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YEA Awards
Posted September 28, 2017 | 3:35 PM

County Awards Students Who Are a Cut Above

YEA! Awards winners excel in school, service

Hillsborough County has announced the winners of its 2017 YEA! Awards. (Youth Excellence and Achievement.)

The Commission on the Status of Women considered dozens of nominees for the awards that recognize initiative, innovation, and commitment by area middle- and high-school students. The six selected students demonstrate these standout traits in academics, community service, athletics, performing arts, conservation, or other areas.

Here are this year's YEA! Awards winners, and the categories for which they were chosen:

Leadership

  • Benjamin Bryant, 12th grade, Freedom High School
    Ben is an officer in Freedom High's marching band, an Eagle Scout, and a recipient of the Virgil Honor, the highest award bestowed by Scouting's honor society, Order of the Arrow. In his spare time, he enjoys playing ultimate Frisbee and video games.
  • Kyla Clewis, 8th grade, Liberty Middle School
    Kyla is student body president at Liberty Middle and a leader in Fellowship of Christian Athletes. She is a member of Future Business Leaders of America and the National Junior Honor Society. She helps with children's programs at her church and plays the harp in nursing homes and hospitals.

Volunteer or Community Service

  • Sydney Bagrowski, 11th grade, Armwood High School
    With her Cuddles 4 Cancer project, Sydney distributes new stuffed animals and handmade fleece blankets to children with cancer. She received the Girl Scout Gold Award and is in the National Honor Society. She has volunteered for more than 120 hours, not including time dedicated to Cuddles 4 Cancer. After high school, she hopes to study criminal justice.
  • Ava Isabella Moreno, 7th grade, Progress Village Middle Magnet School
    Ava does many things to help homeless people. She takes water to people living on the street, buys blankets for residents at a homeless shelter, and recently delivered supplies to Alpha House, a temporary home for homeless pregnant women and mothers with young children. She is an honor roll student, a competitive dancer, and is active in her church's youth group.

Success despite Difficult Odds

  • Guadalupe Villegas, 12th grade, Lennard High School
  • When her mother was badly injured in a car wreck, Guadalupe missed school for about seven months while caring for her around the clock. Taking online classes and hustling to catch up with her classmates, Guadalupe excelled academically and will graduate with her class. She hopes to become a nurse.
  • Ian Farmer, 7th grade, Buchanan BioEngineering Academy
    Ian has overcome personal obstacles to thrive academically and socially. A member of the National Junior Honor Society, he was named "Best Overall" in the sixth grade in recognition of accomplishments and contributions. He also plays violin.

The Hillsborough County Board of County Commissioners will recognize YEA Awards winners at a ceremony at County Center, 601 E. Kennedy Blvd., at 9 a.m. on Wednesday, May 3.

Photo information: Medals awarded to the 2017 YEA Award winners.