VICENZA, Italy (April 27, 2020) – Last week, Vicenza High School senior Honestee Maldonado, 18, was chosen as USAG Italy’s Vicenza Military Community Youth of the Year.
The Military Youth of the Year honor is a component of the Boys and Girls Club of America Youth of the Year program. It celebrates young people of military installations around the world, ages 14 to 18, for their commitment to community service, academic success, good character and citizenship, and establishing long-term goals.
The competition leads to the selection of one student from a pool of applicants to represent the Vicenza Military Community among their peers in Europe and the United States. The journey of becoming National Youth of the Year includes three sections: an interview, four essays, and a speech.
This year, due to COVID-19 safety precautions, all candidates competed virtually adding yet another element to the competition.
According to Luca Harbeson, USAG Italy Child & Youth Services Coordinator, competitors must embody the values of leadership and service, academic excellence, and healthy lifestyles to achieve the title of Youth of the Year.
“It was a very competitive competition to find this year’s winner. Honestee’s leadership is reflected in her services as the secretary for the Boys and Girls Club of America Keystone Club, and being the Vicenza High School battalion commander for the JROTC. She was also awarded the Gold Volunteer Pin for completion of the highest amount of volunteer service hours. She also served as Vicenza High School's Military Ball Director while also working as a Youth Center Office Aide in the Workforce Preparation Program,” said Harbeson.
Maldonado will now advance to compete at the next competitive level between all military installations (Army, Navy, Air Force, Marines, and Coast Guard) throughout the Europe Region.
“I think her success throughout the months-long competition process can be attributed to her rigorous dedication to academics, leadership skills, contributions made to the Vicenza Military Community, the Vicenza Teen Center, and overcoming many challenges faced throughout her childhood and youth. She is an excellent representative and the best candidate to represent the community at the Europe Region Military Youth of the Year (MYOY).
After graduation this year, Maldonado plans to attend Texas State University in San Marcos, Texas. She aspires to become a psychologist.
Last year, Vicenza’s Bridget Craig took top honors as Europe's Military Youth of the Year.