Youth Excellence and Achievement Award (YEA! Award)

The Board of County Commissioners created the YEA! Awards in 2010 to recognize Hillsborough County students for making a difference in their community. The award recipients show initiative, innovation, and commitment to themselves and others, while pursuing excellence in a leadership capacity. This can be demonstrated in academics, community service, athletics, performing arts, conservation, or other areas.

All students who live in Hillsborough County are eligible for the YEA! Awards, whether they attend public or private schools, or are home-schooled. The Hillsborough County Commission on the Status of Women reviews the nominations and selects six winners, three from high school and three from middle school, in one of three categories:

  • Leadership - demonstrating positive impact on others in an ongoing endeavor, such as sports, academics, or the arts
  • Success Despite Difficult Odds - overcoming tremendous personal difficulty to attain success and to make a positive impact on others
  • Volunteer or Community Service - allocating discretionary time to help others or complete a project that has improved our community

The Board of County Commissioners presents the awards at a Board meeting each spring.

2018 YEA! Awards winners

The Board of County Commissioners will present the 2018 Youth Excellence and Achievement Awards (YEA! Awards) to these six outstanding young people at 9 a.m., Wednesday, May 2, in the second floor Board Room at Frederick B. Karl County Center, 601 E. Kennedy Blvd., in downtown Tampa:


  • James LaFayette, Jr., Orange Grove Middle Magnet
  • Brooke Shapiro, H.B. Plant High School

Success Despite Difficult Odds

  • Carlie Wilson, Burnett Middle School
  • Isaac Cross, Livingstone Academy

Volunteer or Community Service

  • Chase Hartman, Farnell Middle School
  • Harsh Bagdy, C. Leon King High School