Youth Challenge Awards

Local students honored Lynnwood Rotary 2018 Youth Challenge Awards

The Lynnwood Rotary honored outstanding students on May 17, 2018 at the annual Youth Challenge Awards.

The Youth Challenge Awards are designed to recognize local students who stand out in the categories of Community Service, Courage, Creativity, Leadership/Inspiration and Group Award. Students are nominated, and nominations are reviewed by a committee. Nominees were recognized Thursday, and winners were named in each category. One student also won a $5,000 scholarship.

“You stand out and deserve to be recognized,” said Casey Auvé, president of Lynnwood Rotary, during his welcome speech.

Keynote speaker Alicia Crank, corporate relations officer for YWCA Seattle and an Edmonds resident, challenged award nominees to be lifelong learners, crave understanding, act like leaders and let challenges become opportunities.

Crank shared how her own challenges led to her success. She explained that she grew up in Detroit with her single mother and two brothers. Eventually, her mother became a crack addict, and her brothers started dealing drugs. She got involved with audio/visual (AV) activities so she wouldn’t have to go home right away after school got out.

Eventually, Crank took a position as a night manager at a hotel in California, where she spent 16 years.

“Overcoming challenges won’t be easy, but it will make you stronger as an individual,” she said.

Awards were presented to nominees and winners by Auvé and Crank. A list of winners and local student nominees are below.


$5,000 Scholarship: Elias Lopez, Grade 12, Sultan High School

Community Service: Gabriella Cardenas, Grade 12, Lake Stevens High School (not present). She has acquired over 400 hours of community service to date during the 2017-2018 school year.

Courage: Savannah Bruno, Grade 12, Aim High School. Bruno has dealt with chronic illnesses, an eating disorder, abuse and mental health challenges, but she does not let these challenges keep her from achieving her goals.

Creativity: Marianne Nacanaynay and Teresa Bonilla, Grade 11, Mountlake Terrace High School. This duo produces and hosts The Teresa & Marianne Introspective (TMI) podcast, which appears on the Mountlake Terrace Hawkeye website.

Leadership/Inspiration: Audrey Wilkinson, Grade 9, Edmonds-Woodway High School (not present). Wilkinson created Feminism Club at EWHS, and is in the International Baccalaureate program.

Leadership/Inspiration: Meghan Potter, Grade 12, Lynnwood High School (not present). Potter facilitated a walk-out at Lynnwood High School after a school shooting in Parkland. Additionally, she is active on the Youth Advisory Board and at the school’s newspaper.

Group Award: Miss Aquafest, service-based program throughout Snohomish County. Participants help at local community farms, food banks, child care facilities, parks and more while maintaining a high GPA. Many members have a 4.0 GPA.

Nominees from the Edmonds School District

Community Service

  • Ivy Kraft, Grade 12, Meadowdale High School
  • Samantha Perez, Grade 12, Mountlake Terrace High School



  • Olivia Gluth, Grade 12, Meadowdale High School
  • Brendan Hayes, Grade 12, Mountlake Terrace High School
  • Yasmin Villasenor, Grade 12, Edmonds-Woodway High School



  • Graeme Hafford, Grade 12, Edmonds-Woodway High School



  • Hope Ambachew, Grade 8, Brier Terrace Middle School
  • Bailey Beach, Grade 8, Alderwood Middle School
  • Tyler Blanchard, Grade 12, Scriber Lake High School
  • Kalea Brooks, Grade 12, Edmonds-Woodway High School
  • Keegan Grayson-Zehrung, Grade 12, Mountlake Terrace High School
  • Olivia Olson, Grade 12, Edmonds-Woodway High School (not present)


Group Award

  • Edmonds-Woodway Jazz 1 Purple Combo
  • Alderwood Boys and Girls Club Keystone Club


–Story and photos by Natalie Covate. Reprinted with permission from My Edmonds News