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Partnership's Youth Leadership Initiative Announces Class of 2017

May 19, 2017

A total of 42 students from 22 area high schools graduated in the 2017 Youth Leadership Initiative (YLI) class. YLI introduces, develops and fosters leadership among high school sophomores and juniors in Greater Des Moines (DSM) through experiential mentoring and leadership opportunities that enhance self-esteem and encourage involvement in all levels of community life. YLI is an initiative of the Greater Des Moines Partnership.


The following people and organizations were awarded as part of the graduation of the Class of 2017:


  • YLI Community Partner Award: Camp Hantesa, Camp Fire
  • Mentor of the Year Award: Mallory Murphy, Norwalk High School
  • Impact Award: Greg Jackson, Wells Fargo
  • YLI Outstanding Youth Award: Caroline Fink, Dowling Catholic High School


The full 2017 YLI graduating class is as follows:


  • Antonio Angel, Van Meter High School
  • Jacob Barr, North Polk High School
  • Sean Boles, Van Meter High School
  • Marcus Chew, Valley High School
  • Peyton Chilton, Waukee High School
  • Breton Clark, Valley High School
  • Sophia David, Woodward-Granger High School
  • Josiah DeValois, North Polk High School
  • Arleth DeAvila, Lincoln High School
  • Natalie Elizalde, Ankeny Centennial High School
  • Caroline Fink, Dowling Catholic High School
  • Nolan Grimes, Dallas Center-Grimes High School
  • Kallie Hirl, Norwalk High School
  • Trinity Hopkey, Norwalk High School
  • Chase Johnston, East High School
  • Tyler Juffernbruch, Indianola High School
  • Omer Kantarevic, Johnston High School
  • Jason Koromo, Hoover High School
  • Joshua Lawless, Carlisle High School
  • Drake Leek, Norwalk High School
  • George Long, Dowling Catholic High School
  • Achol Makuet, Roosevelt High School
  • John Martin Jr., Hoover High School
  • Katie Michalski, Johnston High School
  • Jacob A. Mulcahy, Ankeny High School
  • Megan Nelson, Valley High School
  • Robert Nishimwe, North High School
  • Delefine Niyigena, North High School
  • Nate Ramirez, Carlisle High School
  • Katie Reeder, Johnston High School
  • Malerie Rike, Homeschool – West Des Moines Homeschool Ancillary Program
  • Jackson Rutto, Urbandale High School
  • Brooke Seller, Dallas Center-Grimes High School
  • Shantelia Shook, Lincoln High School
  • Timaris Shumpert, East High School
  • Chaimae Sibouih, Roosevelt High School
  • Varun Vepa, Urbandale High School
  • Claire Ward, Southeast Polk High School
  • Roan Wilhelm, Ankeny Centennial High School
  • Connor Willeford, Southeast Polk High School
  • Nicholas A. Worthington, Lincoln High School
  • Sankalp Yamsani, Waukee High School


Since its inception in 2001, 461 students have graduated from the program. For more information, visit DSMpartnership.com/yli

About the Youth Leadership Initiative

YLI began as a project of the Greater Des Moines Leadership Institute's Community Leadership class of 2001 – 2002. It an initiative of The Greater Des Moines Partnership. Now in its 15th year, YLI’s mission is to help local youth see a community that is welcoming, nurturing and vital which provides ample opportunity for participation in meaningful community change, networking and individual growth. Since its inception, 461students have successfully graduated from the program.

About the Greater Des Moines Partnership

The Greater Des Moines Partnership is the economic and community development organization that serves Greater Des Moines (DSM), Iowa. Together with 23 Affiliate Chambers of Commerce and more than 6,000 Regional Business Members, The Partnership drives economic growth with one voice, one mission and as one region. Through innovation, strategic planning and global collaboration, The Partnership grows opportunity, helps create jobs and promotes Des Moines as the best place to build a business, a career and a future. Learn more at DSMpartnership.com.