The SADD National Student Leadership Council (SLC) is made up of dynamic youth leaders from across the country. SLC members serve as the youth voice to the SADD National office and take on many projects. Click here to learn more about the role of the SLC, and below to view the photos and bios of this year’s SLC.
Are you interested in applying for next year’s SLC? Click here.
2013-2014 SADD National Student Leadership Council
2013-2014 SADD National Student Leadership Council.
Neal Patrick Stepp
2013-2014 SADD National Student of the Year
Patrick Stepp proudly hails from the little rural town of Sheridan, Indiana. A 2013 graduate of Sheridan High School, Patrick is a freshman at Indiana Wesleyan University. His stepdad, Larry Sutton, works as a Journeyman’s plumber and his mom, Julie Sutton, works full time taking care of his little sister, Nickolette, now that Patrick and his older brother, Tim, have left the nest.
Patrick started his SADD career by landing a spot on the Indiana SADD Student Leadership Council. He was invited to this post by the Indiana SADD State Coordinator, and his decision to accept has opened many doors for him. During his junior year, Patrick started the first-ever Sheridan High School SADD chapter. Since its founding, Patrick has received support from his school’s administration as well as several civic groups and a local coalition.
He continued to serve on the Indiana SADD Student Leadership Council (SLC) for another year and become even more involved on a state level. Along with the other SLC members, Patrick helped plan the annual “SADD Celebration” at the end of each school year, along with numerous other activities. Patrick also had the privilege of being part of the 2012-2013 SADD National Student Leadership Council, helping to plan and implement the organization’s four-day national youth leadership development conference in Orlando, Florida, this past June. Patrick appreciates that SADD allows students to show their leadership abilities by being a peer-focused and peer-led organization.
As SADD National Student of the Year, Patrick holds a seat on the SADD National Board of Directors and chairs the 9-member SADD National Student Leadership Council. He will serve as a SADD spokesperson at various national conferences, media events, and public occasions. This selection makes Patrick eligible for an internship at the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) in Washington, D.C., during the summer of 2014.
Jason Demeter is a senior at Northwestern High School in Springfield, Ohio. He has been an active member of his SADD chapter throughout high school, serving as secretary his junior year. At Northwestern, Jason has worked together with his peers to run dozens of prevention education and awareness campaigns each year to help make his school and community safer, including campaigns and events such as Red Ribbon Week, Lights for Life, Act Out Loud, and Tailgating with SADD. Jason participated in an important television public service announcement created by the Ohio Department of Transportation and Ohio SADD to help spread the message of teen safe driving.
Active in the Student Council, Jason also enjoys extracurricular activities such as choir, band, swimming, tennis, cross country, and volunteering. Jason relishes performing novice magic tricks and juggling.
Jason hopes to use his position on the SADD National Student Leadership Council to help youth in his school, community, and throughout SADD Nation! “I love how SADD is an inclusive organization—it gives all students a place to be surrounded by accepting peers that will encourage positive behavior.”
Alicia Duke is a recent graduate of Dothan High School and now furthering her education at University of South Alabama in Mobile, Alabama. Alicia has been a member of the biggest known SADD chapter for the past three years. She also served as the president of her local SADD chapter last year, leading them into another Presidential Volunteer Service Award Gold Medal and earned a personal Alabama Congressional Volunteer Award.
She has helped her SADD chapter start new SADD chapters across the United States and started a local project call “The Little Heroes.” However, despite her many other school activities and community service projects - volunteering more than 1,000 community service hours within four years - Alicia has managed to keep SADD her first priority.
Through SADD she has witnessed firsthand what making a difference really means. Alicia views SADD as a family of young people that are ALL standing for one purpose.
Catherine “Cat” Felle
Freehold, New Jersey
Cat, a New Jersey native, is an incoming senior at Freehold High School. Cat will serve as president of her high school’s SADD chapter for the second consecutive year. This chapter, sponsored by a local dealership of DCH Auto Group, works to conduct awareness programs and events in the school and surrounding community.
With an eye toward substance abuse prevention programming, Cat participates in Freehold Alliance meetings which cover Freehold Township and Freehold Borough. Also involved in her chapter’s Cross Age Education program, Cat joins her peers in making annual visits to local middle schools. Their presentation on the severe impact of bullying goes hand-in-hand with New Jersey’s Harassment, Intimidation, and Bullying law.
Recently declared NJ SADD’s first Student of the Year, Cat looks forward to working closely with other DCH and non-DCH Auto Group sponsored chapters throughout New Jersey. This past school year, Cat and the NJ SADD State Advisory Board held their first rally in honor of Global Youth Traffic Safety Month (May) at the Lakewood Blueclaws Stadium.
She really appreciates SADD’s “inclusive” policy and sees the positive effects SADD spreads throughout communities. In her spare time, Cat enjoys volunteering with special needs children and with St. Rose of Lima’s Catholic youth group.
Born in Riverside and raised in Tustin, California, Michelle Gao is a high school senior at Arnold O. Beckman High School in Irvine. Michelle has a wonderful, supportive family in her parents, Jane and David, and her two younger brothers, Alex and Vincent.
Michelle first got involved with SADD as a freshman. During this first year, Michelle served on her chapter’s board where she experienced the responsibilities of being a SADD leader and learning all it meant to live the SADD lifestyle. As a sophomore, she became secretary of her chapter where she kept track of the minutes and business of the various events her chapter hosted. Her junior year offered many new experiences as she served on the California SADD Student Leadership Council and traveled to events throughout the state. Back at home, she was still active serving as chapter co-president. These opportunities have provided Michelle valuable learning experiences, expanding her vision from the “Orange Curtain” (Orange County) to a wider perspective. She is dedicated to bringing a stronger SADD presence to the West Coast. For Michelle, SADD is a strong long-distance relationship - consisting of different people working at different locations for a common goal.
