Youth producers from the Alaska Teen Media Institute contacted the 2023 Spirit of Youth Awards recipients to record their radio stories. The awards honor teens across the state for the excellent work they do in their communities.

The Spirit of Youth Awards, now in its 26th year, honors dedicated young people and unsung heroes from Alaska. The awards recognize the hard work and efforts of these young leaders, who use this opportunity to share their inspiring and heartwarming stories.

Thank you to the Alaska Teen Media Institute for creating these radio stories!

Visionary Award – Abbey Markell—Anchorage


Alaskans can now purchase locally-baked dog treats that are preservative free and nutritionally balanced thanks to youth business owner Abbey Markell.
Story by Quinn White

Humanitarian Award – Alora Wassily, Trista Wassily, Harmony Larson—Dillingham


These three fifth graders began an initiative to change the derogatory name of a local creek in Dillingham after learning the origins of the name at a tribal council meeting.
Story by Madison Knutson

Phoenix Award – Catheryne (Catey) Habberstad—Anchorage


Catey has cerebral palsy and has mentored other students with cerebral palsy at her school through an organization called Childhood Hemiplegia and Stroke Association.
Story by Logan Tyler Smith

Innovator Award – Huffman Science Club Leaders—Anchorage


Three students at South High School started a science club for students at their former elementary school, inspiring young students to love science as much as they do.
Story by Ormund Alaois

Role Model Award – Jaeden Binion—Anchorage


Jaeden is one of two Special Olympics U.S. Youth Ambassadors representing Alaska. He takes his role as an advocate for those with intellectual disabilities seriously.
Story by Quinn White

Discovery Award – Lauryn Nanouk Jones—Unalakleet


As an advocate for the environment, Lauryn is focused on the bigger picture of helping remote communities come together to make changes in environmental policy.
Story by Maria Koop

Dreamer Award – Sophia Layos-Wagaman—Fairbanks


Sophia Layos-Wagaman is an aspiring circus arts performer. A competitive gymnast since 2013, she shares her skills with children at the Fairbanks Children’s Museum.
Story By Jordan Kehl

Life Saver Award – Sycely Wheeles—Anchorage


Sycely is a student mental health advocate. Over the past year, Sycely has dedicated significant time and energy to raising public awareness of student mental health issues.
Story by Quinn White