AKRON – Abrianna Johnson, 17, a junior at Archbishop Hoban High School, has been named Boys & Girls Clubs of the Western Reserve’s Bud Rogers 2020 Youth of the Year.
The nine-year club member edged out two other competitors to capture the honor, which was announced at a ceremony at BGCWR’s Steve Wise Clubhouse. Abrianna, who received $1,000 from the Dick and Chris Chenoweth Scholarship Fund, will now move on to the regional competition.
Abrianna is planning a career in nuclear physics, and Ohio State University currently tops her list of prospective colleges.
“She is a really talented, quiet girl with a smile that will brighten any room,” said Anthony Isom, director of the Eller Teen Clubhouse, the club Abrianna attends. “She is also a very hard worker.”
Abrianna enjoys art, especially anime, and learning about the cultures of Asia and Africa.
The Youth of the Year competition is one of the Club’s signature programs and is open to all members ages 15-18 who meet academic standards and are involved in community and Club activities. Abrianna will now complete against other youths from Boys & Girls Clubs of Northeast Ohio, the organization formed by the merger of Clubs in Akron, Cleveland, Lorain County and Sandusky.
The BGCNEO winner is expected to be announced the week of March 23.
Special guests at the Akron event were State Senators Larry Obhof and Vernon Sykes, both of whom shared their belief in the Clubs and their importance to the community. BGCNEO board member Rich Fry presented Obhof, Sykes and State Rep. Emilia Sykes with lifetime Club memberships.
In addition, Akron’s Michael Allio, founder of the L4 Project, announced a partnership to help Club members by raising funds with a branded clothing line featuring designs inspired by Boys & Girls Club youth. In the first of what Allio hopes will be fruitful collaborations to raise awareness and funding for community causes, BGCWR will receive all profits from the sale of the merchandise.
The other finalists for Youth of the Year were Amiia Warren, a freshman at Firestone Community Learning Center and Denise Willis, a freshman at Archbishop Hoban High School. Both attend the LeBron James Club.
Through the Youth of the Year program, young people showcase their talents and achievements, share their hopes and dreams, and work toward a bright and positive future. Candidates emerge through year-round recognition programs in their local Clubs, progressing through state and regional events, culminating in a weeklong celebration in Washington, D.C., where one is named the National Youth of the Year – the highest honor bestowed upon a Club member.
Boys & Girls Clubs provide safe, fun places for kids ages 6-18 after school. Clubs focus on healthy lifestyles, academic success and character development. BGCNEO was formed in July 2019 by the merger of Clubs in Akron, Cleveland, Lorain County and Sandusky and now has 39 locations in five counties.