18 Remarkable Students Under 18 Recognized for Outstanding Leadership

Date: Wednesday, September 21, 2022


National Society of High School Scholars (NSHSS) Announces Second Annual

18 Under 18 Scholarship Winners

ATLANTA, GA – National Society of High School Scholars (NSHSS) awarded 18 of the nation's stand-out students under the age of 18 with the second annual 18 Under 18 Scholarship. Applicants created short videos detailing their passions and contributions to society, what makes their leadership styles effective within their communities, and how they plan to utilize their passions to further effect positivity and change.

“As one of the first organizations to award an 18 Under 18 Scholarship, we are proud to recognize these students for their exemplary achievements,” said NSHSS Co-founder, James Lewis. “Most students begin applying for scholarships their senior year in high school, when they are already 18, but NSHSS encourages young students, like these 18 recipients, to recognize they don’t have to wait until then to apply for scholarships that will defray their college costs.”

Eighteen top students from across the country were chosen by NSHSS to be awarded a $1,000 scholarship. The recipients are:

Sanaa Akesson – Brooklyn, NY

Sanaa is passionate about wildlife conservation. As founder and president of her school’s animal club, she helped the club raise enough money to buy their first-ever class pet, a bearded dragon named Victor that they adopted. Throughout college, she will continue to spread awareness for wildlife conservation to people of all ages.

Sophia Baig – Utica, MS

While Sophia has had many leadership opportunities, her favorite has been helping lead in her church’s vacation bible school (VBS). In last year’s VBS, Sophia was a small group leader for several special needs children. She has also interned for the past four years with her local ballet academy, where she helped lead classes and taught some on her own. She was named an intern leader from 2020-2021.

Mobis Bassir – The Woodlands, TX

Mobis regularly volunteers at a local food bank, iron man races, and her church. Within her church, she helps instill a passion for service in young kids and wants to continue this through line of work through college.

Malini Chawla – Chandler, AZ

Malini was recently elected president of her school’s Unified Sports team, an organization that provides athletes with intellectual disabilities the opportunity to participate in sports alongside their classmates. Through Unified Sports, Malini realized she has a passion for helping others find their potential – just like this organization helped her when she was young.

Christopher Dean – Coon Rapids, MN

As part of Man Up Club, a nonprofit that focuses on mentorship programs for young Black men, Christopher helps teach younger kids social and life skills, civic responsibilities, and academic discipline. In the Leaders In Training (LIT) Club, he teaches children how to become leaders, and in Advancement Via Individual Determination (AVID), he teaches them how to work with others and show cooperation to adapt to others’ ideas.

Amie Donathan – McKinney, TX

An amputee herself, Amie traveled to Sierra Leone to help other amputee women find a community through soccer. In her hometown, Amie volunteers with TOPSoccer, an organization that helps kids with cognitive, emotional, and physical disabilities play.

Gabrielle du Vair – Weston, WI

Gabrielle’s hockey team voted her to be a senior captain, and she helped lead them to a state championship. She ensured everyone on the team felt welcome and comfortable. As a result, she was awarded the 2021-2022 CW Storm Captain Award.

Nabeel Hakeem-Olowu – Harrisburg, PA

Nabeel’s goal is to eradicate poverty in Harrisburg, so he started volunteering with TriCounty Community Action to help. He has assisted the organization in helping more than 7,000 households with utility assistance and educating more than 200 people in becoming successful first-time home buyers.

Jaelyn Holmes – Victorville, CA

During her sophomore year of high school, Jaelyn was one of the original members of a nonprofit called Moore Truth More Change, which raises awareness for social justice issues – from local to a national level. She runs the organization’s social media channels, creates educational videos, and sets up community clothing and book drives.

Russell Ireland – Ontario, CA

Russell is involved with the Civil Air Patrol, a direct auxiliary of the United States Air Force. Russell works with the group’s mobile food bank and joins in flag planting, where he goes to veterans’ cemeteries to plant flags at their graves in honor of their service.

Lyndi Jones – St. Louis, MO

Lyndi is an active member of a local nonprofit that helps build community in the St. Louis area. With the group, she has helped run in numerous events like back-to-school expos, food drives, and more. She also participates in her church’s chess club, which gets young, at-risk kids into a new learning environment.

Mary Karlsson – Cave Creek, AZ

Mary is a co-founder of Hug Your Head Foundation, a 501 (c) (3) nonprofit she established with her brother, a traumatic brain injury (TBI) survivor. Together, they created this organization to educate the public on the importance of protecting the head from injury and to provide support to other TBI survivors and their family members.

Iaslyn Lewis – Thomaston, CT

As stage manager of her school’s and community’s theater productions, Iaslyn acts as the main point of communication. Her job is to make sure each show runs smoothly – ensuring all scenes are rehearsed, sets are made, costumes and props are in place, and that the curtain goes up.

Parth Nikumbh – Katy, TX

Parth started a nonprofit, ThinkBeyond, which aims to encourage and motivate students to consider and explore careers in the medical field through various workshops. He also volunteers at a local speech and debate institute where he coaches students and helps them build public speaking skills.

Isabella Sells – Gilroy, CA

Isabella connects her leadership style to creativity and art. Her goal in college is to reach a wider audience in her art and portray more diverse characters in visual media to spur change through storytelling. This summer, she released her first of many webtoons.

Kinley Simmons – Millers Place, NY

As a rising tenth grader, Kinley has an extensive leadership and community service background. She recently packed 3,000 meals in partnership with nonprofit Rise Against Hunger and donated & packed backpacks full of school supplies for young students in need. She has also led webinars and events where she speaks about the effects of smoking and vaping and encourages senators to support bills protecting kids from tobacco.

Amrita Talwar – Gainesville, VA

Amrita has been her school’s Women in STEM Club president for two years and leads group activities and discussions. She has also co-founded Women Talk Tech, an organization successful in bringing STEM and coding to local elementary and middle school girls.

Jordan Yen – Pacifica, CA

Jordan was elected secretary of his high school’s Associated Student Body (ASB) his freshman year and president his sophomore and junior year. As president, he organized and supervised fundraisers and class activities, including a Career Day. He was elected the overall ASB school president for his upcoming senior year.

About National Society of High School Scholars (NSHSS):

NSHSS is the premier honors and scholarship program co-founded by Claes Nobel, the senior member of the Nobel Prize family, and James Lewis. NSHSS offers a lifetime of benefits, pairing the highest performing students worldwide with high school and college scholarships, events, connections, internships, and career opportunities that begin in high school and carry on through college and careers. For more information, visit https://www.nshss.org/

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