Meet the winners of our second annual Extraordinary Teen Awards—10 of Montgomery County’s best and brightest, chosen from some 80 nominees. Among the winners: a violin prodigy already composing his own ballet; a novelist who founded her own nonprofit; and the county’s youngest chief election judge, who also happens to be an EMT. They’re proof positive that kids just aren’t what they used to be.
The Public Servant
Senior, The Field School
What sets him apart: Although not yet eligible to vote, Bethesda’s Noah Guthman was the youngest chief election judge ever appointed in Montgomery County. At 17, he was tasked with maintaining the integrity of the voting process and running the Bannockburn Elementary School polling site for last November’s general election.
Noah, now 18, started volunteering at the polls in 2004. But his community service goes beyond that. He’s certified as an emergency medical technician, a CPR instructor and a home inspector with the Glen Echo Fire Department. Last year, Glen Echo honored him with Probationer of the Year and Snowstorm Service awards.
Before his father died last year, Noah says the family would call the Glen Echo Fire Department in the middle of the night to transport him from their home to the hospital. “I want to pay that forward to other people,” he recalls thinking.
Other accomplishments: He’s the lead alto and tenor saxophonist in The Field School’s jazz ensemble; sings in an a cappella group; and performs at Bethesda’s Adat Shalom Reconstructionist Congregation.
What others say: “At one point late on Election Day, a narrow doorway prevented a man in a wheelchair from entering the polling place,” says Kirk Betts, a chief election judge for Montgomery County. “After a quick search for a school custodian, Noah whipped out a Leatherman multi-tool, unbolted the center post that was inhibiting access, and removed the post so that this [man] could vote and that no other voter would face any barrier to voting.”
What his future holds: Noah wants to attend a liberal arts college and become a “saxophone-playing ER doctor.”