of his group of friends and is already looking ahead to what he’ll need after graduation.”

 

  • Home Town Kodiak
  • School District Kodiak Island Borough School District
  • Award Category Innovator, Visionary

Thor Morris

Thor participated in the Association of Alaska School Boards’ annual Youth Leadership Institute, learning about legislative processes, and gained skills in peer-to-peer leadership and community advocacy.

  • Home Town
  • School District Northwest Arctic Borough School District
  • Award Category Humanitarian

Tia Christopherson

Tia participated in the Association of Alaska School Boards’ annual Youth Leadership Institute, learning about legislative processes, and gained skills in peer-to-peer leadership and community advocacy.

  • Home Town
  • School District Southeast Island School District
  • Award Category Humanitarian

Tiffany Laraux

Tiffany participated in AASB Youth on Boards, where they provided feedback and insight to their School Boards. This took courage and heart on the part of the students, and they spoke about issues like mental health supports, suicide, the need for caring adults and best ways to support students in leadership roles.

  • Home Town
  • School District Lower Kuskokwim School District

Tracey Abraham

Tracey was a participant in the Association of Alaska School Boards’ Youth Leadership Institute, gaining valuable skills in areas like advocacy, legislative process, and peer-to-peer leadership.

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

Tristan Linus

Tristan participated in the Association of Alaska School Boards’ annual Youth Leadership Institute, learning about legislative processes, and gained skills in peer-to-peer leadership and community advocacy.

  • Home Town
  • School District Yukon-Koyukuk School District
  • Award Category Humanitarian

Vianne Foster

Vianne Foster was a participant at the Association of Alaska School Boards’ Youth Leadership Institute, learning valuable skills of legislative process, advocacy, and leadership.

  • Home Town
  • School District Bering Strait School District
  • Award Category Humanitarian

Yagnnesis Mejias

Yagnnesis was part of the Association of Alaska School Boards’ annual Youth Leadership Institute, learning the skills of advocacy, peer-to-peer leadership, and the legislative process.

  • Home Town
  • School District Cordova
  • Award Category Humanitarian

Yedidia Diboue

Yedidia embodies the spirit of fine arts, with a love of singing, violin, and drawing as her primary interests, using these media to express her feelings in a positive way. She also serves as an officer of the Anchorage Youth Court, and created her own business called “YY Sweets,” donating profits to charity.

  • Home Town Anchorage
  • School District Anchorage School District
  • Award Category Visionary, Dreamer

Zevadiah Dexter-Ticket

Zevadiah participated in the Association of Alaska School Boards’ annual Youth Leadership Institute, learning about legislative processes, and gained skills in peer-to-peer leadership and community advocacy.

  • Home Town
  • School District Northwest Arctic Borough School District
  • Award Category Humanitarian

2021 Nominees

Arnan

Arnan is president of Student Council, leads several school clubs, is deeply involved with band and made it to all school state a few times. As president of Student Council, he takes time to help better his school and those around him, and as a leader of several other clubs helps inspire joy and excitement. He takes time to help students with their homework and is there for them when they need him.

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

Ayla Erickson

Ayla is very involved in her community and school programs. She plays in band, soccer and has her own chickens that she raises and sells the chicken eggs. She brings positivity into the classroom, takes pride in her work, models inclusivity, unselfishness, modesty, kindness, caring and support for her fellow students and teachers.

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

Ben Kolendo

Ben is the Student Advisory Representative on the Mat-Su Borough School District school board in Wasilla. He’s an advocate for youth in his home community and in the state of Alaska.  He looks for the good in people, the science in issues facing young people in Alaska and manages his workload with level-headedness and modesty. He also recently started a podcast called “Real Talk with Real Youth” that aims to host thoughtful conversations about the pandemic.

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

Camylle Peterson

Camylle loves fashion design and is an incredibly gifted seamstress. She has been designing and creating her own clothes for some time. She has been able to make soft toys for children. Camylle is an inspiration. Her sewing machine skills and eye for fashion are advanced beyond her years. She has started to sell a few of her items and is on the cusp of launching a business.

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

Dakota Carey

Dakota is a natural leader. She is caring and helpful. She often helps with younger youth at Youth 360. She assists them with science projects and cooking projects, among others. Overall, she helps keep an atmosphere of respect and harmony.

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

Damon Holtman

Damon ran an after school game club at Howard Valentine School in Coffman Cove. He organized the games and taught children how to play them. He also helps provide fresh vegetables to his community through his work with the gardens, greenhouses and livestock at his school. The school is then able to offer these healthy, fresh options to its students through the breakfast and lunch program.

  • Home Town Coffman Cove
  • School District Craig
  • Award Category Innovator, Discovery

Darby Osborne

Darby runs the group Youth for a Sustainable Future. They are currently looking at removing plastic silverware from the school. This has been an ongoing issue that Darby has been deeply passionate about. Darby has given school-wide speeches to educate and create awareness around the issues of climate change.

  • Home Town Sitka
  • School District Sitka School District
  • Award Category Innovator

Deszerei Chong Balingit

Deszerei has started and continues to grow her baking business in Sitka called Deszerei’s Delights. She makes home baked sweets like cookies, cakes and macarons. She recently expanded her business to include weekend sandwich specials like a turkey wrap layered with cream cheese, stuffing and cranberry sauce.

  • Home Town Sitka
  • School District Sitka School District
  • Award Category Visionary

Douglas Adams

Douglas is a Native Tlingit freestyle rap artist. He frequently raps about his home of Klukwan. He is an advocate for music, his peers, for Native Alaskans, Tlingit culture and creatives everywhere. He speaks with intent in his raps and is always looking for solutions despite living though and enduring very troubling experiences.

  • Home Town Haines
  • School District Haines Borough School District
  • Award Category Dreamer

E Chythlook

E has been a powerful example of LGBTQ inclusion. During the first year with the Anchorage Youth Symphony, E was instrumental in crafting Alaska Youth Orchestra’s revised Concert Black attire requirements, setting a nationwide example of this classical music norm, which has historically been gender specific. That revised policy has been shared with every youth symphony organization in the United States and has been used as the new standard for gender inclusive policy within that sector.

Elijah “Dylan” Dumag

Dylan has provided social and emotional support through his participation in the arts and as a caring young adult. Several students at Sitka High School have been impacted positively by Dylan when they were at a low point in life.

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

Emaline Buchanan

When Emaline was 13, she started a nonprofit called Duchess Foundation. The nonprofit provides feminine products to school nurses and school districts. She started it when she recognized that her friends needed some help. She turned 16 in February and continues to help her community through the nonprofit.

Ethan Van Kirk

Ethan participates in art, jazz, baseball, wrestling and is currently a soccer referee. He received 3rd place in state wrestling and has attended soccer tournaments. Despite his successes, he is still modest, stoic and humble. He helps others by sharing all that he has, helping those in need after having been bullied.

  • Home Town Juneau
  • School District Juneau School District
  • Award Category Visionary

Ethan Zawodny

Ethan’s contribution to the Anchorage music community is significant. He is involved in numerous performing ensembles throughout Anchorage. He has contributed heavily to the Eagle River High School Band, Jazz Band, and other specialty ensembles. Additionally, he’s been an integral part of the Robert Arms Jazz program and the Youth Symphony. Ethan has also started his own band and has received recognition and competed in national competitions. He even sat in as a warmup drummer with Portugal. The Man at a performance last year.

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

Hannah Craven

Despite a family tragedy, Hannah remains a positive force at Youth 360. When Covid-19 hit, she stayed positive from afar and joined many virtual chats. If she notices someone struggling, she lends a helping hand by inviting them to chat or play online games. When she’s out in public, she politely reminds others of the seriousness of Covid-19 and why wearing a mask right now is important.

  • Home Town Wasilla
  • School District
  • Award Category Phoenix

Hannah Yi

Hannah Yi and Sophie Mayers were instrumental at West High School in reviving the YANA club (You are Not Alone) after the pandemic and students returned to in-person learning. Once clubs restarted this fall (2021), Sophia and Hannah were the main students who picked up the work that had been left off. They also have put a lot of effort into restarting the presentations for classes and have recruited a team of students to make those presentations in February.

Harrison Steeves-Little

An academic leader in the classroom, Harrison leads groups and helps classmates who are struggling. Taking all core classes in the challenging International Baccalaureate program, he maintains a 4.1 GPA. He also tutors his football teammates. This year, he was on the Varsity Football team, and just joined the basketball team. He will be on the track team in the Spring.

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

Hawwah Taylor

Hawwah Taylor flagged down an Anchorage Police Officer to report a woman being attacked and directed him down a bike path. The officer reported that the male suspect could have seriously injured or possibly killed the female if not for the quick reactions of Hawwah.

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

Isabelle Williams

Isabelle is a talented actress and has performed in almost every school and community theater production in Sitka for the past four years. The performances she’s involved in help share important social, emotional and intellectual messages. They also entertain and help viewers escape from their daily challenges.

 

  • Home Town Sitka
  • School District Sitka School District
  • Award Category Dreamer

Jack Molloy

Jack organized, fundraised, bought, built and painted a work shed for Knik Little League. Knik Little League is a community-run nonprofit sponsored by the Eagle River Lions Club. It is run by volunteers. Without it, there would be no baseball for children in the Eagle River community. The shed Jack built is used to store lawn maintenance equipment. Jack is also a chairman of the National Honor Society at his high school.

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

Katie Cox

When a fire destroyed her hometown theater, where she had performed since she was five, Katie sprung into action. She spent this last summer and fall creating original paintings and selling them on the sidewalk in front of her house. She sold and then donated over $600 to the rebuilding efforts. Additionally, she collected thousands of dollars soliciting donations in front of grocery stores and at Wednesday markets in a local park.

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

Katrina Katoanga

Katrina is in her first year serving as both a TRIO Leadership Committee member and as a mentor for new students in TRIO. TRIO Upward Bound is a college prep program for students who have the potential to be first generation college students and/or of limited income households. Most recently, Katrina helped spearhead a community service project where she helped collect diapers and wipes for Afghanistan refugees newly settled into Anchorage.

Keaton Belcourt

Keaton has a strong presence in life and in the classroom. He leads by example, treating others with kindness and reminding them to be respectful when they are struggling. He’s a positive leader, encourages others to stay on task and complete their work. Not only has he had various struggles in his life that most his age have not had to deal with, he continues to be positive and maintains straight A’s in his classes.

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

Keirstin Johnson

Keirstin plays basketball, runs, is taking a Tlingit class and creates amazing artwork. She stays focused on herself, but is always willing to help others. She has had some struggles with her health, which led to her dealing with challenging anxiety that kept her out of the classroom at times. However, she always returns to class and picks up where she left off. This led to her recently being placed in an advanced class, where she initially struggled, but ultimately persevered and is overcoming challenges.

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

Kji Mitchell

Kji displays perseverance in helping others by overcoming obstacles great and small. She is a member of Youth Conservation Corps (YCC) and has assisted native youth in exploring, learning about and engaging in the stewardship of their ancestral homelands. Kji also became an advocate for the Black Lives Matter movement. She has initiated many in-depth conversations about racism towards people of color and has helped to broaden the perspectives of those around her.

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

Levi Anderson

Last year, Levi was determined to help the current music teacher build up the music program. Thanks to his recruiting efforts numbers in choir and band increased. He also helped a local fundraiser by leading a group of dancers from his school in a musical number. Overall, he has reinvigorated the entire music department and is bringing his enthusiasm to the entire community.

Lillian Yang

In 2021, Lillian played a critical role in the development of the Amplify Youth Voices Alaska project. The project focused on enveloping youth in creative ways to share messages of hope, encouragement and innovations to keep everyone safe. Lillian created social media content, developed the artist theme prompts, developed the ambassador letter, created a logo for the logo design competition, designed a majority of the online and guidebook content and assisted with workshops.

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

Lydia Jacoby

In addition to being an Olympic swimmer (she won the gold medal in the 100 meter breaststroke and the silver medal in the 4 x 100 meter medley relay at the 2020 Summer Olympics), Lydia is unassuming and has extended herself to the Seward Community in various capacities. She makes an effort to encourage other youth to reach for their goals, pointing out that they are accessible through dedication and practice.

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

Malachi Henderson

Malachi is a lead coach at the Alaska Rock Gym. He regularly demonstrates kindness and maturity in helping youth overcome fear of heights and reach their potential. He is patient and observant. He is also the co-captain of the Alaska Rock Gym Climbing Team. He continues to be a role model for the younger athletes.

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

Mia Siebenmorgen Cresswell

Mia helps to beautify Cordova by picking invasive species and helping to maintain the local native plant garden. She helps with community recycling efforts and to organize a youth-led march to garner support and attention for climate change. She is also an advocate for her generation — she serves as the student council representative to the School Board. Through all of her experiences and accomplishments, she remains level-headed, calm, reflective and enthusiastic for the next opportunity.

Mia Wiederspohn

Mia is working with KSTK 101.7 FM in Wrangell, Alaska to create a podcast series about the Tlingit language. By broadcasting Tlingit phrases and their English translations, she is helping to preserve the language Indigenous to her community.

 

Michael Halpern

Michael is actively involved in his community. He is the youngest member of The Veterans 4th of July Parade Council, Inc., a member of Anchorage Youth Court, a volunteer at Mobile Food Bank, a member of the Model UN, and a founding member of the National Honor Society at Steller Secondary School.

