FORT JACKSON, S.C. -- Fort Jackson's Boys & Girls Club Youth of the Year will go head-to-head against youth from across the state for a chance to be recognized by President Barack Obama and win valuable scholarships.

Clark DeBerry, 17, who has been a member of the Fort Jackson BGC for 2 1/2 years, will compete in the South Carolina BGC Youth of the Year competition today in Columbia.

"She is an inspiration and a role model for the kids in the club," said James Andrews, president of the Fort Jackson Boys & Girls Club and chief of School Age Services. "She is always a sterling example of a hard worker. All of the other kids and members look up to her. I just enjoy having her around the club. She has really been an asset."

Being named Youth of the Year is the highest honor a BGC member can receive. The title recognizes outstanding contributions to a member's family, school, community and BGC, as well as personal challenges and obstacles that have been overcome.

DeBerry, a senior at Spring Valley High School, has completed more than 250 hours of community service in the past two years. She is also a devoted member of the step team at the Fort Jackson Youth Center.

"She has been a dedicated member of the Youth Center and we are very proud of her outstanding achievements," said Rose Edmond, Fort Jackson BGC chief professional officer and Child, Youth and School Services chief. "Clark is a fine example of what hard work and determination can result in."
DeBerry, who will attend Hampton University this fall, has received a full tuition scholarship for four years due to her academic standing and hard work.

If she wins the state competition, she will compete for the Southeast Region Youth of the Year title and an additional $10,000 scholarship. The five regional winners will advance to Washington in September to vie for the title of BGCA's National Youth of the Year. The national Youth of the Year receives a $15,000 college scholarship and is installed by the president in a White House ceremony.