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Posted on Sun, May 26, 2013 : 5:59 a.m.

Young Citizen finalists devoted to causes from recycling to diversity

By Ann Dwyer is proud to present the 2013 finalists for Young Citizen of the Year. These finalists and winner Andy Hsiao were chosen for their leadership and community service.

The Young Citizen of the Year wins a $2,000 college scholarship from The nine finalists each receive a $1,000 scholarship from the Robert Bruce Dunlap Fund of the Ann Arbor Area Community Foundation.

The finalists and winner were selected by the following panel: Connie Dunlap, who created the scholarship fund for finalists in memory of her husband; Scott Menzel, Washtenaw Intermediate School District superintendent; Jan Bacungan, executive administrative assistant; Ben Freed, business reporter, and Elizabeth Palmer, retail sales account executive.

Following are profiles of the nine finalists.

Hani Elhor

Age: 18

High School: Ann Arbor Huron High School

Parents: Hassan and Salwa Elhor

Nominated by: Robyn K. Watson

School and community activities: Hani is a peer facilitator at Huron, speaks publicly about the benefits of recycling as a leader for Huron's "Green Team," helped Huron start a recycling program in coordination with Recycle Bank, instrumental in organizing Huron's Student Council Blood Bank, served on Ann Arbor Public Schools Strategic Planning Committee and as a peer leader for the Peer2Peer Depression Awareness Project with the University of Michigan.

College plans: Hani will attend the University of Michigan in the fall and hopes to be a pre-med student.


Emma Kern

Age: 17

High School: Pioneer High School

Parents: Wendy & Steve Kern

Nominated by: Claire Kitchin Dahl

School and community activities: Emma traveled to Morocco and Alteria last summer as a U.S. State Department "Youth Ambassador." Upon her return to Ann Arbor, she organized a cross-cultural communication program between Pioneer French classes and a youth center in Morocco. It is free for participants. For two years, Emma has served as co-chair of the Ann Arbor Area Community Foundation Youth Council.

College plans: Emma will attend Emory University.


Christa Kuck

Age: 17

High School: Huron High School

Parents: : Laurie & Donald Kuck

Nominated by: Robyn K. Watson

School and community activities: Christa is a contributing member and editor for Huron’s "Full Circle" literary journal and winner of several awards. She is a member of Huron’s cross country team and earned her varsity letter in her first year. She has now been selected as captain by her peers and coaches. Christa is also involved in Girls on the Run, her church nursery, helping Alzheimer's patients at Glacier Hills Nursing Home and as a tutor for Huron students and Kids for the Future.

College plans: Christa plans to ttend St. Olaf College in Northfield, Minn.

Sophia Ketchum-Goulding

Age: 18

High School: Community High School

Parents: Emily Campbell

Nominated by: Mary Thiefels

School and community activities: Sophia has been very active with the Neutral Zone teen center. She has held the Visual Arts Council leader position for over more than two years. She has been integral in decision making, grant writing and group art show facilitation. Sophia is certified as part of the Neutral Zone Lead Team, a group of aspiring youth interested in developing leadership skills in planning and reflection, community building, general group facilitation and team building. She is also active at the First Presbyterian Church, serving and facilitating in the organization of the church's annual market place and holiday craft fair. Sophia has been youth forum leader at Community High School, and has sat on the school's forum council, representing her peers. She has also been a part of the production of "Free Verse," Community High School's literary magazine.

After high school: Sophia will be working for a national service program called City Year in Seattle, WA.

Shoham Geva

Age: 17

High School: Skyline High School

Parents: Sharon Geva

Nominated by: Lori Roddy

School and community activities: Shoham has received the Varsity Letter in community service, an award provided to people who complete at least 145 hours of community service in a year. She was the lead facilitator of the Youth Owned Record Label at the Neutral Zone, Red Beard Press, and the co-editor of "Teen Spirit" at Skyline. This past year, she was invited through a selective process to join the Neutral Zone Board of Directors. She has also interned to support the Summer Festival to host the first teen battle of the bands event. Shoham participates in Neutral Zone's Students Educating Each other about Diversity.

College plans: Shoham will attend the University of Michigan's Honors and Residential Colleges for political science and economics.


Alex Kime

Age: 17

High School: Skyline High School

Parents: Glenda Gordon & Glenn Kime

Nominated by: Amy Milligan

School and community activities: Alex is heavily involved in leadership roles at the Neutral Zone. As a lead facilitator of Youth Owned Records, he has spent countless hours working to support teen musicians as they take their first steps in the music business. Alex is also committed to diversity and is involved in both Neutral Zone's Riot Youth (LGBTQQA youth) and Students Educating Each other about Diversity programs. He is a writer and actor and is on the staff of his school literary magazine and forensics team and leads Skyline's Gay-Straight Alliance.

College plans: Alex plans to attend the University of Michigan's Honors and Residential colleges, where he hopes to study creative writing, along with social theory and practice and possibly film studies.


Kate Summers

Age: 17

High School: Community High School

Parents: Donna Ainsworth

Nominated by: Marshall Thomsen

School and community activities: Kate is heavily involved in the Nicaragua Project, which looks to build an Intercultural Exchange Center and 24-bed hotel within the community of Catarina. She was unanimously elected as one of 10 members of the board for the project and has traveled to Nicaragua four times. She has participated in the Face to Face: Faith to Faith program, which brings together youth from a variety of cultures, including those who have historically been hostile to each other, to exchange ideas and bridge cultural divides. Kate has been very active in the Pioneer Theatre Guild, including serving as its board president. She has been active in Students Educating Each other about Diversity at the Neutral Zone and is the co-editor in chief of Community High School's Communicator online.

College plans: Kate will spend a year in Nicaragua teaching English then attend Clark University in Wooster, Mass.


Rianna Johnson-Levy

Age: 17

High School: Community High School

Parents: Janet Johnson & Judith Levy

Nominated by: Danny Brown

School and community activities: Rianna serves on Community High School’s School Improvement Team, a group of students, teachers, and parents that meets regularly to improve school life and student success. She is also a star member of Community High School’s 2012 State-Champion Mock Trial Team and a member of the National Honor Society. Rianna is president of the Young Religious Unitarian Universalists of Ann Arbor and is the Social Action Coordinator for the District Youth Steering Committee for the Heartland District of the Unitarian Universalist Association. She is active with Neutral Zone, Habitat for Humanity and Light the Night, and is involved in many other activities.

College plans: Rianna will be attending Yale University.

Kelley Greene

Age: 16

High School: New Tech High School, Ypsilanti

Parents: Loren Greene

Nominated by: Natalia Harris

School and community activities: Kelley is a member of the Junior National Honor’s Society. She is an active participant in Upward Bound through Eastern Michigan University. She serves as a school tour guide at New Tech High School and leads youth ministry at her church. In 2012, Kelley was awarded the Student Ambassador for Professionalism Award and was part of a group that founded Young Women Making Washtenaw County Better. She serves as an older youth mentor for the Telling It West Willow program and is employed as a youth outreach worker for the Washtenaw County Sheriff’s Office. She is seeking funding to support a program she designed for the sheriff’s office called the Youth Advisory Council that aims to enhance law enforcement relationships with youth and offer youth a voice.

College plans: Undecided.


Patricia Cockrell

Sun, May 26, 2013 : 11:08 p.m.

Fantastic and inspiring group of young men and women!! I am especially proud of my dear friend Kate Summers who, at 17, is already one of the very best people I know. Congratulations, KATE!! Congratulations all of you!!


Sun, May 26, 2013 : 7:04 p.m.

What a joy to learn about these young, energetic, community-oriented students! Thanks for this positive article.