12 Utah Valley Teens Who Will Change the World

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Compiled by Matt Bennett and Nancy Knight, utahvalley360.com
Photographs by Alan Honey and Bob Boyd Photography

For the third consecutive year, Utah Valley Magazine is paying homage to the best and brightest students our local high schools are producing. This year’s group of students excels at music, science, athletics and more while lifting others and making the world a much better place to live. Take the time to get to know these 12 high schoolers who will change your world.

Megan Baer, Springville High School, Senior

Megan Baer

Megan Baer, Springville High School, Senior

At a glance
Megan is a Sterling Scholar in music, member of chamber orchestra, philharmonic orchestra, symphonic band and more. She serves on the Mapleton Youth City Council and teaches piano. GPA: 4.0

In Megan’s words
Q:What has helped you get to where you are? A: I have been blessed with incredible people in my life who have given me invaluable support, advice, encouragement and love.

Q: What is your favorite part about music? A: It is the greatest self-therapy there is!

Q: What are your plans for the future? A: I am attending BYU next year. After graduation, I plan to spend volunteer hours with humanitarian aid and be a mom.

What is your favorite CD? Anything Disney.
Singer? Celine Dion.
Hobby? Music, theater and crazy dancing
Class? Internship in 3rd grade and broadcast journalism.
Color? Yellow and exotic forms of blue.

What they say about Megan
 “Megan is a dependable, hard-working, organized, positive and just plain fun to be around. Wherever her path takes her after high school her love for life and endless energy will continue to change the world,” says Principal Ann. F. Anderson.

Joel Dayton

Joel Dayton

Joel Dayton, Timpview High School, Senior

At a glance
Joel is Timpview’s student body president. He organized a Sub-for-Santa drive and collected more than $25,000 in three weeks. He organized his student officers into groups who visited each incoming freshman last August to welcome them to Timpview.

In Joel’s words
Q: What motivates you to be so involved? A: I know that the good I do is contagious and is passed to others. I love being in a position where I have an opportunity to serve so many people.

Q: What is your favorite activity of the year? A: Homecoming week was a blast

Class? AP English
Movie? What’s up, Doc?
Book? ”Les Miserables”
Sport? Soccer
CD? Blessed Union of Souls “Home”

What they say about Joel
“Joel is a leader with true vision. He is focused on serving and helping others. He is a young man who understands that the best leaders spend their time serving others. Joel has a way of making all people feel as though they are his closest friends. His trademark is an enthusiastic handshake followed by, ‘Hey, you’re great.’ And he really means it,” says nominator Patricia Anderson.

Angela Fischer

Angela Fischer

Angela Fischer, Mountain View High School, Senior

At a glance
Angela has organized Christmas food drives and has worked with Operation Smile for youth needing plastic surgery in South America. She is the Utah State V.P. of publicity for DECA. She served as junior class president. She passed three AP classes as a junior. GPA: 3.987

In Angela’s words
Q: Why do you love to serve? A: I love being able to make a difference and touch the lives of others. Serving makes me happy because it makes others happy.

Q: What is your favorite service project? A: My favorite service project was collecting school supplies and bringing them to a small school in the mountains of Buena Vista, Costa Rica. The best part of this project was that I was able to see the results and play with the children.

Q: What are your goals for the future? A: My goals include graduating from BYU in public relations. I would like to earn my master’s degree in organizational communications. I would like to eventually work in international relations and travel.

What they say about Angela
“Angela is a dependable and capable woman. She has proven her perseverance, leadership, talents and good character through her good works. She gets things done,” says Wallace Fairbanks, Mountain View High School counselor.

 

Garret Fox

Garret Fox

Garret Fox, American Fork High School, Senior

At a glance
Garret has a perfect ACT score, a very high SAT score, a perfect GPA and an excellent record in AP classes. He is on the ballroom dance team and soccer team. He was the Math Sterling Scholar runner-up.

In Garret’s words
Q: What is your favorite part of high school? A: The social life. My advice to other teenagers is to get involved with your school as much as you can.

Q: What is your favorite ballroom dance? A: Quickstep.

Q: Who has been the most influential person in your life? A: Sharron Allsop-Day, my junior honors English teacher. She is an amazing person.

Q: What CD did you listen to on the way to this photo shoot? A: The Best of Enya.