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

Muhammad Taylor

Muhammad Taylor flagged down an Anchorage Police Officer to report a woman being attacked and directed him down a bike path. The officer reported that the male suspect could have seriously injured or possibly killed the female if not for the quick reactions of Muhammad.

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

Robert Ahmasuk

Robert is involved in the Alyeska Ski Club and is a participant in the Native Games and the World Eskimo Indian Olympics. He voluntarily teaches and coaches his fellow ski team members in the Native Games. He has worked with local media to set trapping regulations for the State of Alaska in order to make trapping safer for others in the community. He also started his own business to sharpen knives and has designed and made his own traditional knives.

 

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

Shandiin “Suella” Wendell

Suella is a facilitator and communicator of powerful and important social issues. Most recently, she has been focusing on the Missing and Murdered Indigenous People (MAMIP) epidemic, bringing outreach to her community through her projects, participation in community events, and social networking. Suella is an ambassador of Alaska Native issues. She testifies at committees on Native children, works on podcasts with the community and keeps a dedicated presence of how we can all help.

Slater Jones

Slater is very giving and willing to help others. He collected several hundred pounds of food for donations to the Food Bank this winter. He is also part of Scouts, where he organized a troop meeting and invited local government leaders to talk about air quality and how they can help.

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

Sophie Mayers

Sophie Mayers and Hannah Yi were instrumental at West High School in reviving the YANA club (You are Not Alone) after the pandemic and students returned to in-person learning. Once clubs restarted this fall (2021), Sophia and Hannah were the main students who picked up the work that had been left off. They also have put a lot of effort into restarting the presentations for classes and have recruited a team of students to make those presentations in February.

Stephen Harmon

Stephen is one of two students who were on the Sitka School District Smart Start Task Force, a group created to formulate a plan to safely reopen schools after the Covid-19 pandemic started. His input and perspective helped the group create and continue to form guidelines needed to safely reopen schools in his district.

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

Tyler Barton

During Tyler’s sophomore year of high school he became very sick. He was life flighted down to Seattle with a life threatening disease. He battled for his life in intensive care for many weeks. This did not slow him down academically or socially. He worked from home to catch up on his missed school work and ended the year with all A’s and one B in his classes.

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

Viktor Stanfield

Viktor started working at the Alaska Rock Gym when he was 14 as an Assistant Rock Climbing Coach. He has since worked his way into a Lead Instructor role, becoming the youngest ever to do so in the organization. He teaches youth, ages 4 to 13, the basics of rock climbing as well as the social and emotional skills needed to build resilient youth in his community. Viktor also volunteers for the Special Olympics climbing events held at the gym.

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

2020 Nominees

Abby Sochocki

Abby is highly involved in the Boys & Girls Club of Fairbanks and the North Pole High School student council. She goes out of her way to make sure new youth at BGC Fairbanks feel welcome and safe, and despite having faced many challenges throughout her life she always responds by standing up for herself and others.

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

Alaina Vik

Alaina started a program called Operation Sweet Support, where she assembled care boxes for Alaskan troops stationed abroad. She was able to raise over $5,000, located private contributors and had the military fund one of the three shipments. Over 200 boxes were packed and shipped.

  • Home Town Eagle River
  • School District ASD
  • Award Category Humanitarian, Visionary

Alana Rose Parent

Alana is the President of the National Honor Society chapter at Steller, and she is also leading a Youth Volunteers program that involves delivering food monthly to Fairview Recreation Center. Additionally, she is a peer mentor at STARR, which reaches out to teens who are battling depression and suicide);  and she is involved in GRIT (Girls Riding Into Tomorrow), which helps to promote healthy habits and self-confidence.

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

Aleena Bravo

Aleena is a member of Kodiak Teen Court, where she has shown the ability to mentor attorneys and assist them in their court presentation. She has excellent judgement and the ability to ask hard questions to obtain all the facts of each case and the background of the client before working with her fellow judges to render a decision. As a judge, she understands and uses the restorative justice model in fashioning sentences appropriate to each client, the victim and her community.

  • Home Town Kodiak
  • School District Kodiak Island Borough School District
  • Award Category Role Model

Anchorage Teen Council

For over twenty five years, Teen Council has provided teen leaders with comprehensive, medically-accurate sexual health training, empowering them to become non-judgmental resources to their peers through both formal presentations and informal social interactions. Members improve the quality of life of peers through direct instruction and informal conversations.

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

Anchorage Youth Court

Anchorage Youth Court is a program run by youth for youth. Members are required to take classes, pass a bar exam and be sworn in. They volunteer their time as attorneys, bailiffs and judges. They hear cases from other youth offenders.

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

Anchorage Youth Court Youth Board

Anchorage Youth Court (AYC) has a mixed youth and adult Board of Directors. They currently have 10 youth board members, all in high school, and all active AYC volunteers. AYC youth board members attend monthly board meetings and bi-monthly committee meetings. During the COVID-19 Pandemic, AYC youth board members have really stepped up to engage their peers and improve the lives of their fellow teens.

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

Anna Bierma

Anna Bierma has worked as an employee of Beacon Hill Boutique for two years. She is kind and considerate with customers, always helpful and willing to go the extra mile for anyone in need. She lives a life of giving, not just at work but wherever she goes.

  • Home Town Anchorage
  • School District Anchorage

Anna Boltz

Anna has been on the Challenge Alaska Alpine Race Team since she was 8 years old (she began skiing at age 2). She has been the only middle-school-aged disabled athlete to compete among her peers in school sports such as cross-country running (in a handcycle) and Nordic skiing (in a sit-ski). She has been a frequent spokesperson for Challenge Alaska, and at age 6 was in the first feature-length, all-female alpine ski movie representing young girls and disabled athletes (Pretty Faces).

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

Anna Zerck

During the Thanksgiving Basket food drive for needy families at Service High School, Anna Zerck took it upon herself to obtain more than 350 pounds of canned and non-perishable food. She donated half to the Anchorage Food Bank as well as to the Service High School Thanksgiving Baskets. It took her over four hours of going door to door to collect all the food.

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

Ashley Dahlman

Ashley has taken on a number of leadership roles within her school and community, including student council. She also competed in last year’s Caring for the Kenai competition, where students from around the Kenai Peninsula create, design and implement an idea to better care for their community. Her project was called “Wonderfully Worn Wardrobe,” and students could donate used or unwanted clothing for students in need.

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

Ashley Miller

Ashley is a dedicated volunteer at the Heartreach Center. She has been volunteering at least once a week to help us process all donations. She plays a big role in carrying out the boots-on-the-ground work to make sure all items are prepared for distribution to the community of the Mat-Su Borough.

  • Home Town Wasilla
  • School District Galena City School District
  • Award Category Humanitarian, Role Model

Ashley Perry

Ashley was born with a genetic disorder, with a one percent chance of survival, that requires monthly infusions. Despite her condition, she focuses on giving back to her community providing those in need with blessing boxes. She believes that there is so much to worry about already and the basic necessities of food and drink shouldn’t be one of those things.

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

Austin Cline

Austin became an Eagle Scout by reopening the upper Homestead trail. He also was a two time finalist in the Caring for the Kenai competition, which asks students to create a proposal to improve the environment on the Kenai Peninsula.

  • Home Town Homer
  • School District KPBSD
  • Award Category Discovery

Avery Blumer

As a member of Anchorage Youth Court, Avery helps improve the quality of the lives of others in his community. By planning fundraising events during the COVID-19 Pandemic, he is working to give his peers and their families opportunities to do positive things during difficult times. He is present and engaged in every AYC Board meeting, every youth executive board meeting and every fundraising committee meeting.

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

Averyl Cobb

Averyl Cobb is one of the 2020-2021 performing directors on the Alaska Youth Orchestras Board. They worked with the Be An Arts Hero campaign, which is a nationwide effort to increase awareness around advocating for arts relief during the COVID crisis. They engaged in a letter writing campaign to reach out to state and nationwide legislators for inclusion in COVID relief packages. Their efforts have been success, as the newest relief package includes the arts.

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

Bailey Epperheimer

Baily led the Nikiski Children’s Fund, and raised money to help children and families with basic needs such as new clothing items or paying utility bills. She raised money through a variety of ways, such as auctioning off a calf and community baseball games.

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

Baylee Raye Williams

Baylee is a camper, volunteer turned seasonal Instructor at Trailside Discovery Camp. She is positive and inspires youth to get outside and safely participate in outdoor recreation. She is passionate about art and photography and leads multiple projects and sessions for younger kids. During summer of 2020, she also participated in building kits to be delivered to families. These kits had tangible items that could be taught via Zoom.

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

Ben Broyles

Ben is an active member and serves as treasurer of the Service High School Partners Club. He is also a youth leader for the Special Olympics Alaska Unified Champion Schools Program. He has volunteered hundreds of hours over the course of his involvement the last four years.

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

Breanna Winther

Breanna lended a helping hand by caring for a flock of chickens, a growing herd of milk cows and a group of hogs. She monitored the animals, reported any abnormalities, got food to the animals in a timely manner despite wind, snow, cold and other obstacles.

 

  • Home Town Palmer
  • School District Matanuska Susitna
  • Award Category Humanitarian

Collin Friedli

Because of the Covid-19 pandemic, Collin was evacuated from his dorm room in Washington and sent back to study remotely from his parent’s house in Eagle River, Alaska. During this time, he used his downtime to help small businesses in Anchorage who were struggling economically through his brand design abilities and social connections.

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

Daisy Samples

In March of 2019 Daisy lost her dad to cancer. To continue his legacy, Daisy has decided to help someone in the community each year as a way to celebrate his life. Daisy asked Odyssey Family Practice to team up with her to raise money for the Food Bank. Daisy and friends held signs, sold drinks, collected money and donations, and made sure everything ran smoothly.

  • Home Town Anchorage
  • School District Kenai

Dakoma Epperly-May

Dakoma is the lead youth advisor for Build Them Up Alaska, an organization focused on Alaskans helping Alaskan youth participate in community service and finance youth involvement in sport and recreational activities. Dakoma has volunteered over 100 hours as a chair with the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention.

  • Home Town Big Lake
  • School District Denali Peak
  • Award Category Humanitarian

Darby Osborne

Darby has been a key member within the Youth for Sustainable Futures group and is a vocal advocate in addressing the climate crisis in Sitka and nationally. Her passion, knowledge and commitment to addressing the crisis with real solutions, concrete actions and science-based details has been nothing short of professional.

  • Home Town Sitka
  • School District Sitka School District
  • Award Category Role Model, Discovery

David Holmes

David has been a member of Shiloh Missionary Baptist Church for all of his life. He participates in the youth ministry and serves on the media team, operating the camera each Sunday. He also helps with Church Food Pantry. He has served on the Mayor’s Anchorage Youth Advisory Commission for 5 years. He gives input on city programs and partnerships to help empower youth in the Anchorage community.

  • Home Town Anchorage
  • School District Anchorage

Delano Horner

In response to the Covid-19 pandemic, Delano devoted his personal time to equip local health care personnel with face shields at a time when personal protective equipment was difficult to obtain.

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

Denise Bamurange

Denise was involved in renaming East High School to Bettye Davis East Anchorage High School, and was the only young person that testified at a school board meeting in support of the name change. Additionally, she has become a leader in her church choir, is very involved in the trio Upward Bound and participated in the Uganda and Alaska PenPal Project.

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

Donovan Harris

Donovan is an active member of the Boys and Girls Club of Fairbanks’ Keystone Club. Because of Covid-19, certain community service projects have come to a standstill, so Donavan and others have started to choose service projects based on preventing drug abuse and racism within the community.

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

Eielson Youth Group

Being able to buy items for a reasonable price at the Eielson Thrift Shop is helpful to many airman and families at Eielson Air Force Base. Eielson Youth Group is helping keep Eielson Thrift Shop open on a regular basis by volunteering their time sorting, pricing and selling items to the community for a reasonable price. The money that is made at the shop goes directly back to the local community.

  • Home Town Eielson Afb
  • School District Fairbanks North Star Borough School District
  • Award Category Visionary

Ian Shangin

Ian is part of Student Council and Native Dance group, and he helps and advocates for fundraisers and activities. Additionally, he helps to control the bullying in town. He’s one of biggest, oldest and most respected so most all the kids listen to him.

  • Home Town Akutan
  • School District Aleutians East Borough School District
  • Award Category Humanitarian, Life Saver, Dreamer

Jade Balansag

Jade Balansag helped create BASE (Building A Supportive Environment), a youth-led organization that aims to improve the social-emotional environment of their school. BASE has provided back-t0-school gift bags for students, fundraised money to improve their school, and developed a staff recognition program, among other things.

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

Janny Eng

Janny is a member of Kodiak Teen Court. As a Judge with the program, she has mentored new youth attorneys and assisted them in case preparation and presentation. She is able to listen to all sides of an argument before making a decision. As a judge, she uses the restorative justice model in fashioning sentences appropriate to the offender, the victim and our community.

  • Home Town Kodiak
  • School District Kodiak Island Borough School District
  • Award Category Role Model

Jonas Schumacher

Jonas has donated hundreds of hours as a volunteer in his community. In addition to volunteering on the Youth Leadership Team at his church, he was a crew volunteer for S.A.L.T. (Servant and Leadership Training) for two summers and last summer was a volunteer on the activities staff. He also recently accepted a winter counselor position at Victory Bible Camp.

  • Home Town WASILLA
  • School District MSBSD
  • Award Category Humanitarian, Role Model

Joy Martin

Joy invests many hours each week at the front line: she connects with the homeless on a deeper level.  She serves them, helps the homeless see value in themselves, and she is making a real difference in the lives of  many homeless people—members of our community many have a hard time even seeing.

