Olivia Martzke of Buena Vista was named the High School Youth of the Year by the Chaffee County Boys & Girls Club.
Martzke was named alongside Youth of the Year Kuper Banghart of Salida and Middle School Youth of the Year Aberlyn Leon in April. The annual recognition program is now in its 16th year.
“Olivia was awarded the High School Youth of the Year Award at Boys & Girls Club because she makes everyone at the club see the best version of themselves,” said BGC director Brian Beaulieu.
“She is a Spark Fitness coach to dozens of kids, and her ability to relate to all youth, from elementary kids to teenagers makes her a leader every day,” he said. “She is kind, helpful and an inspiration to our members and staff. This was one of the most challenging years for everyone, but kids helping kids made it one of our best!”
The annual honor is usually celebrated at a banquet that includes club members from the Buena Vista and Salida clubs. However, this year, due to the pandemic, the organization celebrated virtually April 19 on its Facebook page with pre-recorded videos.
Each year, thousands of club teens participate in local, state and regional Youth of the Year events before one exceptional club member is selected National Youth of the Year and awarded a $50,000 college scholarship.
Local winners compete for the state title and a $2,500 scholarship by completing essays on their club and leadership experiences and giving a 3-minute speech without notes.
Criteria for the speech include the club’s impact on the member’s life, his or her values and their personal vision for America’s youth. Banghart said being named Youth of the Year felt terrific and was a huge honor.
In his brief introduction during the online awards event, Banghart credited Boys & Girls Clubs and his involvement with the club’s robotics team for fostering his love of Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM).
He looks forward to working toward a STEM-related degree in college.
Salida Club Members of the Month were Jayden Russell, Wyatt Harris, Ryus Mattix, Mayleigh Duran, Lilliana Gallegos, Kali Keast, Esme Eakins, Ella Melia, Ethan Schwarz and Mackenzie Wilson.
Buena Vista Club Members of the Month included Nathan Wells, Katie Arrambide, Kristina Arrambide, Jacob Young, Jirehmia Trumble, Qwyntin Barnthouse, Catie Morgan, Cali Barnthouse, Paisley Miller and Abby Frazier.