Union, NJ – The Boys & Girls Clubs of Union County named Union High School Junior Destane Williams as their “2015 Youth of the Year” at the annual awards dinner on Thursday March 26th at the Galloping Hill Caterers.

This year’s dinner was attended by almost 200 guests, including dignitaries New Jersey State Assemblywoman Annette Quijano, and Elizabeth Mayor Christian Bollwage, Event Sponsors included Elizabethtown Gas and United Airlines; Comcast was an Award Sponsor. 

The 2015 nominees included Hanson-Lee (17, Union Club); Dave Cadet (17, Plainfield Club); Al-Tahnay Wells (17, Elizabeth Club); Destane Williams (16, Union Club); Janae Morales (17, Elizabeth Club) and Tyson Dukes (17, Elizabeth Club).  

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Destane was chosen by a panel of 7 judges and is planning to attend University of North Carolina to pursue a career as an F.B.I. agent. At school, her favorite subjects are English and Math. She participates in softball and, and maintains a 3.8 GPA. Destane has been a member of Boys & Girls Clubs of Union County for 5 years, and is a member of the Teen Leadership Camp and Torch Club. She is the current Vice President of the Union Keystone Club and has participated in the Stand & Deliver program. At Boys & Girls Clubs of Union County, Destane has participated in numerous community service activities and volunteers at their Buddie After-School program where she works with members 5-11 years old. 

Highlights of the evening included 17 youth who received awards in areas of Buddie of the Year, Junior of the Year and Spirit of the Year. All awardees received plaques and certificates for their outstanding accomplishments. Congratulations to all who competed.

“Youth of the Year is the highest honor for Club members,” said Russell Triolo, CEO. “Members are recognized for their contributions in promoting service to our clubs, community and family, academic success, strong moral character, life goals, and poise and public speaking ability.  It is a joy to see these youth grow and develop as young adults.”

Hillmann Consulting, a sponsor and supporter for the last four years, awarded Destane $2,000 towards further education. Each of the 5 runners up received a $1,200 award from Hillmann Consulting.

Destane will compete against other Boys & Girls Club members across New Jersey for the state title and awards from Disney Corporation, Toyota and Taco Bell. The State Youth of the Year will then vie for the distinction of becoming one of five regional representatives across the country, and ultimately contend for the title of National Youth of the Year of Boys & Girls Clubs of America. 

To be considered for the title, Club members must write an essay and complete a face-to-face interview with a panel of judges, comprised of community leaders and members of the BGCUC Board of Directors. This year's panel is headed by Board Member and President of Elizabethtown Gas, Brian MacLean.

Additional judges include: Pat Keefe, Vice President of Regulatory & Business Support Elizabethtown Gas;  Wanda H. Moore, Director, Office of Community Justice, Office of the Attorney General; Timothy Williams, Board Member, Boys & Girls Clubs of Union County; Felicia Daniels, Senior Manager, Corporate Community Affairs-Easter, United Airlines, and Corporate Advisory Board Member; James R. Coyle, President, Gateway Regional Chamber of Commerce; and Tim Isenhour, First Assistant Prosecutor-Union County Prosecutor’s Office.