Junior Mario Lopez won the Boys and Girls Club California Youth of the Year award on Wednesday, April 15.
Of the award, Lopez remarks that “I feel very humbled and honored to win something that I always looked up to as a kid. Growing up, I never thought I’d be recognized for my actions or struggles when my only intentions were doing good and giving back. But now I can say I’m grateful for the club and my school for continuing to push myself and my limits. Now I’m so honored to represent all the clubs in California.”
“Growing up, I never thought I’d be recognized for my actions or struggles when my only intentions were doing good and giving back. But now I can say I’m grateful for the club and my school for continuing to push myself and my limits.
To even be eligible for this high honor, he had to work his way up. “Each club nominates a club member to represent their club for the Youth of the Year Competition,” he explains. Once nominated, Lopez had to fill out a lengthy application in which he included a resume, three essays about what matters most to him, information about obstacles he overcame, a cover letter, and his experience with the Boys and Girls Club.
He “also had to write and memorize a three-minute speech and conduct an interview with a panel of judges at each level who asked questions about leadership, character, community service, club experience, academics, and advocacy questions.” He went through this interview process three times.
Starting at the local level, he competed against two other cities, Aliso Viejo and Rancho Santa Margarita, and was named Capistrano Valley Youth of the Year. At the county level, he competed against thirteen other chapters, including Buena Park, Anaheim, Orange Coast, Santa Ana, Laguna Beach, San Clemente, Fullerton, and other cities in Orange County. Finally, he “fought against eight other counties– San Francisco, Whittier, Santa Monica, Oceanside, Silicon Valley, Greater Redlands, to name a few– which [he] again won,” earning him the title of California Youth of the Year.
At this point, he is “moving on to compete for Regional Youth of the Year, which involves states on the West Coast, including Hawaii, Alaska, Oregon, Washington, etc.” that will be held in August.
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