What is your favorite movie? “Labrinth”
Sport? Soccer.
Book? ”The Sword of Shanara”

What they say about Garret
“He is a leader as you watch him with the ballroom dance team and assisting with the social dance class. He is totally non-judgmental and is always helping those who may not have the skills he possesses. He motivates his classmates to excel in their academic efforts,” says Glen R. Clark.

 

Abigail Hill

Abigail Hill

Abigail Hill, Orem High School, Senior

At a glance
Abigail spent six weeks in South America assisting needy children in poor and downtrodden orphanages. She is a leader in Key Club.

In Abigail’s words
Q: What is your most memorable moment? A: Playing in the state semi-final volleyball tournament as a sophomore.

Q: What are your plans for the future? A: I want to graduate with a master’s from BYU in music education, with a minor in math. I want to have a lot of children and hike the mountains of the world!

Q: Why do you love to serve? A: I love seeing others spark up with happiness and realize how great life really is. I have a passion for service. I love invoking happiness in others’ lives.

Favorite school activity? Lacrosse, Chamber Choir.
Hobby? Making music, writing poetry, racquetball.
Music group? The Beatles.
Book? ”Abolition of Man,” by C.S. Lewis.
Radio Station? 89.5 & 103.5.

What they say about Abigail
“Abby is simply one of the most kind and caring young women we have known here at Orem High School. Her desire to help others and make their personal situations better seems to be what distinguishes her most,” say nominators Stuart Duncan, Alice Barnes and Kerry Downs.

 

Jennifer Jackson

Jennifer Jackson

Jennifer Jackson, Lone Peak High School, Senior

At a glance
Jennifer began playing the viola at age 3. She was chosen as one of five Americans to represent the U.S. in the Jeunesses Musicales World Orchestra. She was awarded the overall talent award in the Utah Junior Miss Pageant.

In Jennifer’s words
Q: How often do you practice? A: At least four hours of personal practice, but I am playing my viola all day — through orchestra, teaching privately, and chamber ensembles.

Q: What do you love about music? A: Music is a universal language and has the ability to touch people’s lives in ways I never thought possible.

Q: What are your plans for the future? A: I want to be a professional recording artist, orchestral musician, and chamber player. I also want to continue teaching and become a music-loving mom!

What is your favorite class? Photography, English.
Book? ”Pride and Prejudice”

What they say about Jennifer
“The future needs young creative talent like Jennifer Jackson to create music that heals individuals and nations. Jennifer is on the way to becoming a person who will change this world through her music,” writes Lone Peak Principal Jim Starr.

 

Mike Judson

Mike Judson

Mike Judson, Pleasant Grove High School, Senior

At a glance
Mike’s Artificial Gravity project has been selected as one of four projects in the nation to be launched on the next space shuttle. Mike received the Sigma Xi award at the Intel International Science and Engineering Fair in Kentucky.

In Mike’s own words
Q: How did you come up with the idea for your project? A: This project is designed around solving one of the major existing problems with long duration space travel — the effects of microgravity.

Q: How did NASA get involved in your experiment? A: In January we submitted an experiment proposal to NASA and in February we were notified that our experiment had been selected.

Q: What do you hope will happen with your experiment in space? A: We hope that we will be able to establish that artificial gravity is similar to earth’s gravity.

Q: What career path are you pursuing? To become an astronaut.

What they say about Mike
“Mike has the ability to seek and question what can be done to make our community, state, and world a better place,” says Judith Runolfson, Pleasant Grove assistant principal.

Aaron Parkinson

Aaron Parkinson

Aaron Parkinson, Lehi High School, Senior

At a glance
Aaron is the president of the Lehi Youth Peer Court and debate president. He is an Eagle Scout and runs track.

In Aaron’s own words
Q: What do you like about track? A: I enjoy running for fun, pushing myself and not worrying about how others do.

Q: Why do you want to be a lawyer? A: I would like to get into politics, and law is a good background when running for office.

Q: What have you learned from your experience of being in a car accident? A: Patience. I learned that time doesn’t last forever so live in such a way that you will not have any regrets. Some opportunities only come once.

Q: Who is most influential in your life? A: Mrs. Lambert, my math teacher for the last three years. She has taught me that nothing but perfection is acceptable.

What they say about Aaron
“Aaron was in a serious auto accident last year, and he has had several reconstructive surgeries on his face with regrowing of the bone. Through all of this he has had a great attitude. He is running track this season to help strengthen his foot and leg,” say nominators Lynn Degelbeck and Debbie Naylor.

