Our 2015-16 Character Award Winners
Each year, the Youth Frontiers Character Award honors students who stand out as exceptional leaders among their peers. We honor three students who have participated on our retreats and who are from our main areas of service – Minnesota, Wisconsin and Nebraska. The 2015-16 awards went to three outstanding 12th graders who demonstrate living and leading with character.
Our Wisconsin Winner: Meghan Luedtke, Kewaskum High School
At Kewaskum High School, Meghan was known for her positive leadership and her commitment to finding ways to honor fellow classmates who too often go unnoticed. Meghan was also involved in a peer leadership program, student government, Key Club and National Honor Society where she extensively volunteered within the school and community.
Meghan’s teacher, Rachel Hassler, nominated her. In her nomination letter, Rachel said this about Meghan: “Over the fifteen years I have been teaching and leading various organizations, Meghan is one of those students that continually impresses me and stands out amongst her peers. She is outspoken and is not afraid to stand up for what is right, but also knows how to be respectful and aware of others and their feelings when she is standing up for her values. As a teacher, I wish she would stay in high school forever so that others could have her as a role model.”
Our Minnesota Winner: Eva Pettersen, Wayzata High School
Eva is a strong leader with a huge heart. At Wayzata High School, Eva was the Student Body President. Her goal for the year was “to start creating a more positive school culture, where everyone can find their niche.” Whether she was leading positive cheers at the football game, finding homes for Foreign Exchange students or leading a student council meeting, she always found a way to include others.
Eva’s teacher, Sue Iverson, said the following in Eva’s nomination letter: “As we work to develop leadership skills in our students, we talk about the importance of having EQ (emotional intelligence) as well as IQ. Eva is one of the fortunate young people who has a high level of both! She has the core character components and traits, which allow her to have academic as well as life success. Eva is wise beyond her years. She is one of the top student leaders I have worked with in my 29-year teaching career.”
Our Nebraska Winner: Sofia Simon-Martinez, Omaha South High Magnet
Sofia is an individual who breaks down barriers and exceeds expectations. During her time at Omaha South High Magnet, Sofia was an avid volunteer and a part of the Principal Advisory Council, JROTC, powerlifting and College Possible. She took as many honor and AP classes as she could to help her attain one of her biggest dreams – to be a first-generation college graduate. Sofia also started a text blast system called Remind 101 where Omaha South students could sign up for texts about things like scholarship applications, school cancellations and ACT test scores.
Sofia’s nominator, Amanda Burau, had this to say about Sofia: “Sofia is a fearless female. She knows that she is capable of anything she puts her mind to, regardless of who believes she can do it. She understands that you never really know other people’s stories and it’s unfair to judge why they might need a helping hand. Sofia is a brilliant example of a student who is passionate about contributing to her community.”
Thanks to Allen Edmonds, Luther Automotive Group, Parker Family Foundation and Northwest Bank for providing scholarships to these outstanding individuals.