Quincy Lavender named Youth of the Year

The Golden Triangle Boys & Girls Clubs recently named Quincy Lavender, of Columbus, Youth of the Year for 2022.

He will face other youngsters from other boys and girls clubs in the state later this month. If successful, he could participate in the regional and national competition and be eligible to receive more than $75,000 in scholarships.

The 18-year-old is a senior at Columbus High School. He plays linebacker and running back for the Falcons football team. He also participates in the school choir. He is a member of the Columbus High 3.0 Club where members must maintain a 3.0 grade point average to maintain membership.

Lavender is also a member of the Junior Columbus Kappa League, a fraternal organization dedicated to community service.

Growing up in Columbus, he also attended Stokes Beard Elementary School and Columbus Middle School.

He has been a member of the Boys & Girls Club since seventh grade and has held leadership positions with the club since he was 13 years old. He is currently in a junior personnel management position. In this role, he assists staff in tutoring members, kitchen work and coaching.

“I’ve seen him grow since middle school, developing his attitude and leadership qualities,” said Brittany Turner, Unit Director, Boys & Girls Clubs of the Golden Triangle Columbus Unit. “I’ve seen him go from ‘I want to follow the crowd’ to leading his peers. He’s also a hard worker.”

“I have to thank my grandfather, Gilbert Petty, for instilling in me a good work ethic,” Lavender said. “I enjoy working with him at his landscaping business, Petty’s Lawn Care Service. It’s hard work, but we love working with each other.

Quincy eventually wants to get a college degree in business and start his own landscaping co-op to help landscaping businesses like his grandfather’s.

This isn’t the first time Lavender has been selected as Golden Triangle’s Youth of the Year either. He was also selected in 2019 and represented Golden Triangle’s Boys & Girls Club units at the state meet in Jackson.

“What a wonderful experience it was,” he said. “It was three days in Jackson to interact with other attendees. We had fun doing different activities the first two days, then day three was the competition.

Due to the COVID pandemic, the state pageant will be held virtually this year.

“I don’t think it will be that fun,” Lavender said. “I really enjoyed meeting and socializing with my competitors in 2019. Memories I will never forget. This will be my last year to be able to compete. So, I won’t be able to compete in another one in Jackson.

He will attend an orientation on Monday to learn the state competition virtual rules at the Boys & Girls Club Columbus Unit located at 1815 14th Avenue North. The virtual competition is scheduled for March 16.

To be named Youth of the Year, participants must be between the ages of 14 and 18 and have been a member of the Boys and Girls Club for at least two years. They can earn the title through club service, volunteerism, good conduct, and academic achievement. Entrants also submit three essays.

Lavender submitted essays titled “My Personal Growth,” “What Matters to Me,” and “My Boys and Girls Club Experience.” From these three essays, he will select one and deliver a speech to the state competition judges. His speech will be delivered without props, notes or other aide-mémoire.

If Lavender wins the state competition, he will win a $2,500 scholarship. He would then compete in regional competitions for a chance to win a $25,000 scholarship. If he moves on to national competition, Lavender would be one of five entrants who could win Boys and Girls Clubs National Youth of the Year and receive a $50,000 scholarship.

Lavender thanked his mother, Nitiya Barry, and grandmother, Melody Petty, for helping him become the Golden Triangle Boys & Girls Clubs’ Youngster of the Year.
“My grandma gave me this word PUSH which she says means Pray until something happens,” Lavender said. “That’s one of my guiding principles and my favorite quote.”

Lavender now continues her quest to push towards National, Regional and National Youth of the Year titles.

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