  • Home Town Anchorage
  • School District Abeka Academy

Katelyn Arnone

Katelyn helps the staff at Youth 360 with anything from serving the other youth hot chocolate to holding doors open to cleaning more than her fair share of the club after activities. Being one of the older youth at the club she naturally has become a role model for the others, but she goes above and beyond that by serving and helping as much as possible and showing the youth that it’s cool to be kind.

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

Kayla Phillips

Kayla is a leader for her peers, the captain of the basketball team and an Alaska Native dance leader. Additionally, her academic success is a model for other students.

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

Ketchikan Youth Alliance

The Ketchikan Youth Alliance improves the quality of life in Ketchikan by providing young people with a platform to have their voices heard and the tools to create change. In addition to providing a source of social interaction and support during the pandemic, they are addressing the use of hate speech and slurs in the Ketchikan community and seeking to better the community through mental health education.

  • Home Town Ketchikan
  • School District Ketchikan Gateway Borough School District
  • Award Category Humanitarian

Kinley Erickson

Kinley is active in her church’s youth and early childhood programs. She is always patient and caring to children and has taken care of many special needs kids. During her lunch period, she created a Bible study to reach those she didn’t know. She baked the night before while balancing school and work so those without food could be included.

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

Layla Beam

Layla serves with the Royal Family Kids Camp which serves youth in foster care. She also volunteers at the Boys and Girls Club and the Downtown Soup Kitchen. She’s also the captain of several sports teams.

  • Home Town Chugiak
  • School District Chugiak

LDS Youth Group

The LDS youth group has donated their time to Family Promise Mat-Su by assisting with yard work, moving office furniture, disassembling and reassembling bunk beds, and deep cleaning the Kari House where guest families stay.

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

Lindsey Crooker

Lindsey helps improve the quality of life in her community. She coaches for the cheer gym she attends. She is dedicated to supporting and helping younger athletes achieve their goals while also participating in competition cheer. She has helped maintain a sense of normalcy by reading online, dressing up as the Easter bunny and delivering Easter eggs and baskets to children from the gym as well as to other children in her community.

  • Home Town FAIRBANKS
  • School District Galena City School District
  • Award Category Humanitarian, Role Model

Madeline Ortiz

Madeline intended to plan and host a community Preparedness Fair, but because of the pandemic it had to be cancelled. However, she still plans to create a Fair in which people can learn about personal preparedness for natural disasters such as earthquakes. Her goal is to have booths with as wide a variety of educators as she can gather.

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

Matthew Quinto

Matthew has been coaching and teaching youth across his community traditional games, healthy living, running and Tlingit cultural values. He has coached the Boys Run Program at Glacier Valley Elementary and the Native Youth Olympics. He is passionate about his culture and passing down the knowledge to younger generations.

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

Maximus Wheat

Max is the Southeast Alaska representative for the Youth Alaska Action Board on Housing and Homelessness. He heard about this group and immediately asked how he could join and within a short amount of time was speaking at school board meetings, going to state-wide action meetings and encouraging Juneau youth with lived-expereince of homelessness to join and have their voices heard.

  • Home Town Juneau
  • School District
  • Award Category Humanitarian, Phoenix

Mekenna Bills

Mekenna has been involved in marching band, science olympiad, hockey, roller derby, track and National Honor Society at Colony High school. She advocates for the teachers and students and she takes time out of her busy schedule to always remember the Mat-Su School District and all that it provided for her.

  • Home Town Davis
  • School District Mat Su Borough School District
  • Award Category Dreamer, Role Model

Michael Halpern

Michael was involved in every aspect of the virtual history of the veterans 4th of July parade that was broadcast on PBS on July 4 at 11am. He set up and interviewed politicians for the presentation, edited footage from the archives and helped to create narration for the production.

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

Michael Thompson

Michael is always kind, honest and helpful. He is a role model for his fellow youth—He is respectful to everyone he encounters and is a joy for staff to work with. He stops to listen when adults speak and doesn’t need reminders to clean up or wash his hands during the hourly hand washing breaks.

  • Home Town Wasilla
  • School District Matanuska-Susitna Borough School District

Naomi Halpern

Naomi made items and sold them at the Saturday and Sunday market this summer to raise money for dogs and cats with cancer. She used the money raised ($700) to create 57 baskets to be distributed to families in coordination with the Pet Stop.

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

Naomi Halpern

Naomi created a community service project called Sincerely, Little Su, in honor of her cairn terrier who died of canine cancer. The mission of the project is to provide owners with cats and dogs who have been diagnosed with cancer some comfort during a difficult time.

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

Naomi Jones

Naomi is dedicated to Native Youth Olympics, group arts and crafts and caring for children and elders. She started a student newspaper, conducting interviews for a student and staff profile, and reporting on monthly activities. She utilizes electronic media, engages with youth writing groups by competing in writers’ conferences.

  • Home Town Tyonek
  • School District Kenai Peninsula Borough School District
  • Award Category Innovator, Visionary

Native Leadership Council at East High School

The Native Leadership Council at East High School prepared 333 care packages for Alaska Native and American Indian Students to prevent feelings of isolation and help them connect with other teens. The bags will be delivered in the next three weeks.

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

Nyche Andrew

Nyche is involved in many groups that focus on advocacy for Native students and people. She created and is president of the Indigenous Student Union, the Vice Chairwoman of the Anchorage School District’s Native Advisory Committee, a member of the Equal Opportunities Program and is an intern at Southcentral Foundation’s RAISE program.

 

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

Rebecca Tyler

Becca recognized how much exercise helped her overcome her depression during the pandemic, so she created a website to raise funds to assist youth in getting outdoors more.

  • Home Town Girdwood
  • School District Anchorage School District
  • Award Category Humanitarian, Visionary

Ron Paguio

While involved in the PenPal Program, which connected students from Alaska with students from Uganda, Ron emotionally supported his penpal who had been  a victim of police brutality at the height of the Black Lives Matter movement this summer. Ron also created a supportive and safe space for other students to process this story and the events taking place.

  • Home Town Kodiak
  • School District Kodiak Island Borough School District
  • Award Category Phoenix, Visionary, Dreamer

Ryann Esteban

Ryann is a member of Student Council, Native Youth Olympics, a Sources of Strength youth leader at school, and a teen member on the Port Graham Native Council. Ryann also independently created artwork for a sweatshirt that amplified the voices of missing and murdered indigenous women.

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

Sage Worl

Sage had planned on going to Canada to compete in the Arctic Winter Games, but was unable to because of the Covid-19 pandemic. He participated in several online native games challenges and was able to represent Team Anchorage, medalling in several events this fall and winter. Additionally, Sage joined practice to mentor a younger athlete.

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

Sarah Coss

Sarah is one of the first females in the nation to earn her Eagle Scout badge. Two years ago, when the Boy Scouts allowed females to join, Sarah’s goal was to become an Eagle Scout. Only 6 percent of Boy Scouts receive this achievement, and Sarah is one of the very few women. She is in the Inaugural class of female Eagle Scouts Nation wide.

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

Sarah Price

Sarah is a devoted volunteer for Anchorage Youth Court, where she serves as an attorney and judge for real court cases. She also served as Secretary of the Executive Board, Youth Treasurer of the Board of Directors and has been innovative throughout the COVID-19 Pandemic to ensure that AYC can continue to offer the community an outlet for restorative justice.

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

Shane Paul

Shane completed the Native Youth Olympics Coaches-In-Training program and is currently one of the middle school coaches in the Juneau School District. He proudly supports youth in the program and hopes to impart lessons of positive cultural self-identity, respect, teamwork and determination that helped him find his potential.

  • Home Town Juneau
  • School District Juneau School District
  • Award Category Phoenix, Dreamer

Sharon Kim

Sharon helped start Mask Mission AK. She helped make 50o homemade masks within the first five or six months of the pandemic and donated them to the Alaska Native Medical Center, Alaska Regional Hospital, Beans Cafe and the Alaska Department of Health and Social Services.

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

Shreya Sujith

Shreya Sujith is one of  the 2020-2021 performing directors on the Alaska Youth Orchestras Board. They worked with the Be An Arts Hero campaign, which is a nationwide effort to increase awareness around advocating for arts relief during the COVID crisis. They engaged in a letter writing campaign to reach out to state and nationwide legislators for inclusion in COVID relief packages. Their efforts have been success, as the newest relief package includes the arts.

  • Home Town Anchorage
  • School District Anchorage Youth Orchestras Performing Directors
  • Award Category Dreamer

Starlyn Phillips

Starlyn is part of Native Leadership, Student Council, and Yearbook team. All of these require extra time, energy and dedication as well as respectful communication with outside organizations. Starlyn has experienced difficult life circumstances and has still remained hard-working, kind and dedicated.

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

Tajhrel Prescott

Through his participation at Boys and Girls Club Fairbanks, Tajhrel took the lead in launching the BeYou campaign, which promotes that 78% of Alaska teens do not drink alcohol. With the guidance of an adult advisor, Tajhrel led a group of his peers in creating media and hosting events that promoted the organization’s mission.

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

Teeland Middle School National Junior Honor Society Officers

The Teeland Middle School National Junior Honor Society officers organize and lead activities that lead to the enrichment and positive culture of their school community. NJHS officers and members provide positive role models and are key in promoting involvement and a sense of belonging to their school community.

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

Tremain Tix

Tremain is part of an after school youth program called Youth 360. He has attended for over a year and is always coming up with unique ideas to help individuals or the group. He helps out in any way he can. He recently fixed two couches, he often fixes computers and helps older and younger youth with their science and math homework. He also helps lead the club from behind the scenes by suggesting great activity ideas.

  • Home Town Wasilla
  • School District Matanuska-Susitna Borough School District
  • Award Category Innovator, Discovery

2019 Nominees

Adrian Reinhardt

Adrian has been an active volunteer at Stone Soup Group for several years. In addition to helping out around the office, he is the youth leader for SSG’s Bullying Prevention work, and has helped in the re-design of the Souper Gaming Night activity. Adrian continues to volunteer for SSG each month by charging all of the gaming equipment, setting up the space and modeling social skills for other attendees.

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

Alexandra Prag

Ali moved from out of state and quietly joined the student body and has done a remarkable job fitting in, like she was here from the start. Ali has moved frequently because she comes from a Navy family. She has become a role model and leader for the student body. Ali is one of the first to stick up for a student or come to their defense. She helps struggling peers with their questions and mentors others.

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

Alicyn Bahnke

Alicyn is one of four teens who were inspired to take action due to their personal experiences with climate change in their communities.  In their resolution they wrote about the severe impacts climate change is having on Indigenous ways of life and the spiritual and cultural well-being of Alaska Native communities. Their resolution declares a climate emergency and creates a climate action leadership task force to advance Indigenous voices and advocate for strong climate policies that will ensure the survival of future generations.

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

Anna DeVolld

Anna has developed a program called Promote Our Pollinators. This insightful, ambitious project strives to educate the public about the importance of pollinators and to provide easy to implement ways to support these essential creatures. Anna is educating hundreds of students, seniors, and business and community members about the importance of pollinators.

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

Ashley Caroline Perry

Despite being born with a rare genetic disorder Ashley thrives on finding ways to give back. She started the Blessing Box program with the Anchorage School District. She was invited by the Superintendent to speak to all the principals in the district, the Mayor of Anchorage and the Governor to get her program going.

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

Aura Hutchens

Aura has always had a passion for plants, animals, and living things. She discovered a neglected fish tank in one of her high school classrooms, and jumped into action to took charge of the tank herself. When Aura finds an animal in need, she not only has the desire to help it, but she also takes the time to research how best to help it.

  • Home Town Fairbanks
  • School District Fairbanks North Star Borough
  • Award Category Innovator, Discovery

Autumn Marie Carlson

Autumn Carlson is currently the school president of Sources of Strength, a group dedicated to helping with suicide awareness and prevention, as well as mental health issues like anxiety and depression. In addition, she has volunteered at her school, Coastal Studies, Pratt Museum, and the local Foodbank.

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

Benjamin Kolendo

Ben is co-leading a coin drive to raise money that will go to support both the animal shelter and children with cancer in our community. He also helped to present and lead a drive to collect feminine hygiene products for the school district.

  • Home Town Wasilla
  • School District Matanuska Susitna Borough School District

Blaine McElligott

Blaine McElligott worked with staff at Catholic Social Services and Clare House to create, install, and fill a lending library at Clare House. Blaine also volunteers regularly at St. Francis Food Pantry, often bringing peers and friends with him.

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

Brandon Gall

Brandon is student body President at Service High. Through his roles in Student Government he has led many projects including the Miracle Minute to buy gifts for children in the Child in Transition program. When Brandon realized a few youth didn’t have a basketball team he organized a team to ensure they had the opportunity to play.

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

Candace Carpenter

Candace planned service projects to revamp the playground area. She made it look better, but her main focus was on safety. The entire community was very grateful for her efforts. She volunteers at the community hall every night to support everyone with pool, ping-pong, mini-basketball, foosball, and  make it a safe place to socialize.

  • Home Town Chignik Bay
  • School District Lake and Peninsula School District

Chaleen Mixsooke

Chaleen Mixsooke is a humanitarian throughout her school and community. She volunteers as a classroom aide in Early Childhood Education, reading to and playing games with students. She also supports teams, wishing them luck and cheering them on.

