Originally Published: June 17, 2015 6 a.m.
The Optimist Club of Yavapai County for the second year recognized outstanding youth from the Quad City area with its Youth Appreciation Evening on May 6 at the Prescott Valley Public Library. The end of the evening recognized two outstanding youth from the area, one middle school and one high school student as the Youths of the Year for 2015.
Bradshaw Mountain High School senior Elizabeth Kruse, and Heritage Middle School, in Chino Valley seventh-grader Edward Umana accepted their plaque and a $100 and $50 gift certificate from Club President Dr. Butch Miller.
Teachers from schools in the Quad City area nominated 13 students for the awards. The Optimist Club invited nominations from the public and charter middle and high schools to invite up to two students for the award and received candidates from three high schools and five middle schools: Bradshaw Mountain High School; Northpoint Expeditionary Academy; Arizona Agribusiness and Equine Center; Bradshaw Mountain Middle School; Glassford Hills Middle School; Prescott Mile High Middle School; Heritage Middle School; and Skyview School.
The Optimist Club strives to recognize students who otherwise may not be honored for their positive impact on those around them. Youth Appreciation is intended to honor students who are good citizens, support other students, are active in their community, have demonstrated leadership and have overcome challenges.
Elizabeth's nomination form lists her school and community activities: taking five AP Classes, Student Council Representative, Vice President of Mu Alpha Theta, President of S Club and Treasurer of the National Honor Society. She is also a member of the school site council and was a Girl's State Participant. She has had to work hard for everything she has received and will be attending Michigan State University on a full scholarship next year.
Edward Umana's teachers say they have found no other student like this young man. He joined Heritage Middle School as a seventh grader, coming from El Salvador, leaving his younger siblings and parents. He lives with other relatives at the school to receive a better education in the United States, in his second language. Edward is eloquent in explaining a skin condition that makes him 'different' from others and is proud of his 'unique' skin. He is responsible, accountable, trustworthy and full of curiosity. He is an honor student and NJHS nominee. He makes the right choices even when he thinks no one is watching, is active in his church and goes above and beyond and chooses to lead groups, teach others, and help translate for other bilingual students. His teachers state that whether on the soccer field, in the cafeteria or in the classroom, Edward makes the school a better place.
Nominees also included: Ashley Brown, Northpoint Academy; Victoria Reckmeyer, Northpoint Academy; Nathaniel MacInnis, AAEC; Tayler Gregory, AAEC; Trinity Stults, Prescott Mile High Middle School; Colton Amos, Prescott Mile High Middle School; Annaleace Lovins, Bradshaw Mountain Middle School; Robert Etue, Bradshaw Mountain Middle School; Bonnie-Rose Wise, Heritage Middle School; Hanna Campbell, Glassford Hills Middle School; and Alex Grant, Skyview School.
For more information about the Youth Appreciation Program, call Dr. Butch Miller at 928-277-6974. For more information about the Optimist Club, visit: www.optimistclubofyavapai.org.