Friends, family and the community at large turned out in force Thursday night to honor the Boys & Girls Club’s four Youth of the Year nominees and to hear Sonoma High School senior Francisco Chavez named as the 2013 recipient.
The Youth of the Year is selected based on service to the club and community, academic success, strong moral character, life goals and poise and public speaking ability. This year’s four panel judges were John Gurney, Pam Hamel, Matt Simi and Vanessa Rognlien.
The four nominees – Sonoma High seniors Chavez, Itzel Macedonio Santiago and Carmelita Bastress and junior Marlen Rojas – gave moving and introspective speeches at the event. They spoke of specific ways that the staff and the programs of the Boys & Girls Club have changed their lives.
Said CEO David Pier, “We have watched these boys and girls transform over the years from our after-school homework club through camps and classes to our College Bound and Career Launch programs. We have had front row seats witnessing and participating in their journey. We could not be more proud of all four of our nominees or more optimistic about their future.”
In his speech, the 17-year-old Chavez credited the club with helping him walk away from bad habits and a bad attitude toward a future that he is now willing to work hard to achieve.