  • Home Town Unalakleet
  • School District Bering Strait School District
  • Award Category Humanitarian

Chugiak Volunteer Fire & Rescue Company, Inc. Juniors

The CVFRD Juniors are a group of motivated, dedicated, and community-minded youth who meet weekly for medical/firefighting/rescue/emergency response training. These youth are spending their personal time to obtain training in emergency response, and some are going so far as to become active responders to emergencies in the Chugiak community. They conduct themselves in a professional manner that is most impressive.

  • Home Town Chugiak
  • School District Anchorage School District

Colvin Moore

Colvin was a member of our local Boys & Girls Club from ages 9-14. At age 12 he began volunteering as a cook’s assistant. At age 14 he was hired as a Junior Staff. He is responsible for designing and executing programs (craft, gym, homework) for kids in Kindergarten and 1st grade. He works 20 per week as a youth development professional, maintains excellent grades, is involved with his church youth group and plays for a local high school basketball team.

  • Home Town Kasilof
  • School District

Dakoma Epperly-May

Dakoma Epperly-May is the current Alaska State Fair Teen. Dakoma is the youth chair on youth coalition for Healthy Voices Healthy Choices. Dakoma volunteers with the Salvation Army and has helped with Operation Santa for the last 3 years by wrapping gifts, stuffing backpack with snacks, bathroom supplies, packing boxes and getting them ready for shipping.

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

Derek Booth

Derek has learned how to produce professional looking traditional attire. He sews nightly with his aana, spending time with her and passing on traditions. Most of his garments, which are coveted by many in Kotzebue, are given away for free. He takes all his free time and spends it with his family, sewing, learning traditional sewing techniques, spending time learning the language, and simply being a constant companion for an elder.

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

Django Brooks

Django has gone out of his way to take on responsibilities and does so with a positive attitude. He helped create a bullying prevention video for Stone Soup Group, has volunteered for a gaming night, and assists youth with special abilities.

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

Dustty Heckel

Dustty Heckel volunteers with the Salvation Army and has helped with Operation Santa for the last 3 years by wrapping gifts, stuffing backpack with snacks, bathroom supplies, packing boxes and getting them ready for shipping. On an average week Dustty can log over 30 hours a week volunteering.

  • Home Town Eagle River
  • School District Denali Peak Correspondence

Eli Knapp

Eli has been a part of a number of youth-led activities including R.O.C.K Mat-Su, and Special Olympics as well as helping in his classroom.  Eli has been an assistant coach for Special Olympics snowshoeing for six years. He also worked on a community baby shower to support new parents who may not have the resources necessary to start parenthood off in a good place.  Eli is also a teacher’s assistant in the special education/resource room his school. In this classroom he helps coach and mentor students with special needs and abilities. The students in this classroom say that Eli is one the best parts of coming to school.

  • Home Town Big Lake
  • School District Mat-Su School District

Elora Reichert

Elora is changing peoples’ lives and shaping the kind of community we all live in. In order to alleviate isolation among senior citizens she created a traveling petting zoo at a senior living home in her community. Elora has also gathered a significant amount of supplies for the local food bank as well as built and stocked the Nikiski Food Pantry. Elora serves on several youth boards including the 4-H District Council Board, North Road Rangers, and Junior Market Livestock Board.

  • Home Town Nikiski
  • School District Kenai Peninsula School District

Garrett Graham

Garrett has demonstrated courage, resilience, and fortitude as he faces challenging personal difficulties. In June of 2018, he formed a team called “Garrett’s Got Guts” which participated in the Take Steps for Crohn’s and Colitis fundraising event. He has taken action to educate himself, his classmates, and his community members about genetic disorders with both humor and sincerity.

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

Geneva Luteria

Geneva is a member of her student government, captain of her debate team, and has helped pass a resolution to support a Tagalog class in the Anchorage School District. When funding failed from ASD, she looked for opportunities in the Anchorage Assembly to figure out alternatives to a Tagalog class. She also joined the Alaska Young Democrats as well as the Municipality Youth Advisory Commission, and has helped volunteer and bring her peers to local political events.

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

Genika Marie Camero Valdehueza

Genika took part in Alaska Theatre of Youth’s Mastery Series. This three month intensive was designed to mentor the advanced young actor into theatre leadership roles. The students were given short scripts on a theme of bullying and they directed, designed and starred in a fully-produced production. Genika starred in three of the five plays and directed a fourth. Genika is always the first one to memorize her lines, and the first one to arrive for rehearsals and meetings.

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

Grace Hopkins

Grace raises hundreds annually for The Door Youth Shelter fundraiser “One Homeless Night” where she builds a box city and spends the night outside. She is her school’s co-anchor for the Hawk Hit News and is highly involved in the Arts Audiovisual program. She won the state National History Day competition for her research on Alaska Native boarding school history and traveled to Maryland to compete nationally with the project. She also helped start a youth group on a remote island in Iceland for three months and served in the Children’s and Youth ministry in the Philippines and Mexico.

  • Home Town Fairbanks
  • School District Fairbanks Northstar Borough School District
  • Award Category Humanitarian

Haley Sielak

Haley has been a role model for other students at her school with her helpful attitude, leadership qualities, outstanding academics, and leadership of her basketball team.

  • Home Town Wainwright
  • School District NSBSD

Hartley Miller

Hartley Miller is passionate about environmental advocacy. He is an active member of the Homer Chapter of Alaska Youth for Environmental Action (AYEA). He was an inspirational speaker at the Homer Climate Strike and has been working to get the Homer City Climate Action Plan reinstated. He has volunteered in multiple civic actions and has helped the success of events and campaigns. He has also volunteered for KBCS and the Alaskans Know Climate Change education campaign at Salmonfest in 2019.

  • Home Town Homer
  • School District Kenai Peninsula
  • Award Category Humanitarian, Discovery

Jayshawn Hudson

For the past two years, Jayshawn Hudson has been actively involved in Link Crew, a program at Bartlett High School that partners upperclassmen with incoming freshmen. As a crew mentor, Jayshawn maintains personal mentoring relationships with the members of his crew. He is a patient teacher and is always focused on supporting student growth.

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

Jessica Yang

Jessica Yang serves as a youth influencer on a national learning network project of Alaska Community Mental Healthy Services, Alaska Seeds of Change, Alaska Youth Advocates as they work to develop services for youth that are easily accessible and lead to positive outcomes. She is also a part of Mental Health Advocacy Through Storytelling (MHATS), an organization that aims to reduce the stigma around mental illness and open conversations about mental health through storytelling. The group is advocating for state legislation that would require mental health education in schools.

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

Joachim Labrecque

When anyone needs help at his school, Joachim is the first student for the job. He lends a helping hand on a daily basis to his classroom peers and to the younger members of his student body. Beyond the classroom and the school property, he is readily available and interested in helping those in our small community with a variety of tasks. He counsels friends with troubles they may be experiencing.

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

Katherine Scoggin

Katie is involved in a variety of volunteer opportunities. She volunteers as a math tutor twice a week. She founded and is a co-teacher for an after school guitar club once a week.  She is also active in her schools Volunteer Club which has worked with Mobile Medics, The Salvation Army, and the Food Bank of Alaska. Outside of school Katie is the volunteer live sound engineer at Under 21 Open Mic, where she has also shares her talents as a singer/songwriter. She performs annually at the Anchorage Folk Festival and teaches a beginner guitar workshop for kids.

  • Home Town Anchorage
  • School District Anchorage School District

Kevin Grimes

Kevin is a strong member of Facing Foster Care in Alaska. He mentors youth from all ages ranging from 13-25. Kevin fights hard to help foster youth around Alaska. While he is only 18, he has worked with political members like City Mayor Jim Matherly, Vice-Chancellor Keith Champagne, Former Governor Bill Walker, and others to spread his message.

  • Home Town Fairbanks
  • School District
  • Award Category Phoenix

Margaret Wolfe

For the past five years, Margaret has volunteered as the childcare provider for an Anchorage area women’s AA meeting on Saturday mornings. She also helps with youth group activities at her church, assisting with service projects and youth activities. Additionally, she has volunteered to serve as host family for interns and exchange students, and has participated in the Points of Light Youth Leadership Program.

  • Home Town ANCHORAGE
  • School District Dimond High School
  • Award Category Role Model

Nanieezh Peter

Nanieezh Peter is one of four teens who were inspired to take action due to their personal experiences with climate change in their communities.  In their resolution they wrote about the severe impacts climate change is having on Indigenous ways of life and the spiritual and cultural well-being of Alaska Native communities. Their resolution declares a climate emergency and creates a climate action leadership task force to advance Indigenous voices and advocate for strong climate policies that will ensure the survival of future generations.

  • Home Town Fairbanks
  • School District Fairbanks Northstar Borough School District
  • Award Category Discovery

Olivia Mashiana

Olivia Mashiana is a powerful civic community service leader. She is an active and involved member of Youth Leaders, attending the annual Youth Leader Retreat and other conferences to brainstorm and plan ways to improve the school climate. She is also involved in Student Council and school leadership. As the 11th Grade Representative, Olivia is a voice for her grade concerning student interests and issues.

  • Home Town
  • School District Bering Strait School District
  • Award Category Innovator, Dreamer

Quannah Potts

Quannah, is one of four teens who were inspired to take action due to their personal experiences with climate change in their communities.  In their resolution they wrote about the severe impacts climate change is having on Indigenous ways of life and the spiritual and cultural well-being of Alaska Native communities. Their resolution declares a climate emergency and creates a climate action leadership task force to advance Indigenous voices and advocate for strong climate policies that will ensure the survival of future generations.

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

Ramese Unutoa

Ramese Unutoa works at the Boys & Girls Club of Utqiaġvik, where he continues to grow his passion for becoming a helpful and impactful leader to younger ones in his community. Many teenagers come to the club to check-in with Unutoa, and he does his best to make himself available to listen and offer healthy advice. He also continues to be an active volunteer in and around high school sports, including volleyball, basketball, and football.

  • Home Town Utqiaġvik
  • School District North Slope Borough School District
  • Award Category Role Model

Sarah Mixsell

Sarah founded Alaska Kids for Kids in 2011 when she was nine years old. Alaska Kids for Kids is a registered non-profit organization which annually selects a youth focused organization to serve for the next calendar year through fund-raising and other donations. Under Sarah’s leadership, the organization, has raised over $20,000 in funds and other donations that directly benefit youth in Alaska. As a youth herself, Sarah understands and empathizes with those challenges at a peer level.

  • Home Town Anchorage
  • School District Anchorage School Disrict
  • Award Category Visionary

Sean Duffy

As the First Officer and youth leader of Trail Life Troop AK-0226, Duffy has helped lead several service projects this past year, including helping to reorganize a storage unit for the Pregnancy Resource Center in Eagle River, preparing Thanksgiving meals for the needy as part of the Thanksgiving Blessing in Anchorage. He also watches children in the church nursery for several hours every eight weeks and has helped raise awareness about pregnancy resource options.

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

Shaelene Swanson

Shaelene has had a turbulent upbringing, but despite everything she’s been through, she has remained resilient. Throughout her experiences, she has stayed positive. She continues to keep in contact with her friends and family back home, and is part of a group of young teens where she shares her story and provides them with resources.

  • Home Town Sterling
  • School District Kenai Peninsula Borough School District
  • Award Category Phoenix

Shanice Haley

Shanice has participated in many volunteer activities including packing boxes of food for Alaskan elders, writing thank-you letters to US Veterans, and supporting school district staff at family events at Williwaw and Begich Elementary Schools. She aspires to be a registered nurse to serve her community. Shanice has completed practicum hours in the Alaska Pioneer Home and Providence Hospital, assisting vulnerable populations in completing activities of daily living.

  • Home Town Anchorage
  • School District Anchorage School District

Sheryl Swarner

Sheryl was recently involved in saving the lives of three teenagers. She was instrumental in the retrieval of the teenagers and taking action prior to when the paramedics arrived. Due to her quick actions and directions, the outcome of the event was not tragic.

  • Home Town Fairbanks
  • School District University of Alaska Fairbanks
  • Award Category Life Saver

Shyanne Heckel

Shyanne Heckel volunteers with the Salvation Army and has helped with Operation Santa for the last 3 years by wrapping gifts, stuffing backpack with snacks, bathroom supplies, packing boxes and getting them ready for shipping. On an average week Shyanne can log over 30 hours a week volunteering.

  • Home Town Eagle River
  • School District Denali Peak Correspondence
  • Award Category Humanitarian, Role Model

Siutaisa Kolove Numia Katoanga

Love is very involved in her community. She recently held a fundraiser for her little brother to travel to New York for a journalism conference, for two years she has volunteered at Anchorage Youth Court, she worked as an intern at the University of Alaska Anchorage library to create an information learning module, and she is the youth leader at the Church of Tonga.

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

Students Demand Action for Gun Sense in America – Juneau Chapter

Students Demand Action for Gun Sense in America (SDA) was created by and for teens and young adults, to help engage the power, energy and creativity of high school and college students in the fight against gun violence. The members have organized activities and events in their community to help spread the word about gun violence, particularly focusing on getting get gun laws passed in Alaska.

  • Home Town Juneau
  • School District Juneau Borough School District
  • Award Category Humanitarian, Life Saver

Trail Life Troop AK-0226

Trailmen ages 6-17 from Trail Life Troop AK-0226 conducted several service projects this past year, including serving Veterans at the State Veteran’s Day ceremony, helping reorganize a storage unit for the Pregnancy Resource Center in Eagle River, as well as preparing Thanksgiving meals for the needy as part of the Thanksgiving Blessing in Anchorage.

