As a Yup’ik and Inupiaq Alaska Native, Nyché has worked to uplift Native people, specifically within education. Nyché has helped create a policy that would allow students to wear their cultural regalia during high school graduation ceremonies by gaining support from organizations, legislatures, villages and people, and her testimony to the Anchorage School Board. As vice chairwoman on the district’s Native Advisory Committee, she championed a policy extension to honor more aspects of traditional regalia. She established the Indigenous Student Union at her school to bring together Native youth to encourage cultural identity in pursuit of academic excellence.
Rayansh Bhavit Boddu has been passionate about the earth since he first started learning about nature in the second grade. Now nine years old, Rayansh is working to save the planet through Recycle My Battery, a nonprofit that helps recycle batteries and educate people on its importance. He has been an active volunteer for the past two years, collecting nearly 25,000 batteries and delivering multiple presentations around his community, and is now working on building a Smart Can that would use AI to sort out materials in need of recycling.
Brooke Branson is graduating from Family Partnership Charter School with 21 college credits, is an AP capstone certificate recipient, completed the Biomedical Career Academy (BCA) through Service High School and is a national competitor at the global Health Occupation Students of America competition, among other accolades. In the BCA program, she met with the officer teams several times a year to design and execute events, including a campout for over 200 students and the annual Spring Fling during the 2016-17 and 2018-19 school years. The most meaningful achievement for her was leading the peer mentorship program in the “Paint the Town with Kindness” project.
Evan is 7, which if you ask him is his favorite because it rhymes! He has always been empathetic to creatures great and small. When he found out that the local Alaska SeaLife Center was in danger of closing due to lack of customers because of COVD-19, he started doodling all sorts of Alaska sea life, letting people know if they donated he would send them one of his originals. People started donating. He was able to receive donations from all 50 states, as well as donations from every continent, and the SeaLife Center received $5,000 in donations.
Malachi is a quiet yet influential role model among his peers. As a talented athlete, earning varsity letters in both football and basketball, he knows how to balance a lot on his plate. Last summer, he was selected for a competitive public health internship with the University of Alaska Anchorage’s Institute for Circumpolar Health Studies working on adolescent health research. He assisted with reviewing data and writing a literature review. His family and friends admire and appreciate his resiliency, entrepreneurial spirit, sense of humor and kind-hearted nature.
Vaeh is a straight A student, who helps her mom with the family business, makes her dad laugh and who takes care of her Grama Jennie, who lives with the family and is experiencing stage 4 cancer. She does her chores without being asked, and has plans to build rehabilitation facilities for the homeless when she’s grown. She is insightful, kind, patient, prompt and well-spoken.
From Little League to varsity at West Anchorage High School, Athena has always been the only girl on her baseball teams. To get more girls playing baseball, she organized a girl’s baseball camp last summer. Over 25 girls learned how to hit, field and pitch. After her Little League baseball career ended, Athena gave back by serving on the Little League Board as Umpire Coordinator for four years.
Greta is a passionate conservationist and loves all creatures great and small. She dedicates herself to learning and sharing her passion for protecting our planet and hopes to continue to pursue her passion for environmental science for years to come. Greta is an 11th grader at Family Partnership Charter School. She attends Dimond High School for part-time classes, and is very active in drama productions and choir.
Justice overcame learning problems to successfully pass, and also made it on varsity football as a new sophomore. He served the former mayor and state representatives while working in his family's business, and is well-liked in the community and well-known. Justice continues to strive for excellence, as he has placed interest in The Anchorage Youth Court, where he hopes to help guide his peer group on the right path.
Since fifth grade, Jase has volunteered in one area or another, including assisting in her elementary school's SLC classes, being a book fairy and helping out as a coach for her elementary school's cross-country program. In the last several years, Jase has been through several unfortunate events that would diminish most people's spirits. Jase has always moved forward with positivity, perseverance, inclusivity and drive.
Saida Felix moved to Anchorage in December 2019, as her dad was stationed at Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson. She was enrolled at Government Hill in the Spanish Immersion Program and immediately became a positive role model. She is highly respectful towards all adults. She makes friends quickly and volunteers at every opportunity presented. She speaks both Spanish and English very well, and even helps her younger brother with his Spanish.
Kahayla is a model student striving to be great at everything she does while helping others do the same. She has great leadership and teamwork skills,and everyone she comes across admires her respect, kindness and positive attitude. She has volunteered with many organizations, and raises awareness for many different things, including STEM-related opportunities through the Alaska Native Science & Engineering Program (ANSEP.) Overall, she affects everyone she meets in a positive way and is constantly striving to help anyone in any way she can.
Two years ago, in partnership with the Pet Stop, Naomi created the “Sincerely, Little Su” project, in memory of her own dog, to support people whose pets have been diagnosed with cancer. These care packages for the recipients and their pets have encouraged the building of happy memories together during a difficult time. In her free time, she enjoys cross-country running and track.
