2016 Award Recipients

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

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

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

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

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

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

Jenevia Jetaun Wika

Jenevia Jetaun has collected and donated more than 13,000 pairs of jeans for Covenant House as part of DoSomething.org’s “Teens for Jeans” initiative. She has volunteered with Special Olympics Alaska and Kids Kitchen for several years. Jenevia Jetaun also started the “You Are Not Alone” club at her school, which raises awareness for Alaska suicide prevention.

  • Home Town Anchorage
  • School District ASD
  • Award Category Service To Community

Katie White

Katie has spent four years raising money to donate school supplies to students in a rural town outside Nan, Thailand. With her hard work and coordination she was able to donate more than $1,000 worth of school supplies and treat the students to lunch when she visited there in March.

  • Home Town North Pole
  • School District Fairbanks North Star
  • Award Category Service To Children

Kodiak High School Europa Challenge Team

John Dunlop, Anna McDonald, Levi Purdy and Kyle Ruotsalainen are working with real-world scientists on earthquake research. They created four Global Earthquake Forecast Systems platforms, which have been installed in different areas on Kodiak Island. They are the first high school team in the world to be accepted to compete in the international university and business level Europa Challenge.

  • Home Town Kodiak
  • School District Kodiak Island Borough
  • Award Category Science & Environment

Stasia Skonberg

Stacia is an Alutiiq language learner who is passionate about passing on her culture. She teaches Alutiiq to seven different elementary school classes in Kodiak.

  • Home Town Kodiak
  • School District Kodiak Island Borough
  • Award Category Cultural Pursuits

Virginia Poe

Virginia used her journalism experience to start a student-run newspaper at Mat-Su Career and Technical High School. She participates in many community events including educating middle school students about healthy relationships and teaching disadvantaged youth how to channel their emotions toward creative endeavors.

  • Home Town Wasilla
  • School District Mat-Su Borough School District
  • Award Category Media & Technology

2015 Award Recipients

Byron Nicholai

Byron participates in the Take Wing Alaska program where he is a role model and a leader to his fellow classmates. On his spare time he shares the singing and dancing traditions of his Alaska Native culture by making YouTube videos and uploading them to his Facebook page, “I Sing. You Dance.”

  • Home Town Toksook Bay
  • School District Lower Kuskokwim
  • Award Category Cultural Pursuits

Claire Kincaid

Claire uses her artistic talent to brighten her community. She has painted six murals in Soldotna and is working on another for the library. Her art embodies the culture of the Kenai Peninsula.

  • Home Town Soldotna
  • School District Kenai Peninsula Borough School District
  • Award Category Fine Arts

Gerrit Vreeman

Gerrit invented an ozone water treatment system for his school’s science symposium. He then developed it into a product that could provide clean, safe water in developing countries. He hopes to develop his O3 System as a humanitarian product as well as a consumer product.

  • Home Town Fairbanks
  • School District Fairbanks North Star
  • Award Category Science & Environment

Jared Braudis and Quinn Berry

Jared and Quinn created “Hope for Homeless Youth” as part of a theology school project. They collected items from Covenant House’s Wish List, organized a clothing drive and planned and participated in awareness events. They also organized a panel discussion addressing human trafficking and youth.

  • Home Town Anchorage
  • School District
  • Award Category Faith-Based Service

Jenna Hansen

Jenna raises reindeer and brings them to educational and fundraising events. She and her reindeer have raised thousands of dollars to help homeless youth in the Kenai area from ringing the bell for Salvation Army to offering reindeer photo shoots to the public. Jenna also visits classrooms to teach students about reindeer.

  • Home Town Kenai
  • School District Kenai Peninsula
  • Award Category Service To Children

Jessica Roper

Jessica provides swift water training to emergency personnel in Kenai’s community fire departments. She sponsored a fundraiser to train emergency personnel involved in rescue work. Her contribution will benefit people who might find themselves in need of rescue on Kenai’s waterways.

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

Joseph Pepe-Phelps

Joseph has a passion for ham radio and created the Lumen Christi Amateur Radio Club. He secured a sponsor for his club, sought out donations from ham operators across the nation and obtained a license from the FCC. He teaches fellow club members about ham radios and helps prepare students for their ham radio license exams.

  • Home Town Anchorage
  • School District N/A
  • Award Category Media & Technology

Juneau’s Lead On! Digital Storytellers

Analicia Castaneda, Korbyn Powers, Deanna Hobbs, Justin Sleppy, Addisohn Jones, Calvin Zuelow were central in creating a digital story promoting healthy relationships, healthy sexuality, and nonviolence. They led interviews, edited footage and put together the final production.

