Reno 20 Under 40 Awards

ACE Action Fellow, Alicia Wong, attended the Reno 20 Under 40 awards to celebrate her school's environmental club advisor, Leigh Metcalfe, who was being honored. She wrote this post about the experience.

A few weeks ago, I got the opportunity to go to the Reno 20 Under 40 awards night for the top twenty professionals in the Reno area under age forty. The adviser for my environmental club, Leigh Metcalfe, was nominated by Rebecca Anderson. At first, I thought I was very overdressed. Metcalfe told me to dress in a cocktail dress or business attire.

When Rebecca came to pick me up, I was relieved that I was dressed perfectly for the occasion. We thought we were late, but it turns out that we were "early"! When we walked into the ballroom, Rebecca and I were in awe. The room was filled with beautiful lights and decorations. There were four different types of food you could eat, and (of course) dessert! We started eating, and Celeste Tinajero (the former president of the Ecowarriors ) met up with us.

Socializing went on for a while before the awards actually started. We all got our food before it started, so that we wouldn't be distracting anyone when the awards ceremony was actually going on.

When the presentations of the awards and the acceptance speeches started, I realized that there were a lot of people in Reno -- a lot of important people that make a difference in our community. Reno’s newly-elected mayor, Hillary Schieve, was there as a former 20 Under 40 Award winner. Hearing all the different stories inspired me. They made me want to continue helping my community through the environmental club at my school and my fellowship. One person that really stood out to me was Palkin Zed. She was the only person nominated that was a non-profit worker (from Project Solution). Other winners included Mariluz Garcia who runs the Dean’s Future Scholars program at UNR that supports low-income, first-generation college students to help them graduate from high school and college. and Rabbi Ethan Bair from Temple Sinai. Rabbi Ethan Bair was one of my favorites because of the song he chose while he was receiving the award. It was a song that said, "I'm pretty fly for a Rabbi".

Not only did these people inspire me, I learned that there are a lot of things I didn't know about Reno. I didn't realize how great this city was and how many people care about making it even better. Maybe it's because I have been here my whole life, maybe it's because I didn't learn about these things in school. For instance, did you know there was a special term for how many years Reno has been a city? I don't remember what it was -- I think it was something centennial? (Okay, I looked it up. It’s sesquicentennial. It means 150 years.)

This event was an amazing experience. the food was great, the people were interesting, and I got to spend it with some great people. Who knows -- maybe someday I can win a 20 under 40 award.


Alicia Wong

Alicia Wong is a 2014-2015 Action Fellow in Reno. She attends Edward C. Reed High School.