18-Year-Old Kristopher Dent, and Nikiski High senior, has been selected by the Boys & Girls Clubs of the Kenai Peninsula as the 2004 Youth of the Year.
Sponsored by Reader's Digest Foundation and administered by Boys & Girls Clubs of America, the national program recognizes superior leadership skills, academic achievement, and outstanding service to Boys & Girls Clubs and the community. According to program coordinator Kimberli Dent, over 255 club members applied for the honor, "Everyone was eligible to apply for the position and the candidates were narrowed down to 5 wonderful finalists who were interviewed by non-affiliated judges to select our Youth of the Year," said Kimberli.
Finalists Ryan Catron, Mercedes Hughes, Brian Moon, and Karyn Kimbrell.
The finalists were Karyn Kimbrell, Brian Moon, Mercedes Hughes, Ryan Catron, and Kristopher Dent. The final judging was done February 12th at the Timber Wolf Lodge in Soldotna. Judges Colleen Canady, executive director Kenai Chamber of Commerce and Bob Favretto, Kenai Chrysler Center, complimented each candidate personally and explained the difficulty they had at selecting only one winner. "Each one of you are a winner here today, and an example to all of us that no matter how many times life knocks you down, if you keep getting up, you'll succeed," commented Favretto.
Finalists in the Boys & Girls Club 2003 Youth of the Year program, Ryan Catron, Krist Dent, Brian Moon, Karyn Kimbrell and Mercedes Hughes.
The winner Kris Dent has been a Boys & Girls Club member since he was 5 years old, "This feels great! It's been a lot of hard work the last week preparing for this and memorizing my speech while working my job at Home Depot, but I wanted to show how much the Boys & Girls Club has meant to me and how it has helped me develop as a person and realize the things I am able to do as well as the things that I can't," said Dent, eager to compete at the State level where there is $4,000 in scholarships to be awarded.
2004 Boys & Girls Club Youth of the Year winner Kris Dent with his mother Kim and executive director Tina Marie Herford at the Timber Wolf Lodge in Soldotna.
Kris said he plans to continue his education in the fall at UAA. If successful at the State level, Dent will go on to the national competition and a chance at another $10,000 in scholarships from the Reader's Digest Foundation, sponsor of the program since it's inception in 1947. The winner of the National Boys & Girls Club Youth of the Year will be honored at a White House presentation in Washington D.C.
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