High Altitude Society column: ‘Valley Tastings: Food for Youth’ spotlights standout students

The board of directors for the Eagle River Youth Coalition enjoyed their “Valley Tastings- Food for Youth” event at Donovan Pavilion on Thursday. Pictured are Jason Peck, Mikayla Curtis, Mike Kowalski, Executive Director Michelle Hartel Stecher, Robert Ticer, Jeanne McQueeney and Kristi Grems.
Betty Ann Woodland | Special to the Daily |

VAIL — On Thursday evening at the Donovan Pavilion in Vail, supporters of the Eagle River Youth Coalition came out to enjoy tastings from area restaurants including Tacorico, La Bottega, Ti Amo, Main St. Grill, Gore Range Brewery and Blue Moose Pizza. The coconut milk ice cream from Kiwi International Delights, and, of course, Batter Cupcakes were a hit for dessert.

Michelle Hartel Stecher addressed the crowd saying, “It is always an honor and inspiration to recognize the positive work that our young people are doing.”

She then introduced Jason Peck, Eagle River Youth Coalition program manager.

“We really appreciate you coming out tonight. … We asked members of our community to spotlight some of our students who are standing out with what they do, including making responsible decisions and being leaders in the community and mentors,” Peck said. “We had an overwhelming amount of nominations. … We wanted to give awards to everybody, but unfortunately we had to narrow it down.”

The first award presented was the Summiteer Award, which recognized students for their community engagement roles.

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“Recipients of this award have reached a pinnacle, they exemplify youth involvement in the community, taking on roles that make their name synonymous with leadership. They have a track record of contributions made to the community that result in positive changes,” Peck announced. The three Summiteer Award recipients were Carly Volkmer, Mike Ramunno and Riley Rowles, all from Eagle Valley High School.

The Zipliner Award went to Sarahi Garcia, of Battle Mountain High School, and the Belay Buddy Award went to Michelle Cortes who is involved with Upward Bound.

Stecher thanked all the event sponsors including the Vail Daily, First Bank, Alpine Bank, East West Partners, R.A. Nelson and Central Rockies Mortgage Corp. along with the event business sponsors.

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Betty Ann Woodland is a longtime local who covers social events including fundraisers for nonprofits, galas and soirees of all kinds. She can be reached at

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