Today We Surprised a Student with Seed Funding to Change the World

The Sidekick Collective today named Lupe Vieyra, a senior at Chelan High School, its 2015 Cosmic Hero. The organization also inducted five other Washington State students into its Hero Development Bureau.

 Lupe will receive $5000 in future seed funding for a project to make the world a better place. She was surprised by the announcement today, made during a school assembly, where she was celebrated by her high school peers, school staff, and Sidekick Collective volunteers. She also received a no-strings-attached $500 prize in recognition of her good work.  

“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. “Lupe has all of these traits and more. We believe she will make the world a better place — and inspire us all to do the same along the way.”

Inspired by her own mentorship experience as a 9th grade student, Lupe was the first student in her high school to seek out ten at-risk middle school students and meet with them regularly as their mentor. She didn't stop there: Lupe wanted to be formally trained, like the adult mentors at her school, as a resilience mentor. Through her advocacy, Chelan High School became only the second school in the country to train students through the WhyTry resilience education program. Now, thirty other students in Lupe’s school district are making a difference through peer-to-peer mentoring.

“Lupe is a superhero for her willingness to serve and lead,” said Chelan High School Community Liaison Sarah Barnes. “The effort she has put into helping others behind the scenes has inspired her peers and adults.”

Lupe answers the question: Why do you do what you do?

In addition to celebrating Lupe, five other students were surprised with Special Recognition from The Sidekick Collective’s Hero Development Bureau. 

**Eliana Parsons, Big Picture High School (Burien),** organized a dance recital at her school  to help cover the medical bills facing a classmate's mother with stage IV cancer.

**Manjot Singh, Sammamish High School (Bellevue),** founded the school’s chapter of SEWA International, which organizes awareness events, food drives, and tutoring for refugees.

**Loren Carrillo, Lincoln High School (Tacoma),** organized a shoe drive called Clean Kicks to help provide shoes to those in the student body and community who need them.

**Elida Antunez, Thomas Jefferson High School (Federal Way),** was one of the few students at her school to take notice of the students in the special education program and has inspired her peers to be more inclusive.

**Thierry Williamson, K-12 OCEAN program, (Port Townsend),** is a leader in the Port Townsend 4-H Stewardship Program, which helps clean, replant and reinvigorate the Olympic National Forest.

Lupe and the other Hero Development Bureau honorees did not apply for this recognition. Educators across the state secretly nominated students without their knowledge. Each nominee was thoroughly vetted by The Sidekick Collective team for his or her superhero qualities: thinking differently, having a big heart and a powerful origin story, and demonstrating incredible courage and fortitude.

Each student was surprised with a mysterious package filled with superhero essentials. Sidekicks also welcomed the Hero Class of 2015 with 

Paige Edmiston