On Wednesday, December 11, five teen Club members competed for the 2015 Youth of the Year competition. This annual competition awards a total of $8,000 in college scholarships to the top two candidates. The Youth of the Year program recognizes teens for outstanding contributions to a member’s family, school, community and Boys & Girls Club, as well as personal challenges and obstacles overcome. The three judges had a difficult job yet again this year. Judges included Dr. Gloria Williams, Executive Director with Austin Independent School District, Travis County Sheriff Greg Hamilton and Rob Tomasino, VP of Operations at A+ Federal Credit Union. Under the leadership of board member Michael Dunn, Dell employees dedicated many hours working with candidates on their presentation, poise and response skills. Special thanks to A+ Federal Credit Union for sponsoring our 2015 Youth of the Year program. Congratulations to all of these outstanding Club members. Please take a moment to read their stories.
Dennis, a senior at the Ann Richards Girls Club, recently completed eight college applications. Her top choices are Harvard and Yale. Dennis is fervent in her commitment to attend an Ivy League school. Dennis plans to become a politician, and will major in political science and communications. Currently, Dennis’s family does not all live under one roof. As Dennis’s mom works to make enough money to provide a living space for her kids, Dennis lives with her sister, a student at the University of Texas. Dennis is so driven that, for a while, she would wake at 4:00 a.m. to go to McDonalds to do her homework, as her house was without electricity. Dennis is a dynamic speaker and a talented young lady. She is our 2015 Youth of the Year of Austin, and recipient of a $5,000 scholarship from the Austin Boys & Girls Club Foundation. Congratulations, Dennis, on this well-earned honor!
Marcus, a senior and Club member at LBJ High School, knows exactly where he is going and how he will get there. He dreams of becoming a corporate or real estate attorney, as well as giving back to the community. Marcus is on the national honor roll, president of his choir group and has a part-time job. It seems that Marcus never sleeps! Although Marcus’s mother and father are not actively involved in his life, he is committed to helping his family and others in community. Marcus was chosen as the recipient of the $3,000 college scholarship from Austin Boys & Girls Club Foundation.
Damaris is 14 years old and attends our Chalmers Courts Club. As a freshman at Austin High, she is considering college majors. While she is not sure what her major or career will be, she is set on attending Texas A&M. Damaris’s role model is her mom. As a single parent who works constantly, Damaris’s mom sought out the Club, as she did not want Damaris to spend so much time alone. Damaris has struggled at times, as English is not her first language. Since joining the Club, Damaris has received one on one help with her homework, and her grades have significantly improved.
Jazmin, 14, is a freshman and member at the East Austin College Preparatory Club. Jazmin is taking several Advanced Placement courses, a particularly impressive accomplishment, as she has she has been diagnosed with dyslexia. Jazmin’s goal is to show her siblings, who share the same condition, that a college career and being successful are entirely possible despite having a learning disability. Jazmin has a passion for theater and recently had her first audition for a full-length film. While she was not selected for the role, Jazmin is committed to a career in broadcast journalism. As a leader in her Club’s drama program, Jazmin plans to attend Columbia University.
Melanie, Club member at Lanier High School, is Lieutenant of her dance team, but made a special request to note that she would do whatever it takes to earn Captain next year. Melanie is zealously committed to both dance and to her dream of being a medical doctor. She is torn between becoming a general practitioner or a dermatologist. Whichever direction she chooses, she wants to help low-income patients. Growing up without regular parental support, Melanie feels that the Lanier Boys & Girls Club is her surrogate family, and gives her that human connection she sometimes lacks at home.
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