City High Students Receive Human Rights Awards

Miguel A. Garcia, Opinion writer, reporter

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On Wednesday night, the Iowa City Human Rights Commission held its 12th Annual Youth Awards ceremony to recognize local youths who have contributed to the community through volunteer service and acts of kindness. This year’s awards honored 32 recipients from City High, West High and Regina High, including City High’s own Sonali Durham ‘16, BJ Sullivan ‘15, Lauren Hudachek ‘16, Laura Cornell ‘16, Max Otoadese ‘17, Abby Dickson ‘16, Riley Lewers ‘16, Maggie Morony ‘15, and Cora Bern-Klug ‘15.

Morony and Bern-Klug are second-time recipients of the award, both having received one last year. Bern-Klug is City High’s senior class president as well as a co-president of City High’s Interact community service group. Along with fellow Interact members Sullivan, Durham, and Dickson; Bern-Klug provided potentially life-saving fluoride treatments and vaccinations to children in Xicotepec, Mexico, on a service trip during last year’s spring break.

“Going to Mexico meant a lot to the people we helped,” said Sullivan, “Deworming and helping people there was definitely the highlight [of our service] and we’re just really thankful that our work is being acknowledged.”

Members of the commission opened the ceremony with thoughts from commissioner Harry Olmstead and then let their guest, Mayor Matt Hayek, speak of his own youth and the importance of service in the community and selfless work. The awards were then presented by the vice president of the American Civil Liberties Union of Iowa board of directors, Shams Ghoneim. Afterwards, the awardees were met with applause from the audience and extended hands from Mayor Hayek and the commissioners, fully commending them for their achievements.

“As a young adult, it’s hard to be taken seriously sometimes,” said Bern-Klug, “So being recognized for the work that we’ve put in by the city is a really wonderful thing.”