Chinese Association of Iowa Honors Waukee Students with Youth of the Year Awards

The thirteenth annual Chinese New Year Celebration and Iowa Chinese Achievement Awards were held at Timberline School on Saturday Feb. 6, 2016. The ceremony and celebration were both sponsored by the Chinese Association of Iowa and the Waukee International Club.

YouthoftheYearDuring the awards ceremony, five Waukee High School students were honored as Youth of the Year award recipients. This year’s winners are senior Manognya Naishadham, juniors Ethan and Michael Adato, and sophomores Olivia Gagnon and Sankalp Yamsani. All Waukee High School winners are part of International Club.

The Youth of the Year award recognizes the young people who serve and seek to spread cultural awareness in our communities. As a major community organization, Chinese Association of Iowa believes that it is essential to identify and honor youth role models who inspire all of us, especially the younger generation and their peers.

Award recipient Olivia Gagnon described the ceremony as a welcoming display of cultures. “It was fun to talk with the other award winners about what they do in their communities… We all try to do more with leadership and inclusivity programs,” Gagnon said.

International Club showcases the cultures and diversity already present in Waukee schools through various cultural awareness programs. International Club sponsor Tammy Getting said, “The students surprise me every day with their knowledge of cultures and how they want to spread their knowledge to the world.”

International Club hosts an international panel and diversity potluck each year “to introduce our international students to the rest of the student body,” Getting said.

The Waukee Community School district strives to educate students to become global citizens and see their actions on a global scale. We are dedicated to building genuine relationships by embracing individual differences and perspectives, and these five students exemplify our mission.
The Chinese New Year Celebration and Iowa Chinese Achievement Awards ceremony included music, dancing, food, art and children’s activities. Contemporary artist Lisa Yongyan Jiang from Shanghai, China was also in attendance for her very first Midwest states art tour.