This group of teens goes above and beyond and we want to share their stories! It was a very hard job, but somebody had to do it. After getting hundreds of applications from amazing teenagers from across the country, we choose the winners of our annual Super Teens contest.
This stellar group of teens impressed us here at NextStepU with various talents, aspirations and charitable efforts. We know you’ll agree this is a super group!
Rebecca Battelini, a senior at Buena Regional High School in Vineland, N.J., is ranked No. 1 in her graduating class, but she also finds time to give back. She’s involved in many school groups, including serving as president of Buena Regional High School Drama and vice president of National Honor Society and the Academic team, while holding several leadership positions on Student Council.
Outside of the classroom, Battelini serves as part of the Gabriel Project, which raises money for children in Africa to receive major surgery and gives time to the Boys and Girls Club of Vineland.
Alexander Bronsky, a senior at Williamsville North High School in Williamsville, N.Y., is a committed volunteer. He’s been actively involved with the American Cancer Society for the past three years and was recently appointed to volunteer coordinator of high school students.
Simultaneously, he’s been volunteering for Congressman Chris Lee, helping out with administrative duties and responding to constituent requests. At his high school, he has played on the varsity tennis team for the past six years and is a member of DECA and the Challenge Club. He’s a member of Amherst Youth Court, which is a one-year law training program, and Leadership Buffalo and Erie County.
Excellent work ethic, determination to succeed and a genuine interest in helping those less fortunate are what set Megan D’Arcy, a junior at Stoney Creek High School in Rochester, Mich., apart from her peers. D’Arcy developed a committee of dedicated teens to help fundraise and volunteer for the Rochester Area Neighborhood House, a local non-profit that helps the less fortunate.
When she’s not giving back to her community, D’Arcy is busy at school serving as vice president of Key Club, secretary of Student Council and as a junior representative of National Honor Society.
Marielena Dias, a senior at Matanzas High School in Palm Coast, Fla., has put in more than 500 hours of community service. She was very active in her church, as a vacation bible school volunteer and youth minister; spent time helping out the local library and recently joined the Flagler County Volunteer Services program. On her own time, Dias has helped found a new group in her community for Hispanic teens called H.A.Y.C. (Hispanic American Youth Club), which aims to bring teens together and encourage goals and ambitions.
Her ultimate career goal is to become an American diplomat or work as a political analyst on Capitol Hill.
Mikey Gierula, a sophomore at Antietam Middle-Senior High School in Reading, Pa., was first accepted into the Johns Hopkins University Center of Talented Youth in the third grade. He continued to secure a spot in the program achieving a 1470 on the SAT in the eighth grade.
Despite focusing on his academics, Gierula still finds time to belong to the Student Council, Junior National Society, Ski Club, Mock Trial and the Antietam Leadership Corps. Gierula was also recently accepted into the Berks County Community Foundation Youth Advisory Committee, which awards grants to support youth related groups.
Balancing a rigorous course load with extracurriculars is commonplace for Nicole Granet, a junior at Spanish River High School in Baco Raton, Fla. Granet’s knack for calmly managing pressure and finding a positive spin on any situation has helped her succeed as associate and features editor of her school newspaper, president of Spanish National Honor Society and junior vice president of the National Honor Society.
She created her own business, Montages By Nicole, that grew from her passion for graphic design, music and photography.
“No matter what I am doing in any given situation, I know that I am a role model and a leader to those around me and it is up to me to decide whether or not I’m going to let them down,” says Jocelyn Gruber, a senior at Pennsylvania Cyber Charter School in Grove City, Pa.
Gruber, who was named Miss Pennsylvania’s Outstanding Teen, with the Miss America Organization, is also the spokesperson for Children’s Miracle Network, the ambassador for the Girls Know How Series, a spokesperson for DARE and still manages to be in the National Honor Society.
Lindsey Lee Hook, a senior at Newton High School in Newton, Iowa, is a master juggler between her heavy course load and extracurriculars. Hook is a natural leader, which was obvious when she was named as co-captain of her swim team and helped lead eight swimmers to the state competition.
She’s also vice president for the senior class and involved in Student Council, the marching band and also finds time to get involved outside of school. She’s volunteered for Big Brothers Big Sisters, she’s active in her church youth group and she’s a Salvation Army Bell Ringer.
Arina Hunter, a senior at Forest Grove High School in Forest Grove, Ore., says dance is one of her passions and she hopes to continue dancing throughout college. Meanwhile, Hunter is also a member of the National Honor Society, the National Society of High School Scholars, serves as a student leader in Vik Crew (a club that aides in Freshman Orientation Day) and participates in Partners Club, which connects students with and without disabilities.
Outside of school, Hunter has volunteered with Special Olympics and the Portland Children’s Museum.
When Andrea Kim heard that students in Ethiopia treated their pencils like gold because they were so scarce, she knew she had to help.That’s when Kim, a junior at Colonie Central High School in Albany, N.Y., decided to create Build a Book and Pencils for Ethiopia Foundation, a program that has collected more than 10,000 pencils and 700 pounds of books for Ethiopian students.
Also, Kim has been a camp counselor at Camp Mujigae, has served as a peer mentor for freshman students and is a member of her church choir and orchestra. At school, she serves as president of Student Government.
