And the 2017 Cosmic Hero is...

We surprised Mt. Rainier High School's Angel Munguia with $2,500 to create change in her community


DES MOINES, WA — Mt. Rainier High School 11th-grader Angel Munguia was honored today by The Sidekick Collective, a statewide nonprofit that provides seed funding to high schoolers who give back to their communities.

Angel will receive up to $2,500 in seed funding for a project to create change in her community. The teenager was surprised by the announcement today, made during a school assembly, where her high school peers, school staff, State Representative Mia Gregerson, and Sidekick Collective volunteers celebrated her. 

The Sidekick Collective Board of Directors and volunteers will support and mentor Angel as she designs and implements her Cosmic Hero project.

“We are thrilled to have a Highline student receive the Cosmic Hero award,” said Highline Superintendent Public Schools Susan Enfield. “Angel’s commitment to serving children in our community sets an example for all of us. She truly is a superhero. We are so proud of Angel and grateful to the Sidekick Collective for recognizing her work.

Angel exemplifies empathy, dedication, and community-mindedness in action, and is a role model for students and adults alike. All Mt. Rainier High School students select a personal project to complete during their freshman and sophomore years. Angel was the only student in her class to pursue a service-oriented project. She decided to organize a fundraiser for the Seattle Children’s Hospital, and successfully raised several hundred dollars from her peers and staff at her school.

“We were impressed by Angel's selflessness, and by her ability to identify a need and develop a solution,” said The Sidekick Collective founder Paige Edmiston. “We know she will go on to make a positive impact in the world. She is already making a difference in her Des Moines community.”

This past fall, Angel recognized a need to help keep children in her neighborhood safe while trick-or-treating. She collaborated with a local community organization and recruited her peers to volunteer as crossing guards on Halloween.

“I have been teaching for six years and I have never met a student like her. Angel truly embodies service. She works so hard and shows endless commitment to causes that affect our community. She is genuine and passionate, and I am certain that she will use the award money effectively to fund a meaningful project,” said Mt. Rainier High School teacher Molly Burkhardt. 

As a 7th-grader, Angel was the only student in the Highline School District to be selected for Tech Trek, a summer camp for girls interested in technology. She will return this year as a camp counselor, serving as mentor and inspiration to younger students.

In the future, Angel hopes to make a positive impact by serving in the medical field.  

Angel did not apply for this recognition. She was nominated without her knowledge by a secret nominator. Each nominee was thoroughly vetted by The Sidekick Collective team for his or her superhero qualities: thinking differently, possessing an exceptionally big heart, having a powerful origin story, and demonstrating incredible courage and fortitude.

In addition to the funding, Angel received a very superhero-y framed proclamation inducting her into the Cosmic Hero fold, as well as a mysterious box filled with items to remind her of her heroism in the future, including a Funko superhero bobblehead and an album by local nerd-rock band and Comic Con celebrities Kirby Krackle.