Originally Published: May 31, 2017 6 a.m.
The Optimist Club of Yavapai County for the fourth year recognized outstanding youth from the Quad City area with its Youth Appreciation Evening on April 25 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 2017.
Teachers from schools in the Quad City area nominated eightstudents 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 four high schools and two middle schools. The nominees are students at Bradshaw Mountain High School; Tri-City Preparatory High School; Arizona Agribusiness and Equine Center; Prescott High School, Bradshaw Mountain Middle School and Glassford Hills Middle School.
The Optimist Club strives to recognize students who otherwise may not be recognized 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.
The High School Youth of the Year is Abby Berry a senior at AAEC. Abby has been focusing on Veterinary Medicine in high school and will be attending the University of Arizona to study veterinary medicine next year. Abby has dedicated herself to giving back to her school, community and globally. Her experience and interest in veterinary medicine lead her to serving an internship at a rhino preserve in South Africa where she worked with veterinarians and conservation officials to treat a number of species of animals in addition to rhinos. She also visited an orphanage there and undertook to assist them with providing sports equipment and funds from her own money. She has also undertaken an internship with the Prescott Valley Veterinary Clinic and provided tutoring for students at AAEC in mathematics and is a Big Sister in the Big Brothers and Big Sisters Program because she loves to have an impact on a young child’s life.
The Middle School Youth of the Year is Crystal Beswick, an eighth-grade student at Bradshaw Mountain Middle School. Crystal has consistently been an honor roll and had perfect attendance despite having to overcome several years in foster care because of a number of severe problems with her birth family. She says that those years were like being a part of the “Hunger Games” but has few memories of that time in her life. One of the turning points was when the Beswicks adopted her and four of her siblings to give her a stable environment and involvement in the community through her church, school and community, as well as a loving and caring environment. She frequently is at the Quailwood Community playground to work to prevent bullying and plans to continue to work to prevent bullying in her community. Her nominating teacher says that through all of her difficulties, she has maintained a positive attitude and that she reminded her that she changed her name from Destiny to Crystal because she wanted to be reminded of how bright and shiny she is. Crystal left her teacher with this quote “Don’t quit and encourage yourself to follow your dreams.”
Middle school nominees also included: Sofia Grant of Glassford Hills Middle School. The high school nominees also included: Brooklyn Mangarelli and Stephen “Logan” Carmick of Prescott High School; Randee Clifford and Kobe Rushton of Bradshaw Mountain High School; and Saiarchana Darira of Tri-City Preparatory High 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.