Boys and Girls Club bestows Youth of the Year honors

Published 1:55 pm Tuesday, February 20, 2024

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By Buzz Trexler
Star Correspondent
As a small crowd gathered Monday evening, seating themselves in chairs before a podium and a vertical banner proclaiming, “Great Futures Start Here,” a youth could be heard talking with three judges on the other side of a curtained-off area.

It was part of the Boys & Girls Club of Elizabethton/Carter County’s annual competition for Youth of the Year, the highest honor a Boys and Girls Club kid can receive. The selected youth is recognized for their outstanding leadership, service, academic excellence, and dedication to health and wellbeing, and represents the club throughout the year.

“After weeks of workshops, and preparation, Joshua Hankins, Chevelle Hicks, and Anneliese Wright, competed at the organization level for Junior Youth of the Year,” the club said in a release. “All candidates did an incredible job sharing their unique club stories and personal journeys through essays, speeches, and interviews with judges from the community.”

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Jaimason Sturdivant, a Happy Valley High School freshman attending the club for about six years, was chosen as the 2024 Youth of the Year. His parents are Amber Sturdivant and Phillip Brumit.

“When I first stepped on the club bus at school, I was nervous and quiet,” the 16-year-old said Monday night in his speech. “But I soon found I had a friend, ‘Donly.’ We were in the same grade and I was happy to know somebody. He showed me around the club, and I learned what the club was about.

“But some of my best times at the club were during the COVID pandemic,” he said. “I had moved into the Junior age group and our staff was Mr. Derrick. What I liked about Mr. Derrick was how active, and engaged he was with our group. He really connected with us and it felt like the age gap disappeared so he felt like ‘one of us.’”

Chevelle Hicks, a seventh-grader at T.A. Dugger Junior High School, was named the Junior Youth of the Year. Her parents are John and Michelle Hicks.

The volunteer judges were Dena Bass, of D and D Properties, Jay Crocket, of RE/MAX, and Lynn Freeman, of Elizabethton Ford/CDJR.

The two winners will travel to Nashville in March for the Youth of the Year state competition and join other club winners. They will also attend a “Day on the Hill” where they will meet with state legislators to discuss their club experiences and advocate for the needs of youth in our community.

Regional winners and a national military youth winner will advance to the National Youth of the Year celebration where one will be named the national teen spokesperson.

The mission of the Boys and Girls Club of Elizabethton/Carter County is to enable all young people, especially those who need us most, to reach their full potential as productive, caring, responsible citizens.

The club is located at 104 Hudson Drive in Elizabethton. To find out more, go to, or email Lacey Turbyfill at The phone number is 423-543-2946. You can also find the club’s social media accounts at and