“If you can dream it, you can do it,” is one of the quotes that Lorinda McInelly lives by because it keeps her inspired and motivated despite trying times. The senior at Fruitland High School in Fruitland, Idaho, is a member of BPA, Partners Club, Invisible Children and FCCLA.
She’s also a varsity cheerleader, on the year book staff and a member of the National Honor Choir. Outside of school she volunteers for Boys and Girls Club and hopes to join the Heart n’ Home volunteer program. As a cheerleader, McInelly uses her role to help younger girls become better cheerleaders.
Ann Moorman, a sophomore at George Washington School in Denver, Co., stands apart from her peers because of her outstanding community service projects and leadership throughout the community. The International Baccalaureate student maintains a stellar GPA while also contributing to extracurriculars.
At school, Moorman participates in Model United Nations, plays the flute and is a member of the National Honor Society. She’s also held a leadership role in the county Junior Leaders 4-H, where she has packed sandwiches for the homeless, sewed hats and scarves for women’s shelters and made neck coolers for deployed soldiers.
Sumair Mohammad Ozair, a senior at Florida State University School in Tallahassee, Fla., never gives up. Instead, he uses tough situations as learning opportunities. He’s the president of Mu Alpha Theta and a member of Calculus team and Key Club. He is the treasurer of Student Government Association and vice president of National Honor Society.
Ozair is also the co-captain of the school’s Brain Bowl Team, which participates in tournaments on a regular basis with other schools in the community. After high school, Ozair hopes to go to medical school and open up his own medical practice one day.
Emory Claire “Emmy” Prothro, a junior at C.E. Byrd Math/Science Magnet School in Shreveport, La., enjoys helping others. Prothro is vice president of the Astra Club and a section editor for the school’s yearbook. She’s also a member of more than a dozen school groups.
Outside of school, she has been involved in the YWCA Family Violence Center Youth Board, the Food Bank of Northwest Louisiana Youth Board and she stays busy with her roles in the First United Methodist Youth Group and Prayer Ministry Team, where she’s taken on leadership roles as a mentor to younger girls at the church.
Jordyn Schara, a sophomore at Reedsburg Area High School in North Freedom, Wis., wants to encourage people worldwide to make a difference. And she’s on her way with the creation of HOPE Foundation (Helping Our Peers Excel), a 501(c)3 non-profit that aims to inspire youth across the country.
Before this endeavor, Schara started a community service project called Project READ (Reading Equipment for America’s Defenders), where more than 1,200 pounds of supplies were collected and shipped to troops overseas. What’s next? Schara is already developing her next community service project, called C4C (Comics 4 Change), which aims to improve the reading level of elementary students.
Kinsey Gabrielle Simpson, a sophomore at North Atlanta High School in Atlanta, Ga., hasn’t let life’s challenges hold her back from her dreams. Instead she uses that fire to help others. As a volunteer at Club Covenant, Simpson coordinated a career month to introduce the children there to career options they weren’t familiar with. Simpson is also involved in The Ryan Cameron Leadership Academy, created as an opportunity for youth to nurture, develop and enhance their talents and leadership skills.
At the age of 14 Olivia Joy Stinson founded PEN Pals Book Club and Support Group (Peers Engaged and Networking) for children of incarcerated parents aged 12-19.
Today the senior at Mallard Creek High School in Charlotte, N.C. is a member of DECA Marketing Society and served as vice president of community service, in which she helped lead a talent show using books as admission. More than 1,200 books were donated to create a library in a transition house for women recently released from prison. Meanwhile, Stinson also is part of National Honor Society and Senior Class Council.
Andrew Scott Thacker, a senior at Middletown High School in Middletown, Ohio, divides his time between his love of sports, his job as a lifeguard and his interest in giving back.
Thacker is the team captain for the varsity soccer team and has also been a player for the USA soccer team, which traveled to Sweden last summer to play in the Gothia Cup which is the junior Olympics of soccer. He is also actively involved in the school’s Senior Side Kick program, which takes positive senior role models and pairs them with incoming freshman to mentor. He has committed to Tiffin University in Ohio, where he will continue to play soccer.
Transitioning to a new school for junior year would leave many students overwhelmed. But it made Tiffany Tzeng determined. The senior at Jericho Senior High School in Glen Head, N.Y., served as the associate advertising manager of Phillips Exeter Academy’s The Exonian, the oldest preparatory school newspaper in America as a freshman.
Simultaneously she became director of business of HAUTE, the campus’s full-color glossy lifestyle magazine. Although Tzeng had to leave Exeter at the end of her sophomore year, she didn’t let that stop her passion for the publishing and fashion industries. Instead, she proceeded to launch her own publishing company, Generation Image, Inc. and a business, fashion and lifestyle magazine, titled I AM.
When Rujul Zaparde was 12 years old he visited India with his family. In one of the villages he noticed that the villagers had to walk a few kilometers each way to reach the nearest water source—and that water wasn’t even clean.
That’s when Zaparde, now a junior at The Lawrenceville School in Lawrenceville, N.J., started Drinking Water for India, a 501(c)3 non-profit to build tube-wells in rural India along with his friend, Kevin Petrovic. So far, the organization has built 31 wells and helped more than 55,000 villagers and another three wells are in progress.