They are five of our city's great youths who have overcome obstacles and are making outstanding contributions in their families and communities. They're competing to be San Antonio's "Youth of the Year" in the Boys & Girls Clubs of America's national competition.
The five finalists will deliver speeches in front of judges Wednesday night. The winner will be announced at the Youth of the Year Gala on Feb. 6.
The Youth of the Year program is considered to be the pinnacle of all Boys & Girls Clubs programs. The competition is described as a culmination of months of workshops and one-on-one trainings on essay writing and public speaking.
The winner of the San Antonio competition will receive a college scholarship, a Macintosh laptop and Whataburger for a year. He or she will then advance to the state competition, with a chance to advance to the regional and national competitions. Each step of the journey provides the winners with scholarships and prizes.
KSAT is supporting The Boys & Girls Clubs of San Antonio's Youth of the Year fundraising efforts by offering a prize in the 2019 Youth of the Year Gala raffle. You can read more about it and buy raffle tickets here.
Below are biographies of the five San Antonio Youth of the Year finalists provided by The Boys & Girls Clubs of San Antonio, with a video introducing each of them.
Aaliyah has been a member of Boys & Girls Clubs of San Antonio for the past 11 years. She says her greatest support is her mother. Growing up in a single parent household, Aaliyah has been inspired by her mother’s strength and guidance. She strives to apply all of the values her mother has taught her in everything she does. She has worked hard to maintain a 4.0 GPA while enrolled in all AP and Dual Credit classes.
Opportunities at the Club have helped Aaliyah grow into the young leader she is today. Aaliyah has been President of the Torch Club and has been involved in Young Achievers, Keystone, STEM, community outreach and several sports programs. It was at the Club, at the age of seven, that she found her passion for swimming. Now, Aaliyah has been named Captain of her Varsity Swim Team, has broken many of local swimming records, and leads their team to qualifying for the TAAF State meets each year.
Aaliyah is a senior at John Paul Stevens High School and is excited about her upcoming graduation. She enjoys learning science and is ready to pursue a career in the STEM field. She plans to major in either neuroscience or pathology. As she has already received acceptance letters from Texas A&M University and The University of Texas at Austin, Aaliyah is keeping her options open.
Armando has been an active member of Boys & Girls Clubs of San Antonio for six years attending both the Eastside and Mays Family Clubhouses. He has participated in Keystone, robotics, Link and Jr. Staff. But by far, his favorite Club activity has been his experience as a member of the Eastside polo team. Armando has been on that team for the past two years. Through Polo, he has learned compassion, valuable leadership skills, and how to work as a team.
He currently attends KIPP University Prep and is involved in several clubs and activities such as Red Carpet where he has to plan school dances and works on fundraising for new electronic equipment. He will be graduating this year and has enlisted in the US Navy where he will have the opportunity to pursue a career in medical/dental services field.
Armando is currently the secretary of the Mays Keystone Club, and has exemplified the Keystone motto of “Leadership through service” by participating in several volunteer projects, including selling concessions, volunteering at the MLK march and helping members with their homework.
Since transitioning to the United States from Mexico, Armando and his family have endured many setbacks and struggles over the years but that has never stopped his drive to succeed. Armando plans to use what he has learned from his travels, hardships, and experiences from the Club to make the world a better place.
Ashley is the third of four children and the first female of the family. She and her siblings were introduced to the Eastside Clubhouse by their late father, James Rector, nine years ago. Ashley lost her father at an early age which caused her to endure some hardships and behavioral challenges. However, with her amazing family and support system, she has demonstrated how brokenness can turn into happiness.
Ashley has participated in several programs at Boys & Girls Clubs of San Antonio such as SMART Girls, Junior Staff, and Keystone. Through these programs, she has learned many key skills such as standing up for her own beliefs and finding her passion to work with youth. Helping younger members with homework during Power Hour is one of her favorite ways to serve at the Club. With her big smile and willingness to help others, she has completed over 60 hours of community service. She has also volunteered for the Animal Defense League, Elf Louis, and Eastside’s Annual Thanksgiving Dinner.
Ashley is a senior at KIPP University Prep High School where she is thriving and showcasing her leadership skills. She is captain of the Varsity Basketball team, President of Black Queens, and on the Academic Decathlon team. Upon graduation, Ashley plans to attend a four-year university and study Psychology. Her dream is to become a therapist and focus on kids with behavioral challenges.
Madison has been a club member for 8 years at various clubs in San Antonio. Currently a member of Teen Center, Madison has proven to be a leader in her community. She is self-driven and motivated. She maintains a 3.7 GPA while taking AP and dual credit courses at Travis Early College High School. In addition to receiving her high school diploma this year, she will be graduating with an Associate Degree from San Antonio College. Madison has been accepted to St. Mary’s University where she plans to attend and pursue a degree in Law!
Madison has completed several programs and opportunities with Boys & Girls club that has influenced her own personal and professional growth. She is also an avid volleyball player and runs track for Lanier High School. She volunteers with Good Samaritan, The Strong Foundation and St. Timothy’s and has completed over 100 community service hours.
Madison is also a member of the National Honor Society and Student Council. She has also participated in the Youth Orchestra of San Antonio and attended St. Cecilia Youth ACTS, a faith based retreat.
Madison loves spending time with her family. She loves to plan and host family events. She is the second oldest out of four. Her younger sisters look up to her and her older brother looks out for her. With family support and the opportunities provided to Madison through the Boys and Girls Club, she is an agent of leadership and success.
Rudy has been an active member of Boys & Girls Clubs of San Antonio for two years. He has one younger sister who also attends the Club. As a member at the Mays Family Clubhouse, Rudy has participated in several programs such as Diplomas to Degrees, Passport to Manhood and Power Hour. When Rudy is finished with his own homework, he loves to go and help the younger youth with theirs. As the newly appointed President of the Keystone Club, Rudy plays a big part in planning and working on fundraisers to raise money to travel to and participate in the National Keystone Conference.
Rudy is a Junior at KIPP University Prep and is involved in the social justice club. He will graduate in 2020 and plans to attend college to study political science and become a game warden. He is very passionate about helping the animals that are not able to help their self.
Rudy has been recognized as Youth of the Month on multiple occasions for his leadership and commitment to the Club. Since being at the Club, Rudy has grown into a very responsible young adult. He considers Boys & Girls Club his second family and would like to share that experience with other young people in the community.