Iowa Secretary of State Paul Pate honored a former Urbandale High School student on Tuesday for her efforts in helping classmates register to vote. Pate presented the National Association of Secretaries of State (NASS) John Lewis Youth Leadership Award to Monica Lewandowski.
The award was established in 2021 to honor the accomplishments of late civil rights leader and longtime Congressman John Lewis. The goal of the award is to recognize a gifted, civic-minded young person each year in every state. Monica Lewandowski is the first Iowan to receive this prestigious honor.
Lewandowski spearheaded Urbandale High School’s successful voter registration drives in 2019 and 2020. She helped the school register more than 90 percent of eligible students in both the 2019-20 and 2020-21 school years, qualifying for the Carrie Chapman Catt Award twice.
“No school in the state registered more students to vote than Urbandale High School the past two years, and Monica’s efforts were a key reason for that success,” Secretary Pate said. “She is dedicated to encouraging and helping young people register to vote and get involved in the elections process here in Iowa.”
Lewandowski is now a freshman at the University of Northern Iowa, working towards a Bachelor of Arts degree in Public Health. Last year, she was recognized by Keep Iowa Beautiful, a nonprofit organization dedicated to enhancing the image and appearance of Iowa’s countryside and communities.
“I am incredibly honored to be receiving this award and for the recognition of my work,” Lewandowski said. “Many young people have very strong beliefs which is why I think it is important that we engage in voting. I hope that other young people will be able to see this, and it will inspire them to become involved with politics in their own communities.”
Lewandowski’s family attended the ceremony at the State Capitol, along with Urbandale High Social Studies Teacher Anne La Pietra, Urbandale High School Superintendent Rosalie Daca, Urbandale High School Principal Tim Carver, Polk County Auditor Jamie Fitzgerald, and State Representative John Forbes of Urbandale. Secretary Pate will continue to work with high schools across Iowa to help students register to vote and looks forward to honoring other civic-minded young Iowans in the future.