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

Katie Elliott

Katie was a volunteer intern at Make-A-Wish in Anchorage. She helped grant wishes to children battling life-threatening medical conditions and assisted with events that raise awareness for Make-A-Wish. As a former recipient of a wish, Katie brought empathy and a passion to help other kids who face steep challenges similar to her own.

  • Home Town Anchorage
  • School District Anchorage
  • Award Category Overcoming Challenges

Kyra Hoenack

Kyra started Steam Driven Boutique, a teen-run shop that helps fund Wasilla’s MyHouse teen outreach center. She designed a business plan and manages the boutique.

  • Home Town Wasilla
  • School District Mat-Su Borough
  • Award Category Business & Government

West High School IB Garden Group

The West High School IB Garden Group created an on-campus community garden where they planted, cultivated and harvested vegetables. Their entire crop was then donated to charity. Students not only gained valuable gardening skills, but they learned how locally-grown food can benefit those around them.

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

2014 Award Recipients

Anchorage Youth Development Coalition’s LGBTQ Youth Interns

The Anchorage Youth Development Coalition LGBTQ Youth Interns engaged in youth-led community assessments and developed an interactive training for adults to support the equality of LGBTQ teen experiences in youth-serving agencies. They surveyed queer and allied youth at Anchorage’s Pride Prom and the Alaska Pride Festival and used the information gathered to host LGBTQ youth speak-outs and talking circles.

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

Bethel P.R.I.D.E.

Michael Bialy, Emily Berryman, Tony Boyer and Tandy Vangtan created the Bethel P.R.I.D.E. dance group last summer. The group performs and sponsors healthy events, lead by example and send a strong message to their peers that it’s ok to be expressive and to take pride in yourself and others. This team of self-motivated teens spent a summer fundraising, recruiting and defining what Bethel P.R.I.D.E. is all about so their new tradition can spread to other rural parts of Alaska.

  • Home Town Bethel
  • School District Lower Kuskokwim School District
  • Award Category Fine Arts

Brooke McPheters (posthumous)

Brooke was passionate about children and science. She volunteered for six years at the STARBASE Program, which helps at-risk youth with science, technology, engineering and math. She also volunteered more than 400 hours at the Children’s Lunchbox. She is responsible for helping students recognize the value of volunteerism.

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

Christian Hartwell

Christian is a film maker in Anchorage. Recently he produced a short film called “Skateboarding in Alaska,” which was featured at the “After School Special ” youth film screening put on by the Bear Tooth Theater and Alaska Teen Media Institute. His films provide an opportunity for young Alaska skaters to have a voice and showcase their talents.

  • Home Town Anchorage
  • School District Anchorage
  • Award Category Media & Technology

Dao Her

Dao was born in Thailand and spent her early childhood in a refugee camp before moving to the United States when she was 10. She spoke no English but has come a long way since then. She volunteers for Muldoon Elementary School where she helps students with their homework and spelling. She is committed to her education and family.

  • Home Town Anchorage
  • School District Anchorage School District
  • Award Category Overcoming Challenges

Donald Auliye

Donald is an experienced fisherman. On two occasions he has responded to distress calls from other boats, once instructing the passengers to put on life vests before their vessel capsized where he later pulled them to shore. His keen observation skills, clear thinking and spirit of helpfulness proves he is a strong young man willing to risk his own life to save other families from the heartache of loss.

  • Home Town Shaktoolik
  • School District Bering Strait School District
  • Award Category Lifesaver & Prevention

Elizabeth Willis

Elizabeth is one of the students at Gusty Michael School that opened a grocery store in her small village of Stony River. She volunteered to be the spokesperson for the store and spoke at the Elders and Youth Conference and the Calista annual meeting. Her efforts have kept her school going and her culture alive.

  • Home Town Stony River
  • School District Kuspuk School District
  • Award Category Service To Peers

Erica Loughrey

Erica is passionate about the issues facing homeless teens in Anchorage. She works with the youth at Covenant House and performed at their “Night of Broadway Stars” fundraiser. She also performs at their open houses and private benefit concerts.

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

Gabrielle Zaleski

Gabrielle is committed to serving her community. She volunteers for several local causes and spends time with young children at her church and a local elementary school. She created the Miss Snowflake Pageant, specifically designed to spotlight girls with special needs and their abilities.