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

Trevor Edwards

Trevor works to promote Native values. He has been very active in Native Youth Olympics. In addition to participating on the school team he is always recruiting others and teaching them the skills needed. He was a student-leader at the recent Elders and Youth Conference and presented an NYO workshop to demonstrate the history of these events.

  • Home Town Fairbanks
  • School District Fairbanks Northstar Borough School District
  • Award Category Dreamer, Role Model

Tucker Miljevich

Tucker was voted Volunteer of the Year 2019 by Equine Assisted Therapy Alaska, for his dedication, passion and positive attitude and work ethic. He came to EATA with no knowledge of equine therapy and grew to be the most trusted and looked to volunteer of the summer. Tucker was responsible for horse care and training, working with people with disabilities and mentoring the other volunteers in the program.

  • Home Town Anchorage
  • School District Anchorage School District

Victoria Fisher

Victoria is a powerful civic community service leader. She is an active and involved member of Youth Leaders, attending the annual Youth Leader Retreat and other conferences to brainstorm and plan ways to improve the school climate. She is also involved in Student Council and school leadership. As the Spirit Chair, Victoria promotes a positive climate in school.

  • Home Town Unalakleet
  • School District Bering Strait School District
  • Award Category Innovator, Dreamer

West Valley High School: Sources of Strength

West Valley High Sources of Strength students made an informative presentation about the importance of being professional and positive on social media platforms in order to make our community stronger. The concept is for students and people from around Alaska to join in a campaign to create a more positive climate. The students also emphasize the importance of helping others who may be a target of cyber bullying. The students designed a public service announcement about using positive cultural norms.

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

Zoe Kaplan

Zoe Kaplan is part of Mental Health Advocacy Through Storytelling (MHATS), an organization that aims to reduce the stigma around mental illness and open conversations about mental health through storytelling. MHATS is advocating for state legislation that would require mental health education in schools. Zoe uses her personal struggle with physical illness and depression to help break down the stigma of talking about mental health.

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

Zoe Nelles

Zoe created the Sandwich Project at Palmer High School. She makes lunches for kids so they have food over the weekends. This project that she initiated started by helping six kids and has grown to now serving students grades K-12 in the immediate Palmer area to ensure that youth have something to eat while they are not at school. All fundraising and donations have been led by Zoe. She started by just making the meals in her home, since the project has grown so much she has moved it to the high school where the National Honor Society helps her put the meals together.

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

Zoe Okleasik

Zoe, is one of four teens who were inspired to take action due to their personal experiences with climate change in their communities.  In their resolution they wrote about the severe impacts climate change is having on Indigenous ways of life and the spiritual and cultural well-being of Alaska Native communities. Their resolution declares a climate emergency and creates a climate action leadership task force to advance Indigenous voices and advocate for strong climate policies that will ensure the survival of future generations.

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

2021 Nominee

Arnan

Arnan is president of Student Council, leads several school clubs, is deeply involved with band and made it to all school state a few times. As president of Student Council, he takes time to help better his school and those around him, and as a leader of several other clubs helps inspire joy and excitement. He takes time to help students with their homework and is there for them when they need him.

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

Ayla Erickson

Ayla is very involved in her community and school programs. She plays in band, soccer and has her own chickens that she raises and sells the chicken eggs. She brings positivity into the classroom, takes pride in her work, models inclusivity, unselfishness, modesty, kindness, caring and support for her fellow students and teachers.

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

Ben Kolendo

Ben is the Student Advisory Representative on the Mat-Su Borough School District school board in Wasilla. He’s an advocate for youth in his home community and in the state of Alaska.  He looks for the good in people, the science in issues facing young people in Alaska and manages his workload with level-headedness and modesty. He also recently started a podcast called “Real Talk with Real Youth” that aims to host thoughtful conversations about the pandemic.

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

Camylle Peterson

Camylle loves fashion design and is an incredibly gifted seamstress. She has been designing and creating her own clothes for some time. She has been able to make soft toys for children. Camylle is an inspiration. Her sewing machine skills and eye for fashion are advanced beyond her years. She has started to sell a few of her items and is on the cusp of launching a business.

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

Dakota Carey

Dakota is a natural leader. She is caring and helpful. She often helps with younger youth at Youth 360. She assists them with science projects and cooking projects, among others. Overall, she helps keep an atmosphere of respect and harmony.

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

Damon Holtman

Damon ran an after school game club at Howard Valentine School in Coffman Cove. He organized the games and taught children how to play them. He also helps provide fresh vegetables to his community through his work with the gardens, greenhouses and livestock at his school. The school is then able to offer these healthy, fresh options to its students through the breakfast and lunch program.

  • Home Town Coffman Cove
  • School District Craig
  • Award Category Innovator, Discovery

Darby Osborne

Darby runs the group Youth for a Sustainable Future. They are currently looking at removing plastic silverware from the school. This has been an ongoing issue that Darby has been deeply passionate about. Darby has given school-wide speeches to educate and create awareness around the issues of climate change.

  • Home Town Sitka
  • School District Sitka School District
  • Award Category Innovator

Deszerei Chong Balingit

Deszerei has started and continues to grow her baking business in Sitka called Deszerei’s Delights. She makes home baked sweets like cookies, cakes and macarons. She recently expanded her business to include weekend sandwich specials like a turkey wrap layered with cream cheese, stuffing and cranberry sauce.

  • Home Town Sitka
  • School District Sitka School District
  • Award Category Visionary

Douglas Adams

Douglas is a Native Tlingit freestyle rap artist. He frequently raps about his home of Klukwan. He is an advocate for music, his peers, for Native Alaskans, Tlingit culture and creatives everywhere. He speaks with intent in his raps and is always looking for solutions despite living though and enduring very troubling experiences.

  • Home Town Haines
  • School District Haines Borough School District
  • Award Category Dreamer

E Chythlook

E has been a powerful example of LGBTQ inclusion. During the first year with the Anchorage Youth Symphony, E was instrumental in crafting Alaska Youth Orchestra’s revised Concert Black attire requirements, setting a nationwide example of this classical music norm, which has historically been gender specific. That revised policy has been shared with every youth symphony organization in the United States and has been used as the new standard for gender inclusive policy within that sector.

Elijah “Dylan” Dumag

Dylan has provided social and emotional support through his participation in the arts and as a caring young adult. Several students at Sitka High School have been impacted positively by Dylan when they were at a low point in life.

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

Emaline Buchanan

When Emaline was 13, she started a nonprofit called Duchess Foundation. The nonprofit provides feminine products to school nurses and school districts. She started it when she recognized that her friends needed some help. She turned 16 in February and continues to help her community through the nonprofit.

Ethan Van Kirk

Ethan participates in art, jazz, baseball, wrestling and is currently a soccer referee. He received 3rd place in state wrestling and has attended soccer tournaments. Despite his successes, he is still modest, stoic and humble. He helps others by sharing all that he has, helping those in need after having been bullied.

  • Home Town Juneau
  • School District Juneau School District
  • Award Category Visionary

Ethan Zawodny

Ethan’s contribution to the Anchorage music community is significant. He is involved in numerous performing ensembles throughout Anchorage. He has contributed heavily to the Eagle River High School Band, Jazz Band, and other specialty ensembles. Additionally, he’s been an integral part of the Robert Arms Jazz program and the Youth Symphony. Ethan has also started his own band and has received recognition and competed in national competitions. He even sat in as a warmup drummer with Portugal. The Man at a performance last year.

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

Hannah Craven

Despite a family tragedy, Hannah remains a positive force at Youth 360. When Covid-19 hit, she stayed positive from afar and joined many virtual chats. If she notices someone struggling, she lends a helping hand by inviting them to chat or play online games. When she’s out in public, she politely reminds others of the seriousness of Covid-19 and why wearing a mask right now is important.

  • Home Town Wasilla
  • School District
  • Award Category Phoenix

Hannah Yi

Hannah Yi and Sophie Mayers were instrumental at West High School in reviving the YANA club (You are Not Alone) after the pandemic and students returned to in-person learning. Once clubs restarted this fall (2021), Sophia and Hannah were the main students who picked up the work that had been left off. They also have put a lot of effort into restarting the presentations for classes and have recruited a team of students to make those presentations in February.

Harrison Steeves-Little

An academic leader in the classroom, Harrison leads groups and helps classmates who are struggling. Taking all core classes in the challenging International Baccalaureate program, he maintains a 4.1 GPA. He also tutors his football teammates. This year, he was on the Varsity Football team, and just joined the basketball team. He will be on the track team in the Spring.

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

Hawwah Taylor

Hawwah Taylor flagged down an Anchorage Police Officer to report a woman being attacked and directed him down a bike path. The officer reported that the male suspect could have seriously injured or possibly killed the female if not for the quick reactions of Hawwah.

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

Isabelle Williams

Isabelle is a talented actress and has performed in almost every school and community theater production in Sitka for the past four years. The performances she’s involved in help share important social, emotional and intellectual messages. They also entertain and help viewers escape from their daily challenges.

 

  • Home Town Sitka
  • School District Sitka School District
  • Award Category Dreamer

Jack Molloy

Jack organized, fundraised, bought, built and painted a work shed for Knik Little League. Knik Little League is a community-run nonprofit sponsored by the Eagle River Lions Club. It is run by volunteers. Without it, there would be no baseball for children in the Eagle River community. The shed Jack built is used to store lawn maintenance equipment. Jack is also a chairman of the National Honor Society at his high school.

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

Katie Cox

When a fire destroyed her hometown theater, where she had performed since she was five, Katie sprung into action. She spent this last summer and fall creating original paintings and selling them on the sidewalk in front of her house. She sold and then donated over $600 to the rebuilding efforts. Additionally, she collected thousands of dollars soliciting donations in front of grocery stores and at Wednesday markets in a local park.

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

Katrina Katoanga

Katrina is in her first year serving as both a TRIO Leadership Committee member and as a mentor for new students in TRIO. TRIO Upward Bound is a college prep program for students who have the potential to be first generation college students and/or of limited income households. Most recently, Katrina helped spearhead a community service project where she helped collect diapers and wipes for Afghanistan refugees newly settled into Anchorage.

Keaton Belcourt

Keaton has a strong presence in life and in the classroom. He leads by example, treating others with kindness and reminding them to be respectful when they are struggling. He’s a positive leader, encourages others to stay on task and complete their work. Not only has he had various struggles in his life that most his age have not had to deal with, he continues to be positive and maintains straight A’s in his classes.

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

Keirstin Johnson

Keirstin plays basketball, runs, is taking a Tlingit class and creates amazing artwork. She stays focused on herself, but is always willing to help others. She has had some struggles with her health, which led to her dealing with challenging anxiety that kept her out of the classroom at times. However, she always returns to class and picks up where she left off. This led to her recently being placed in an advanced class, where she initially struggled, but ultimately persevered and is overcoming challenges.

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

Kji Mitchell

Kji displays perseverance in helping others by overcoming obstacles great and small. She is a member of Youth Conservation Corps (YCC) and has assisted native youth in exploring, learning about and engaging in the stewardship of their ancestral homelands. Kji also became an advocate for the Black Lives Matter movement. She has initiated many in-depth conversations about racism towards people of color and has helped to broaden the perspectives of those around her.

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

Levi Anderson

Last year, Levi was determined to help the current music teacher build up the music program. Thanks to his recruiting efforts numbers in choir and band increased. He also helped a local fundraiser by leading a group of dancers from his school in a musical number. Overall, he has reinvigorated the entire music department and is bringing his enthusiasm to the entire community.

Lillian Yang

In 2021, Lillian played a critical role in the development of the Amplify Youth Voices Alaska project. The project focused on enveloping youth in creative ways to share messages of hope, encouragement and innovations to keep everyone safe. Lillian created social media content, developed the artist theme prompts, developed the ambassador letter, created a logo for the logo design competition, designed a majority of the online and guidebook content and assisted with workshops.

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

Lydia Jacoby

In addition to being an Olympic swimmer (she won the gold medal in the 100 meter breaststroke and the silver medal in the 4 x 100 meter medley relay at the 2020 Summer Olympics), Lydia is unassuming and has extended herself to the Seward Community in various capacities. She makes an effort to encourage other youth to reach for their goals, pointing out that they are accessible through dedication and practice.

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

Malachi Henderson

Malachi is a lead coach at the Alaska Rock Gym. He regularly demonstrates kindness and maturity in helping youth overcome fear of heights and reach their potential. He is patient and observant. He is also the co-captain of the Alaska Rock Gym Climbing Team. He continues to be a role model for the younger athletes.

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

Mia Siebenmorgen Cresswell

Mia helps to beautify Cordova by picking invasive species and helping to maintain the local native plant garden. She helps with community recycling efforts and to organize a youth-led march to garner support and attention for climate change. She is also an advocate for her generation — she serves as the student council representative to the School Board. Through all of her experiences and accomplishments, she remains level-headed, calm, reflective and enthusiastic for the next opportunity.

Mia Wiederspohn

Mia is working with KSTK 101.7 FM in Wrangell, Alaska to create a podcast series about the Tlingit language. By broadcasting Tlingit phrases and their English translations, she is helping to preserve the language Indigenous to her community.

 

Michael Halpern

Michael is actively involved in his community. He is the youngest member of The Veterans 4th of July Parade Council, Inc., a member of Anchorage Youth Court, a volunteer at Mobile Food Bank, a member of the Model UN, and a founding member of the National Honor Society at Steller Secondary School.

