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State Honoree

Kari Wise

Alaska

Kari Wise, 16, of Anchorage, Alaska, a junior at Polaris K-12 School, developed a program to help middle school students lead healthy, positive lives as they move on to high school. Kari developed her program, which she calls “View on Your Future Is All About YOU,” when she learned a close friend was contemplating suicide. “Why are we taught the different theories of chemistry, but yet we lack the skills to deal with our everyday lives?” Kari questioned. She realized that many young people turn to destructive behaviors because they don’t know how to deal with difficult life experiences. After conducting research into various teen health issues and getting input directly from area middle schoolers, Kari decided to put information about making healthy choices into a youth-friendly booklet. In order to keep costs low, she solicited businesses for donations of materials and services, and sought the assistance of graphic designers and photographers from a vocational school. Kari’s program has received such a positive response that schools outside of her district have requested booklets for their students.