Runners-up Jaime Belk, left, and Elisabeth Bankston, right, stand with the Boys and Girls Clubs of Albany 2012 Youth of the Year winner Marcus Ford, center, after Wednesday’s award ceremony at the East Albany unit.
ALBANY -- Marcus Ford, a 17-year-old junior at Monroe High School, was named the Boys and Girls Clubs of Albany 2012 Youth of the Year Wednesday during a brief ceremony at the East Albany unit on Inverness Road.
Ford will represent the local organization Sunday in the state competition in Atlanta with local winners from 35 other Boys and Girls Clubs. The state winner, to be announced Monday, will receive a $1,000 scholarship and participate in regional competition.
"I would like to thank my mother and director Bob Hutchinson for their support," said Ford, after accepting his award.
Being named Youth of the Year is the highest honor a Boys and Girls Club member can receive.
Ford was among three finalists for the honor. Elisabeth Bankston of the Jane Willson unit is a senior at Monroe High School and Albany High School Junior Jaime Belk of the Jefferson Street unit were runners-up.
Mack Bryson, Bill Lemon and Zocko Littleton were the contest judges, with Bryson making the award presentation.
"Marcus is very focused on what he wants to do with his life and very few high school kids are," said Bryson about Ford's plans to pursue a career in video game programming.
Established in 1947, Youth of the Year is the organization's premier recognition program for club members. It promotes service to club, community and family, academic success, strong moral character, life goals and poise and public speaking ability.
When asked about his upcoming trip to Atlanta and the state competition, Ford said "I'm going to bring my A game."
State winners each receive a $1,000 scholarship and participate in regional competitions. Five regional winners each receive a $10,000 scholarship and compete on the national level.
The national winner will be chosen by President Obama in September and receives an additional scholarship up to $50,000 from The Rick and Susan Goings Foundation.