Crowning a New Youth of the Year
It’s a new year, and with it comes a new Youth of the Year. After several months of preparation, it came down to two young ladies who each had a story about how the Club had positively impacted their life. Jazzelle Elias, a freshman from Sedro-Woolley, and Claire Severin, a senior from Anacortes were our finalists for the 2015 Youth of the Year program. Together, they spoke in front of an overflow crowd at the Eaglemont Golf Club in late January. They were just two of the youth speakers that kept our guests and stakeholders fascinated from beginning to end about how truly marvelous our kids are.
Mr. Justice Lively, our 2014 Youth of the Year, and 2015 Washington State Youth of the Year, was on-hand to celebrate and pass the torch to the next young person selected to represent Skagit County at the state program in March. Justice, as our first State Youth of the Year, will always hold a special place in everyone’s hearts, and his words were well received by all present. With his trademark smile beaming in full force, Mr. Lively provided us an update as to his progress academically, and how he was fully on track with his career preparation goals.
Then, it was time for a legend to take the stage; Don Wick, inducted into the Washington State Alumni Hall of Fame, was in full force and immediately had the crowd laughing and a celebrating as he prepared to announce the newest Youth of the Year honoree for Skagit County. While all of our teens did a magnificent job and truly grew through their participation, it was young Jazzelle who would hear her name announced.
Jazzelle is a 4.0 student who participates in the music program at Sedro-Woolley High School, enjoys community service and giving back, and credits the Club with providing her with a safe place to explore new opportunities. As she shares in her story, growing up in Temecula, CA was difficult, especially because of drug use, and the resulting paraphernalia littering the ground everywhere. Jazzelle says, “As a Club member I’ve done good in my community, made new friends, gained a support system, had fun, and gained a second family in the process. Most importantly, I’ve had experiences that I never imagined were possible when i was just a little girl walking by a pile of used needles.”
Next up for Jazzelle will be preparing for the state program in March. Over the next six weeks she will make a circuit of service club meetings, visit the City Council, School Board, and get tips and a review from a local Toastmasters Club. As part of the state program, Jazzelle will meet her counterparts from 14 other Boys & Girls Club organizations, enjoy breakfast at the Governor’s Mansion, attend additional developmental workshops, have some fun, and ultimately once again go through the process of speech delivery and a gauntlet of interviews. We all wish Jazzelle well for her journey, and we are proud to have her representing our 1,600 members in Skagit County.