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Boys & Girls Club teen named N.C. Youth of the Year

Manny Acosta Manny Acosta

A teenager from the Henderson County Boys & Girls Club is the newest local club member to win North Carolina Youth of the Year honors.

Emanuel “Manny” Acosta, 17, was named the North Carolina Youth of the Year by Boys & Girls Clubs of America, a prestigious honor bestowed upon an exemplary young person in recognition of leadership, service, academic excellence and dedication to live a healthy lifestyle. Acosta was selected from 28 nominees from around the state. He was the seventh teenager from the Hendersonville club in the past 11 years to win the top youth leadership award for North Carolina.

As the North Carolina Youth of the Year, Acosta will serve as an ambassador for all teens in the state and will receive college scholarships totaling $10,000 from BGCA and North Carolina Area Council of Boys & Girls Clubs. This summer Acosta competes against other finalists within the Southeast Region. If named regional winner, he will be awarded an additional $10,000 college scholarship, renewable for four years up to $40,000.
Ultimately, six youth, including five regional winners and a military youth winner, will advance to Washington in September 2015, to compete for the title of BGCA’s National Youth of the Year. The National Youth of the Year will receive an additional scholarship of $25,000, renewable for four years up to $100,000 and will have the opportunity to meet the President at the White House.
An A-student at Henderson County Early College, Acosta has been an active member of the Boys & Girls Club of Henderson County for the past four years. He earned a position as part of the organization's Junior Staff as well, assisting during programs with the Club’s youngest members. Additionally, Acosta is a member of the Keystone Club, a teen leadership and community service group, and he is the Boys & Girls Club of Henderson County’s top volunteer, generating a total of 446 hours of community service since 2011. Acosta plans to pursue a degree in law or criminal justice after he graduates in 2016.
“It is an honor to have this achievement,” Acosta said of the state title. “My Club believed in me, and this belief has helped me do extraordinary things. It has stretched me and challenged me. I'm more confident every day and more prepared to represent my Club well.”
Local Youth of the Year Sponsor Hunter Subaru awarded Acosta his first $1,000 scholarship last January after he won the Henderson County Youth of the Year title.

“We’re thrilled for Manny. He’s a great example of what can happen with hard work and dedication,” said Randy Hunter, owner of Hunter Subaru. “As we celebrate 75 years in business, we couldn’t be prouder to have Hunter Subaru support the Boys & Girls Club of Henderson County."