We spent last Saturday morning recognizing 19 standout young people at a breakfast in Rio Rico as part of our AZ19 Region Influential Youths awards ceremony.

It was great to hear the stories of these inspiring young people and finally meet them in person. We had planned a similar event last year, but COVID-19 shelved that idea.

Like most of their classmates, all of the champs we lauded on Saturday made it through the pandemic, learning the intricacies of navigating through distance and hybrid learning. Some were more challenged than others.

Despite COVID, they not only persevered, they excelled. One of the students is headed to Yale, another is going on to college to study biomedical engineering. One first-grader makes sure nobody is left behind in his class, while another was a cheerleader during COVID, urging classmates through it all. One overcame a disability and is headed for college in Minnesota.

It was a great way to spend a Saturday morning.

The idea for this event evolved from a ceremony that the Nogales International and Green Valley News have been hosting for three years called AZ19 Region Most Influential People. And now, it’s time to honor the adults again at an event slated for September.

We’re looking for nominations from you. We want people up and down Interstate 19 who are spark plugs in their communities — Nogales, Rio Rico, Patagonia Tubac, Arivaca, Amado, Green Valley, Sahuarita and more.

We’re looking for those who are standouts in their personal lives, not just on the job. People who volunteer, who look in on their neighbors and who make others a priority. People who care and people who take action. We’ll also honor a local organization.

It’s simple to get the nominations process rolling. Just send us the name, email address and phone number of your nominee. Also, include a few lines about why the nominee should be recognized. We’ll dig in and do more research. Deadline to nominate somebody is July 2.

Send your nominations to me at manuel.coppola@nogalesinternational.com.

Remember, the nominee doesn’t have to be high profile in the community or have a job that touches hundreds of lives — though we’d welcome those, too. But let’s not overlook the everyday good neighbors who made others’ lives better, especially during the tough last year.

Load comments