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Eagle River High School Student Honored with National Leadership Award

Jaeoni Amaker

Photo courtesy of Becky Amaker.

The National WWII Museum in New Orleans has named Jaeoni Amaker of Eagle River High School as a 2022 Billy Michal Student Leadership Award recipient. The national honor is awarded annually to one student in every state who has maintained a strong record of volunteerism, demonstrates school and community activism, and helps implement creative solutions to recognized problems. Jaeoni was recognized at the Museum’s American Spirit Awards program on June 10.

The leadership award, which the Museum first presented in 2017, was created in honor of Billy Michal, who was a child living in Louisiana during World War II. At only six years old, Michal helped his one-room school win a statewide scrap metal-collection contest during the war, proving that every citizen could contribute to victory. Michal’s achievement demonstrated the positive impact the American spirit could have on the Home Front war efforts, and he continues to inspire students across America today.

Although new to Alaska, Jaeoni is an active participant in a range of activities at his school including AFJROTC, Drill, Color Guard, NHS, JLAB, Kitty Hawk Air Society and Soccer. He also volunteers within his community and has collected donations for the Fisher House, donated to the ASYMCA of Alaska's Food Pantry, served dinner to military families at the USO, as well as visitor services on behalf of Club Beyond and ASYMCA at Alaska's Annual Salute to the Military. Jaeoni is currently working on instituting a Military Peer to Peer Club at his school, which will benefit transitioning Military Peers alike.

The National WWII Museum’s American Spirit Awards – presented by Hancock Whitney – is a multiday event consisting of a patron reception, premier gala, and awards luncheon and leadership forum, which is where the Billy Michal students received their awards.

Congratulations, Jaeoni!