Local Students Named Superheroes

Meet Our 2016 Cosmic Heroes

This year, we surprised three students with funding for their big ideas to make the world a better place. Meet The Sidekick Collective's 2016 Cosmic Heroes.

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Haley Naparan


Lincoln High School
10th Grade

Haley will receive $2,000 in funding to continue her work advocating for students with special needs. Haley volunteers with her school’s special education program and has a vision of creating a place called  the “Dream Factory” in her community and has a vision of creating a place called the “Dream Factory” in her community, which would be a center for children and adults with special needs to support one another. 

“It’s rare to see an individual who can actually change the world,” said Pat Erwin, Principal at Tacoma’s  Lincoln High School. “But we have finally found the one. Haley is not only a brilliant student, she puts others first.” 

Stephen Cobb
Stadium High School
11th Grade

Stephen will receive $2,000 in funding to pursue his entrepreneurial fundraising ideas. He overcame significant life challenges to develop a passion for both giving back and haunted houses and has an unique ability to recognize problems and come up with solutions. One secret nominator said, “Stephen saw a need in the community, and immediately thought of how he could tackle the issue of basic toiletries that our homeless community was missing.”

This teenager has ambitious and entrepreneurial plans for a non-profit haunted house, which would provide a sustainable and ongoing funding source to support causes he’s interested in, including supporting homeless populations and suicide prevention.


Katie Wilton
Summit Olympus High School
9th Grade

Katie will receive $1,000 in funding to continue her work helping homeless families. Katie volunteers with the Union Gospel Mission and the Tacoma Rescue Mission. She has been a powerful example of what courage and empathy look like in a young leader. She works with families in need through a local shelter, throwing surprise birthday parties for homeless youth. 

“We have the most amazing students at Summit Olympus High School,” said Greg Ponikvar, executive director at Olympus. ”I’m so proud of Katie and the work she has done giving back to our community."

**About The Cosmic Hero Awards**

The Sidekick Collective seeks to identify and invest in the superheroes of tomorrow who are walking the halls of schools today. The non-profit shares their stories to inspire — and be inspired by — a new generation of real-life superheroes for the 21st century. Combining a love of superhero mythology with a venture capitalist model, the non-profit calls this “hero capitalism.”

Each year, The Sidekick Collective names "Cosmic Heroes," students who have demonstrated bigs hearts and entrepreneurial creativity in their commitment to giving back to their communities. Selected students are surprised with the announcement during school assemblies, where high school peers, school staff, and Sidekick Collective volunteers celebrated them. 

The Sidekick Collective was founded by 25-year-old Seattle-native Paige Edmiston. This is the nonprofit’s third year of recognizing high school students for their superhero-ism. 

“The world needs to invest in young people who think a little differently and have the persistence — and heart — necessary to create real change,” said Founder Paige Edmiston. “We know this year’s Cosmic Heroes will go on to make the world a better place. They are already making their local communities a better place. We hope this funding provides the spark — and resources —  needed to take their big dreams to the next level.”

Students cannot not apply for this recognition. They are nominated without their knowledge by secret nominators. Each nominee is 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, this year's Cosmic Heroes received a very superhero-y framed proclamation inducting them into the Cosmic Hero fold, as well as a mysterious box filled with items to remind them of their heroism in the future, including a Funko superhero bobble head and an album by local nerd-rock band and Comic Con celebrities Kirby Krackle.

Paige EdmistonComment