Outside of SADD, Michelle serves as co-captain of the school’s Color Guard. She also serves as a Tustin Unified School District Board Member in her school district and for the Associated Student Body, in addition to working part-time. Looking ahead, Michelle hopes to work in the entertainment industry, particularly as a talk show host, with Oprah Winfrey as her role model.
Danville, Vermont native Brady Rainville is a freshman at Johnson State College in Johnson, Vermont. He graduated from Danville School last June. Brady was involved with Danville’s SADD chapter all four years of high school where he served as president of his chapter during his junior and senior years. He has coordinated and participated in many SADD events, including bringing several speakers to his school and community who spoke about relevant issues. Brady is also involved with Vermont SADD.
Besides his involvement with SADD, Brady was involved with other sports and activities while in high school. Brady played three years of varsity soccer and basketball and served as captain for both teams his senior year. He was also part of Danville’s National Honor Society and French Club. Brady also volunteered his time helping the middle school’s “Mathcounts” team.
Brady believes that SADD offers students a chance to meet peers with similar values. For him, SADD is not just an extracurricular activity; it is a place where teens can help make a positive impact on the world.
Madeline Seel is a senior at Shaler Area High School in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. She's been involved in SADD for the past two years, working very closely with Children's Hospital of University of Pittsburgh Medical Center, Pennsylvania DUI Association, Allegheny County Pretrial Services, and the Allegheny County Health Department.
Maddie has also served as president of the Youth Traffic Safety Board through the Allegheny County Health Department, planning and implementing programs to raise awareness and educate the community about issues surrounding distracted driving. Additionally, Maddie was selected as the 2013-2014 Pennsylvania Student of the Year. Outside of SADD, Maddie enjoys Irish dancing and a good book!
“SADD is a chance to meet other people who choose to live this lifestyle and work together to continue that. SADD has changed my life for the better!”
Bismarck, North Dakota
Jacob Sommerfeld is a graduate of Century High School in his hometown of Bismarck, North Dakota. He joined SADD his sophomore year and has been on his high school’s board every year he has been in SADD. At the state level, Jacob has also served on the Northern Lights Advisory Board for the past two years. Along with serving on those SADD boards, Jacob participated in a North Dakota Department of Transportation committee that promoted safer teen driving.
During high school, Jacob enjoyed playing football, basketball, and track. Not only an avid player, Jacob has also helped coach a youth football team and a YMCA basketball team. Always true to living the SADD “no use” lifestyle, Jacob was determined to change the persona of the local high school athletes in his town. Jacob’s main reason for joining SADD is to show everybody the happiness in a SADD life. Jacob is now enlisted in the North Dakota National Guard and plans to attend Bismarck State College in the spring to pursue a degree in education.
Redfield, South Dakota
Always ready for the next adventure, Jardy Wasmoen of Redfield, South Dakota is changing her mascot this year from a Redfield Pheasant to a Concordia College “Cobber,” which is, yes, cob corn. She can’t wait to explore unknown territories and follow her heart to a career she will love.
SADD has been part of Jardy’s life ever since her ambitious mom founded a chapter in the small town of Redfield, but she didn’t fall in love with it until she attended her first SADD conference in her freshman year in high school. After that, Jardy became very involved, twice being elected to the tri-state Northern Lights SADD Board, and working to create chapters across South Dakota. Jardy also has devoted much of her time to Family, Career, and Community Leaders of America (FCCLA), her church youth group, and dance, and she particularly enjoys participating in theatre and music. When she’s not busy with school activities, Jardy cooks, sings, devours books, and hangs out with friends.
A favorite quote of Margaret Mead and a sentiment to live by, “Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world; indeed, it’s the only thing that ever has.”
Jardy loves SADD because it is a supportive organization that empowers youth and creates lifelong connections.
Holts Summit, Missouri
Kara Wehmeyer, senior at Calvary Lutheran High School in Jefferson City, Missouri, assisted with the chartering of her SADD chapter. During the 2011-2012 academic year, Kara organized her school’s “Battle of the Belt” program and as a result of her chapter’s participation in that activity, the percentage of students wearing seat belts was raised to a full 100%! She and her fellow SADD students also promoted a drug-free lifestyle through participation in Red Ribbon Week and engaged in Anti-Texting While Driving campaigns to benefit the school and community.
Kara was selected for the Missouri Youth and Adult Alliance and assisted in planning the “Speak Hard” conference.
She enjoys basketball and softball and is involved in the National Honor Society, Key Club, and Student Government.
Kara is active in SADD because, as a volunteer firefighter and EMT, she has seen the consequences of uninformed choices.
Student of the Year Emeritus
Bismarck, North Dakota
Born and raised in Bismarck, North Dakota, Carrie Sandstrom is a sophomore at the University of North Dakota, majoring in international studies and communications. Her parents, Gail Hagerty and Dale Sandstrom, both work for the state of North Dakota as a district judge and Supreme Court justice, respectively. Carrie has an older brother, Jack; a younger sister, Anne; and two Siberian forest cats, Sasha and Bociphus.
Carrie first got involved with SADD when she started school at Horizon Middle School in seventh grade. Since then she has been involved in several different aspects of the organization, including serving on the state leadership council for North Dakota as both a member and Student of the Year and as the 2012-13 SADD National Student of the Year.
During her time with SADD, Carrie has worked with the North Dakota state legislature to pass bills to ban texting and driving and to strengthen licensing requirements. Carrie also has a passion for mental health and is working to raise awareness for this issue in her spare time.
Keep connected with Carrie by following her on twitter @Sandstrom_SADD.