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Scholarships awarded to 6 young Alaska 'heroes'

Mike Dunham

Six young Alaskans received $1,500 scholarships during ceremonies at the Alaska State Fair in Palmer on Sunday. The six were this year’s honorees in the Summer of Heroes program, sponsored by Boys & Girls Clubs-Alaska and Alaska Communications. The program recognizes youth who make a positive impact in their communities.

The 2014 Summer of Heroes scholarship recipients are:

• Zoe Ballard-Huffman, 13, an eighth-grader at Jimmy Huntington School in Huslia, who serves as the treasurer and secretary for the village’s Junior Dog Mushing Club. She raises money for the club by organizing bake sales.

• Sarah Dykman, 13, an eighth-grader at Mirror Lake Middle School, who has worked more than 400 volunteer hours with groups that include the Food Bank of Alaska, Salvation Army and Chugiak Eagle River Senior Center.

• Jenna Hansen, 17, a senior at Nikiski High School, who takes her reindeer Crash and Comet to events during the Christmas season and offers photo opportunities for donations. The donations go to help homeless youth in the Kenai area. 

• Dakota Jones, 17, a member of the Anchorage Youth Court, helping resolve disputes and legal cases for the past three years. He is currently the Youth Court’s chief judge and also works with students with intellectual disabilities at South Anchorage high School.

• Sharhan Sylva, 19, a recent Bartlett High School graduate who has volunteered for two years at the Northeast Community Center Boys & Girls Club, helping operate the kids’ gym and tutoring younger club members. He has also organized a winter coat drive and is a member of the Teen Advisory Council at the Muldoon Library.

• Gabrielle Thompson, 14, a freshman at West High School who, through sales of her artwork, has raised hundreds of dollars for wildlife protection agencies including the National Park Foundation and National Wildlife Foundation.

More information about the six honorees and the Summer of Heroes program can be found at alaskacommunications.com/summerofheroes.

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