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Mayors Teen Awards

From left, top row, Kar Meh, Eleanor Magee, William Fettkether, Rachel Brokenshire, Ellie Brown; front, Naomi Henderson, Aaliyah Tournier, Braley Bogart, Piper Wiedenhoff, Justine Yang. Not pictured: Jersie Benson, Cady Burrington, Emma Carlson, Siddhartha Kalala, Jarrett Kruse, Cassidy Leadley, Claire Strauel, Brayden Zoll.

WATERLOO — The annual Mayors’ Top Teen Awards and Mother Moon Service Scholarships were presented by the Volunteer Center of Cedar Valley on April 9 at the Diamond Event Center at Jorgensen Plaza.

The awards program, which recognizes outstanding youth volunteers in the Cedar Valley, included an evening reception for teens, their parents and friends.

Award criteria included demonstrating excellence in volunteerism in the Cedar Valley and setting a good example as a role model for others. Teens ages 13-18 are eligible for the award.

Eighteen nominees received certificates from Mayors Jim Brown of Cedar Falls, Doug Faas of Evansdale and Quentin Hart of Waterloo. In addition, the Community Foundation of Northeast Iowa awarded Mother Moon Service Scholarships to six students. Sponsors of the event included the cities of Cedar Falls, Dunkerton, Evansdale, Gilbertville, Hudson, La Porte City, Raymond and Waterloo; Community Foundation of Northeast Iowa; R.J. McElroy Trust; and Volunteer Center of Cedar Valley.

Honorees include:

Jersie Benson

Benson, an East High School student, participates in the UNI-CUE Talent Search Program and has taken time to help at Hope City Church, Heartland Vineyard Church, the Cedar Bend Humane Society and the Northeast Iowa Food Bank. Benson is a 4.0 student and received the President’s Award for Educational Excellence.

Braley Bogart

Bogart is a student at West High School. During her first semester as part of West’s National Honor Society, she submitted more than 78 hours by working concessions for band and assisting with a church day care. She has consistently volunteered within her school’s library.

Rachel Brokenshire

Brokenshire, who attends Cedar Falls High School, participates in the school’s student council, track and field and Women’s Leadership Club. She also led a service project two years ago making tie blankets for Alternatives Pregnancy Center in Waterloo and last year led a project focused on making superhero capes for children at the University of Iowa Stead Family Children’s Hospital.

Ellie Brown

Brown, a Hudson High School student, has been active in her 4-H club, having served numerous club offices and helping with many club service projects. She also spends hours volunteering for Sunday School and as a VBS leader. She also helps at the Northeast Iowa Food Bank, helps a local farm with their breakfast event, volunteers for Samaritan’s Purse (Operation Christmas Child) and National Honor Society blood drives, and serves at the Ronald McDonald House.

Cady Burrington

Burrington, a Top Teen Award winner at Valley Lutheran High School, has been a camp counselor for her church’s VBS program for three years, has been a part of the dance team and has been a member of student council. She is also an avid volunteer within her church. She is one of the Mother Moon Service Scholarship recipients.

Emma Carlson

Carlson, who goes to Union High School, participates in track and field and cross country. She also volunteers with Candeo Church and Salt Network Kids Camp. She was a previous camp counselor at Hidden Acres and mentored a group of third-grade girls from the surrounding area. She is also a Mother Moon Service Scholarship recipient.

William Fettkether

Fettkether attends Dunkerton High School. He participates in band, choir and serves as the vice president in his school’s National Honor Society. He served as a 4-H and County Council member and has volunteered with many organizations. He’s helped with the Black Hawk County Fair, at Aspire Horse Farm and putting on the annual omelet breakfast. Fettkether is a Mother Moon Service Scholarship recipient.