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

Muhammad Taylor

Muhammad Taylor flagged down an Anchorage Police Officer to report a woman being attacked and directed him down a bike path. The officer reported that the male suspect could have seriously injured or possibly killed the female if not for the quick reactions of Muhammad.

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

Robert Ahmasuk

Robert is involved in the Alyeska Ski Club and is a participant in the Native Games and the World Eskimo Indian Olympics. He voluntarily teaches and coaches his fellow ski team members in the Native Games. He has worked with local media to set trapping regulations for the State of Alaska in order to make trapping safer for others in the community. He also started his own business to sharpen knives and has designed and made his own traditional knives.

 

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

Shandiin “Suella” Wendell

Suella is a facilitator and communicator of powerful and important social issues. Most recently, she has been focusing on the Missing and Murdered Indigenous People (MAMIP) epidemic, bringing outreach to her community through her projects, participation in community events, and social networking. Suella is an ambassador of Alaska Native issues. She testifies at committees on Native children, works on podcasts with the community and keeps a dedicated presence of how we can all help.

Slater Jones

Slater is very giving and willing to help others. He collected several hundred pounds of food for donations to the Food Bank this winter. He is also part of Scouts, where he organized a troop meeting and invited local government leaders to talk about air quality and how they can help.

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

Sophie Mayers

Sophie Mayers and Hannah Yi were instrumental at West High School in reviving the YANA club (You are Not Alone) after the pandemic and students returned to in-person learning. Once clubs restarted this fall (2021), Sophia and Hannah were the main students who picked up the work that had been left off. They also have put a lot of effort into restarting the presentations for classes and have recruited a team of students to make those presentations in February.

Stephen Harmon

Stephen is one of two students who were on the Sitka School District Smart Start Task Force, a group created to formulate a plan to safely reopen schools after the Covid-19 pandemic started. His input and perspective helped the group create and continue to form guidelines needed to safely reopen schools in his district.

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

Tyler Barton

During Tyler’s sophomore year of high school he became very sick. He was life flighted down to Seattle with a life threatening disease. He battled for his life in intensive care for many weeks. This did not slow him down academically or socially. He worked from home to catch up on his missed school work and ended the year with all A’s and one B in his classes.

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

Viktor Stanfield

Viktor started working at the Alaska Rock Gym when he was 14 as an Assistant Rock Climbing Coach. He has since worked his way into a Lead Instructor role, becoming the youngest ever to do so in the organization. He teaches youth, ages 4 to 13, the basics of rock climbing as well as the social and emotional skills needed to build resilient youth in his community. Viktor also volunteers for the Special Olympics climbing events held at the gym.

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

2018 Nominees

Abigail Massong

Abigail demonstrates responsibility and diligence in all she does, whether it be course work, horsemanship, cleaning stalls, attending enrichment activities, or church attendance. She chooses personal friends that enrich her life and chooses to do the same for them.

  • Home Town Chugiak
  • School District Yukon-Koyukuk School District
  • Award Category Humanitarian

Aleea Faulkner

Aleea started “For the Love of Socks,” which gives socks to the homeless. She and her mom also took over the Bear Hugs program, which distributes backpacks and necessities to kids in need.

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

Ana Hokenson

Along with other students, Ana Hokenson created a gofundme account in an effort to afford a trip to Juneau to advocate for middle school education. By October, they had enough miles and money to commit to a trip to go to Juneau during the 2018 legislative session.

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

Angela Stewart

In December 2017, Angela was diagnosed with FASD. Anchorage FASD Diagnostic Team thought that she would be an excellent spokesperson and financially supported her to attend an international conference in Canada.

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

Aniak Jr/Sr High School Student Council

The Aniak Jr/Sr High School Student Council embraces their culture and focuses on recognition of those that have made it possible. The student council plans events, networks with local businesses, elders and VIPs to ensure events run smoothly.

  • Home Town Aniak
  • School District Kuspuk
  • Award Category Humanitarian

Ashley Perry

Ashley was born with a rare genetic disorder called Turner Syndrome. To bring awareness, she reached out to the Governor of Alaska and the Mayor of Anchorage to get a proclamation signed to have Turner Syndrome added to rare disease day and declare February as Turner Syndrome Awareness month.

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

Avery Hoffman

Avery helps promote protection for natural resources on the Kuskokwim River Delta. He has worked in the Fisheries Department at the Native Government for the last four years.

  • Home Town Bethel
  • School District
  • Award Category Discovery

Bai Thao

Bai’s parents came to Alaska as Hmong refugees. She is the eldest of nine children and Bai is responsible for taking care of her siblings and supporting her parents as they navigate their new state and country.

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

Bergen Davis

Bergen is constantly seeking out those who are under-served and finds ways to meet their needs. From early childhood, he has donated a portion of his income. He contributes 20 percent of every paycheck to buying fresh produce for the Glory Hall Homeless Shelter and Soup Kitchen.

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

Blake LaPerriere

Blake is a metalworker who both forges and welds projects as an entrepreneurial business. In addition, he has helped many people in the community jobs such as splitting firewood, construction projects and remodels, trail building, and metalworking, to name a few.

  • Home Town Sitka
  • School District Yukon-Koyukuk School District
  • Award Category Discovery

Carlee Rizzo

Carlee created and established the Nikiski Children’s Fund, which is now expanding to become the Peninsula Children’s Fund. She has fundraised thousands of dollars for Nikiski North Star Elementary and Nikiski Middle/High School that teachers and staff can use whenever they see that a child or family has a need.

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

Chance Shank

Chance graduated from high school this year with two associates degrees, Associate of Science and Associate of Arts General Program with Cum Laude Honors. He also applied and received a grant to start a dance group in his village.

  • Home Town Dot Lake
  • School District
  • Award Category Role Model

Charlie Menke

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.

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

Cole Freeman

In the summer of 2017, 3 people almost perished in Eklutna Lake when their Kayak flipped over. The freezing water gave them hypothermia. Cole ran all over the beach to find drift wood and started a fire to keep the victims warm until Emergency Services came. His brave efforts and quick action helped save lives.

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

Colten Morris

Colten uses his raps to bring people together and build community. He shares his talents and assists students by teaching them to write lyrics and produce new beats. In this way, Colten provides a needed creative outlet for young people in Homer.

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

Colvin R. Moore

As part of his daily Boys & Girls Club responsibilities, Cole prepares and serves meals for 35 students, tutors grades K-3 and is a peer mentor for the entire group.

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

Daisy Kettle (part of Ambassador Girl Scout 1935)

Daisy Kettle worked with the Homer Food Pantry to stock dozens of backpacks with essential food items. In the 15 months since the program’s introduction to Homer High School, over 120 food bags have been stocked and distributed.

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

Darius Mina

Darius has participated in numerous Alaska Geographic, Chugach Children’s Forest, and Student Conservation Association conservation projects. He has acted as a steward to public lands and encourages others to get outside, be healthy, and take action to enjoy and preserve public spaces.

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

Denali Zero-Landfill Youth Ambassadors Program (a.k.a. ZLAP Council)

Zero-Landfill Ambassador Program (ZLAP) Council is run by a group of middle and high school students at Tri-Valley School in the Denali Borough School District. This program was created to tackle sustainability issues at the school and in the Healy/McKinley Village area.

  • Home Town Healy
  • School District Denali Borough School District
  • Award Category Discovery

Eliyah Pilgrim

Eliyah is part of the Colony Middle School National Junior Art Honor Society. She also participated in the 2018 Tech Expo showcasing her 3D apartment which she designed during an interior design unit at Colony Middle School.

  • Home Town WASILLA
  • School District Matanuska Susitna Borough
  • Award Category Discovery

Emilie Grimes

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

Emma Hopkins

When the season was over, Emma assisted the coach by helping with the 6th grade basketball program. She is always positive and uplifting, while motivating her players to do their very best.

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

Ethan Zawodny

Ethan is a highly accomplished drummer and percussionist; he created a beginning percussion program through Denali Montessori’s Elementary School. In 2017 and 2018, Ethan volunteered his time to instruct 3rd through 6th graders in beginning percussion skills twice a week after school.

  • Home Town Eagle River
  • School District Anchorage School District
  • Award Category Dreamer

Eve Downing

Eve spent a fellowship canvassing alongside the Cook Inlet Keeper, from door knocking to street canvassing. She worked a number of big events like Wild Alaska Salmon Day and Progress Days in Soldotna, and SalmonFest on the Kenai Peninsula.

  • Home Town Anchorage
  • School District Kenai Peninsula Borough School District
  • Award Category Discovery

Finn Gagnon

Finn uses humor and his intelligence to persuade others to follow the right path; he makes good decisions and allows all to benefit from the knowledge and maturity he possesses.

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

Gabby Nayokpuk

Gabby collected a dozen photos and quotes from Shishmaref community members about why salmon is important to them and why we should protect them. She also wrote a piece that was published nationally by the League of Conservation Voters.

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

George Washington

George has been involved in the Woodland Park Boys & Girls Club since he was seven. Because of his involvement, he has grown both academically and socially and radiates positivity. He’s a strong, natural leader and noticeably raises spirits when he’s around his basketball team.

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

Gillian Brinker

Gillian is actively involved in the local FFA group. She participates in competitions at both a state and national level in FFA. She also volunteers at The Learning Farm in Anchorage and cares for the animals in addition to teaching local children about the animals.

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

Grace Eldridge

When Grace moved to Colony High School, she volunteered to take over as choreographer for the Colony MS Drama. This position includes lots of summer work to design the choreograph with the director and music director, along with researching many of the shows she has designed.

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

Grace Lili’i

Grace goes above and beyond by including others in class activities, encouraging their participation, and helping them execute class assignments.

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

Hallie Clark

To raise money for their weeklong trip to Africa, where they hosted a basketball camp, Hallie and her mom sold t-shirts with information about the trip on them.

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

Harriett Henry

Harriett helps with behavior in all classrooms, grades K-12. She encourages everyone, even adults in her community. When a kid or baby is being fussy or not listening Harriett is right there beside them trying to calm them down.

  • Home Town Golovin
  • School District Bering strait School District
  • Award Category Role Model

Henry Saafi

Henry observed a situation escalating into a physical altercation. Without hesitation, he intervened and removed the student from the situation before anyone was injured.

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

Innoko River School Middle and Secondary Students

The Innoko River School middle and secondary students worked together with adults to find a young girl who was missing. This act of heroism and bravery epitomizes a tradition that we have in our village: to never leave anyone behind.

  • Home Town Shageluk
  • School District Iditarod Area School District
  • Award Category Lifesaver

Jadah Williams

Jadah comes to school every day and works hard to improve herself. She is a great role model for other students.

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

Jakira Starks

Along with other students, Jakira created a gofundme account in an effort to afford a trip to Juneau to advocate for middle school education. By October, they had enough miles and money to commit to a trip to go to Juneau during the 2018 legislative session.

  • Home Town Anchorage
  • School District Anchorage School District

Jared Heaston & Matt Davis

Matt Davis and Jared Heaston saw a woman get hit by a vehicle. They rushed to help her, performed CPR and all life saving efforts prior to the arrival of the paramedics. The female driver was unable to be saved. They have shared their story with students and the community, while advocating for safe driving and helping those in need.

  • Home Town Chugiak
  • School District Anchorage School District
  • Award Category Lifesaver

Jena Boelens

Jena is involved with the Aniak Jr/Sr High School Student Council. She is the Student Council representative to the Kuspuk School district board, she has volunteered at the Aniak Youth Center and tutored math. She was a key member in Math Science Expedition and a local project that preserved the stories of local elders.

  • Home Town Aniak
  • School District Kuspuk
  • Award Category Innovator

Jennifer McCumber

The Alaska Youth for Environmental Action (AYEA) Youth Salmon Fellows (YSFs) are a group of young Alaskans who worked on the issue of salmon habitat in their communities. Jennifer McCumber focused on collecting stories, hosting events, and canvassing in both Utqiagvik and around the state. Over the summer, Jennifer tabled at the Inuit Circumpolar Council and spoke to prominent arctic leaders about the importance of salmon. Jennifer ended her fellowship by hosting a salmon-making art party for the kids in Utqiagvik.

  • Home Town Anchorage
  • School District The North Slope Borough School District
  • Award Category Discovery

Jessica Brado

Jessica donates to the local animal shelter and participates in Toys for Tots. She also participates in races that support the homeless and contribute to Breast Cancer Awareness.

  • Home Town PALMER
  • School District Mat-Su School District
  • Award Category Humanitarian

Jessica Dixon

Jessica’s dad volunteered her for the Yukon Quest, a 1,000 mile international sled dog race. She brought puppies from their kennel to share with summer visitors. She also volunteers at the Helping Hooves Program, a horse riding service for people with special needs.

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

Jiabao Leaf

Despite physical challenges, Jiabao is one of the key leaders in a summer soccer program that reaches underprivileged native youth. He’s also been involved in the Alaska Republican Party, being a guest speaker at the Alaska Republican Party State Convention back in March.

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

Jordan Julich

Jordan runs her own non-profit organization called Jordan’s Junk for Joy. Her organization helps raise money for Special Santa and helps bring Christmas to over 300,000 families in need. Last year she raised over $800 and was awarded the spirit of Christmas award.

