2004 USA Student Finalists

Casey Balvanz
Hubbard Radcliffe High School
Daughter of Chuck and Carol Balvanz

Sharing the “Sunshine of the Human Spirit”
When Herbert Hoover helped children, he saw the “sunshine of the human spirit.” I have seen that same sunshine emerge when small children interact with small animals. My project began as a series of visits to the local preschool to introduce the students to baby animals. Those experiences have led to publication of my children’s book, Share Your Sunshine.

Thomas Campie
Camanche High School
Son of Steve & Sandra Campie

Camanche Amateur Radio Club
The Camanche Amateur Radio Club is a self-supporting group of students focused on earning entry level licenses with the promotion of upgrading. The main objective of the club is to offer students a chance to communicate with other uncommon people like themselves all over the world while improving communication skills.

Erin Dammann
Manning High School
Daughter of Wes and Joyce Dammann

Blazing a Trail to Fun Reading
The children’s summer reading program at my school library was one of the activities cut four years ago. My goal is to motivate students to continue reading throughout their summer vacation. A summer reading program will motivate children to check out books by providing incentives such as stickers, prizes, and a completion certificate as they reach their goals.

Andrew Davidson
Des Moines Christian School
Son of Doug & Spring Davidson

Happy Horses Equals Happy Campers
Wildwood Hills Ranch Camp is a non-profit organization that reaches out to at-risk inner city and rural Iowa youth. I designed and oversaw the construction of the first of three horse shelters for the camp. I raised funds for the materials and food needed for the project. In addition, I made a horse care and safety brochure to be distributed to the children.

Jaclyn Duncan
Iowa City City High School
Daughter of Jeff Duncan and Kristine Duncan

A Drive to Help Others
Throughout the past four years I have seen the hardships teen parents face every day. A Drive to Help Others is a clothing drive for children of teen parents. A day will be set aside where parents can come with their kids to pick out clothing they want. The remaining clothes will be taken to area organizations working with teen parents.

Elizabeth Gemberling
Southern Cal High School (Lake City)
Daughter of Wade and Ann Gemberling

Improving the Lohrville City Park’s Basketball/Tennis Court
Rural Iowa communities need all the help they can get. My project was to improve the basketball and tennis courts in my hometown of Lohrville. With the help of volunteers, I raised the funds necessary and repaired the ruined courts. A 3-on-3 basketball tournament and a tennis clinic were held once improvements were complete.

Analisa Gerig-Sickles
West Branch High School
Daughter of David Sickles and Jean Gerig

Intercultural Connections
After spending a semester in Honduras I realized the importance of understanding between cultures and how fortunate we are to have adequate education available to all children. I connected local and Nicaraguan students to build relationships. I raised money through my flower business and solicited donations to aid the preschool in Nicaragua.

Casey Nils Goranson
Hampton-Dumont High School
Son of Gale and Kimberly Goranson

Practice Makes Perfect
“Practice Makes Perfect” is a community service opportunity with a goal to bring high school fine arts students and health care facility residents together through instrumental and vocal practice performance sessions. With “Practice,” motivated students develop individual leadership skills and citizenship roles through volunteer community service while sharing and enhancing their talents in front of resident audiences.

Adam Michaelis
Mid-Prairie High School (Wellman)
Son of Barry and Robin Michaelis

Babe Ruth Baseball Dugouts
I have designed and built Babe Ruth baseball dugouts at the Kalona Jaycee Baseball Diamonds. They are four feet below ground and mode of concrete and woulmanized wood.

Holly Poort
Malvern High School
Daughter of Roger and Mary Poort

Malvern Heritage Mural and Drive-Through Home Tour
I have designed and organized work on a downtown mural that captures Malvern’s heritage through historical images that brought the community to life, 1869-1903. A brochure highlights mural images and another brochure organizes a drive-through home tour. Residents, young and old, have volunteered time, skill, and information to enliven the history of Malvern as an asset and attraction.

Zachary Sapato
Davenport Central High School
Son of Stephen and Pamela Sapato

Future Millionaire Club
The Future Millionaire Club was established to get students interested in business, entrepreneurship and investing. The club focuses around fun, exciting activities that teach the processes of investing, buying, selling and working in business. Members have the opportunity to gain skill and experience in the area of financial intelligence while learning to manage artificial risk scenarios created by educational games.

Megan Seamans
Nashua-Plainfield High School
Daughter of Lawrence and Patricia Seamans

Hug-A-Buddies… Bringing Comfort to Children in Need
Megan designed “Hug-A-Buddy” t-shirt pillows to comfort children in difficult situations. Sponsors donated cash, materials and labor worth over $2,000 for 215 Hug-A-Buddies which were sewn and delivered to special needs settings by Megan and her 4-H club. The idea is being shared through a website, and samples were sent to other states to spread the idea to other organizations.

Chelsey Soder
Manson Northwest Webster High School
Daughter of Lawrence and Jennifer Soder

Bee Healthy
This project is based on the public’s general lack of knowledge on beekeeping and honey. My goal is to educate as many people possible on honey’s health benefits and the value of beekeeping. My job as a beekeeper enables me to do honey promotions as the NW Iowa Honey Queen at local stores, farmers’ markets, Iowa State Fair, and schools.

Megan Srinivas
Fort Dodge High School
Daughter of Jay and Geetha Srinivas

Be a Good Soul By Saving a Good Sole
In the U.S., teenagers have a tendency to take basic necessities like shoes, clothing, and education for granted. Through this effort, students descry the reality of poverty and the important roles they have in helping the international community. A dance and raffle were held to raise awareness, raise funds for school supplies, and collect shoes to be sent to the impoverished of Kenya.

Ashley Stafford
West Des Moines Valley High School
Daughter of James and Lila Stafford

Alateen Outreach Program
My project is designed to inform, educate and provide a safe place whereby teenage students will learn that alcoholism is a “family disease” and that children and family members of alcoholics can gain support and practical help in dealing with the alcoholic family member or friend through an organization called Alateen.