Press Release: Rotary Clubs Announce 2019 Youth Salute Leadership Awards
Submitted by: Dr. Honora A. Norton
On April 10th, The Rotary Club of Scottsdale, along with Paradise Valley Rotary Club, selected the 4 finalists and 2 alternates to receive fully-paid trips to the prestigious Youth Salute Leadership Conference to be held on October 19-23, 2019.  Youth leaders with diverse backgrounds from across the nation will gather in St. Louis at Washington University for a Town Meeting on Tomorrow (TMOT). Youth Salute is a recognition program for high school juniors with diverse backgrounds from across the nation who are outstanding leadership achievers. The program is designed to applaud young people who are good citizens, have at least a B grade point average, and have been elected to leadership positions by their peers, in their schools and or community organizations.
Throughout history, leaders have gathered to discuss problems and potential solutions. They have found that these meetings yielded better results than if they worked on problems alone. TMOT was designed to bring youth leaders together in a similar fashion with the hope of inspiring youth to service, excellence and outstanding performance by reinforcing active leadership as the key to meeting tomorrow's needs.
53 students applied as Youth Salute candidates from 8 different Scottsdale high schools.  These students were interviewed on March 28th by Rotarians and community leaders. On April 10th, 13 semi-finalists were announced at a gathering at Chaparral High School Auditorium attended by students and their parents and student advisors. Each of the semi-finalists were given two minutes to answer a "final question" on stage.  The final question was related to the increased teenage heads down use of cell phones and what would one suggest to increase face-to-face communication skills."  After hearing each students remarks, the judges convened and selected four students and two alternates as the 2019 Scottsdale Youth Salute winners.   Kent Hammond, President of Scottsdale Rotary Club, Diego Moncibaez, President of Paradise Valley Rotary Club and Carrie A. Norton Hughes, PhD Microbiology from Loyola University Chicago Stritch School of Medicine served as the event's judges.
Congratulations to the 2019 Scottsdale Youth Salute finalists:  Alexis Johnson, Chaparral High School; Eve Rennie, Saguaro High School; McKenna Lane, and Leila Khan from Scottsdale Preparatory Academy.  Alternates, Kaylee Filandro from Scottsdale Preparatory Academy and Leah Veneziano, Pinnacle High School were named in case any one of the four winners is unable to attend the TMOT Conference.  The remaining 7 semi-finalists were: Catriona Jung and Michelle Reingold from Desert Mountain High School; Kaitlyn Hohl, Scottsdale Preparatory Academy; Luhnyae Campbell and Grace Schlenker from Arcadia High School; Cannon Cook and Porter O'Doherty from Chaparral High School.    
To open the evening's program, the 2018 Youth Salute Award Finalists - Soniyah Robinson, Chaparral High School; Luis Ayala Gutierrez, Arcadia High School; and Kari Harper, Desert Mountain High School - shared highlights of their experiences attending the 2018 TMOT in St. Louis.
While the judges convened and shared notes, nationally recognized Coach John Avianantos was on hand as the evening's keynote speaker.  At the event, sponsored by Rotary Club of Scottsdale for the past 24 years, Youth Salute Committee Chair Mike Savastio extended special acknowledgement and gratitude to the applicant interviewers and judges, as well as, parents and school counselors for mentoring Scottsdale's teen leaders.  Special thank you was extended to Chaparral High School for hosting the initial interviews and the Award night's festivities.
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