by Cody Olivas
Mail Staff Writer
Salidan Athena Kintgen helped businesses around the world start their day Tuesday, ringing the Nasdaq bell in the morning in New York City to start the day’s trading.
“Ringing the bell was exhilarating,” she said. “There was confetti and pizza offered afterwards. Everyone was very excited and kind.”
Papa John’s Pizza invited Kintgen and other national finalists from the Boys & Girls Clubs’ Youth of the Year contest to fly to New York and ring the bell with them.
“I was baffled at first because it was such an exciting invitation,” Kintgen said. “I was excited, but also nervous because this was the first time I’ve traveled alone.”
Once she got to New York she was reunited with friends she made at the National Youth of the Year competition in Washington, D.C., last week. Kintgen didn’t win that competition, but her dad, Paul Stromberg, said it wasn’t a cutthroat competition and the finalists hung out together the whole time.
“I adore all of the finalists,” Kintgen said. “I was just happy and grateful to have this opportunity and to see everyone again, even though it’s only been a short time since we last saw each other.”
Joining Kintgen in New York were the Pacific, Southeast and Military National Youths of the Year, Sabrina M., Leonela S. and Dasia B. Kintgen was the Southwest Regional Youth of the Year.
“The Southeast finalist, Leonela, and I bonded the most,” Kintgen said. “She and I actually shared a room together for the competition and also in NYC. Leonela is kind, sweet and very much devoted to helping others. We didn’t sleep until 3 a.m. (on Tuesday) because we were talking for so long.”
Kintgen graduated from Salida High School last spring and is now a freshman at the University of Colorado-Colorado Springs. She’s studying sociology and American Sign Language.