Golden Triangle Boys & Girls Clubs recently named Quincy Lavender, of Columbus, Youth of the Year for 2022.
He will compete against other youths from other Boys & Girls Clubs across the state later this month. If successful, he could compete in the regional and national competition and be eligible to receive over $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 remain a member.
Lavender also is 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 the seventh grade and has held leadership positions within the club since he was 13 years old. He currently is in a Junior Staff Leadership position. In that role, he assists the staff in tutoring members, working in the kitchen and coaching.
“I’ve watched him grow since middle school, growth in his attitude and his leadership qualities,” said Brittany Turner, unit director, Boys & Girls Clubs of the Golden Triangle Columbus Unit. “I’ve watched him go from ‘I want to follow the crowd’ to leading his peers. He is also a very hard worker.”
“I have to credit my grandfather, Gilbert Petty, for instilling in me a good work ethic,” Lavender said. “I enjoy working with him in his landscape business, Petty’s Lawn Care Service. It’s hard work, but we enjoy working with each other.”
Quincy eventually wants to graduate from college in business and form his own landscaping co-op to help landscape businesses like his grandfather’s.
This is also not Lavender’s first time to be selected as the Golden Triangle Youth of the Year. He was also selected in 2019 and represented the Golden Triangle’s Boys & Girls Club units in the state competition in Jackson.
“What a wonderful experience it was,” he said. “It was three days down in Jackson interacting with other participants. We had fun doing different activities the first two days and then the third day was the competition.”
Because of the COVID pandemic, the state competition will be held virtually for this year.
“I don’t think it will be as fun,” Lavender said. “I really enjoyed meeting and socializing with my competitors in 2019. Memories I’ll never forget. This will be my last year to be eligible to compete. So, I will not be able to participate in another one in Jackson.”
He will participate in an orientation Monday to learn the virtual rules for the state competition at the Boys & Girls Club Columbus Unit located at 1815 14th Avenue North. The virtual competition is set for March 16.
To be named Youth of the Year, participants must be 14 to 18 years of age and a Boys & Girls Club member for at least two years. They can earn the title through club service, volunteering, good conduct and academic performance. Participants also submit three essays.
Lavender submitted essays entitled “My Personal Growth,” “What Matters to Me” and “My Boys & Girls Club Experience.” From those 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 memory aids.
If Lavender wins the state competition, he will win a $2,500 scholarship. He then would compete at regionals and a chance to win a $25,000 scholarship. If he moves on to the national competition, Lavender would be one of five participants who could win the title of Boys & Girls Clubs National Youth of the Year and receive a $50,000 scholarship.
Lavender thanked his mother, Nitiya Barry, and his grandmother, Melody Petty, for helping him become Golden Triangle Boys & Girls Clubs’ Youth of the Year.
“My grandmother gave me this word P.U.S.H. that she says stands for Pray Until Something Happens,” said Lavender. “It’s one of my guiding principles and my favorite quote.”
Lavender now continues his quest to P.U.S.H. toward state, regional and national Youth of the Year titles.