DES MOINES - Two-hundred-thirty-five high school seniors from 23 area high schools were selected by their schools to attend the National Council on Youth Leadership’s 27th annual Youth Salute on Sept. 9 at Drake University.

Participants heard from speakers on student leadership in high school and beyond.

JJ Kapur delivered a keynote address titled “Stand Out and Speak Up.” He is currently a sophomore at Stanford University. He attended the 2017 NCYL conference. Kapur’s work advocating for Sikh civil rights has earned him the Herbert Hoover Uncommon Student Award, ACLU Youth Advocacy Award and West Des Moines Emerging Citizen of 2018.

NCYL is dedicated to recognizing, encouraging and developing the leadership skills of youth. The mission of NCYL is to create public awareness of the importance and power of youth leadership, provide information to help build advanced leadership skills, encourage community involvement in recognition and support our youth. The Greater Des Moines chapter is facilitated by the Robert D. and Billie Ray Center at Drake University, which offers a variety of public awareness activities and programming, including CHARACTER COUNTS!, a widely used character education program.

Local students who attended the NCYL Youth Salute include:


Chase Anderson, Adel DeSoto Minburn High School

Brad Freiermuth, Adel DeSoto Minburn High School

Emily Hlas, Adel DeSoto Minburn High School

Dallas Center

Cody Hall, Dallas Center Grimes High School

Riley Hall, Dallas Center Grimes High School


Katie Carlson, Waukee High School

Emily Clouser, Waukee High School

Grace Clouser, Waukee High School

Kade Copple, Valley High School

Kate Dressel, Waukee High School

William Keck, Waukee High School

Zach Nigg, Waukee High School

Olivia Sanders, Waukee High School

Elena Sierra, Waukee High School

Hannah Tucker, Waukee High School

Kylee Vaudt, Waukee High School


Allison Baumhover, Dowling Catholic High School

Emma Drake, Woodward-Granger High School