CHEYENNE – The Boys & Girls Club of Cheyenne recently named Tommy Valenica, a senior at South High School, as the 2022 Cheyenne Youth of the Year.
The announcement, made last Thursday at Ken Garff Toyota Cheyenne, brought together family, board and community members for a celebration of the Club’s four Youth of the Year participants.
Though each contestant demonstrated incredible poise, public speaking skills and goals for the future, the judges ultimately selected Tommy to receive the prestigious award.
Since 1947, Youth of the Year has been the Boys & Girls Clubs of America’s premier recognition program, celebrating the extraordinary achievements of Club teens. The competition includes writing essays, interviewing with a panel of judges and delivering a speech. Club teens prepare for the competition throughout the year, along the way building leadership skills such as communication, goal-setting and teamwork.
Tommy is dedicated to his studies, has big dreams to become a first-generation college student, and even teaches sign language to kids in his spare time. He is a proud member of South High’s Chamber Orchestra, FBLA, DECA and WAC clubs, and also works a part-time job after school.
As Tommy shares in his speech, “The Club provided me with a place to do my homework and receive help with that homework. It got me to where I am today – a senior in high school with over a 4.0 GPA who has already been accepted into a college.”
Tommy joined the Club in 2019 after moving with his family from Seattle. While settling into his new home, Tommy stumbled upon the Boys & Girls Club, where he soon began to make friends and build relationships. He credits the Club for giving him this sense of community and encouraging him to pursue his passions.
“Tommy is an outstanding student, longtime Club member and excellent representation of our mission," said Justin Pendleton, Boys & Girls Club of Cheyenne CEO. "He has the determination and positive attitude to work through any challenging situation. You can tell instantly that he has wisdom beyond his years, and he will do amazing things both in the Youth of the Year competition and for our community as a whole."
As the 2022 Cheyenne Youth of the Year winner, Tommy will now advance to the statewide competition in the spring, with the potential to make it all the way to the regional and national competitions.