“To be honest, it feels unreal.”
That was the first thought of Juliette White, a sophomore at Parkview High School, when she heard her name read as the 2021 Youth of the Year from Boys & Girls Clubs of Springfield.
“I was and still am very shocked that as a sophomore, I received this amazing award. Youth of the Year is a big deal,” White said.
White received the honor during Boys & Girls Club’s annual student recognition event on February 4.
“Each year, we honor and recognize 12 outstanding youth during our Youth of the Year celebration,” Brandy Harris, CEO of Boys & Girls Clubs of Springfield, said in a statement. “In January, Club members participate in the Youth of the Year competition, where they are interviewed by a panel of judges, share their experience as Club and community members, and articulate their hope and message for America’s youth. Then, they decide a winner … a nearly impossible task.”
White, who will serve as ambassador for Boys & Girls Clubs throughout the year, will now prepare for the State Youth of the Year competition. She also received a $16,000 college scholarship that has the potential of being matched by the college she chooses to attend upon high school graduation.
“Winning this award means so much to me because it gives me the opportunity to go to college and get my degree, so I can help others get to the best possible point they can be,” White says. “My goal for my life has always been to help others, no matter what I do. With this award, I can show other kids and teens like me that you aren’t your parents. You aren’t anyone but yourself. You can do whatever it is your dreams are, you just have to believe in yourself and your abilities.”