As a part of our involvement in youth and leadership, Hills Bank sponsored the Youth Salute Leadership Awards for the 22nd year on September 11th. The purpose of this program is to recognize high school seniors for academic excellence, leadership, and service to their school and community. Youth Salute is a part of a national recognition program coordinated by the National Council on Youth Leadership. Almost 300 students from 16 area high schools including City High, Clear Creek Amana, English Valleys, Highland, Iowa Mennonite, Iowa Valley, Lisbon, Lone Tree, Mid-Prairie, Mount Vernon, Regina, Solon, Washington (IA), West Branch, West High, and Williamsburg were honored for their academic achievement and leadership contributions. Students were selected by their high school faculty to receive the prestigious award.
Michael Moonjely from West High and Lucia Wagner from City High, were recognized as the Outstanding Youth Leaders. Each will receive the opportunity to attend the National Council on Youth Leadership Town Meeting on Tomorrow, an event that brings together youth leaders with diverse backgrounds from across the nation. The students will gather in St. Louis at Washington University in October. Runner-up Outstanding Youth Leaders were Nova Meurice and Adam Zabner, both of City High.
Other local leadership award winners included Kathryn Bozer (West High), Joel Burzacott (Clear Creek Amana), Sasha Chapnick-Sorokin (City High), Madison Forbes (Lone Tree), Jace Gongora (West Branch), Elizabeth Hand (Solon), Ireland Hostetler (Mid-Prairie), Madelyn Huinker (West High), Asha Irani (West High), Claire Kottenstette (Solon), Joshua Kwok (West High), Molly Liu (City High), Sarah Longmire (West High), Aurora McCollum (Mt Vernon), Lindsey Palmer (Mid-Prairie), Jenny Pigge (West High), Andrea Pingol (Washington), Esmé Rummelhart (City High), Simran Sarin (West High), Peyton Schmitt (Lone Tree), Micah Smith (West High), Majid Taha (West High), Derek Toy (Clear Creek Amana), Kate Vander Leest (West High), Maggie Voss (Washington), Lily Westemeyer (West High), Benjamin Young (Mount Vernon), and Daniel Zirtzman (City High).
This year’s ceremony included an inspiring address from speaker Chris Norton. During his football career at Luther College in Decorah, Chris fractured his C3-C4 vertebrae after making a tackle on a kickoff. Chris was told he had a 3% chance of regaining movement below the neck, but defied the odds every step of the way. He demonstrated faith, determination, and positivity to overcome his circumstances and launch the SCI CAN Foundation with the mission of providing opportunities to individuals with spinal cord injuries and neurological muscular disorders. He’s also written a memoir with his father titled, The Power of Faith When Tragedy Strikes, which was given to all Youth Salute Participants.
Chris has received many honors including being named the 2011 CBS Courage in Sports Award winner, recognized in 2012 by the American Red Cross as one of the Heroes of the Heartland, and listed in the Iowa Hall of Pride as one of Iowa’s Heroes. He has been on ABC’s Good Morning America, CBS Early Show, NBC Nightly News, and featured internationally through various media networks.
The 2016 Youth Salute participant photo bios will be on display throughout these Hills Bank locations:
- September 12 – 19: 2621 Muscatine Ave, Iowa City
- September 19 – 26: 1401 S Gilbert St, Iowa City
- September 26 – October 4: 201 S Clinton St, Iowa City
- October 4 – October 10: 131 E Main St, Hills
- October 10 – 24: 1009 2nd St, Coralville
- October 17 – 24: 720 1st Ave SE, Mount Vernon
- October 24 – October 31: 120 5th St, Kalona
- October 24 – November 7: 590 W Forevergreen Rd, North Liberty
- October 31 – November 7: 229 8th Ave, Wellman
- November 7 – 18: 2481 Hwy 92 E, Washington
Hills Bank is proud of the many outstanding students we’ve seen come through this program. Below is a list of the Outstanding Youth Leaders from the previous 10 years.
• Sonali Durham (City High)
• Myles Young (City High)
• Eric McDonald (City High)
• Hannah Twitchell (West High)
• Cassidy Bringle (City High)
• Blake Oetting (West High)
• Sarah Fischer (West Branch)
• Kieran Green (City High)
• Christopher Drew (West High)
• Jessica Ziniel (Regina)
• Taylor A. Fulton (Iowa Mennonite)
• Bryan Martin (City High)
• Young Seol (West High)
• Sonya Zhu (West High)
• Lena Conner (West High)
• Nick Williams (Regina)
• Emily Adair (Solon)
• Madison Adams (West High)
• Josh Lipman (West High)
• Alyssa Levitz & Carly Levitz (West High)