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

Grayson Davey

Grayson is an avid outdoorsman and used his experiences and innovation to design a paracord survival bracelet that incorporates everything you need to start a fire. He sells them locally and teaches young children how to make a simple survival bracelet that can be used for repairing a shoelace, making a snare or creating a shelter.

  • Home Town Anchorage
  • School District Anchorage School District
  • Award Category Business & Government

Heather Johnson

Heather published a book called “Hidden Voice: A Story of Discovering Strengths,” about helping youth build self esteem and deal with bullies and negative comments. She is a delegate to the People to People Ambassador Program, member of the National Association of Professional Women and an instructor at this year’s Alaska Young Writers Conference. She has been a driving force of inspiration and encouragement to her peers.

  • Home Town Wasilla
  • School District Mat-Su Borough School District
  • Award Category Business & Government

Jezzroy Gordon-Wolfe

Jezzroy is active in the North Star Youth Court. As a prosecuting attorney he influences his peers to make positive life choices. He also tutors for the Literacy Council of Alaska and volunteers with the Food Bank and the local library.

  • Home Town Fairbanks
  • School District Homeschool
  • Award Category Service To Peers

Leila Pyle

Leila is an active member of Alaska Youth for Environmental Action. She is a leader in the Kodiak Youth Conservation Corps and is dedicated to educating youth about recycling, climate change, marine debris and other conservation topics.

  • Home Town Kodiak
  • School District Reed College
  • Award Category Science & Environment

Luke Cooley

Luke has been actively involved in the Alaska Greek Festival for 13 years, performing with the youth dance group and volunteering on the management team. He has invested countless hours preparing the grounds, raising tents, assisting the dancers, preparing food and cleaning up after the festival.

  • Home Town Anchorage
  • School District Anchorage School District
  • Award Category Faith-Based Service

Pippin Hum

Pippin uses his technological skills to empower and engage young people in Alaska. He has worked on creating educational computer games that meet science standards in an effort to get young people interested in science.

  • Home Town Fairbanks
  • School District Homeschool
  • Award Category Media & Technology

Raymond Atos

Raymond is part of a whaling crew in Barrow. He hunts for his family and community year round and is part of the young generation that wants to keep the Inupiaq tradition alive. He takes younger children camping, boating, whaling and hunting to teach them to be safe and to survive. Raymond improves the quality of life by showing everyone in the community that it is still possible to live off the land.

  • Home Town Barrow
  • School District North Slope Borough School District
  • Award Category Cultural Pursuits

Samuel Allred

Samuel has battled a rare kidney disease since he was a toddler and created the non-profit organization Project Comfort that makes travel-sized pillows and distributes them to hospitalized children all over the United States. During the past three years he and his community have made more than 3,000 pillows. He is also the author of “Opening Hearts,” a book that aims to provide hope and encouragement for kids who are chronically ill

  • Home Town Wasilla
  • School District Homeschool
  • Award Category Overcoming Challenges

Shanelle Afcan

Shanelle began an initiative at Mount Edgecumbe High School to get local seafood into the school meal program. She created an outreach campaign to educate students on the importance of local eating. Once local food was secured in her own school she took her campaign to the legislative session to further educate Alaskans about food security and preserving culture.

  • Home Town Nunam Iqua
  • School District Mt. Edgecumbe High School
  • Award Category Science & Environment

Taylee Nyquest

Taylee traveled to Slovakia to work at an English camp where she developed lesson plans about mentorship, team building, mission work and oral English skills.

  • Home Town Thorne Bay
  • School District Southeast Island School District
  • Award Category Service To Children

Teck John Baker Youth Leaders

Teck John Baker Youth Leaders prevent suicide and promote well-being through interventions, role modeling, classroom presentations and sponsoring healthy activities. This student-led and directed program teaches youth in their small community about suicide, bullying, sexual assault, domestic violence and substance abuse prevention.

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

Trinity Standifer

Trinity is dedicated to helping young people in her small community of Tyonek. She is a member of Native Youth Leadership and represented her village at Juneau Close Up 2013. Whether she’s babysitting, helping kids with their homework, or teaching respect in school, Trinity is a positive role model and leader.

  • Home Town Tyonek
  • School District Kenai Peninsula Borough School District
  • Award Category Service To Children

Trinity Viveiros

Trinity is active in the traditional way of life. She hunts and also prepares the meat, renders oil and shares her catch with other people in her community. She participates in monthly community potlucks where she helps elders enjoy traditional foods. She is passionate about passing on her cultural skills.

  • Home Town Kotzebue
  • School District Northwest Arctic Borough School District
  • Award Category Cultural Pursuits