Youth of the Year 5 years running, EHS’ Whitney Andes’ reign ends

Published 12:01 am Saturday, April 18, 2015


For the past five years, Whitney Andes has been the winner of the Youth of the Year, the highest honor the Boys & Girls Club of Elizabethton/Carter County can give to a member.

In addition to being named the club’s Youth of the Year, Andes placed in the top six finalists for the state during a competition in Nashville earlier this month.

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She was selected as the Youth of the Year based on her service to the club, moral character, academic performance and community involvement. This is the last year Andes will be eligible for the Youth of the Year award as she turns 18 in June and will be graduating from Elizabethton High School this year.

“It’s the end of my reign,” she laughed. “The first year I got it, I almost didn’t know what all it would be. As the years have gone on, I have gotten more competitive and wanted to place higher each year.”

This year, she made it to the finals at the state competition to compete for three scholarships for the top three spots. The competition consists of interviews and speech portions for the youth.

“I had the chance to compete with five other amazing people,” she said. “I don’t know where I placed exactly, because they only tell the top three. I finished either fourth, fifth or sixth.”

Andes provided a huge amount of assistance during the day-to-day operations of the club, Club Executive Director Ginny Wright said. Andes is a club member and a junior staff employee at the Boys & Girls Club.

“More than any staff or member, Whitney Andes has embodied the spirit of the Boys & Girls Club for many years,” Wright said. ”Whitney has always been a leader and a contributor to her club. When I began working in Elizabethton, it did not take long to figure out who the leader of the club was.”

Andes works as a staff member at the front desk where she checks in the younger students who come to the club, helps with parents and then interacts with the younger members while at the club, which she said was her favorite part of the day.

Andes is a responsible and helpful representative for the club, Wright said.

“Whitney works the most important job at the club,” Wright said. “She is the one that gives the first impression of the club. Whoever walks in that door, she is the first one they see. When younger members need assistance with a problem, Whitney is the first person to which they turn. Whitney is warm and inviting to everyone. She willingly volunteers for any job, no matter the difficulty or ‘gross’ factor. Her example continues to be the standard to look toward at the Boys & Girls Club of Elizabethton/Carter County.”

It was important to Andes to continue to be a part of the Boys & Girls Club because it has been a part of her life for so long.

“It is important to me to have the chance to make a difference in other kids’ lives, to show that someone cares and to give them a safe place to come after school,” she said. “I definitely want to keep the Boys & Girls Club as a part of my life, whether by directly working here or through volunteering. It has played a big role in my life so far and as my development as a person.”

Andes will be attending East Tennessee State University after graduation and plans to major in business. She hopes to one day work full-time for the Boys and Girls Club.

“I love to be able to work with children and be an example for them,” Andes said. “I enjoy building relationships with them and inspiring them to set high goals. It is totally possible with Boys & Girls Club to achieve those goals.”