Minnesota Character Award Winner – Samantha HoangLong
Each year, the Youth Frontiers Character Award honors students who stand out as exceptional leaders among their peers. During the 2016-17 school year, we honored two students with this award including Samantha HoangLong, who at the time was a senior at Burnsville High School.
At Burnsville, Samantha was known as an avid volunteer and positive ambassador for her school. She devoted her time to groups that served others such as BurnsvilleStrong, BrainPower in a Backpack, the Positive Outreach Committee and Youth Frontiers. These activities ranged from packing food for students who have food insecurities to writing positive body-image messages on bathroom mirrors to being a small-group leader on YF retreats.
Samantha was nominated by her English teacher, Katie Burke, who was consistently impressed by Samantha’s kindness and care for others. In her nomination letter, Katie highlighted that Samantha was always trying to include others, reaching out and making people feel comfortable. She worked hard to make her school a better place and her peers better people.
Today, Samantha is a freshman at the University of St. Thomas where she is studying communications and journalism. In the future, Samantha plans to impact her community by creating safe and positive environments where people feel like their voices are heard. She believes becoming a journalist is the first step to do that.
Receiving the Character Award was not just a financial benefit for Samantha. For her, “It meant spreading awareness and love.”
“I was honored because of respect, kindness and courage – which are some of my core values. That recognition was a way to show others that being good and doing good can have positive repercussions. It was an opportunity for me to make an impact in the community, and I’m grateful for that.”
Now that Samantha has finished high school and has moved on to college, we asked her if she had any advice for people who are younger than her. She said, “Get involved. Step out of your comfort zone. Don’t be afraid to be yourself. There will always be people who care about you and want to help you be successful, so don’t ever hesitate to ask for help.”
Thanks for your wisdom and outstanding leadership, Samantha! We know that you’ll go far in life.