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Thursday, April 27

N 43 °F


April 29 April 28 April 27
X 49°/36° H 48°/32° R 70°/36°

BOYNE Honors 2015-16 Beyond the Slopes Winners

Boyne Highlands and Boyne Mountain honored the 2015/16 Beyond the Slopes winners during an awards presentation held recently at Boyne Mountain Resort.  Winners included Josiah Jarvenpaa and Lauren Bixby of Petoskey High School, and Justin Kurncz and Riley Gapinski of Gaylord Middle School.  Beyond the Slopes is an optional part of BOYNE's long-standing Student Freeride Program that further incentivizes students to benefit their academic future while making a positive difference in the lives of others.   

First place winner Josiah Jarvenpaa's project titled "Youth Bridging Cultures" aimed to motivate students to engage and learn more about the world around them by connecting students from other countries through a traditional pen pal system.  The 11th grader used his prior educational experience as an exchange student in Germany to set up the arrangement between students at Petoskey Middle School and Mauritius-Gymnasium in Buren, Germany, and also helped raise money to cover the expenses of the mailings.  Over 200 eighth graders from Petoskey and over 150 students from Buren participated.  Students were able to learn about regional cultures, school schedules, and favorite activities in both countries and were left with a greater awareness of the world in which we live in.  As the winning project, Jarvenpaa received a $1,000 BOYNE Gift Card and a 2016/17 Gold Pass for his mentor.

Second place winner, Lauren Bixby, an 11th grader at Petoskey High School, submitted a project titled "Petoskey Gives Back."  Lauren not only gave of her time to help the American Red Cross, but also orchestrated the donation of 64 pints of blood and also helped collect a total of 120 pints.  With each pint of blood having the potential to save three lives, Lauren was able to impact up to 360 local individuals and spread the importance of blood donations.  For her project, Lauren earned a $500 BOYNE Gift Card and her mentor received a 2016/17 Silver Pass.

The third place winning project was submitted by Gaylord Middle School 8th graders, Justin Kurncz and Riley Gapinski.  Their project "Restocking The Refuge" collected cans and non-perishable food items through a contest between homerooms.  With the winning homeroom earning a pizza party, the competition heated up and in total collected more than 2,400 food items for The Refuge of Gaylord, which provides food, warmth and shelter to those in need.  As part of the project, a school dance collected $500 for The Refuge, enough to pay for a month's rent.  For their contributions, Justin and Riley received a $250 BOYNE Gift Card and a 2016/17 Bronze Pass for their mentor.    

The BOYNE Student Freeride and Beyond the Slopes Initiative are available to grades 6 through 12 in Antrim, Charlevoix, Cheboygan, Emmet, and Otsego counties.  While Student Freeride provides local students the opportunity to earn a discounted season pass based on academic achievement, Beyond the Slopes focuses on students launching a positive idea.  Students participate by submitting a project idea, outlining the benefits and/or positive impact, identifying a to-do list of manageable steps and selecting a mentor. Students then provide an update reviewing how successfully the idea was implemented, the impact, benefitting parties, and what if anything they would do differently. The projects are evaluated 50% on quality of idea, and 25% each for implementation and impact.    To learn more about Beyond the Slopes, visit  

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