Gainesville High junior Jayla Williams was named the Boys & Girls Club of Hall County's Youth of the Year for the third consecutive year today at a luncheon at the Fair Street Neighborhood Center in Gainesville.
Her motto is ‘failure is feedback’.
In her speech, Williams talked about how she uses each setback in her life as a way to learn and grow as a person. She was down on herself after coming up short in the Georgia Youth of the Year competition the past two years but has used that to fuel her further community involvement efforts.
She is the President of the BGCHC Keystone Club, a program at the Club that promotes community service, as well as a member of the Beta Club and Key Club. At Gainesville High School, Williams is a member of the varsity cheerleading squad and softball all while maintaining a 4.0 GPA.
Williams, 16, will now compete for the Georgia Youth of the Year title on Feb. 19-21 in Atlanta against representatives from the other 38 Boys & Girls Clubs across the state.
“Hopefully, this year I’ll bring home a win for the Boys & Girls Club of Hall County,” Williams said.
The winner of the state competition will receive a $5,000 college scholarship from the Boys & Girls Clubs of America and move on to the Southeast Youth of the Year competition on June 15 at the Georgia Aquarium.
Should Williams win that honor, she will receive $40,000 worth of scholarships and travel to Washington, D.C., along with five other regional winners and a military youth winner to vie for National Youth of the Year, $100,000 worth of scholarships and an opportunity to meet the President of the United States in the White House.
Over 300 volunteers and 64 full- and part-time employees involve themselves in the lives of the children of the Boys & Girls Club of Hall County, which is something that doesn’t go unnoticed by Williams, who is in her sixth year with the Club.
“The time they take out of their day to spend with me, it’s amazing,” she said.
Youth of the Year is the highest honor a Boys & Girls Club member can receive. Other finalists, Christen Copeland and Myron Dabney, also gave speeches at the luncheon.