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Exchange Club celebrates Youth of the Year

The Swainsboro Exchange Club 2023 Youth of the Year program was held at Rustic Grill on Tuesday, April 11. The winner was Anna Donaldson from Swainsboro High School. Anna will advance to the State Exchange Club competition and then possibly to Nationals to compete for $10,000.00. Lawson Mercer from Emanuel County Institute was selected for second place in the competition. Other representatives are Peyton Free (DEA), Jason Brown (SHS), Marti Woodward (ECI), and Racyn Faircloth (DEA).

The Scholarship awarded on the local level is $450 for 1st Place and $350 for 2nd place. We hope these students will appreciate and use their award monies wisely, and it will help them get started with paying the sometimes daunting costs of a 4-year degree, not to mention a master’s or doctorate level education.

The National Youth of the Year Award provides the National Exchange Clubs with the opportunity to honor outstanding students who have exhibited excellence in academics and leadership. It is the culmination of an effort by hundreds of Exchange Clubs across the country to identify and recognize the young leaders of our nation. The recipient serves as a role model to his or her peers by exhibiting exceptional scholastic achievement, respect for self and others, and ambitious career goals. Our National Youth of the Year recipients have illustrated that the diligent pursuit of higher ideals truly brings rewards.

The process for selecting the National Youth of the Year begins at the local club level. Exchange Clubs provide a yearly recognition of outstanding youth in their communities. Each club selects a Youth of the Year and forwards an application for the district (or state) judging. District honorees are judged at the national level for the final selection of the prestigious National Youth of the Year.

The National Youth of the Year receives a $10,000 scholarship and the opportunity to address hundreds of Exchangites at the National Youth Recognition Luncheon. In addition, the recipient’s winning essay is featured in Exchange Today magazine. This year’ s theme and essay topic is: Many people have someone whom they admire, whether a parent, sibling, friend, teacher, mentor, etc. Share a story about someone who has greatly impacted your own life and the lives of others. Reflect on the qualities and actions of this person and explain why they have impacted you and your future.

The YOY application scores the youth on several sections of achievement: School related activities, community service activities, grades, special achievements and awards, and finally, the essay. All these are scored and totaled up, allowing us to come up with overall scores and the winner(s).

FRONT ROW L-r: Mark Williams, Exchange Club YOY Director; Anna Donaldson, SHS; Marti Woodward, ECI; Peyton Free, DEA; Scotty Hattaway, Co-chair YOY committee; BACK ROW L-R: Jayson Brown, SHS; Lawson Mercer, ECI; Racyn Faircloth, DEA

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