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Boys & Girls Club announces Youth of the Year winner

Marcella Daniel Marcella Daniel

A 17-year old senior from Hendersonville High School has earned the title of Youth of the Year at the Boys & Girls Club of Henderson County as well as a $1,000 college aid award from Hunter Subaru.

Marcella Daniel, a 12-year member of the Club, competed against two other talented teens in a virtual competition this week.
Boys & Girls Clubs of America’s Youth of the Year program celebrates the nation’s most awe- inspiring young people, recognizing excellence in leadership, service, academic excellence and dedication to live a healthy lifestyle.

Club members Ivan Acosta and Avery Bryner joined Daniel, in interviews and sharing portfolios with a panel of judges that included Jan King, Beau Waddell, Diamond Cash, Jerome Williams and John McCusker. These judges evaluated youth materials outlining their Club experience, what matters to them, and how they overcome obstacles. Each teen was extensively interviewed and delivered speeches describing the Club’s impact on their lives. Portions of interviews and speeches were aired on WTZQ radio in a broadcast on Thursday afternoon. The three candidates listened in while enjoying a luncheon with Club staff to discover who won.
This is Daniel’s second award of the local Youth of the Year title. She won last year as a junior and proceeded to compete at the state level, making it to the final round of contestants. Daniel began attending the club as a member in the first grade. Since then, she has been a steadfast fixture, serving in leadership programs, volunteering and now working in the club’s youth job readiness and skills development program, RISE. Following graduation from high school, Daniel hopes to attend UNC Greensboro where she plans to study to become a speech pathologist.
“I found myself with no motivation to complete school. I just couldn’t make myself care,” Daniel said in her speech, noting challenges of a post-Covid world like virtual school and social isolation. “Despite what I was going through I found ways to help others through the Club even as I relied on staff when I couldn’t help myself. Giving back helped me heal because I found my purpose and started to care again.” she said. “The Club has showed me my passion.”
To listen to all the nominee’s speeches, interview remarks, and learn more about the Club, community members can  stream the audio broadcast here.

Following the local level of the contest, Daniel advances to compete for the state title from Boys & Girls Clubs of America. If Daniel wins at the state competition, she will then compete at the regional level. Ultimately, five regional winners will advance to Washington, D.C. to compete for the title of Boys & Girls Clubs of America’sNational Youth of the Year.
“We are proud and thrilled to have Marcella represent our Club and our community. She is outstanding – a Club kid through and through. We celebrate her amazing potential and can’t wait to see what the future has in store for her,” said Boys & Girls Club Executive Director Julia Hockenberry.