Next fall, Michael, a senior at Steller Secondary, will be attending Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute in Troy, N.Y., where he’ll study computer science and data science. Two years ago, during the pandemic, in conjunction with the veterans’ 4th of July parade committee, he created a virtual presentation which aired on KAKM, in lieu of the traditional Independence Day parade. In his free time, Michael enjoys playing baseball, chess and the cello, mountain biking, skiing and volunteering at the mobile food bank.
Gracie Hoover works hard at everything; her efforts and energies academically are impressive. More impressive, however, is her drive in athletics and extracurricular activities. Gracie has been in Student Government for four years at South, and has spearheaded many great community service projects at school and for her class. In the throes of COVID-19 school closures, she advocated for a modified Homecoming ceremony and did all the planning.
Sharon, and fellow West Anchorage High School student Caitlyn Omey, started “Mask Mission AK” in March 2020. They have donated hundreds of masks to local organizations and spread awareness about the importance of mask wearing to the Anchorage community. She is hard working, responsible and motivated.
Michelle has been encouraged to model faithful mentors throughout her life.She serves outside her home by befriending and speaking truth to the unaccepted, helping with younger children through babysitting and her church, and teaching young children about truth and love through AWANA, Sunday school and Vacation Bible School. Michelle seeks to ground herself in what is true, commendable and noble by reading good literature, writing stories to benefit and bless others, and be intentional with her time and thoughts.
Cloud had been growing his hair since he was born and, at the age of 5 years old, he decided to cut his hair and donate it to Wigs For Kids. When Wigs For Kids sent him a letter thanking him for his ponytail donation, he was very happy to know that his hair will help provide quality hair pieces, products and services to kids who need hair, especially the kids with cancer. Growing up he always liked to help his sister share what they have with other people.
Cat is committed to education and learning and has set a standard for success that consistently amazes her parents, friends and teachers. Working with her fellow students at South's Eco-Friends Club, Cat co-organized community trash pickups along Huffman Road, helped develop a recycling initiative at school for plastic bottles, created a composting project to limit food waste from school lunches, created a garden at school using compost and sought donations to local environmental organizations. Cat is very thankful to her family, friends and teachers for all of their support.
Arabella is an ambassador for Beacon Hill in Alaska and Comfort Cases in the Lower 48, organizations supporting America’s foster children. She held a teddy bear drive, generating over 1000 donations filling backpacks for displaced children. Arabella created a partnership with Title Wave Books, bringing books to the community; was featured on the news for her work filling “Blessing Boxes” for local families in need of food; and spoils our senior centers with Valentine’s Day cards, visits in Halloween costumes and makes Christmas ornaments as personalized gifts.
Taimanemaivasa has excelled in not only her academic programs, but also in the community programs as well helping to volunteer in the community since the early age of 3. Every year, Taimane takes her community time as a benefit to help others, no matter the weather. She volunteers and enlists her fellow peers to help out on the dates she attends to help with the local church programs, HUGGS (Help Us Give School Supplies), Thanksgiving Blessing, Neighborhood GIFT as well as other Food Bank of Alaska shifts. Taimane has a huge heart to help others and still puts herself in a positive mood each and every time.
Gabrielle is the secretary for her fifth grade class at Eagle River Christina School. Some of her community involvement includes: collecting school supplies and clothes for foster children; collecting donation items for the APD Clothesline project; assisting with making meals for homeless individuals downtown; helping with the Meadow Creek Fire Victims through the Eagle River Lions Club by collecting and organizing donations for the victims; putting together and delivering treat bags for Police and Fire Appreciation days; and much more. She is currently Miss Alaska Hostess Junior High 2021, and also received Presidential Service Awards for volunteering in her community from 2017-2019.
David entered this world fighting for his life: Weighing in at 1lb 10oz, at 24 weeks, he survived a surgery days after his birth given only 10 percent chance to do so. He experienced multiple roadblocks to include issues related to health, learning disabilities, delayed speech and motor skills. Having said all this, for David nothing is out of reach, his tenacity, self-motivation and can-do attitude have helped him achieve, succeed and thrive. Currently, he is an honor student with a 3.9 GPA, an athlete in three sports, an Eagle Scout candidate, a leader in his JROTC and more.
Alana is a senior at Steller Secondary and will be starting college next August at Berea College, located in Kentucky! She’ll be studying nursing and Spanish, but will continue to support her community through outreach work. In her free time, she enjoys volunteering at the mobile food bank, G.R.I.T Anchorage and at school.
