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WHS teen earns statewide honor

Adyiam Kimbrough of Worthington earned the 2013 Red Wagon Award given by the Minnesota lieutenant governor.

WORTHINGTON -- A soon-to-be 11th grader at Worthington High School, Adyiam Kimbrough was honored earlier this month with the Minnesota Lieutenant Governor's 2013 Red Wagon Award.

The award, sponsored by the Minnesota Alliance for Youth, recognizes youths across the state for their leadership, academic excellence and community service. Kimbrough was one of 10 individuals and five groups -- and the only person from southwest Minnesota -- to be honored during a June 11 ceremony at Hamline University.

Kimbrough, the daughter of Aida Simon and Mike Kimbrough, wasn't able to attend the ceremony because she was on a school-sponsored trip to Spain. Her mom accepted the award on her behalf.

"It was amazing -- very eye-opening and my heart was just bursting with joy standing there receiving this huge honor," Simon said. "I was very honored to be there on her behalf."

Kimbrough began volunteering with the Nobles County Integration Collaborative (NCIC) as a sixth-grader and now helps plan the kids games for the community's annual International Festival.

"I really had like nothing else to do -- it was something to do in my free time and I enjoyed it, too," she said. "We do a lot of stuff in the community, like go to nursing homes (to visit residents)."

Lakeyta Potter, NCIC director, said Kimbrough is a "huge asset" to the collaborative's programs.

"She's just a great leader, good role model," said Potter, who nominated Kimbrough for the Red Wagon award.

In addition to her volunteer efforts with the collaborative, Kimbrough is in her third year of service on the Minnesota Youth Council. The group consists of youth representatives from across the state, and its motto is "to empower youth and give them a voice," said Kimbrough. Patrick Burns of Worthington also serves on the council.

During monthly meetings, webinars and phone sessions, members of the Minnesota Youth Council share ideas and draw attention to youth issues.

"We got to go talk to legislators and we also got to go to the Youth Rally Day at the Capitol," Kimbrough said. "We just talked to them about teen issues -- miscommunications with parents, teen pregnancy, destructiveness and dropout rates."

With aspirations to one day study at an Ivy League college -- though she's not yet sure which one -- Kimbrough is focused on expanding her horizons even more during her remaining years in high school. She participates in band, choir, choir ensemble, the Bel Canto choir and is secretary of the student council. She'd like to serve in one of the top leadership roles in her class during senior year.

"I want to further my leadership skills and be in more programs," she said.

Kimbrough has already applied for a scholarship to participate in the two-week QuestBridge program at Yale University next summer to learn more about global issues. A year ago, she traveled to her mother's homeland of Eritrea for the first time, and she's already planning to return there and make an impact.

"I kind of want to get youth together and teach them English -- teach them basically anything," Kimbrough said. "I also want to open an orphanage for kids without parents.

"I think I want to have a head start before I go to college and kind of have a plan for what I want to do," she added. "I'm still not sure what I want to do as a career. I think it would be great to be a mayor or something."

Kimbrough is appreciative of the nomination and recognition for the Red Wagon award.

"It's a good thing to be nominated for something like that," she said. "It really pays off for all of the hard work I did."

Kimbrough's cousin, Fayissa Abraham, was also a Red Wagon award recipient several years ago.

Daily Globe Reporter Julie Buntjer may be reached at 376-7330.

Julie Buntjer

Julie Buntjer joined the Globe newsroom in December 2003, after working more than nine years for weekly newspapers. A native of Worthington, she has a bachelor's degree in agriculture journalism. Find more of her stories of farm life, family and various other tidbits at

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