by Christina Whiting
Katherine Dolma is a Homer High School senior with a passion for leadership, community involvement, environmental activism and sports. Today, she juggles these activities as she also applies to colleges, works to keep her grades up, spends time with friends and attends Nutcracker ballet rehearsals.
Born and raised in Homer, Dolma’s leadership roles and community involvement have been plentiful and diverse.
She served as the Homer Foundation Youth Representative, participating with the Homer Youth Advisory Council. She’s active on her school student body, in Homer High as Student Body President, Freshman and Sophomore class Treasurer, Junior class Vice President and Site Council Student Representative; and in middle school as Student Council Treasurer.
“I believe that observing the fine details and listening to even the quietest voices makes a good leader,” Dolma said.
Dolma is an active Girl Scout, working her way up from a Brownie. She received the Girl Scout Silver Award for beach clean up and the Girl Scout Gold Award for Recycle Education.
In 2006, she won the Girl Scout Bronze Award for her work participating with the writing of Women Scientists of Kachemak Bay. This book was written as a troop, where each girl interviewed a number of scientists and a troop leader worked alongside the girls to help write, edit and publish the book.
“Girl Scouts is an amazing opportunity to develop lifelong friends and participate in an organization that celebrates women.”
Dolma’s mom, Brenda, recognized her daughter’s passion for the environment early on.
“When Katherine was in fourth grade, I suggested that we participate in the Pratt Museum’s annual Facing the Elements outdoor exhibit,” Brenda said. “Katherine took my small idea and expanded it into a beautiful environmental piece. She used elements from the environment to form the word RESPECT to emphasize the importance of respecting our environment.”
In fifth grade, Dolma was the President of Kidz Council for the Center for Alaskan Coastal Studies and a Student Representative for the Alaskan Forum on the Environment. In 2006, at the age of 11, she participated in a schoolwide beach cleanup with the Center for Alaskan Coastal Studies, the first school cleanup effort of its kind. She has served as a Youth Leader for Fireweed Academy Beach Clean-Up, an intern for the Center for Alaskan Coastal Studies and she attended the Fish and Wildlife Vision Conference Conserving the Future in Madison, Wis.
Dolma was a Youth Conservation Corp Intern for Fish and Wildlife’s National Maritime Wildlife Refuge.
“YCC was an incredible opportunity to work with intelligent, inspiring individuals,” she said.
In 2009, Dolma helped form EcoLogical with Taylor Ellison, Adi Davis, Sydney Paulino and Hannah Baird. EcoLogical’s mission was to use education to reduce waste in the Homer landfill. The group’s education efforts included participating in parades, passing out recycling information and presenting at West Homer Elementary, Homer Middle School and Paul Banks. They also presented two recycle fashion shows had a gallery display for recycled fashion at HCOA and had their work displayed in Anchorage fashion show, Object Runway. EcoLogical’s successes include the addition of TinBin to the landfill site, the increase in recycling of items like plastic bags and their efforts helped to get rid of the use of Styrofoam trays at Homer Middle School, reducing more than 2,000 trays from the landfill. These projects also took them all the way to shaking hands with the President of the United States.
Earlier this year, when the Alaska Supreme Court took place at Barrow High School before the entire community, Dolma attended. The youth are asking the state of Alaska to create a plan for climate action. They are still waiting to hear back about the courts decision.
Dolma’s received numerous awards through the years, including the Prudential Spirit Award for Community service, Alaska Spirit of Youth Award, Peace Forum Scholarship, Young Women of Distinction, Athlete Scholar Award and Rotary Youth Leader Award. She’s been a Homer TedX Teens Presidential Environmental Youth Award Finalist, has been nominated for the Summer of Hero’s International Eco-Hero and received a President’s Environmental Youth Award.
Dolma’s been active in cross-country skiing, soccer, diving and synchronized swimming since middle school. Her swim team has placed second at the Alaska State Synchronized Swim Meet and gone to Nationals. She’s been voted most improved diver by her teammates, was the Homer High School dive team captain and has been voted Most Inspirational Female Diver. Dolma has attended Region III dive meets since her freshman year, State meets since her junior year and this year made it to Finals.
“For me it’s all about the team,” she said. “It’s not about winning or losing, but is about the camaraderie.”
Dolma’s participated in the local production of the Nutcracker ballet for the last 10 years. She started as a mouse and lamb and is the Queen of Cards in this year’s production.
Considering a career in the fields of science or math, Dolma’s applying to the University of Alaska Fairbanks, as well as to several colleges around the United States.
“I’ll choose a school based on whatever programs and professors resonates the most with me,” she said. “Whichever school I choose will definitely have progressive, forward-thinking teachers and students.”
Katherine Dolma is this year’s Homer High School senior class Valedictorian. Motivated by teamwork and a dedication to leadership, environmental issues and community involvement, her young life is an inspiring example of hard work, enthusiasm and passion that reaches far beyond her front door.
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