  • Home Town wasilla
  • School District Matsu
  • Award Category Visionary

Jordan Stewart

In the summer of 2017, 3 people almost perished in Eklutna Lake when their Kayak flipped over. The freezing water gave them hypothermia. Jordan ran all over the beach to find drift wood and started a fire to keep the victims warm until Emergency Services came. His brave efforts and quick action helped save lives.

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

Jordyn Cleveland

Jordyn has been a youth leader for a bully prevention project at Stone Soup Group. Her work includes talking with Partner Clubs throughout Anchorage to learn about the challenges students face. By creating an understanding of bullying, she helps teachers support students with disabilities. She helped guide the project, and is now on the video project team through Alaska Teen Media Institute.

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

Juan Martinez Paredes

By generously sharing his story of vulnerability, Juan allows other high school students a chance to open up about their own vulnerabilities and find connections. He is a positive role model to the more than 500 Anchorage high school students who have watched his story.

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

Julia Scully

The Alaska Youth for Environmental Action (AYEA) Youth Salmon Fellows (YSFs) are a group of young Alaskans who worked on the issue of salmon habitat in their communities. Julia Scully hosted a successful stream clean-up at Eklutna and capped her fellowship with an open mic, where Alaskans were invited to share why they believe salmon is important to them using anything from song to speech. She also wrote an op-ed, canvassed businesses for support, and canvassed Palmer residents about ballot measure 1.

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

Kalah Cuddy

Kalah is part of Sources of Strength, a group of students that helps to build a positive school climate. She is also a part of the Kenai Peninsula Native Youth Leadership Club which fosters interconnection, collaboration and leadership between Native students throughout the school district.

  • Home Town Ninilchik
  • School District Kenai Peninsula Borough School District
  • Award Category Phoenix

Kalise Houchins

Kalise is the Vice-President of the South High school Peer Mentorship Program. She is also a member of the Peer Mentorship program, Gay Straight Alliance (GSA), Partners Club, Tea Club and Gaming Club.

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

Karen Fortenberry

Karen offers insight to counselors and other adults when dealing with at-risk teens. She also applied and was selected to be on the local QPR team as well as the school leadership team.

  • Home Town Wasilla
  • School District Matsu Borough School District
  • Award Category Lifesaver

Kassandra Thomas

Kassy is always willing to support her peers and her teachers. She spreads joy and happiness with her diligence and happy demeanor. She is also involved with school sports.

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

Kaydence Cadzow

Kaydence raised over $300 and, with the help her grandma went, shopping and bagged up things such as socks, shampoo, water, snacks, hand wipes, etc. She then went and handed out these bags to homeless people.

  • Home Town Fairbanks
  • School District FNSBSD
  • Award Category Humanitarian

Keaton Dolph

Keaton Dolph decided to start an Applied Science Club at Kodiak High School. He worked with administration, found a sponsor, and recruited members. He plans meetings and activities, gathers materials, and trains the members, all on his own. The club is new and small, but his dedication is inspiring and impressive.

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

Kilee-Ann Thornhill

Kilee-Ann has proven to be an inspiration to her teammates, a driving motivational force for them to work harder and achieve more and, above all else, she is kind and compassionate.

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

Lauren McCabe

To encourage their classmates to engage in a more significant way in the 2018 Chains of Caring Campaign at South High School, sisters Molly and Lauren challenged the student body to raise $5,000. The campaign spread like wildfire throughout the school and on social media, ultimately raising more than $10,000, which was donated directly to the Children’s Hospital at Providence.

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

Lead On Communities

As part of the Lead On program, youth from around the state met in Anchorage to build skills and develop projects they could implement in their communities to prevent violence and build pride and resilience.

  • Home Town Cordova, Kiana, Nome, St Michael, Atmautluak, Juneau
  • School District
  • Award Category Humanitarian

Lynna Tiemessen

Helping Hooves is a horseback riding program for riders with special needs. Lynna has volunteered there for 3 – 5 years. Volunteers groom and tack horses, set up activities and games, work with riders and horses and put horses and equipment away.

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

Mackenzie Edgar

Mackenzie is in the trauma-sensitive schools, a program which that tries to find real-world solutions to real-life problems that face students. They have identified a variety of challenges that face students at Colony Middle School and are working in to find solutions.

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

Macy Smith

This last year, for medical reasons, Macy faced some very serious challenges. Instead of becoming discouraged, Macy found ways to grow, shine, and thrive.

  • Home Town Wasilla
  • School District Matsu
  • Award Category Phoenix

Maddie James

Maddie continues to lead boating safety education community outreach events. Alaska has one of the highest recreational boating fatality rates in the nation and the outreach Maddie does is aimed at educating and addressing the problem.

  • Home Town Palmer
  • School District Mat-Su School District
  • Award Category Lifesaver

Man Choir

Man Choir performs concerts for the community. They inspire other students to become involved with music, and they set a great example of a positive outcome from working hard, learning a new skill and developing human potentials.

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

Maren Buma

Maren’s dad was diagnosed with MS three years before she was born. She spent much of her time caring for him and promoting MS awareness. Last fall, her dad passed away. Since then, Maren has shared memories and photos from of him on social media and in person.

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

Maria Wargo

Since her freshman year, Maria has volunteered at Children’s Lunch box and Stamp Out Hunger. Her family also runs the family clothing drive, collecting clothes to donate to the AWAIC shelter.

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

Mariah Weeks

Student guardians own a sign company called Be Original Signs. Using resources at home, students created stickers for the school and staff for a strive to “Go Higher.” Additionally, Mariah always goes out of her way to help, if she is asked to assist she is right there with a smile on her face.

  • Home Town Wasilla
  • School District MSBSD
  • Award Category Visionary

Mariaha Afuvai

Mariaha Afuvai is a class leader, she regularly volunteers to lead her class in physical activities, assists teacher however possible and guides peers into good decision making.

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

Mary Pound

Mary is involved in a school organization called AYEA that is working with the Qawalangin Tribe to get recycling started in their community and help protect the environment. Mary is a also the Daisy Girl Scout leader, she works with and mentors girls in kindergarten and 1st grade.

  • Home Town Unalaska
  • School District
  • Award Category Role Model, Discovery

Matt Davis

Matt Davis and Jared Heaston saw a woman get hit by a vehicle and she projected six feet. They rushed to help her, and performed CPR and all life saving efforts prior to the arrival of the paramedics. They have shared their story with students and the community and they advocate for safe driving and helping those in need.

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

Michael Wheatley

Chugiak Fire and Rescue members arrived to find Michael Wheatley home alone valiantly performing CPR on his 18 year-old brother Tristen, with whom he was rough housing just moments before. Michael’s recognition of cardiac arrest, notification of EMS and treatment played a significant role in Tristen’s survival.

  • Home Town Chugiak
  • School District Anchorage
  • Award Category Lifesaver

Mickinzie Ticknor

Mickinzie is active in and has lettered in several school sports and activities. She has participated in swimming, concert choir and cross country skiing. She was an alternate on Kenai Central High School’s state team and she performed American Sign Language at her school’s spring concert.

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

Naknek 9th and 10th Grade Class

The 9th and 10th graders of Naknek participated in and led the 2018 Youth Digital Storytelling Workshop. Each student created a documentary film on topics related to local culture and the historic Alaska Packers Association NN Cannery located in South Naknek.

  • Home Town Naknek
  • School District Bristol Bay Borough School District
  • Award Category Dreamer

Natalia Schneider

Natalia’s involvement in learning the Alutiiq language, using the language, working with the Alutiiq immersion preschool, being an Alutiiq dancer as well as her involvement with Native Youth Olympics is an inspiration to the other youth to be proud of their Alutiiq culture.

  • Home Town Kodiak
  • School District Kodiak
  • Award Category Dreamer

Natalie Fraser

Natalie founded a new organization called Mental Health Advocacy which uses storytelling to de-stigmatize mental health issues. She has been actively involved in suicide prevention.

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

Native Student Leadership Council at East Anchorage High School

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. NLC has initiated and led several activities this year, such as coordinating and carrying out a meeting each semester for Indian Education students at East High School, sharing cultural activities with 3rd and 4th grade students at Russian Jack Elementary, and helping new-to-Anchorage Alaska Native and American Indian Students transition to East High School.

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

No More Mat-Su

No More Mat-Su is a youth-led organization whose goal is to end domestic violence and sexual assault in the Mat-Su Valley. NMMS is in its 5th and last year, students organized an event at the Glenn Massey Theater called Rock the Resilience. They are currently working on the second annual Rock the Resilience.

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

Nyamiiri Biel

Nyamiiri is a student leader at Bartlett High School where she mentors others. She overcame the obstacle of experiencing homelessness and now volunteers to provide food at shelters both locally and internationally.

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

Nyche’ Andrew

Nyche has been a part of influencing the Anchorage School District (ASD) in making a policy that allows Native American and Alaska Native students to wear their respective regalia during high school graduation ceremonies.

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

Olivia Skelton

Olivia is a straight-A student in honors and AP classes, president of the National Honor Society, a company dancer at Alaska Dance Theater, and a soloist and member of Da Capo Community Choir. She also holds the title of Miss Alaska High School 2018, and is an American Heart Association Basic Life Support Instructor.

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

Paul Ludwig

Paul is an unbiased student leader, who gives his peers the benefit of the doubt and uses his natural, friendly, outgoing personality to help his peers be better versions of themselves.

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

Ruby Allen (part of Ambassador Girl Scout 1935)

Ruby worked with the Homer Food Pantry to stock dozens of nylon backpacks with essential food items so that students could anonymously and discreetly fulfill a basic need for those who might otherwise go without. In 15 months, over 120 food bags have been stocked and distributed.

  • Home Town Homer
  • School District Kenai Peninsula School District
  • Award Category Humanitarian, Visionary

Samantha Martin

Samanthais involved in the Kenai Peninsula farm and flock swap meet / youth farming education, which provides information to students and future workforce.

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

Sara Laughlin

Sara is involved in Student Government at her school and state-wide. She built and stocked a small food pantry with some of her friends. She also works at the Fairbanks Children’s Museum.

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

Sara Morse

Anchorage recently experienced a 7.0 earthquake and Sara’s school was hit hard. Everyone dove under their desks to take cover. Sara remained calm and supportive of her classmates.

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

Sayora Van Reed

Sayora is a Peer Educator at the Rec Room, and involved in Sources of Strength Peer group and Promoting Health Among Teens (PHAT), in partnership with the State of Alaska. She has organized the yearbook club, managed the timelines and themes, and is the reason the project is such a success.

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

Sharon Jenkins

Sharon attends an after School program called the Schoolyard, a program through Cook Inlet Tribal Council. She continues to do everything she can to ensure the continuation of the program, including leading a group of 20 youth to meet with the CEO of CITC.

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

Shelby Moore

Shelby joined Colony Middle School during a tough time in her life, but she has made many friends and is actively involved in many school activities.

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

Sophie Morin (part of Ambassador Girl Scout 1935)

Sophie worked with the Homer Food Pantry to stock dozens of nylon backpacks with essential food items so that students could anonymously and discreetly fulfill a basic need for those who might otherwise go without. In 15 months, over 120 food bags have been stocked and distributed.

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

Talia Henry

Talia is active in the community-driven youth and sled dog program in her community. She is responsible for the health of her family dog team, which involves a commitment to care and exercise of puppies and adult dogs. She also organizes bake sales to raise money for prizes for village youth races.

  • Home Town
  • School District Yukon-Koyukuk School District
  • Award Category Humanitarian, Role Model

Will Freeman

In the summer of 2017, 3 people almost perished in Eklutna Lake when their Kayak flipped over. The freezing water gave them hypothermia. Will ran all over the beach to find drift wood and started a fire to keep the victims warm until Emergency Services came. His brave efforts and quick action helped save lives.

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

William Deering

Will is avidly involved in science including groundbreaking research and supporting youth STEM activities.  One of his scientific endeavors was the development of synthetic honey that can be used in medical procedures which prevents bacterial growth.  Wills unique ideas solve real world problems.

  • Home Town
  • School District IDEA Homeschool
  • Award Category Innovator

2017 Nominees

Abby Conklin

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

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

Abigail Couch

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

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

Alicia Smoke

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

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

Anonymous Teen

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

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

Ashley Smith

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

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

Aunika Alch

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

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

Avery Palenske

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

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

Be [You] Team

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

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

Braiden Owen

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

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

Brett Ivan Keene

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

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

Carlee Rizzo

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

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

Carol Kegley

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

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

Charly Rentz

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

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

Collin “Max” Friedli

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

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

Cook Inlet Academy High School and Junior High students

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

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

David Panik

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

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

Duncan Okitkun

Duncan shares his 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.

  • Home Town Kotlik
  • School District Lower Yukon School District
  • Award Category Dreamer

Emily Gage

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

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

Emma Hopkins

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

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

Erika Grover and Hailey Hancock

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

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

Fayth Gaw

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

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

Gabriel “Gabe” Miller

Gabe 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.

  • Home Town Ninilchik
  • School District Kenai Peninsula
  • Award Category Innovator

Greg Kraskoff

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

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

Hannah Mason

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

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

Isabelle Zink

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

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

Isaiah Dunegan-Lain

Isaiah was able to utilize his first 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.

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

Jack Walters

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

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

Jackson Petrie

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

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

Jullian Parada

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

  • Home Town JBER
  • School District Anchorage School District
  • Award Category Lifesaver

Kail Davey

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

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

Katelyn Delarosa

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

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

Katirina Mowrer

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

  • Home Town Dillingham
  • School District Dillingham City School
  • Award Category Dreamer

Kaylee Rose Phillips

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

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

Kaylynn Zagyva

Kaylynn leads a Girl Talk group at Colony Middle School. The group concentrates on anti-bullying, girls supporting each other, and increasing confidence in teen girls. She is also involved in community 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.

