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Area high schools students honored as 'rising stars'

Hailing from schools across Region Five, 44 students pose after being recognized as "rising stars," or students with exceptional, if unappreciated impact. Submitted photo / National Joint Powers Alliance

Several area high school students were among the 44 students from Region Five honored by the National Joint Powers Alliance at its 27th annual Student Recognition Banquet, Wednesday, April 11, at Madden's Resort north of Brainerd.

The annual event celebrates area students as rising stars. Each was selected by his or her respective school staff, with the criteria they are "unsung heroes" of their district—the behind-the-scenes students with little, if any, recognition.

"It is an honor to recognize our area's rising stars; students who exemplify what it is to make a difference by providing quiet leadership," stated Chad Coauette, the director and CEO of the National Joint Powers Alliance, in a news release. "It is our hope that those honored take away great memories from this event and feel supported by their school and community, knowing that they have what it takes to overcome future challenges and obstacles in their lives."

• Madilyn Amundson, Aitkin ($215 scholarship)—Nominated by Meredith Sander, school counselor.

• Caine Owens, Aitkin ($215 scholarship from Leah and Bart Graves)—Nominated by Steve Jacobson, industrial arts teacher.

• Anthony Baylor, Brainerd ($500 scholarship from NJPA Sunshine Committee, employee fund)—Nominated by Daniel Fischer, school counselor.

• Alison Lenz, Crosby-Ironton ($500 scholarship from Central Lakes College)—Nominated by Michelle Wolter, family and consumer sciences teacher.

• Andrew Louks, Crosby Ironton ($500 scholarship from Central Lakes College)—Nominated by Michael Gindorff, science teacher.

• Derek Stalberger, Freshwater Education District ($500 scholarship from Elite Title & Escrow Corp.)—Nominated by Lindsey Noll, lead teacher.

• Jacqueline Anderson, Freshwater Education District ($215 scholarship)—Nominated by Freshwater staff.

• Andrew DeYonge, Little Falls ($215 scholarship from Brainerd Lakes Area Community Foundation)—Nominated by Timothy Bjorge, principal.

• Asia Mohamed, Little Falls ($215 scholarship)—Nominated by Debra Yliniemi-Ahlin, Andy Ward and Katherin Kaddatz.

• Austin Young, Pequot Lakes ($215 scholarship)—Nominated by Aaron Nelson, high school principal.

• Colette Vavpotic, Pequot Lakes ($500 scholarship from Central Lakes College)—Nominated by Aaron Nelson, high school principal.

• Samantha Winscher, Pierz-Healy ($215 scholarship)—Nominated by Derrick Paulson, English teacher.

• Zaida Nieken, Pierz-Healy ($215 scholarship)—Nominated by Amy Jindra, English teacher.

• Jordan Hines, Pillager ($500 scholarship from Investment Center Advisor Group)—Nominated by Jamie Prax, English teacher.

• Sabrina Otto, Pillager ($215 scholarship)—Nominated by Sue Turner, school counselor.

• Dylan Malz, Pine River-Backus ($215 scholarship)—Nominated by Tiffany Abrams and Laure Marquardt.

• Taylor Vredenburg, Pine River-Backus ($500 scholarship from Central Lakes College)—Nominated by Kyle Bergem, business teacher.

• Alyssa Vanderhoof, Staples-Motley ($215 scholarship)—Nominated by Mike Schmidt, principal.

• Maria Francisco, Walker Hackensack Akeley ($500 scholarship from Staples Ace Hardware)—Nominated by Thomas McIver, academic dean of students.

• Ginny Stewart, Walker Hackensack Akeley ($215 scholarship)—Nominated by Debbie Peterson, science teacher.

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