VIDEO | Destiny Kudelko of Kewaskum wins Youth Frontiers 2018 Character Award


May 7, 2018 – Kewaskum, WI – Youth Frontiers, the leading character education organization in the  Upper Midwest, will present its 2018 Character Award to Destiny Kudelko, a senior at Kewaskum High School in Kewaskum, Wis., for her exceptional character and leadership skills.


Youth Frontiers will honor Kudelko at its third-annual Ethical Leadership Luncheon on May 9, in the company of hundreds of the area’s top corporate, nonprofit, education and civic leaders at the Pfister Hotel in Milwaukee. To further recognize her accomplishments, Scott and Linda Haag will award Kudelko a $2,500 college scholarship.

Rachel Hassler, the art teacher at Kewaskum, nominated Kudelko for her everyday leadership – evident from the very beginning of her high school career. At the end of the summer, incoming Kewaskum freshmen participate in the “August Warm-Up” program: two days filled with activities, information and mentorship designed to excite the freshmen and prepare them for a successful first day and school year.

Kudelko took a longer view.

“On day two of August Warm-Up, Destiny approached me and asked me how she could be a freshmen mentor,” said Hassler. “In all of my years running August Warm-Up, I have never had a freshman ask me how to be a freshmen mentor. In that moment, I knew that Destiny was going to be an exceptional addition to Kewaskum High School.”

Kudelko’s pursuit of leadership opportunities did not stop there. She actively improves her school community by participating in the Peers 4 Peers program, in choir, in drama club and as a small-group leader on Youth Frontiers retreats. Beyond these organized leadership opportunities, Kudelko truly shines in all of her unplanned interactions with others.

“The hard part about describing how Destiny is a leader is that there is not just one thing that makes her stand out. It is everything she does, every minute of every day. During class, she is the first one to volunteer to work with a student that does not have a partner. In the hallway, she is the first student to  approach any student that looks like they are not having a good day. In the lunchroom, she is the first to sit with a student that is sitting alone. She goes out of her way to help others around her all of the time,” said Hassler.

Kudelko’s leadership is caring and constant. She’s faced challenges from an early age, but rather than allowing those difficulties to embitter her, Kudelko has gained great empathy from them.
“Destiny can see the potential in every student and strives to bring that out in each student she comes in contact with,” said Hassler. “She knows and understands that not everyone is going to agree and get along all of the time, but she also knows that if each student is the best they can be, then school will be a great place for all students.”

“At the end of May, when Destiny walks across the stage at graduation, it is going to be one of the happiest days for her because she gets the proof for herself that all of her hard work, grit, and
determination has paid off. But, it will be one of the saddest days in our high school because we will be losing one of our most dedicated, respected and kind students,” said Hassler.

“We meet students every day on retreat who live out the values of kindness, courage and respect,” said Joe Cavanaugh, Founder and CEO of Youth Frontiers. “We believe that we need to invest in these students today so that they can make our world better tomorrow. Destiny is an outstanding example of a student who is already working to make her community and our world a better place by living a life of character.”

The Character Award is a chance for Youth Frontiers to honor students of character in their community.

This is the third year this award has been given to a student at Youth Frontiers’ Ethical Leadership Luncheon in Milwaukee. Last year’s recipient was Hannah Merlo from Waterford Union High School.

About Youth Frontiers

Founded in 1987, Youth Frontiers ( provides schools with experiences that inspire character, civility and community so that our next generation of leaders is grounded in character.

Based in the Twin Cities, the nonpartisan organization is funded through a partnership between schools and private foundations, corporations and individuals. Youth Frontiers offers one-day retreats on timeless values like kindness, courage and respect for students in fourth – 12th grades. The nonprofit also offers educator retreats to help schools support their educators and create cohesive teams all focused in a common direction: their students. Last school year, the nationally renowned nonprofit held 861 retreats for more than 126,900 students and educators. Since its inception, Youth Frontiers has reached more than 1.7 million students and teachers through its character development programs.



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