2009 USA Student Finalists

Grant Bargfrede
Ankeny High School, Ankeny

Youth Helping Youth
Youth Helping Youth gave inner-city teens a chance to act in their community. Through service learning and mentoring, a group of young people gained self-confidence and self-worth by choosing a service project which was planned and carried out by the group. The teens gained ownership, team building, and decision making skills while helping others in need.

Ryan Brasser
South O’Brien High School (Paullina)

Creating and Refurbishing Handicap Accessible Mill Creek State Park Nature Trails
By creating new trails and cleaning up existing trails, I will give handicapped people a chance to navigate and enjoy Mill Creek State Park. By changing a normal wheelchair into an all-terrain wheel chair, these people will now be able to enjoy newly transformed trails. New distance and directional markers are also a nice addition to an already beautiful park.

Adrianne Burk
Battle Creek-Ida Grove High School

From Lost to Found
To achieve my project goal, I plan to coordinate a pet fair and sponsor a microchip clinic to encourage pet owners to microchip their pets at a discount. The proceeds will be used to purchase a microchip scanner for our county sheriff’s department. This will aid in the identification of lost or stray pets and unite them with their owners.

Emma Davis
Prairie Valley High School (Gowrie)

The Magic of Music and Memories
The Magic of Music and Memories is a program that guides teens and younger adults in building relationships with older adults. The program provides opportunities for older adults (those over sixty-five) to engage in guided reminiscing that helps them recall important people and events in their lives and also builds a bridge of understanding between younger and older generations.

Vanessa Espinoza
Columbus High School (Columbus Junction)

It’s Never Too Late
Our program focuses on Hispanic adults who didn’t have the education most Americans receive. These people have courage to step up and learn English but it’s difficult because they barely know their own. The program focuses more on literacy, but includes mathematics and history. During the summer, the program gives ESL classes as well.

John Freude
Roosevelt High School (Des Moines)

Combining Music and Outreach in Des Moines
The project is a charity benefit battle of the bands for high school garage bands – Rock the Bricks Down. The goals of this project: to raise funds for Bidwell-Riverside Center’s Christmas Sharing program, provide fledgling garage bands an opportunity to showcase their talents, collect food donations for area food pantries, and raise student awareness of area families in need.

Taylor Jepsen
Graettinger-Terril High School

Turning the Paige
A near fatal car accident left Taylor with life-threatening injuries. Instead of dwelling on the injuries, she decided to “Pay It Forward.” Turning the Paige was created on this principal and is helping teens and their families when a medical emergency occurs. Gift bags and gas cards are given, and recipients are asked to continue to pay it forward.

Anna Miller
Mount Pleasant High School

Pioneer Life on the Prairie: A Culture Kit
My project is a kit containing objects used on the Iowa prairie. From hand dipped candles to authentic textbooks, each historical object includes a written description and educational activities. A kit will be distributed to each of the AEAs in Iowa, available to teachers through the online media catalogue, and will provide materials to teach students about Iowa in the 1800s.

Tracy Older
Holy Trinity Catholic High School (Fort Madison)

CO2 Emissions Filtration System Using Lithium Hydroxide, Calcium Hydroxide, and Zeolite: Phase III
Have you ever thought about how to reduce your vehicle’s carbon dioxide emissions? I engineered a muffler and a filter that reduces the amount of carbon dioxide from vehicle exhaust using the chemicals lithium hydroxide, calcium hydroxide, and zeolite. This muffler will be an economical solution for all vehicle owners who want to do their part in achieving cleaner air.

Sara Rockow
Fort Dodge High School

Strengthening YWCA Clients: Steps for Their Future
The project focuses on a local nonprofit organization that serves as a treatment center and shelter for women with children. My goal was to create thirty care bags for new residents, several school bags for the children of the shelter, holding several workshops for the clients focusing on area jobs, housing, and childcare, along with a community food drive.

Emily Rose
Home School (Conrad)

Youth to Restore the CCC/POW Building
Youth to Restore the CCC/POW Building saw a need to preserve a recreational hall built by the Civilian Conservation Corps and used by POWs (1933-1946). This project united Hardin County youth, adults, and professionals to raise funds, refurbish, and collect recreational equipment and museum memorabilia to provide a safe recreational/museum facility for the youth in our county, community, and state.

Justin Schramm
East Sac County High School (Lake View)

Sac City CPR
CPR stands for Central Park Revival. This project focused on the restoration of a public park. The park was created through the hard work of the people in my town and then abandoned by the city. Many people have fond memories of the park and I believe that it should be revived to its original glory.

Malea Schulte
Benton High School (Van Horne)

Preserving Norway Baseball — A Painter’s Touch
In Preserving Norway Baseball—A Painter’s Touch, the community vision of a baseball museum was brought to fruition. Our small-town, self-funded operation was made possible by means of widespread sharing. I, being the in-house artist, painted a twelve by six feet exterior mural, landscaped its surroundings, and also worked on the interior beautification. Our unique history has been saved!

Dhrooti Vyas
Valley High School (West Des Moines)

Hoover Chess Initiative
President Hoover advocated the molding of uncommon men and women through education. Chess enhances many facets of a child’s life, ranging from logic to concentration. Hoover Chess Initiative aims to educate twenty students between grades 4 and 6 in basic chess while simultaneously teaching them lifelong skills and instilling in them a passion for a timeless, ageless, and boundless pastime.