Light Up Lakewood King And Queen Announced

Sam Baker and Ann Marie Elaban, both juniors at Lakewood High School, have been named King and Queen of “Light Up Lakewood” for 2013. Baker and Elaban will be crowned by last year’s King and Queen, Tyler Krebs and Megan Barrett, and then will preside over the Festival parade and tree lighting on Saturday, December 7th at 5:00 PM in downtown Lakewood. A $500 scholarship prize accompanies the honor.

Chosen for their commitment to serving others and the way they embody the spirit of a diverse and vibrant community, Baker and Elaban both express deep appreciation for the acceptance, support, and outstanding educations they have received growing up in Lakewood. Time and again, the applicants for King and Queen remarked upon the uniqueness of Lakewood, citing its close-knit neighborhoods, cultural richness, recreational and arts activities, and encouragement toward volunteerism - particularly through H2O. The students mentioned how easily they can walk and bike around town, particularly to the downtown district with its many independent businesses and special events.

Sam Baker is the son of Luann Baker and Bruce Baker. Sam has a special passion for befriending youth who have moved to Lakewood from other countries. Since another of Sam’s passions is soccer, it was natural that he would become involved with the Lakewood Refugee Soccer Program, where he feels grateful to witness the way the players and their families take joy in the game. Sam also played on the Lakewood High School Soccer team and has spent many hours volunteering and mentoring through H2O, where he earned the Jane Michalko Peace Award. He has mentored Fresh Start students and currently tutors middle school math students. He has participated in the National Leadership Conference through the American Youth Foundation and has been published in the Lakewood Times student newspaper and the Lakewood Observer.

Sam relishes the sounds of over thirty languages being spoken in the school hallways, and remarks that the cultural diversity of Lakewood prepares him and his classmates for college and life beyond. “Lakewood’s population represents a microcosm of today’s world,” says Baker. “The people I’ve met here and the experiences I’ve had truly inspire me to ‘change the world within my reach.’”

Ann Marie Elaban is the daughter of Jennifer and Cal Elaban. She received a scholarship as a freshman to develop her leadership skills though Dare2Care – a Cleveland-based nonprofit organization with a mission to assure equality for LGBT students and address the problem of bullying on high school campuses. Ann Marie brought what she has learned through Dare2Care back to Lakewood High School, where - with three other students - she started Club Equality to encourage an inclusive environment for all students. “Although this is a controversial topic that may not be agreed upon by everyone,” Elaban states, “I think we can all support the idea that no one deserves to be put down for who they are.” Ann Marie is also active in the Lakewood High School Rangerettes dance team and plays cello with the Chamber Orchestra and The Lakewood Project.

This great scholarship program is all possible because of the support of David Stein of Plantation Home. Thank you David for the continued support that you give to this event and the entire Lakewood Community.

Ken Brand

I am the Marketing and Event Coordinator for LakewoodAlive

Read More on Non-Profit
Volume 9, Issue 24, Posted 5:43 PM, 11.28.2013