Press Release: Rotary Clubs Announce 2018 Youth Salute Awards
Submitted by: Dr. Honora A. Norton
On April 2nd, The Rotary Club of Scottsdale, along with Paradise Valley Rotary Club, selected the 4 winners and 2 alternates to receive trips to a Youth Salute Leadership Town Meeting on Tomorrow Conference to be held on October 20-23, 2018 at Washington University in St. Louis, Missouri. Youth Salute is a recognition program for high school juniors who are leadership achievers. The program is designed to applaud young people who are good citizens, have at least a B grade point average, and have been elected to leadership positions by their peers, in their schools and or community organizations.
46 students applied from 8 different Scottsdale high schools.  Students were interviewed as Youth Salute candidates on March 22nd by Rotarians and community leaders. On April 3rd, 12 semi-finalists were announced at a gathering at Scottsdale Community College.  Each of the semi-finalists were given two minutes to answer a "final question" on stage.  The final question was "Teens with a sense of purpose do better academically, are healthier and more resilient.  How do you as a leader define your sense of purpose?" After hearing each students remarks, the judges convened and selected four students and two alternates as the 2018 Scottsdale Youth Salute winners.  Dr. Jan Gehler, President of Scottsdale Community College: Mary Blank, Rotary Club of Scottsdale Past Club President, and Adam Evans, President of Paradise Valley Rotary Club, were the evening's judges.
Congratulations to the 2018 Scottsdale Youth Salute finalists and winners:  Soniyah Robinson, Chaparral High School; Luis Ayala Gutierrez, Arcadia High School; Kari Harper, Desert Mountain High School; and Adway Gopakumar, Scottsdale Preparatory Academy.  Alternates, Haley Richardson and Austin Brown both from Pinnacle High School were named in case one of the four winners is unable to attend the Town Meeting on Tomorrow Conference.  The remaining 6 finalists were: Briana Walker, Arcadia High School; Brian Lee and Grace Taylor, Chaparral High School, Jose Herrera and Katie Cabrera, Coronado High School; and Sean Holford, Scottsdale Preparatory High School.
While the judges convened and shared notes, nationally recognized Coach John Avianantos was on hand as the evening's keynote speaker.  At the event, sponsored by Rotary Club of Scottsdale for the past 23 years, Co-chairs Mike Savastio and Sara Crosby-Hartman extended special acknowledgement and gratitude to the applicant interviewers and judges, as well as, parents and school counselors for mentoring Scottsdale's teen leaders.  Special thank you was extended to Chaparral High School for hosting the initial interviews and The Scottsdale Community College for hosting the Award night's festivities.
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