Despite being born with a rare genetic disorder called Turner syndrome, Ashley still finds time to give back. She arranges for celebrities to visit hospitalized children, raises awareness of Turner syndrome, and created a program that enables struggling young readers to build their skills and confidence by reading out loud to animals in shelters. “When I was younger, I hated to read out loud and I was afraid of making a mistake,” said Ashley. “If I could have read to an animal, I think I would have been more excited to read.” Nine shelters in Alaska and 15 outside the state are now participating in her reading program.
Kaylee excels academically, takes pride in learning new things, and is conscientious about her family, friends and community. At 10 years old, Kaylee started “Buckets of Love,” a nonprofit aimed towards helping the homeless. On top of running a nonprofit, she has also started her own business, Northern Glacier Coffee Co., a mobile coffee truck. She hopes to use her truck as a way to connect to the community and to send herself to college in the near future. She shows up to give her support and offers help where she can. Kaylee cares deeply about our community and what the future holds for it.
Lincoln is a big helper in her community. Whether it be helping out at a local community event or helping to coach sports at her nearby elementary school, Lincoln is always willing to help out. Lincoln is quick to volunteer to help those around her.
During the pandemic, from April 2020 to May 2021, Marissa, whose mother was a daycare provider and teacher, worked alongside her mom working with students on reading, writing and math. Being fluent in English and Spanish, and knowing introductory Japanese and some Chinese, she helped a student in the Chinese Immersion Program, as well. Marissa plays for the West Anchorage High School softball team, and is currently an assistant volunteer coach for the Mountain View Polar Little League. She's hard-working, wise and kind-hearted.
Sophia has volunteered for the National Epilepsy Foundation since eighth grade. She has gone to Washington, D.C., twice to advocate for funding, research and awareness of epilepsy. In 10th grade, she joined Planned Parenthood's Teen Council. Through this she has taught 8th graders comprehensive sex education, and gone to Juneau to advocate for accurate sex education and HB58, a bill proposing that insurance providers cover the option of 12 months of birth control. Sophia has spent over 300 hours of volunteer time with these organizations and is a passionate advocate.
After being diagnosed with Kawasaki disease at the age of 2, Aubrey became an advocate for raising awareness. She volunteers with the American Heart Association, having worked as a Go Red for Women Ambassador as well as participating yearly in the Alaska Heart Run, where she was the top individual fundraiser for five years straight and has raised a total of over $17,000. Aubrey continues to share her story through different platforms to keep raising awareness.
Coralee Wade is a passionate second grader with a big heart for others and working hard to better her community. Recently crowned Miss Alaska Sr. Elementary 2022, she has been promoting her platform “let their light shine” for the past two years doing works with foster youth through Beacon Hill and REACH 907. This year, she is continuing her first community service project, creating “Confidence Bags” by collecting brand new pack packs, supplies and lunch boxes, which she distributes to youth in need at school and in foster care.
Ella is the current Miss Alaska Jr. High. She is spending her reign serving her community and promoting her platform The PAWSitive Power of Pets. She is a member of Mears Student Advisory Board, as well as the Anchorage School District Advisory Board. Ella is a frequent volunteer with local animal rescue groups, and has organized and hosted pet supply drives for Anchorage Animal Care and Control, Friends of Pets and the Alaska SPCA.
Camryn is a leader among her peers, representing the entire student body as part of the APC board and making statements to best reflect the opinions and thoughts of the students. She is well-liked among her peers and is very easy to talk to. She treats everyone equally and seeks out opportunities to help others. She has also volunteered at the Deaf church, doing crafts with deaf children and she also job shadows and volunteers for local medical professions as she is interested in pursuing a medical field.
Saquarra Williams is one of the young Alaska women business owners. At 13 years old, she is co-owner of Legacy Kids LLC. In 2020, Saquara and her siblings created a coloring book called “‘I Love Me’ Positive Affirmations” during the pandemic, teaching self love among children. She has not only sold over 5,000 coloring books, but has also donated coloring books to children's cancer hospitals and other organizations.
Gabriel has been fascinated by mushrooms since he was 3 years old, when he was riveted by the movie "Know your Mushrooms" at the Girdwood Fungus Fair while his dad was distracted doing something else. With the wonderful support of the Turnagain Arm Mycological Society, he went on to become co-president of the organization, and has been leading youth mushroom forays in Girdwood, Anchorage and Cordova for over six years. Gabriel also enjoys rafting, 3-D printing, playing cello, rock climbing at the Alaska Rock Gym, downhill skiing and Dungeons and Dragons.
Yule's passion for storytelling has grown into various statewide projects through spoken word, music and media production. After being active in Story Works Alaska as a SAYiT team member and Story Circle Facilitator, she became a Youth Producer at the Alaska Teen Media Institute, where she narrates podcasts, radio shows and an audio drama, soon to be released. Yule has continued to bring comfort to thousands online with her stories, believing that there is a unique kind of beauty that comes only in writing. She feels that “writing brings compassion, and with compassion comes hope,” so she is certain that she will serve the community and tell stories for a long time.