$64,000 Awarded to 24 Youth at 2017 Youth of the Year Scholarship Awards Banquet

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The Salvation Army Boys & Girls Clubs of Metropolitan Houston celebrated its eleventh annual Youth of the Year Scholarship Awards Banquet on March 1, 2017, where $64,000 in scholarship money was awarded to a total of 24 recipients. In the last eleven years, The Salvation Army has awarded more than $1 million to over 200 participants through the Youth of the Year program.

2017 Youth of the Year Winners

The overall winner of this year’s Youth of the Year competition was Tesfamichael Negussie, from The Salvation Army’s Upward Bound program at Wisdom High School. Negussie competed in the 14 and older age division and received the top prize of a $10,250 college scholarship.

Tesfamichael Negussie is an Ethiopian immigrant who came to the United States at the age of two. He has excelled academically and participated in community service activities, including founding the Young Ethiopian Council. Negussie will be attending Pomona College in Claremont, California in the Fall on a QuestBridge four-year full scholarship.

The Junior Youth of the Year winner, 12 & 13 age group division, and recipient of the $5,500 scholarship was Hilda Jeronimo, from our Salvation Army Boys & Girls Clubs – Irvington Branch. Additionally, Jeronimo won the Junior level of the Boys & Girls Club East Texas Area Youth of the Year competition earlier this year.

Hilda Jeronimo has been an Irvington branch member for six years, along with her older brother. She is a seventh grader at Hamilton Middle School. She is actively involved at The Salvation Army Boys & Girls Club, participating in the Torch Club, a leadership and service program, and sports. Jeronimo plans to attend college and become a doctor.

Diego Cervantes, also from our Irvington Branch, won the top prize of a laptop and a backpack in the newly added division: the 10 & 11 age group. Cervantes is a sixth grader at Marshall Middle School who joined the Club primarily to play basketball but soon became involved in other sports and participating in Club programs like the Torch Club and SMART Moves, a Skills Mastery and Resistance Training prevention and education program. He hopes to one day make it to the NBA.

Event Special Guests

The Youth of the Year Scholarship Awards Banquet Event Chairs were Rhonda Jones, Debby Leighton and Joella Mach. Estelí Nyampundu, the 2011 Youth of the Year winner and former participant of the Upward Bound program at Wisdom High School (formerly known as Robert E. Lee), delivered her testimonial at the event. She spoke about her family’s trek escaping genocide in Rwanda and searching for a better way of life in America. She graduated from Texas A&M and is currently a seventh grade teacher at KIPP Sharpstown College Preparatory.

About Youth of the Year Program

The Youth of the Year program is a national Boys & Girls Clubs initiative, celebrating the extraordinary achievements of Club members and with one club member being selected as the National Youth of the Year.

Participants in the local Youth of the Year competition are members of The Salvation Army Youth programs, including The Salvation Army Boys & Girls Clubs and Upward Bound college preparatory program. The competition is divided into the following age groups: 10 to 11, 12 to 13, and 14 and older.

Complete List of Youth of the Year Scholarship Winners

14 & Older Division

1st – Tesfamichael Negussie, Upward Bound, $10,250

2nd – Yasameen Alshaarbaf, Upward Bound, $8,500

3rd – Ma Nan Soe, International Corps, $7,000

4th – Kimberly Hernandez, International Corps, $5,000

5th – Twagira Adier, Upward Bound, $4,000

6th – Maria Slater, International Corps, $2,000

7th – Neujah Outten, International Corps, $1,000

8th – Kahleah Chandler, Garden City, $1,000

9th – Samantha Sosol, International Corps, $1,000

10th – Kendra Collins, Salvation Army Boys & Girls Club – Irvington Branch, $450

11th – Ramiro Cortez, Salvation Army Boys & Girls Club – Irvington Branch, $450

12th – Mackenzie Payne, Salvation Army Boys & Girls Club – Irvington Branch, $400

13th – Corey Lewis, Salvation Army Boys & Girls Club – Garden City Branch, $400

14th – Oscar Escobar, Salvation Army Boys & Girls Club – Garden City Branch, $400

15th – Aaliyah Mosquero, Salvation Army Boys & Girls Club – Northwest Branch, $400

Total Scholarship Amount Awarded for 14 & Older Division: $42,250

12 & 13 Age Group Division

1st – Hilda Jeronimo, Salvation Army Boys & Girls Club – Irvington Branch, $5,500

2nd – Maya Barnes, Salvation Army Boys & Girls Club – Garden City Branch, $4,500

3rd – Yana Mouton, Salvation Army Boys & Girls Club – Aldine Westfield, $3,500

4th – Noemy Albiter, International Corps, $3,000

5th – Timothy Park, International Corps, $2,000

6th – Arnold Hernandez, International Corps, $1,000

7th – Devin Montgomery, Salvation Army Boys & Girls Club – Aldine Westfield, $750

8th – Aldo Aguilar, International Corps, $750

9th – Malik Barnes, Salvation Army Boys & Girls Club – Garden City Branch, $750

Total Scholarship Amount Awarded for 12 & 13 Age Group Division: $21,750

10 & 11 Age Group Division

1st – Diego Cervantes, Salvation Army Boys & Girls Club – Irvington Branch, Laptop & Backpack

2nd – Caleb Smith, Salvation Army Boys & Girls Club – Irvington Branch, Backpack

3rd – John Ferguson, Salvation Army Boys & Girls Club – Irvington Branch, Backpack