 

Kristin Richards

Kristin Richards

Kristin Richards, Timpanogos High School, Senior

At a glance
Kristin was named the Gatorade National High School Volleyball Player of the Year. She has been awarded a full scholarship to Stanford University. GPA: 3.9. She serves as the student body historian.

In Kristin’s own words
Q: Why did you choose Stanford University? A: It is such an incredible opportunity for me. The education and volleyball there are at such a high level I couldn’t pass it up.

Q: Who has been most influential in your life? A: Genna Gardner — she is my best friend and a good example of someone who loves people and serves those around her.

Q: How do you hope to change the world? A: To go out there and be a good example to everyone — hopefully I can make a few people happier.

Q: What is your favorite part of high school? A: Winning the state championship this year was a blast, but the best part is all of the friends I’ve made.

Q: What advice do you have for others? A: Find something you love and work hard at it. Be grateful for blessings and love those around you.

What they say about Kristin
“Kristin is truly a well rounded student. She has volunteered with Special Olympics and at a Women and Children’s Crisis Center,” writes Brad Kendall.

 

Zachary Richens

Zachary Richens

Zachary Richens, Payson High School, Junior

At a glance
Zachary organized a Senior Citizen Ball and got students to decorate, serve refreshments and perform. He is an Eagle Scout, member of the swim team and Close-Up Club.

In Zachary’s words
Q: What motivates you to serve people? A: When I show others that I care it improves my life as well. Just knowing that you have helped someone to smile, or having reached out to them makes me feel like all the sacrifice and time is completely worth it.

Q: What is your favorite part of high school? A: The time I have spent getting to know the people around me. Each person has a different story.

Q: What are your hobbies? A: Writing, singing, Photoshop.

Q: Who is the most influential person in your life? A: Tom Willis, science self-expression teacher. He taught me tenacity and to not procrastinate.

What they say about Zachary
“Zachery is bright, energetic, creative and dedicated. His enthusiasm for learning and involvement is contagious. He has a vision of what can be done to make the world a better place and has the ability to make that happen,” writes Ben Ford, nominator.

Julianne Sheffield

Julianne Sheffield

 

Julianne Sheffield, Provo High School, Senior

At a glance
Julianne is involved with the United Way Youth Service Committee and Sub-for-Santa. She is the student body vice president of activities. She is a student tutor for ESL students.

In Julianne’s words
Q: What was your favorite senior moment? A: Turning in this year’s final yearbook deadline!

Q: Who has been the most influential person in your life? A: Mr. Smith (my student government advisor/U.S. History teacher) has taught me to love and appreciate learning.

Q: Favorite book? ”The Grapes of Wrath.”

What they say about Julianne
“I have never been impressed more by a student than I am with Julianne Sheffield. Her desire to do good combined with her intelligence will change the world for the better. I would confidently rate her efforts, well-roundedness, and personal character in the top 1 percent of students ever to have graduated from Provo High. She has a rare combination of initiative, organizational skills, leadership, common sense, intellect, talent and humility that few individuals ever acquire in a lifetime — let alone in a high school student,” writes Dr. Stephen Oliverson.

Mary Wollenzein

Mary Wollenzein

 

Mary Wollenzein, Spanish Fork High School, Senior

At a glance
Mary has created videos that have entertained and informed students and patrons of the Spanish Fork Cable Network of safe school issues and the value of good character in our schools and homes.

In Mary’s words
Q: Which of your movies is your favorite? A: Attack of the Killer Lawn-Mower.

Q: What CD did you listen to on your way to the photo shoot? A: Bob Marley’s Greatest Hits.

Q: What is the best part of being a student at Spanish Fork High School? A: The variety of people — everyone is different. It makes the school unique, fun and exciting.

Q: What are your plans for the future? A: I want to go into filming and produce my own films. Most of all, I want to be a mother and have lots of kids.

Q: What is your greatest wish? A: I wish I could fly … and stop world hunger.

Q: What is your favorite quote? A: “If you empty your purse into your head, no one can take it from you,” by Benjamin Franklin.

Q: What is your favorite hobby? A: Sledding and building my own sleds.

What they say about Mary
“Mary’s ability to instruct and influence others in a very entertaining manner has been a tremendous contribution to our school and provides her the opportunity to change the world for the better. Mary is a delightful student who has the unique ability to perceive the beauty in the familiar object and the humor in everyday happenings,” writes Jon Jones, nominator.

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