FORT HOOD, Texas - During a ceremony at Bronco Youth Center here, March 18, Fort Hood recognized the 2021 Military Youth of the Year, who will represent the Great Place as she advances to the Texas State Military Youth of the Year competition from March 29-30.
Iyana Moses was chosen to represent Fort Hood at the state competition. A sophomore at Shoemaker High School in Killeen, Texas, Moses is the dependent of retired Sgt. 1st Class Anthony Wilson and retired Staff Sgt. Racine Wilson. She is active in the Junior Reserve Officers’ Training Corps and is an active leader and volunteer with the Bronco Youth Center.
“I feel very honored,” Moses said about the selection.
The annual recognition program, which is organized by the Boys & Girls Club of America, acknowledges the volunteerism, leadership and communication skills among military youth.
At the local level, Moses first competed within the Bronco Youth Center, which she has been attending since eighth grade. She then competed against the finalists from each of the other youth centers on Fort Hood. The finalists were Moses; Jose Sanchez, a junior at Copperas Cove High School; Alexis Lake, a freshman at Early College High School; and Christopher Campbell, a junior at Early College High School.
“Keep your eyes open and keep focus while you’re moving forward,” Dr. Peter Craig, Directorate of Family and Morale, Welfare & Recreation director, told the finalists and audience in attendance.
The competition included an application packet, four essays and an interview process, which Moses said was nerve-racking. Knowing her competition was tough and filled with fellow youth who are doing good things in the community, Moses said she did not expect to win, so she was pleasantly surprised by the results.
Miriam Washington, director of Bronco Youth Center, said the panel of judges praised Moses’ ability to articulate how the program has benefited and changed her for the better.
“I’ve seen her blossom before our eyes,” Washington added. “From the shy, reserved lady who came into the program, to the leader she has become today.”
To prepare for the interview process of the competition, the 15-year-old practiced with her JROTC instructor at Shoemaker High School.
“I feel like I’ve been a good example for a lot of the kids here (at Bronco Youth Center),” Moses said. “I want to be a mentor to other kids by volunteering, getting good grades and staying relevant in my community.”
After announcing the winner, Ashley Hill, administrator of Child and Youth Care for Child and Youth Services, encouraged the youth in attendance to compete in the future. She said it is a great opportunity for scholarships and leadership opportunities. The application process begins again in October.
Craig also encouraged the youth to be ready for life's changes.
“Stay balanced in your life – whether it’s school, activities, families – you have to maintain a balance,” Craig told the audience. “It’s critical, whether you apply for Youth of the Year or not, everything’s going to change quickly and you have to be ready for it.”