1998 USA Student Finalists

Alexia Albernathy
George Washington High School

The Clare House Community Garden
Alexia created a community vegetable garden and flower garden on two abandoned lots next to Clare House, a community living center for persons with AIDS. A 232 foot fence was built to enclose the space where over 150 perennials and shrubs were planted along with 184 gallon pond complete with fish and water lilies. She trained volunteers to weed, water, and other garden chores and held a BBQ at the end of the summer in celebration.

Sarah Arens
Remsen St. Mary’s High School

Holocaust Remembrance Day Planning Guide
“Tikkun Olam” is Jewish for repairing the world. The title and objective of my project is to “repair the world by resisting prejudice.” I have composed a teaching tolerance guide to be implemented into schools based on the “Holocaust Remembrance Day” I organized in 1997. It was a demonstration that persecuted the blue-eyed students of my high school just as the Jews were persecuted in the Holocaust. I have composed a planning guide equipped with a detailed description of how I did my prejudice day, resources to gain prejudice information, and informative text concerning prejudice today and why we must continue to fight it. This guide is going to be distributed in February at the Diocesan Youth Summit to the student councils of the eight Catholic high schools in the Sioux City Diocese. Spreading the message of tolerance and continuing to educate people about prejudice is the key to “Tikkun Olam.”

Alysia Clark
Iowa Falls Community High School

Teens Making A Difference
Alysia Clark founded a youth service organization for Iowa Falls area teens called “Teens Making a Difference.” In the summer of 1997, 14 teens traveled with their chaperones to the Ohio River Valley for flood relief. The summer of 1998 found 17 teens and their chaperones in Rockford, Illinois doing community renovation. Over two years, the group has raised over $6000 to fund their efforts.

Melissa Eick
Ankeny High School

Remembering AIDS
“Remembering AIDS” was designed for two purposes. The first was to raise awareness of AIDS and awareness of organizations like the AIDS Project of Central Iowa. The second purpose was to raise money specifically for the AIDS Project of Central Iowa. The funds were raised by five main events consisting of two bake sales, a walk-a-thon, a benefit dinner, and a silent auction. The project became very special when it began to touch many people personally.

Tiana Gierke
Bettendorf High School

Book Drives for the Community
My project, Book Drives, will do something similar (on a smaller scale) to Herbert Hoover‚s efforts to attack hunger. The Book Drives will address literacy. I recruited volunteers, arranged publicity, and will ultimately donate the collected books to various social agencies.

Heather Hunt
Cedar Rapids Xavier High School

Remembering Civil War Veterans
This project is an effort to gather as much information as possible about the Civil War veterans from the 24th Iowa Volunteer Infantry Regiment and organize it in a web page. This page is a part of the Iowa GenWeb project to supply genealogical information to the public. It (the page) includes detailed and organized information from the veterans‚ military records and civilian life. Through this project, the public will have a new solution that addresses the problem of how to remember and honor our ancestors, and how to ensure that their history is not forgotten that their sacrifice is understood. For in fighting and dying, their history becomes ours.

Jay Jung
Charles City Community High School

Charles City Video
One of the biggest problems facing Charles City today is unemployment. This is one of the main reasons that I decided to try and help my community by making a video and distributing it to some of the most prosperous, growing industries in the marketplace today. My hopes are that one of these major industries will consider Charles City as a possible prospect for new development or expansion.

Alexandra Kiel-Wornson
Des Moines Roosevelt High School

Adopt a Classroom
The Adopt a Classroom project is designed to improve the environment of classrooms in Iowa. Classrooms in old schools need renovation. Through a volunteer program this renovation can be expedited. Similar to the Adopt a Highway program, an organization can take an active part in creating and improving an environment conducive to learning. They do this without having to wade through the “red tape hassle” and waiting indefinitely for finances to come through. The volunteers simply come in, fix things up and leave, with a small plaque remaining behind thanking them for their work.

Marianne Kirkendall
Dubuque Senior High School

Caring Canine Corps
The Caring Canine Corps (CCC) is a volunteer organization designed to help the elderly in the Dubuque community. Members and their dogs travel to area nursing homes, bringing with them the kind of unconditional love that only dogs can give. Each dog must pass a sociability and obedience test before they are allowed to join the program. Though the CCC is still in its early stages, I hope to recruit more members and see this program continue in the years to come.

Kyle Lanzen
Ottumwa High School

Wheelchair Accessible Playground
Herbert Hoover was always looking to improve the lives of those in need. He also worked as an engineer, finding better ways to complete tasks. This project demonstrates both traits by developing a way for underprivileged handicapped students to enjoy the simple pleasure of a playground. Research has been conducted which includes: consultations with handicapped students and adults, health professionals, practicing engineers, educators, park officials and school administrator. The design has been completed using computer-aided drafting. This project will create a beautiful and attractive playground area for all kids, including those who have a need for a wheelchair.

Annie Lee
Cedar Rapids Washington High School

Search the Candida
Statistically, 85% of the human population carries a yeast, Candida albicans, in and on their body. There is great speculation as to the symptoms of human malaise that can be attributed to Candida albicans. Despite its wide domination in human population as an opportunistic pathogen, 99% of the population has never heard about it. I have participated in the research of Candida albicans in Dr. David Soll‚s laboratory at the University of Iowa for the past two summers. After the research, I started giving talks at various science classes to educate students about Candida albicans. I plan to expand my efforts to educate students by continuing talks and by submitting articles in school and local newspapers.

Jay Lettow
West Des Moines Valley High School

Outdoor Activity Center Renovation for the Children’s Habilitation Center
Over the course of the past two years I have been renovating an Outdoor Activity Center and making it wheelchair accessible for the children that live at the Children’s Habilitation Center (CHC) in Johnston. All of the children that live at the CHC are mentally and physically handicapped and need constant professional attention. The Activity Center consists of a wheelchair ramp for horseback riding and a garden where the children can see fruits, vegetable and brightly colored flowers.

Sara Neumann
Davenport Central High School

Deaf Integration from Pres-School to Kindergarten
For my project, I am assisting hearing-impaired students in making the transition from an all hearing-impaired preschool to a hearing kindergarten. I taught their classmates basic sign language to promote interaction and communication. My ultimate goal is to make the hearing-impaired students feel like they belong and to ease the anxieties of the students and teachers involved.

Nathan See
Washington High School

Ayudarnos el Uno al Otro (We Are Helping One Another)
The objective of my project was to help a group of Hispanic children in my community over the summer. We meet three mornings a week for five weeks to keep up their math and English skills (for most of these children, they hear and speak very little English when school is not in session), and at the same time, I wanted them to have fun. I hoped that there would be cross-cultural interaction and bonding for everyone including the students, helpers, myself, and people in the community who were participating or helping in this program.

Stephanie Vinton
Glenwood High School

Farm Safety: It Saves Lives
Farm safety is becoming a key factor of prevention from accidents around the farm and also around the home. Over 50% of the accidents that occur can be prevented, but without the right education on safety more and more accidents and deaths occur each year. My project was creating, planning, and organizing a safety day camp for kids and adults. There were sessions on animal safety, tractor turnover, electrical safety, first aid, and more. The kids and adults loved the camp, and I have received very positive feedback from the camp. It was a great experience for me and the participants.