20 Under 20

A celebration of the next generation

This exercise started with a list of known quantities: kids we’ve written about in the last two years because their talents were getting attention on the national level. Most famously, there was Bryce Harper, the 19-year-old baseball phenom now in the Washington Nationals system; Dylan Kwasniewski, the 16-year-old racecar driver; and Shabazz Muhammad, the Bishop Gorman senior—our cover subject two issues ago—who is the nation’s No. 1 basketball recruit. We’ve also profiled several other phenoms, including 17-year-old boxer Berenice Hernandez and pre-teen painter Autumn de Forest. (Visit WeeklySeven.com to read all about them.)

A few months ago, upon taking notice of the number of homegrown prodigies, we wondered who else was out there. So we launched the “20 Under 20” campaign to find out. We sent letters out to private and public schools and asked our readership for nominations. We ended up with a healthy number of candidates (more than 40), but what impressed us most was the quality of them. Instead of the expected barrage of stage-mom drivel, the majority of submissions were well-thought-out. Even better, as you’ll see in the 20 finalists, these Las Vegas kids are more than one-dimensional talents; they’re well-rounded contributors to society.

Lastly, we certainly don’t consider this a “Top 20” list by any means. Judging from the ones who didn’t make the cut, there are plenty more out there. And judging from your enthusiasm, there will be a “20 Under 20” encore, so please e-mail your future nominations to comments@weeklyseven.com.

Suggested Next Read

Katherine Foronda, 19

Katherine Foronda, 19

Her story: As a freshman at Eldorado High, Kat witnessed an angry substitute tell a class that they would never be able to afford college, so they should just give up now. Between that deflating message and growing up in an impoverished three-bedroom household with 13 others, she almost did give up her dream of a career in science. Then as a senior, she got help from the local Communities in Schools program, which offers community resources to help disadvantaged students stay in school.