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Boys & Girls Club names Youth of the Year

Marcella Daniel was named Boys & Girls Club Youth of the Year on Monday. Marcella Daniel was named Boys & Girls Club Youth of the Year on Monday.

A 16-year-old junior 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, an 11-year member of the club, competed against four other talented teens in a virtual competition on MLK Day.

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. Four other club teens participated in the 2021 local competition as well. Clara Hockenberry, Ali Garcia, Ivan Acosta and Cierra Burns joined Daniel in submitting portfolios to a panel of judges that detailed community service, academic standing and multiple essays. Each teen was extensively interviewed and delivered speeches describing the club’s impact on their lives.
Daniel began attending the club as a member in the first grade. Since then, she has been a steadfast fixture in the club; serving in leadership programs, volunteering, and now working in the club’s youth job readiness and skills development programs, RISE and Junior Staff. Following graduation from high school, Daniel hopes to attend Appalachian State University where she plans to study to become a speech pathologist.
“This was a year of angst, grief, and loss, but through all the club has been a steady and constant source of support,” Daniel remarked in her speech, noting new challenges of a post-Covid world like virtual school and social isolation. “This year I lost motivation and fell behind in school. The sadness, anger, and anxiety made me feel like I carried bricks on my back. But the staff at the Club were there for me. I learned to open up and connect with others. At the Club I learned to take care of myself.”

Following the local level of the contest, Daniel advances to compete for the state title and a $5,000 college scholarship from Boys & Girls Clubs of America. If Daniel wins at the state competition, she will then compete at the regional level for an additional $10,000 college scholarship, renewable for four years up to $40,000. Five regional winners will advance to Washington, D.C. in September 2019, to compete for the title of Boys & Girls Clubs of America’s National Youth of the Year. The National Youth of the Year will receive an additional scholarship of $25,000, renewable each year up to $100,000.
“We are proud and thrilled to have Marcella represent our club and our community," Julia Hockenberry, Boys & Girls Club executive director, said. "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."