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When you take a second to make a difference, people tend to take notice.
Los Alamos High School Hilltopper Daniel Ahrens did just that — and many people will benefit because of his compassion.
The LAHS junior is the Speech and Debate team captain and the captain of the Lincoln Douglas debate team, but that isn’t what he was rewarded for.
“Daniel is an outstanding student who is articulate, well-mannered and blessed with an excellent sense of humor,” said LAHS Speech and Debate coach Margo Batha.
Ahrens is the second of four boys, the last two of which are twins, so he learned at an early age to be calm and collected.
He is a five-year member of the YES Corps program and as such, had honed his first aid skills with years of first aid classes and lots of trail work.
At the La Loma Invitational, the Hilltalkers 50th annual speech and debate tournament, this particular skill set came into use.
The event hosted 235 students from all over the state, along with more than 100 adult judges and volunteers.
“During the awards ceremony, the coach from Zuni High School asked Daniel to help her with an injured member of her team,” Batha said. “The student had been running in the hallway where he fell and gashed his leg. Daniel quickly removed his sweater, balled it up and began to apply pressure to the wound. Daniel also took over the phone duties from the Zuni coach since he was able to provide more accurate directions for the paramedics.”
By the time Batha had arrived at the accident scene, Ahrens had everything well under control.
“He was doing such a great job controlling the first aid and the accident scene,” Batha said. “I was able to immediately complete clearing the area and the main lobby of the high school to ensure a clear path for the paramedics.”
Batha was struck by Ahrens’ complete control over the situation and his ability to instill his calm demeanor, to the accident victim.
This idea inspired LAHS Principal Sandy Warnock, to highlight the good efforts of Ahrens and other high school students, which may go unnoticed, to the greater community.
“Daniel’s actions demonstrate his maturity and willingness to help others,” Warnock said. “Hubba Bubba Junior allows administration to recognize Daniel and other students who go above and beyond to make Los Alamos High School a better place.”
Warnock met with Assets In Action, a Juvenile Justice Advisory Board program that works to increase the assets of the community and established the Hubba Bubba Award.
“Last year, the high school started the Hubba Bubba Award for staff recognition,” Warnock said. “ Students and staff can nominate a staff member for the weekly award. The staff member is recognized during student announcements and through the internal high school weekly information bulletin. It is not just teachers who have been recognized, but also staff that play a role in the daily lives of our students. The Hubba Bubba Award is one way to let staff know that they are appreciated for their good work and dedication.”
Hubba, is an acronym for Help Us Build Better Assets, which is based on the work of the Search Institute, of Minnesota. The work builds on the positive qualities and experiences that help youth to become caring, responsible adults, that thrive.
The plan was to create an opportunity for staff to anonymously highlight student efforts allowing them to earn the Hubba Bubba Junior Award.
The recipients will be acknowledged with a certificate, a wristband and Hubba Bubba bubblegum, the product that created the movement, presented at a Search Institute conference.
“We have students at the high school doing some remarkable things for others that deserve recognition. To be able to have a program like this is another reminder of how much the community values its youth,” Warnock said.