Clarinda High School senior Chase McAndrews was one of 200 high school youth leaders representing 66 schools to be honored as a Youth Salute Award recipient by the Greater Omaha-Council Bluffs Area Council on Youth Leadership.
Along with being named as the Top Youth Leader for Clarinda High School, McAndrews was also one of four students recognized as Top Youth Leaders as National Youth Salute Ambassadors. Awards were also presented to two Youth Leaders of the Year.
As a National Youth Salute Ambassador, McAndrews has been invited to attend the National Council on Youth Leadership conference hosted by Washington University in St. Louis, Mo. The week-long conference will be held virtually during the spring of 2021.
“I was definitely surprised and really honored to receive the Youth Salute Award and then to be among the top four to serve as a delegate to the national convention. It is pretty amazing to know I will have a chance to work with leaders from various cities both urban and rural,” McAndrews said.
Nebraska Wesleyan University hosted a virtual awards ceremony earlier this school year where the various recipients were recognized. McAndrews applied for the award at the end of his junior year.
Participating universities and colleges provided the opportunity for students to be awarded up to $988,000 in scholarships and other awards. This year, Bellevue University, Nebraska Wesleyan University and Clarkson College, University of Nebraska-Lincoln and University of Nebraska-Omaha provided scholarships. Arnold Clark Photography served as a corporate sponsor, while Nebraska Wesleyan University Director of Admissions Staci Bell served as the Master of Ceremonies for the award presentations.
The Greater Omaha-Council Bluffs Area Council on Youth Leadership was formed in 2018 to conduct the “Youth Salute” in nearby counties in cooperation with the National Council on Youth Leadership. Teachers, guidance counselors and principals nominate students to apply to attend the Youth Salute event. To qualify, the student must be a junior with a 3.0 grade point average or higher and have held at least two leadership roles to which they were chosen by their peers or an adult leader within the past two years in school, religious or community sponsored organizations.
McAndrews served as an intern for Clarinda Community School District Superintendent Chris Bergman during the 2019-2020 school year. He was also the Clarinda High School Junior Class President last year.
Other school related leadership roles McAndrews has held include serving as a leader in the March for Our Lives Movement at Clarinda High School; ambassador to the Hugh O’Brian Youth Leadership Camp; ambassador to the Rotary Youth Leadership Awards; mentor in a violence prevention program; Stage Manager for three Cardinal Theatre performances; chair of the Homecoming Committee; National History Day mentor; and a Talented and Gifted mentor.
“My leadership roles have given me a lot of hands on practice and experience. They have also allowed me to hone my writing and communication skills. Each one individually has impacted me a little differently,” McAndrews said.
In addition, his past honors have included being inducted into the National Honor Society; named Rookie of the Year by Cardinal Theatre; serving as Stage Manager for a one-act play in the Large Group Speech Contest that was an All-State Critics Choice recipient; inducted into the International Thespian Society; being a member of the Iowa Economic Challenge State Champion Team; and being a National History Day State Qualifier and a finalist for nationals.
McAndrews has also earned various station and national honors. They include being an Iowa Citizen of Character Award nominee; being accepted to the Harvard Pre-College Summer School Program for the summer of 2020; and an attendee of the University Council on Art Education Conference sponsored by the New York School of Visual Arts.
Beyond his academic studies, McAndrews is also actively involved in volunteer service in Clarinda. He serves as an Executive Member of the Clarinda Youth Coalition; a Junior Board Member at the Nodaway Valley Historical Museum; and an Executive Member of the Adopt a Grave program coordinated by the museum.
Other community projects McAndrews has been involved with include serving as an Administrative Coordinator for the Clarinda Carnegie Art Museum; a Clarinda City Council Youth Representative; and a liaison between the Clarinda Chamber of Commerce and the Clarinda High School National Honor Society.
“Volunteering gives you a sense of fulfillment, but at the end of the day it is really about benefiting the community. I am fortunate to call Clarinda home and the only way it stays so successful is because of the work of volunteers throughout the year. I feel it is really important to give back to your community,” McAndrews said.
As a prize for being named a Youth Salute Award recipient, McAndrews was photographed by Arnold Clark Photography of Omaha for a banner displayed at Clarinda High School.
After graduating from high school, McAndrews plans to attend a four-year university to pursue a degree in political science and international relations.