Junior Achievement of Arizona’s 18 under 18

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Junior Achievement of Arizona’s 18 under 18 celebrates future leaders, change makers and innovators. These young leaders all have one thing in common, the desire to make an impact in the world.

This year’s 18 under 18 award winners represent everything from starting a nonprofit, raising money for a cause, developing critical apps, to teaching young people the importance of financial literacy, creating educational blogs, being a local activist and helping the elderly during the pandemic. Each individual is passionate about helping others and determined to do whatever it takes to achieve success.

“They are not waiting until they’re adults to make a difference in the world,” said Katherine Cecala, CEO of Junior Achievement of Arizona. “They have big dreams and goals. We’re so pleased to shine a spotlight on their efforts to make our community and state better.”

RELATED: “Raising an Entrepreneur” offers tips to nurture a child’s creativity

Pictured: Jessica Burke

Jessica Burke

Age: 16
School: Hamilton High School
Year: Sophomore
City: Chandler

Brief: An aspiring food scientist, Hamilton High School sophomore Jessica Burke is discovering that some of our most valuable and most meaningful interactions come over our shared love of food.

 

 


Pictured: Hurshneet Chadha

Hurshneet Chadha

Age: 16
School: Mountain Ridge High School
Year: Junior
City: Peoria

Brief: With an army of volunteers helping to spread his message of positivity, Mountain Ridge junior Hurshneet Chadha is getting a firsthand lesson in the power of positivity.

 

 


Pictured: Claira Chong

Claira Chong

Age: 17
School: Xavier College Preparatory
Year: Junior
City: Phoenix

Brief: Realizing that there was a dearth of practical, life-skills education for girls, Claira Chong decided to create her own forum. EmpowHerX, the Xavier College Preparatory junior’s creation, holds monthly meetings on topics ranging from personal finance to safety.

 


Sonya Colattur

Sonya Colattur

Age: 15
School: Xavier College Preparatory
Year: Sophomore
City: Glendale

Brief: Supporting a pet on a fixed income can be a challenge. Sonya Colattur, a sophomore at Xavier College Prep., founded GrandPaws Pantry to make sure seniors have a way to feed their beloved pets.

 

 


Pictured: Karasi Colter

Karasi Colter

Age: 17
School: Betty H. Fairfax High School
Year: Senior
City: Phoenix

Brief: Where most citizens look away, Karasi Colter dives in. Her work to bring assistance to and raise awareness about homelessness in the Valley makes this Phoenix Senior one of the state’s rising youth leaders.

 

 


Pictured: Charlotte Gould

Charlotte Gould

Age: 14 years old
School: Kyrene Aprende Middle School
Year: 8th Grade
City: Tempe

Brief: With a simple needle and thread, children across the globe are getting an important boost of confidence. They have Tempe middle-schooler Charlotte Gould, and her creativity, to thank for it.

 

 


Pictured: Mihira Karnik

Mihira Karnik

Age: 16
School: Arizona College Prep High School
Year: Junior
City: Chandler

Brief: What happens when you combine a talented chef and a scientist? You get Mihira Karnik. This junior at Arizona College Prep High School doesn’t just want food to be delicious, she wants to know when it’s reached its peak nutritional state.

 

 


Pictured: Jenna Lee

Jenna Lee

Age: 18
School: BASIS Chandler
Year: Senior
City: Chandler

Brief: Talk to Jenna Lee about leadership, and you’ll hear stories about listening, collaboration and sacrifice. This senior from BASIS Chandler looks back fondly on the opportunities her city and community provided.

 

 


Pictured: Arun Moorthy

Arun Moorthy

Age: 16
School: BASIS Scottsdale
Year: Junior
City: Scottsdale

Brief: With each medical appointment, we see how technology and healthcare are inextricably linked. BASIS Scottsdale junior Arun Moorthy isn’t just aware of the connection between tech and health, he’s helping make those innovations happen.

 

 


Pictured: Ashley Navison

Ashley Nevison

Age: 15
School: ASU Prep Digital
Year: Freshman
City: Scottsdale

Brief: Ashley Nevison channeled her grief and turned it into inspiration. Thanks to her nonprofit, Sargeant’s Army, this high school freshman has raised more than $50,000 and helped more than two-dozen homeless organizations.

 


Pictured: Theresa O’Connor

Theresa O’Connor

Age: 17
School: Tempe Preparatory Academy
Year: Junior
City: Tempe

Brief: Tempe Preparatory Academy junior Theresa O’Connor has learned an important lesson about leadership at a young age: The output from a group is exponentially more than that of an individual.

 

 


Pictured: Eduardo Rangel

Eduardo Rangel

Age: 18
School: Phoenix Union Wilson College Prep
Year: Senior
City: Phoenix

Brief: The concept of “building blocks for success” is more than a metaphor for Eduardo Rangel, a senior at Phoenix Union Wilson College Prep. Thanks to a hands-on internship, he’s focused on a career in construction.

 


Pictured: Eden Sapien

Eden Sapien

Age: 16
School: Sandra Day O’Connor High School
Year: Junior
City: Phoenix

Brief: As the saying goes, one man’s trash is another man’s treasure. Eden Sapien found a slightly different interpretation of the adage – this junior at Sandra Day O’Connor High School realized that the things we forget about in our junk closets could save someone’s life.

 


Pictured: Prisha Shroff

Prisha Shroff

Age: 15
School: Hamilton High School
Year: Freshman
City: Chandler

Brief: Prisha Shroff encountered a devastating wildfire during a trip to California that made her wonder: What could we do to better prevent them? Her ideas might give us hope.

 

 


Pictured: Sripriya Srinivas

Sripriya Srinivas

Age: 17
School: Horizon Honors Secondary
Year: Chandler
City: Junior

Brief: COVID couldn’t get in the way of Sripriya Srinivas and her volunteer work with memory care patients. When we started social distancing, Srinivas, a junior at Horizon Honors Secondary, came up with new ways to inspire creativity.

 

 


Pictured: Mallika Sunder

Mallika Sunder

Age: 17
School: Catalina Foothills High School
Year: Junior
City: Tucson

Brief: Mallika Sunder doesn’t need to wait until she’s eligible to vote to use her voice. This 17-year-old Tucson resident is inspiring her classmates and youth around the world through her activism.

 

 


Pictured: Ivanna Viloria Enciso

Ivanna Viloria Enciso

Age: 14
School: Catalina Foothills High School
Year: Freshman
City: Tucson

Brief: That sound you hear is a glass ceiling shattering into a million pieces, thanks in part to Ivanna Viloria Enescu. A freshman at Catalina Foothills High School in Tucson, Viloria Enciso became an Eagle Scout in October 2021.

 

 


Pictured: Radia Wong

Radia Wong

Age: 16
School: Notre Dame Preparatory
Year: Senior
City: Scottsdale

Brief: Radia Wong’s passion for synchronized swimming caused a literal ripple effect: This 16-year-old Scottsdale senior now puts her energy toward coaching, recruiting and gender equity in the sport, and finds time to help the community, too.

 


Learn more about “18 Under 18”

Read more detailed descriptions of this year’s winners a 18under18.org, where you also can sign up for email notifications about the 2022 program. Nominations will open in November. For more information about Junior Achievement of Arizona, visit jaaz.org.