Senior at Leominster High honored at Statehouse for Youth of Year honor

Telegram & Gazette
Updated: 12/07/2016 08:28:50 AM EST

BOSTON — Lt. Gov. Karyn Polito recently met with Laura Jenny, the Massachusetts Alliance of Boys & Girls Clubs 2016 Youth of the Year, and recognized her accomplishments in the club and community.

Jenny, a member of the Boys & Girls Club of Fitchburg and Leominster, and a senior at Leominster High School, met with Polito as part of a visit to the Statehouse.

“On behalf of the commonwealth of Massachusetts, Governor Baker and I congratulate an outstanding young woman who has served her community with honor and distinction, embodying the Massachusetts Alliance of Boys & Girls Club’s spirit of service,” Polito said. “We are extremely proud of Laura for all the work she has accomplished and look forward to her future success.”

Jenny also toured the historic Statehouse building and met with hometown legislators.

“I feel so fortunate to have the opportunity to meet with Lieutenant Governor Polito today,” Jenny said. “I am truly honored to represent my state, my club and all of the amazing Boys & Girls Club members in the Youth of the Year program.”

For 68 years, the Boys & Girls Club Youth of the Year competition has served as the premier recognition program for club members. It honors teen club members who demonstrate exemplary moral character, responsibility to home and family, community and club service, scholastic achievement and diversity of school activities, ability to set goals, and poise and public speaking.

In addition, the judges consider any significant obstacles the youth has had to overcome.

The selection process includes an essay, oral presentation and interview.

In Massachusetts, each local club winner goes on to the statewide competition. This year’s intensive, two-day event was held in June, with 37 youth from across Massachusetts competing.

A panel of judges made up of leaders in business, the nonprofit world and government evaluated the contestants, and the event culminated in the selection of the four finalists and the naming of Jenny as the 2016 Massachusetts Youth of the Year.

A member of the Fitchburg and Leominster Club for nearly 10 years, Jenny is passionate about helping others, and wants to encourage other members to pursue leadership, scientific exploration and community service, just like her mentors at the club inspired her to do.

Some of her favorite programs at her club are music, beekeeping, astronomy, career launch and keystone. She attributes her passion for science and math to the staff and volunteers at the club, and hopes to pursue a career in the humanities or medical field so she can help people for the rest of her life.

“We want to thank Lieutenant Governor Polito for her support of the Boys & Girls Club movement in Massachusetts,” said Ruth Provost, president of the Massachusetts Alliance of Boys & Girls Clubs. “These finalists embody what the Boys & Girls Clubs are all about, and we could not be more proud of them.”

As the 2016 winner, Jenny will receive a $20,000 college scholarship from the Myra H. Kraft Giving Back Foundation and a $5,000 scholarship from national sponsors of the contest including Disney, Toyota, University of Phoenix and Taco Bell.

She represented Massachusetts in the Boys & Girls Clubs of America Regional Youth of the Year competition, and will also be recognized as a featured speaker at the Massachusetts Alliance of Boys & Girls Clubs Annual Legislative Luncheon at the Statehouse in April.

In Massachusetts, the competition is also sponsored by Donorview, the Ninety-Nine restaurant (which additionally provides a $1,500 scholarship), and Comcast (which also provides a free laptop to each of the finalists).