Summit Olympus ninth grader Katie Wilton was honored today by The Sidekick Collective, a statewide nonprofit that provides seed funding to high schoolers who give back to their communities.
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. The teenager was surprised by the announcement today, made during a school assembly, where her high school peers, school staff, and Sidekick Collective volunteers celebrated her.
“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. This is what we strive for at Summit Olympus. We are not only making sure our students are prepared to succeed in college, but in citizenship as well.”
Katie 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.
Although new to the Tacoma area where her family is stationed on Joint Base Lewis-McChord, having moved from Texas, being in a new environment hasn’t dissuaded her from being the leader she is clearly becoming, Ponikvar said. Earlier this spring, Katie served as a Senate Page and testified in Olympia in order to persuade the legislature to legalize public charter schools.
Summit Olympus, Tacoma’s first public charter school, opened its doors in fall 2015 to ninth graders. The school is accepting 9th and 10th graders for the 2016-17 school year and will roll up to a full four-year high school by the 2018-19 school year. For more information, visit http://summitps.org/schools/washington/summit-olympus
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.”
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 Katie will go on to make the world a better place. She is already making her Tacoma community a better place. I hope she will continue to inspire others to help those in need and be someone’s superhero.”
Katie 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, Katie will receive 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 bobble head and an album by local nerd-rock band and Comic Con celebrities Kirby Krackle.