Siler City’s Jamir Wright was named the 2020 Youth of the Year last Thursday night by the Boys & Girls Clubs of Central Carolina, which serves children in Lee, Chatham and Harnett …
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Siler City’s Jamir Wright was named the 2020 Youth of the Year last Thursday night by the Boys & Girls Clubs of Central Carolina, which serves children in Lee, Chatham and Harnett counties.
Wright received the recognition at the club’s annual Youth of the Year celebration in Sanford. The Youth of the Year title is a prestigious honor bestowed upon an exemplary young person in recognition of leadership, service, academic excellence and dedication to live a healthy lifestyle. Now in its 73rd year, the Youth of the Year program honors the nation’s most awe-inspiring young people on their path to great futures and encourages all kids to lead, succeed and inspire.
Wright will go on to contend for the North Carolina Youth of the Year title and a $5,000 college scholarship from the Boys & Girls Clubs of America. This year’s North Carolina Youth of the Year will be hosted on the campus of Central Carolina Community College in Sanford by the Boys & Girls Clubs of Central Carolina in April.
“I am so proud of Jamir and all of our Youth of the Year candidates,” said Daniel Simmons, CEO of the Boys & Girls Clubs of Central Carolina. “They truly represent the best of the Boys & Girls Clubs. They are resilient, intelligent, compassionate, and motivated for success. I’m proud of my staff at the Clubs who have helped shape these wonderful young people into who they are today. This is a true reminder that great futures really do start at the Boys & Girls Clubs.”
Wright is a member of the organization’s Wren Family Center Boys & Girls Club in Siler City. Through the club, he says he has found a home away from home, that he feels empowered to lead by example, and that he has made lasting friendships with his peers.
During the interview process for Youth of the Year, Wright was bold in stating his goal to the judges: he said he wanted to win the competition.
“I know I can always count on the Boys & Girls Club to uplift me,” Wright said. “I could go to the club in the morning and be either upset or frustrated about something but the positive atmosphere at the Wren Family Center would do nothing but put a smile on my face. The club is an empowering place to be. Staff members always give me advice and tips on life and I have formed some of the closest and tightest bonds with new friends. I know that if I ever need anything, they’ll be there for me. Without the club, these friendships would not have been formed.”
If Wright wins at the state competition, he will compete for the title of BGCA’s Southeast Region Youth of the Year and an additional $10,000 college scholarship, renewable for four years up to $40,000. Five regional winners will advance to Washington, D.C. in fall 2020 to compete for the title of Boys & Girls Clubs of America’s National Youth of the Year. The National Youth of the Year will receive an additional scholarship of $25,000, renewable each year up to $100,000.
In addition to Wright, this year’s candidates included:
• Queen Madzivanyika from the Robin Paige Club in Lillington
• Cheyenne Benton from Wren Family Center in Siler City
• Maricarmen Landa from Wren Family Center
• Gabrielle “Mei-Lin” Marshall from OT Sloan Park Club in Sanford
• Kaitlyn Newell from OT Sloan Park Club
• Skye Roberson from OT Sloan Park Club
• Kimberly Ascencio-Cerna from OT Sloan Park Club
Junior Youth of the Year candidates for 2020 were Isaac Scotten-Thompson from the Wren Family Center and Shanice Ledbetter from the Robin Paige Club. Thompson was named the winner.
In the Youth of the Year competition, club winners were:
• OT Sloan Park Club: Kaitlyn Newell
• Wren Family Center: Jamir Wright
• Robin Paige Club: Queen Madzivanyika
Contest judges included Mark Akinosho, pastor of True Bread Fellowship Church in Sanford and a former member and chairman of the Lee County Board of Education; Susan Gomez, the business manager at St. Stephen’s Church and a board member for the United Way of Lee County; Karen Howard, chairman of the Chatham County Board of Commissioners; Jermaine White, the assistant superintendent of student support services for Harnett County Schools; and Bianka Stumpf, Central Carolina Community College’s Lead Social Sciences Instructor and coordinator of the Academic and Cultural Enrichment Series. Chatham News + Record Publisher and Editor Bill Horner III served as head judge.
The Youth of the Year recognition program is presented by The Walt Disney Company, who has supported Boys & Girls Clubs of America for more than 50 years, empowering young people to reach their full potential and providing youth with access to the tools they need to build the great futures they imagine. Toyota is the Signature Sponsor of the National Youth of the Year program. For more information about the Youth of the Year program, visit www.youthoftheyear.org.