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Excellence ex·cel·lence (n.)

The quality of being superior: very good of its kind: eminently good: first-class

The definition of excellence is crystal clear, but how does obtain the quality of being superior?

What does it take to be excellent?

This past Saturday, nine youths from the various branches of the Boys & Girls Club of Greater Scottsdale (BGCGS) told us what it takes: leadership, commitment and determination. They knew this because they demonstrate these qualities on a daily basis, both in their Clubs and within their community.

And because of this, these nine students were the 2012 Youth of the Year nominees being honored at the Celebrate Youth Gala & Auction at the Talking Stick Resort.

From the nine nominees, Alyssa Coughenour, a senior at Pinnacle High School and member of the Thunderbirds Branch, was chosen to represent BGCGS in the state-level competition.

An excerpt from Alyssa’s speech describes how the BGCGS PROUD program helped her excel:

At a young age, I learned how to respect others. However, it was the PROUD lock-in that taught me why respect was so important.

When I was blinded at the event, it only took me a few minutes to realize how dependent I was on other people. Being blind opened my eyes to circumstances other people have to live with, and I experienced first-hand what it would be like if I was not as fortunate as I am.

To this day, you’ll find the framed PRIDE Award, an award I received at the PROUD Lock-in, on top of the antique rollover desk in my room. It reminds me of the most important lesson I’ve learned in the past eighteen years- respect. People who respect others unique differences are proud of themselves for appreciating everyone regardless of their color, disabilities, or quirks. Thus, pride lies in respect, and respect, thanks to the Thunderbirds Branch, is something I have begun to fully comprehend.


Finalists for the Youth of the Year award were:

  • Andy Dao, junior at Saguaro High School and member of the Rose Lane Branch, located in South Scottsdale;
  • Colleen Campbell, senior at Fountain Hills High School and member of the Mary Ellen & Robert McKee Branch, located in Fountain Hills;
  • Vivian Nguyen, sophomore at Pinnacle High School and member of the Vestar Branch, located in Northeast Phoenix;
  • Lane Yazzie,  freshman at Salt River High School and member of the Red Mountain Branch, located on the Salt River Pima-Maricopa Indian Community;
  • Doniar Mason, sophomore at Westwood High School and member of the Lehi Branch, located on the Salt River Pima-Maricopa Indian Community;
  • Jackson Fogerty, senior at Desert Mountain High School and member of the Virginia G. Piper Branch, located in Scottsdale;
  • Kristofferson Walker, sophomore at Seligman High School and member of the member of the Hualapai Branch, located in Peach Springs; and
  • Claudia Mendoza, a junior at Coronado High School and member of the Hartley & Ruth Barker Branch located in Scottsdale.


Alyssa and all of the finalists have stories of growing into leaders, inspiring others to succeed and are role models to other members of BGCGS.

How do you achieve excellence?

Stephanie Lough
Stephanie Lough
A former HMA Public Relations employee.

1 Comment

  1. Some pretty excellent kids. I’d love to know how/what previous finalists are doing with their lives.

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