Local high school student is finalist in state Boys & Girls Club leadership contest

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Photo Joy Juedes: Jocelyn Perez of Corona won the regional Boys & Girls Clubs Youth of the Year competition and was one of nine state finalists.
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A local high school student was recently a finalist in Boys & Girls Clubs’ state teen leadership contest.

Jocelyn Perez of Corona represented Boys & Girls Clubs of Greater Redlands-Riverside in Boys & Girls Clubs of America’s California Youth of the Year competition, which was held on Zoom April 15. Youth of the Year is a Boys & Girls Clubs of America program that recognizes high school-age youth who embody the Club’s mission to mold productive, caring, responsible citizens.

Jocelyn won the regional Boys & Girls Clubs Youth of the Year competition and was one of nine state finalists. She is only the third Greater Redlands-Riverside Club member to advance to state. Contestants can advance all the way to national Youth of the Year, and win funds for post-high school education at each level.

The California Youth of the Year competition is normally held in Sacramento, but because of the COVID-19 lockdown, state finalists were interviewed and gave their speeches on Zoom.

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“We’re proud of Jocelyn for overcoming personal challenges to contribute so much to the Club, her community and her school, and for adapting to changes in the Youth of the Year competition because of COVID-19,” said Club CEO P.T. McEwen.

Jocelyn was named Boys & Girls Clubs of Greater Redlands-Riverside’s Youth of the Year for her character and citizenship, academics, and commitment to a healthy lifestyle. She wrote essays on three topics – Club experience, personal brand, and vision for America’s youth — gave a short speech on how the Club has impacted her, and was interviewed by a panel of judges from the community at the Club, area and state level.

Jocelyn, a senior at Centennial High School in Corona, wants to be a teacher. She was accepted to the University of California, Irvine and San Diego State University. She wants to be an advocate for youth mental health.

Hilda Cabanillas of Redlands was named Boys & Girls Clubs of Greater Redlands-Riverside’s Youth of the Year Ambassador for finishing as Youth of the Year runner-up. She and Jocelyn will be honored at the Club’s Be Great Awards, at a to-be-determined date.

The Club is offering teen members virtual wellness and mentoring programs during the COVID-19 lockdown.

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