Dave Kriz

Sep 09 2019

Youth Salute 2019: Recognizing Outstanding Youth Leaders


As part of our involvement in youth and leadership, Hills Bank has sponsored the Youth Salute Leadership Awards for 25th year. 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 17 area high schools including City HighClear Creek AmanaEnglish ValleysHighlandHillcrest AcademyIowa ValleyLisbon, Liberty HighLone TreeMid-PrairieMount VernonReginaSolonWashington (IA)West BranchWest 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 on September 8th.


Keaton Wenz


Mira Bohannan Kumar

Mira Bohannan Kumar from City High and Keaton Wenz from Mount Vernon were recognized as this year’s 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. The Runner-up Outstanding Youth Leaders were Harrison Voigt from Liberty High, Jessica Moonjely from West High, and James Pinter from West High.

Other local leadership award winners included Libby Baker (Mid-Prairie), Jace Bell (Solon), Sophie Bell (Washington),  Gabbi Bullard (Solon), Matt Butler (Highland), Isabel Coffman (Williamsburg),  Will Colony (Regina), Tate Crane (West High), Scott Dill (Liberty High), Mason Erger (Iowa Valley), Abigail Frantz (Mid-Prairie), MaryClare Greer (West High), Renae Hasselbusch (Lisbon), Isabella Hoeger-Pinto (West High), Rong Zhou (Selina) Hua (West High), Natalie Katz (West High), Teya Kerns (West High), Nathaniel Nelson (West High), Camber Oldham (Liberty High), Olivia Schultes (West Branch), Daniel Song (West High), Levi Stultz (Mid-Prairie), Lasya Yakkala (Clear Creek Amana), Madalynne Yenter (Williamsburg), and Natalie Young (West High).

This year’s ceremony included an address from Charlie Wittmack. Charlie is an internationally renowned and award-winning explorer who has been organizing major expeditions for more than twenty years. He is best known for being the first person in history to complete the World Triathlon – an 8,000-mile triathlon that stretches from the English Channel to the summit of Mount Everest. He has stood atop peaks on six continents, completed marathon swims around the world, trekked across East Africa with the Maasai tribesmen, and sailed the Indian Ocean in a handmade boat.

Stories of his projects frequently appear in the popular press around the world. ESPN recently won two Eppy awards for a series of stories that featured Wittmack’s World Triathlon. He has appeared in more than 100 newspapers across the United States and in major publications including Sports Illustrated, Men’s Journal, and Outside.

Charlie is a graduate of the Tippie College of Business at the University of Iowa and the University of Iowa College of Law. He is a general practitioner who serves litigation and corporate clients from California to New York.

Charlie has been recognized by the Des Moines Register as an Iowan of the Decade. He is a member of the Iowa Law 150 and the Roosevelt High School Hall of Fame. He’s been honored with numerous other awards from local Mayors to the King of Nepal, but he says the greatest honor of his life is being the dad to his two sons, James and Jack.

He lives in Des Moines with his wife Colleen.

The 2019 Youth Salute participant photo bios will be on display throughout these Hills Bank locations:

  • September 9 – 16: 2621 Muscatine Ave, Iowa City
  • September 16 – 23: 1401 S Gilbert St, Iowa City
  • September 23 – September 30: 201 S Clinton St, Iowa City
  • September 30 – October 7: 131 E Main St, Hills
  • October 7 – 21: 1009 2nd St, Coralville
  • October 14 – 21: 720 1st Ave SE, Mount Vernon
  • October 21 – October 28: 120 5th St, Kalona
  • October 28 – November 4: 590 W Forevergreen Rd, North Liberty
  • October 28 – November 4: 229 8th Ave, Wellman
  • November 4 – 15: 2481 Hwy 92 E, Washington

Hills Bank is proud of the many outstanding students we have seen come through this program. Below is a list of the Outstanding Youth Leaders from the previous 12 years.

• Maya Durham (City High)
• Jaxon Mullinnix (Lone Tree)

• Nina Elkadi (West High)
• Samuel Smith (Highland)

• Michael Moonjely (West High)
• Lucia Wagner (City High)

• 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)

Dave Kriz

About Dave Kriz

Dave Kriz is Vice President, Youth and Education Director for Hills Bank. He has been at Hills Bank since 2001. As a former teacher, Dave is active in youth and education programs that Hills Bank sponsors. Each year, Dave also organizes the Youth Salute program that recognizes outstanding high school seniors in our surrounding communities. Dave can be reached at dave_kriz@hillsbank.com.

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