Strengthening Democracy: 2021 Outstanding Student Leaders

Anna Castro, Armon'e Dean, Christopher Gonzalez-Donis, and Neira Brandt are our 2021 Outstanding Student Leaders.


Each year, Civic Nebraska’s Strengthening Democracy Awards recognize Nebraskans whose work embodies the spirit of a modern, robust democracy. Among our 2021 honorees are educators, administrators, students, and everyday Nebraskans. We’ll officially honor the winners on April 29, but before then, here’s a chance to learn a bit more about what makes them special. 

Civic Nebraska honors Armon’e Dean, Neira Brandt, Christopher Gonzalez-Donis, and Anna Castro as our 2021 Outstanding Student Leaders.

Each of this year’s honorees has shown exceptional leadership and poise through the 2020-21 school year, which has been like no other in modern times in terms of challenges. The students represent each of Civic Nebraska’s four Lincoln Public Schools-based Community Learning Centers, whose respective staffs selected the four students as our 2021 honorees.

Armon’e attends Lincoln Northeast; Neira attends Randolph Elementary; Gonzalez-Donis attends Campbell Elementary; and Anna attends Lincoln High.

> “One of the things I first noticed about Armon’e Dean is his positive attitude no matter the situation,” said Michael Bandy, Civic Nebraska’s Lincoln Northeast High CLC school community coordinator. “Armon’e is a kind and empathetic leader who takes pride in the work that he does both inside and outside of the classroom. The Lincoln Northeast staff made it clear that he represents Civic Nebraska values, especially connecting others with power and maintaining optimism about our future.”

> “Neira Brandt has exhibited outstanding character and performance at CLC this year. She also has shown a willingness to be a helper and role model for our younger students and after-school clubs,” said Levi Eggers, Civic Nebraska’s Randolph Elementary CLC school community coordinator. “She has been a helper in a K-2 club the last three quarters, and is great in her support of both adults and younger students in the classroom. We want all of our students to be leaders inside and outside of our CLC, and Neira taking the initiative to help and lead has been very exciting to see.”

> “Christopher Gonzalez-Donis continuously shows leadership among his peers, a fearless attitude towards problem-solving, and qualities that make him a go-to leader,” said Victor Ortiz-Morales, Civic Nebraska’s Campbell Elementary CLC school community coordinator. “Christopher has consistently shown a level of perseverance that goes above and beyond what would be expected from any second-grader, making himself available to staff members as a superb helper in our after-school setting, he actively participates in hard conversations and creates positive spaces for his peers to do the same. Christopher is a perfect role model of someone achieving success through their personal best.”

> “Anna Castro always seeks opportunities to connect with other students and hear the experiences of her peers through conversation,” said Chelsea Egenberger, Civic Nebraska’s Lincoln High CLC school community coordinator. “For example, this year she created an after-school group to learn Lincoln High history and those who once walked the same halls she does today. This has been a great exploration of self-driven learning. Anna also engages and connects with others through CLC and beyond. Anna is always willing to discuss ideas and brings others into the conversation to strengthen them.”

Congratulations to our 2021 Outstanding Student Leaders!

Meet Armon’e, Neira, Christopher, and Anna and their fellow honorees on April 29 at Civic Nebraska’s Strengthening Democracy Awards. RSVP now.

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