Last updated: July 14. 2014 10:41AM - 196 Views
LiTronda Flemon Staff Writer

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PROSPERITY — Recent Mid-Carolina High School graduate Ashlyn Barton was named the S.C. Youth of the Year by the Boys and Girls Clubs of America. Barton was selected among 15 of her peers for the honor.

Being named Youth of the Year is the highest honor a Boys and Girls Club member can receive. As the new representative for all of the Boys and Girls Clubs in South Carolina, Barton received a $1,000 college scholarship from Tupperware Brands Corporation.

As BGCA’s premier youth recognition program, Youth of the Year recognizes outstanding contributions to a member’s family, school, community and Boys and Girls Clubs, as well as overcoming personal challenges and obstacles. The recognition program encourages club members to reach their full potential by achieving academic success, leading healthy lifestyles and contributing to their communities.

Barton said she feels honored to have the title.

“There is so much that that title holds as far as responsibilities and opportunities. Being the SC Youth of the Year, I feel even more driven to set a positive example for all of the younger people,” Barton said. “I am the proof that great futures start at the Boys and Girls Club. I hope that parents and juveniles take advantage of all the amazing things the Boys & Girls Club has to offer. This is the highest award a BGC member can be given and it is highly beneficial.”

Barton is a member of BGCA’s Mid Carolina Middle School site and has taken on an active role in every club related activity available. Creating award winning posters for athletic events, encouraging members to read more by donating books and receiving a pie to the face in support of the club’s food drive barely scratch the surface of her commitment to club members’ success.

Barton also provides assistance to members when they need help with homework or other activities. She realizes that club members look up to her as an older sister because of their proximity in age.

Barton’s service to her community extends beyond Boys and Girls Clubs of the Midlands. A yearly volunteer for the Special Olympics, Barton has also collected children’s books for her local elementary schools, bought Angel Tree gifts for a child and participated in Relay for Life. She also has a strong connection with her local animal shelter and has not only volunteered and raised money for them, but has fostered more than 20 dogs and adopted two.

As a senior at Mid-Carolina High School, Barton was enrolled in Advanced Placement and Honors classes, and was a dual-enrolled student at Piedmont Technical College. She has received numerous awards for both her GPA and artwork throughout her high school career.

Barton has been a member of the Art Club, Spanish Club, Student Council, BETA club, drama club and chorus. In her eleventh grade year Barton was instrumental in creating Mid-Carolina High’s first Book Club.

Barton plans to attend Coastal Carolina University in the fall to major in marine science. Attending college has been a goal of Barton’s since she was a child. She will be the first in her family to attend college.

“I plan to be involved with the club(s) nearest to my college by working there and putting all my effort into bettering the lives I influence on a daily basis. I will be constantly involved in community service, which is a big aspect in the Boys and Girls Club. I plan to give back to the club and represent it will,” Barton said. “I will continue on signing petitions, promoting suicide awareness, walking marathons and many other activities I am involved in currently.”

Barton recently went to Atlanta to celebrate her new honor.

“It was nothing like a competition. I made so many new friends, met so many people, and experienced so many new things, that was the true award in my eyes. The opportunity to just experience all that was truly rewarding,” Barton said.

Barton sees the Boys and Girls Club more as a second family. She said they truly care about each member and strive to encourage all members to be the best they can be at everything they do.

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