Naomi Henderson

Henderson, a Hudson High School student, participates in her high school’s National Honor Society, musicals, track and student council. She has previously volunteered with Trout Lake Camps, the Northeast Iowa Food Bank, Prairie Lakes Church and the Black Hawk Children’s Theatre while maintaining a 4.0 GPA. Henderson is also a Mother Moon Service Scholarship recipient.

Siddhartha Kalala

Kalala attends Cedar Falls High School. He participates in tennis, rocket club, student senate and speech. Kalala has volunteered at UnityPoint Health-Allen Hospital, with the Teen Trust and at the Northeast Iowa Food Bank’s backpack night. During the annual Backpack Night, he helped organize the event, make the food for the event and run the event. He is also a Johns Hopkins High Honors Award honoree and the Belin-Blank Center’s Recognition Ceremony honoree. He is a Mother Moon Service Scholarship recipient.

Jarrett Kruse

Kruse, who goes to Columbus High School, has volunteered with the Cedar Valley Hospice Butterfly Release event, at youth basketball camps at school and at the Catholic Worker House preparing meals for those in need. He has also taught senior residents at Friendship Village how to use their iPads and email, helped youth shop for Christmas gifts for their families through the Waterloo Jaycees event, volunteered at carnivals at local elementary schools and is a church worship leader.

Cassidy Leadley

Leadley, an East High School student, has been a member of 24 color guard teams, carrying the national colors in two Memorial Day parades, two homecoming parades, six Honor Flight recognitions, multiple veteran ceremonies, ceremonies at East High and UNI and many more events. She’s put in more than 58 hours of volunteering at the American Legion helping clean and serve meals.

Eleanor Magee

Magee attends Dunkerton High School. She is involved in speech, band, choir and serves as manager to the school’s football team, all while maintaining a 3.8 GPA. She has previously helped out with the Black Hawk County Outreach Program with Farmer’s Safety Day teaching kids how to be safe around animals.

Kar Meh

Meh is a West High student. A dedicated youth navigator for EMBARC, she is working toward completing her certified nursing assistant classes at the Waterloo Career Center. Meh helped out with the Martin Luther King Jr. Day/Northeast Iowa Food Bank volunteering event at UNI, helping to package food and set up boxes for transportation. She is also a part of the Waterloo Writing Project where she is a mentor, review writer and an administrative team member.

Claire Strauel

Strauel, who attends Don Bosco High School, participates in cross country, dance team, student council and the speech team all while maintaining a 4.0 GPA. She volunteers in her community with the Northeast Iowa Food Bank and Feeding My Starving Children.

Aaliyah Tournier

Tournier, a Cedar Falls High student, started the Furries 4 Fosters organization when she was 13 years old. Her family is a foster family and has had children of different ages stay with them. She has partnered with many organizations including Cedar Valley Angels and the Kloset’s Winter Wonderland event. Every time a child goes to a foster home, she makes sure they are given a Furries 4 Fosters tote bag with a new stuffed animal and blanket. She has donated hundreds of blankets to the Allen Child Protection Center, AMP group and DHS office in Black Hawk and Bremer counties.

Piper Wiedenhoff

Wiedenhoff is a Top Teen winner from Union High School. She takes part in dance team, track and is a member of the Mentors and Violence Program. She has volunteered at La Porte City Elementary, with the Parent Teacher Organization and at her church. One of her favorite volunteer memories was working with the Union Middle School Dance Team.

Justine Yang

Yang attends Cedar Falls High School. She is involved in goalball, chorus, Women’s Leadership Club and the school play. Yang has volunteered at the Grout Museum District, with the Volunteer Center of Cedar Valley’s Youth Action Council and with the Girl Scouts.

Brayden Zoll

Zoll goes to Don Bosco High School. He is involved in student council, group and individual speech, the spring play, and cross country. Zoll volunteered with the Appalachian Mission in Kentucky, Volunteer Center of Cedar Valley’s Youth Action Council, and as a Don Bosco School host and peer mentor, all while maintaining a 3.96 GPA. He is a Mother Moon Service Scholarship recipient.

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