LENOIR CITY, Tenn. — An East Tennessee teenage leader officially has the title "Youth of the Year." The Boys and Girls Clubs of the Tennessee Valley hosted its annual competition and ceremony Thursday night.
The Youth of the Year Award recognizes Boys and Girls Club members who show leadership, service, academic excellence and dedication to living a healthy lifestyle.
The three finalists are Tres Scates, Seth Sparks and Reese Ingram. They all wrote essays, recited speeches and interviewed with judges for a chance to be Youth of the Year.
Reese Ingram won the title as well as $3,000 in scholarship funds.
Tres Scates secured second place and walked away with $1,500 in scholarship funds.
Seth Sparks received third place and $500 toward college.
All three teenagers grew up behind the Boys and Girls Clubs' blue doors, and continue to learn life lessons from their time spent there.
"I've been going there since I was 5 years old," Ingram said. "I'm 17 now, so it's been it's been a really long time."
"Reflection and self-growth is definitely something they've helped me with," Scates said.
"I have been given lots of friends, a lot of time to talk to them, and a place to go hang out and be free after school," Sparks said.
Each had different reasons when they decided to apply for the competition.
"It would help me out in my future long-term goals, as in to go to college and get a degree in robotics engineering," Sparks said.
"Knowing I'm taking the next step into being that motivator that I want to be is honestly a blessing," Ingram said.
"I love to be seen as a leader because I love helping other people," Scates said.
Scates is a sophomore at Halls High School. He's an athlete who dreams of going pro as a player in the NFL. Sparks is a freshman at Austin-East. He said he loves science, math and tech. He dreams of becoming a robotics engineer.
Ingram is a senior at Lenoir City High School. He's into everything to do with the arts and is an advocate for mental health. He said his goal is to land in the spotlight on Broadway one day.
Being named youth of the year is one of the highest honors for a club member.
Ingram is using his 12-year journey at the club to keep building on his life. He is the Youth of the Year for the Boys and Girls Clubs of the Tennessee Valley.
Now, he's headed to the state-level competition, and from there may land in the regional or national spotlight.