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

Kelly Mauricio

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

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

Khamariah Anderson Yelder

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

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

Kiara Johnson

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

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

Lacie Freeman

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

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

Liam Atkin

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

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

Makenzie Edgar

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

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

Mary Pound

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

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

Mattie Gross

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

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

Mia Weiss

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

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

Napaaqtugmiut High School

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

  • Home Town Noatak
  • School District Northwest Arctic Borough School District
  • Award Category Discovery

NJROTC Program

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

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

Rafael Bitanga

Rafael 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.

  • Home Town Kodiak
  • School District KIBSD
  • Award Category Visionary

Robert Otto

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.

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

Robin “Puck” Van Dommelen

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.

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

Robin “Puck” Van Dommelen

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

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

Rylee Mcintosh

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.

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

Sadie Coyle

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

  • Home Town Kodiak
  • School District Kodiak
  • Award Category Dreamer

Sarah Churchill

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

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

Service High School Partners Club

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

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

Shayla Titus

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

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

Sierra Tyssedal

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

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

Sonny Parker

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

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

Taralyn Gwynn

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

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

Tarzan Lavivong

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

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

Tyler Belliston

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

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

Vanessa Lopez

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

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

Verina (Rina) Ukatish

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

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

West High School’s Interact Club

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

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

Women of West

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

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

You Are Not Alone Club at West Anchorage High School

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

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

Zachary Halstead

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

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

2016 Nominees

Abigail Mainard

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

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

Adrian Briggs

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

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

Alaska Youth Orchestras-Performing Board Members

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

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

Alexia Briggs

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

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

Alicia McLelland

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

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

Alyssa Madrid

Alyssa Madrid has been a member of Kodiak Island’s Alutiiq Dancers since 2011, and is now training to become a leader drummer and song caller. Alyssa has also served as a youth ambassador for the Alaska Tobacco Control Alliance, and currently acts as the Cultural Programs Assistant for the Sun’aq Tribe of Kodiak.

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

Anabelle Neininger

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

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

Anja Cheyette

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

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

Camden Kegley

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

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

Carrie Damian

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

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

Chloe Kincaid

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

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

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

Clare Cook

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

  • Home Town EAGLE RIVER
  • School District Anchorage School District

Colony Middle School Cheerleaders

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

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

Colony Middle School Greeters

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

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

Corbin Ryan Batzner

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

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

Courtney O’Hearn

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

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

Denali Schultz

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

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

Destiny Lytle

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

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

Dixie George

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

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

Duncan Okitkun

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

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

Ella Jordan

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

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

Elsa O’Neil

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

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

Emily Montanez Rodriguez

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

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

Esau Sinnok

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

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

Fairbanks Skatepark Coalition

Fairbanks Skate Park Coalition was formed in April 2016 by a group of young skateboarders, BMX bikers and other action sport riders who want to create safe, fun skate parks in the Fairbanks North Star Borough. Since that time, they have gained non-profit status, assisted in designing and refurbishing the North Pole Skate Park and then hosted a grand opening and competition. They have started working with our Borough and Parks and Rec department to get a new skate park built in Fairbanks to replace the 20 year old park that has become unsafe.

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

Fairbanks Wellness Coalition Youth Volunteers

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

  • Home Town Fairbanks
  • School District

Grace Eldridge

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

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

Grace Hunter

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

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

Grace Morrow

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

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

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

Haley Edmondson

Haley Edmondson is an active member of her community and volunteers her time to better the lives of those in her community, particularly other youth. Her achievements include hosting a fashion show to raise money for Breast Cancer research, raising over $4,000 for the Children’s Hospital, helping to create a nationally recognized “Raise Your Voice” video with the Alaska Injury Prevention Center, and organizing bonding activities with life skills students attending South Anchorage High School.

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

Hooper Bay RAY Youth Group

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

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

Isa Weiss

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

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

Isabelle Lopez

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

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

Ivory Gerhardt-Cyrus

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

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

Jackson Blackwell

Jackson has been involved in Teens Against Tobacco Use for the past 4 years. He has given tobacco prevention lessons to his peers, and has also testified to the Alaska state legislature on the importance of a smoke-free workplace.

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

Jacob Iya

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

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

Jasmine A. Suarez

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

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

Jason Riggs

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

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

Jedediah Dean

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

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

Jeffrey Asbury

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

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

Jenevia Jetaun Wika

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

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

Jennifer Sage

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

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

Jenysa Ahmaogak

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

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

Jivan Gordon-Wolfe

Jivan has led a Make A Difference Day project in October every year for the past 4 years.  He has also been involved with the Alaska Tobacco Control Alliance Youth leaders program for over a year, and has attended two trainings in Anchorage on tobacco education, prevention, and advocacy topics. Jivan has worked and volunteered for Green Star, and raised awareness of plastic bag waste.

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

Johnnie Avakumoff

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

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

Julianne Wilson

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

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

Kaisa Reese Ahluniq Kotch

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

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

Kali Metlicka

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

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

Katya Mozalevskaya

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

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

Kaulani Napoleon

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

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

Kendra Brush

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

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

Kenny Stiebritz

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

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

Leena Robinson

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

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

Leneil Hafford

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

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

Lonicera Lindquist

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

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

Lucas Dinsmore

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

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

Maiya Anderson

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

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

Makenzie Wikheim

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

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

Manny Budke

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

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

Maria Kulikov

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

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

Maya Rivera

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

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

Mia Weiss

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

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

Milagro Darby

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

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

Molly Ekstrom

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

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

Noah Leaf

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

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

Noah Sage

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

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

North Star Youth Court

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

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

NSBSD Student School Board Representatives: Joseph Ivanoff and Frederick Kanayurak

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

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

Petersburg Interact Club

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

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

Pole Smortum

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

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

Port Graham High School

8th through 12th grade students in Port Graham spearheaded a project to raise rabbits that would eventually be used for skin-sewing and tanning hides. The students were involved in the process from beginning to end and used hands-on experience to build scientific and traditional skills. The rabbits were raised and treated with the utmost care and respect.

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

Rachelle Persson

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

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

Resiliant Alaska Youth-Ninilchik Chapter

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

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

Ruby & Sophie Wright

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

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

Sage Tedds

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

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

Sam Hall

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

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

Samir Akal

Samir Akal came to Anchorage two years ago after leaving a refugee camp in Egypt. Going above and beyond what was required  of him, Samir has achieved a high level of academic success. But his hard work has not stopped there. Living with diabetes himself, Samir hopes to help others combat the disease by working towards becoming a nurse. He has volunteered at Providence Hospital, tutored other Somali speaking students in math, and spent this most recent summer volunteering at the Mountain View Public Library.

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

Savannah Rizzo

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

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

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

Savoonga Youth Leaders

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

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

Sesika Poleo

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

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

Shaela Asbury

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

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

Shahaila Nick

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

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

Shannon Guthrie

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

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

Sierra Tucker

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

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

Sitka Youth Leadership Committee

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

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

Students for Change

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

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

Summer Sagoonick

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

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

Tasha Elizarde

Tasha Elizarde works as a Peer Educator with the Juneau Teen Council,  which focuses on teaching teens about healthy sexuality and healthy relationships. Tasha attended the 2016 Teen Council Summit in Washington DC and co-presented a workshop about youth involvement in advocacy efforts. After the summit, Tasha was invited to write an article for an MTV news blog. Tasha exhibits exceptional skills in leadership, writing, and advocacy.

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

Tavis Russo

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

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

Taylor Engstrom

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

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

The Quantum Mechanics FTC Robotics Team #11168

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

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

TJ Clapp

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

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

Trenton Wonhola

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

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

Tyler Hall

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

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

Vadim Yenan

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

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

Yuting (Tina) Kang

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

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

2015 Nominees

Abigail Lampley

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.

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

Ahlena Anderson

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.

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

Alakanuk Youth Group

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.

  • Home Town Alakanuk
  • School District Lower Yukon
  • Award Category Lifesaver & Prevention, Service To Peers, Service To Children

Alexander Bracken

Alex has volunteered for two years leading after-school athletics programs for Campbell Elementary School. From flag football to open gym, more than 55 youth have looked to Alex as a role model and leader.

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

Alexander Reber

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.

  • Home Town Eagle River
  • School District Anchorage
  • Award Category Faith-Based Service, Service To Children

Alexandra Shannon

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.

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

Alisa Aist

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.

  • Home Town Anchorage
  • School District Anchorage School District
  • Award Category Science & Environment

Alleah Kozeroff

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.

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

Alta Dean

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.

  • Home Town Palmer
  • School District Mat-Su Borough School District
  • Award Category Science & Environment

Alyssa Zrna

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.

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

Angelica Haakenson

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.

  • Home Town Anchor Point
  • School District Kenai Peninsula Borough
  • Award Category Overcoming Challenges

Annett Faafetai

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.

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

Annie Connelly

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.

  • Home Town Chugiak
  • School District Anchorage

Archie Andrews

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.

  • Home Town Emmonak
  • School District Lower Yukon School District
  • Award Category Lifesaver & Prevention, Service To Community

Baahii Tallman

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.

  • Home Town Anchorage
  • School District Anchorage
  • Award Category Cultural Pursuits, Science & Environment, Service To Community

Bailey Lesslie

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.

  • Home Town Anchorage
  • School District Anchorage
  • Award Category Overcoming Challenges

Brandon Drew

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.

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

Brandon Thomas

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.

  • Home Town Anchorage
  • School District Anchorage
  • Award Category Business & Government, Service To Community

Brianna Lundgren

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.

  • Home Town Fairbanks
  • School District Fairbanks
  • Award Category Service To Peers, Service To Children

Byron Nicholai

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.

  • Home Town Toksook Bay
  • School District LKSD
  • Award Category Cultural Pursuits

Cadence Wren Moffitt

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.

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

Caleb Reed

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.

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

Calvin Carpenter

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.

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

Carrie Damian

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.

  • Home Town Nanwalek
  • School District Kenai Peninsula Borough
  • Award Category Lifesaver & Prevention, Media & Technology

Casey Marsh

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.

  • Home Town Anchor point
  • School District KPSD
  • Award Category Service To Community

Cephas Ekuase

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.

  • Home Town Anchorage
  • School District Anchorage School District
  • Award Category Business & Government

Chelsie Cabudol

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.

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

Christian Escalante

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.

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

Christiane “Bunno” Chayalkun

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.

  • Home Town Chevak
  • School District Kashunamiut School District
  • Award Category Lifesaver & Prevention, Overcoming Challenges

Christine S.D. Noratak

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.

  • Home Town ANchorage
  • School District Anchorage
  • Award Category Science & Environment

Collin Williams

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.

  • Home Town Metlakatla
  • School District Annette Islands School District
  • Award Category Service To Children

Conor Bolz

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.

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

Corrina Mathis

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.

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

Dashon King

Dashon is certified for ETT and EMT I and regularly assists with medical emergencies. He is deaf in both ears but does not let this complication keep him from saving lives.

  • Home Town Metlakatla
  • School District Annette Islands School District
  • Award Category Lifesaver & Prevention

David Parker

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.

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

Davida Drvenkar

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.

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

Dimond and South High Hockey Teams and Cheerleaders

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.

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

Dolly Ann Zharoff

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.

  • Home Town Igiugig
  • School District Lake and Peninsula School District
  • Award Category Overcoming Challenges, Service To Community

East High FIRST Robotics

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.

  • Home Town Anchorage
  • School District Anchorage
  • Award Category Science & Environment

East High School Interact Club

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.

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

East High School Student Government

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.

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

Elias Vargas

Elias is a member of the Fairbanks Curling Club where he teaches youth and adults curling techniques. His ability to recruit new members and his enthusiasm for curling is what helps keep his club thriving.

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

Emily Charles

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.

  • Home Town Anchor Point
  • School District Kenai Peninsula Borough
  • Award Category Science & Environment

Emily VanNortwick

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.

  • Home Town Chugiak
  • School District
  • Award Category Science & Environment, Service To Children

Esau Sinnok

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.

  • Home Town Shishmaref
  • School District Bering Strait
  • Award Category Cultural Pursuits, Science & Environment

Evelyn Rose Rush

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.

  • Home Town anchorage
  • School District Anchorage
  • Award Category Service To Community

Fairbanks Youth for Habitat Program

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.

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

Faithe Gray

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.

  • Home Town Metlakatla
  • School District Annette Island School District
  • Award Category Lifesaver & Prevention, Service To Community

Fiona Barnard

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.

  • Home Town Delta Junction
  • School District Delta Greely School District
  • Award Category Faith-Based Service, Service To Peers

Garrett Nickle

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.

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

Gustavus Student Government

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.

  • Home Town Gustavus
  • School District Chatham
  • Award Category Service To Peers

Hannah Mason

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.

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

Hannah Soplanda

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.

  • Home Town Anchor Point
  • School District Kenai Peninsula Borough
  • Award Category Cultural Pursuits, Service To Children

Heaven Kerschner

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.

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

Henry Fale

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.

  • Home Town Anchorage
  • School District ASD
  • Award Category Overcoming Challenges

Hooper Bay Native Survivors

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.

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

Ilia Fleener

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.

  • Home Town Eagle River
  • School District Anchorage
  • Award Category Faith-Based Service

Jack Walters

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.

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

Jackson Blackwell