The Boys & Girls Clubs of West Central Missouri named three Youth of the Year winners during a special ceremony held January 22.

Nine-year-old Matti Mergen, 12-year-old Ada Tucker and 17-year-old Morgan Hetrick were named the elementary, intermediate and teen winners, respectively. All three are from the Club’s Green Ridge Site.

Three Winners

The National Youth of the Year Program is designed to promote and recognize service to the Club and community, academic performance, and contributions to family and spiritual life. While elementary and intermediate YOYs are honored, only teen winner Hetrick will go on to compete at the state level. National YOY winners have a chance to meet the president and receive thousands in scholarship dollars.

The ceremony was held at the Fox Theater, thanks to a generous contribution from Furnell Companies, and included an audience of YOY family members and friends and Club board members and donors. The speeches were judged by Economic Development of Sedalia Pettis County Executive Director Linda Christle, Sedalia Mayor Steve Galliher, Sedalia School District 200 Special Education Paraprofessional Melany Satnan, Pettis County Prosecuting Attorney Phillip Sawyer and Owner of Paul Kelly Insurance Agency, Sandy Schlesselman.

“The stories that Club our Youth of the Year nominees share are inspiring and very emotional; it shows great courage for them to tell these personal stories to a room full of people,” said Executive Director Jessica Pyle. “The Club respects the high level of honesty and disclosure these youth reveal in their speeches. It is our honor to recognize the greatness in the youth in our community and to have the opportunity to impact their lives.”

This year’s elementary Youth of the Year nominees included Chris Boehm, Abigail Dake, Wyatt Derendinger, Isiah Ewert, Saraih Navarro, Matti Mergen, Jenesis Stinney, Laci Thompson and Alyssa Wombles. Intermediate nominees were Jakob Brown, Ethan Driskell, Kaitlin Garrison, Ada Tucker and Sarah Weber. Teen nominees were Joseph Daves, Taylor Driskell, Dharma Goodwin and Morgan Hetrick.

To see more photos from the event, go to the Youth of the Year Page.