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Honorees persevere through struggles
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From left, Angel Flores and Carely Medina shared the 2014 Youth of the Year award for Boys & Girls Clubs at the Lathrop site while Trayana Davis and Emmanuel Torres were recipients of the top award at the Manteca site on Thursday.

They shared stories of struggles and perseverance.

In each case, members of the Manteca-Lathrop Boys & Girls Clubs were thankful for this organization in steering them in the right direction.

“I’m planning to take Boys & Girls Clubs’ name to the furthest reaches,” said Emmanuel Torres, who was named the Boys’ Youth of the Year on Thursday.

The annual Youth of the Year Celebration honoring the top individuals at Manteca and Lathrop sites were once again held at Chez Shari in the Manteca Park Golf Course.

 Torres and Trayana Davis, who was the girls’ Youth of the Year at Manteca, along with Carely Medina and Angel Flores – they shared the Youth of the Year at Lathrop – came away with the top award.

Medina and Flores are both seventh-grade students at Lathrop Elementary School, marking the second time that top award was shared at the Lathrop site. Terrel Posey, who claimed Athlete of the Year, was also a finalist.

Davis, who is a junior at Sierra High, has been at the Manteca club for seven years. Earlier, she claimed the Team Center Member of the Year, missing recently due to some health woes.

“I struggled with my grades at first. But thanks to the education room and tutoring, I now have a 3.0 grade point average,” Davis said.

Frankie Selena Lopez and Khalela King were also finalists for the girls.

Torres was picked over Francisco Lopez Jr, and DeAndre Diawando. Lopez did claim the Athlete of the Year award while Diawando was the Dreamers Keystone Club Leader of the Year.

“Youth of the Year is a big deal,” said site director Mark McCool. “It’s part of a national competition.

“The winners here go on to the state competition.”

Torres, who is a senior at Manteca High, came to the Boys & Girls Club seven years ago after moving here from the Bay Area. He’s thankful, too. “It helped changed my grades, attitude, and the people I hang out with,” he said.

Torres currently sports a 4.1 GPA and has already been accepted to San Jose State. He’s waiting to hear from his other college choices.

Other award winners at the Manteca site included Ashley Coulter as Student of the Year, Jocelyn Gutierrez as Junior Staff Member of the Year, Nathan Rehmke as Martial Artist of the Year, Nyleena Vasquez as the Kathy Aartman Artist of the Year, and Geneva Holman with the Sportsmanship Award.

“Next to the Youth of the Year, Sportsmanship is our second biggest award,” McCool said.

At Lathrop, Jose Soto won the Kathy Aartman Artist of the Year, Ramiro Vasquez was the Junior Social Recreation Member of the Year, Anthony Pardo claimed Student of the Year, Kevin Paz took home Torch Club Member of the Year, Alexandra Medina was the Junior Leadership Award recipient, and Javier Espinoza-Arroyo earned both the Martial Artist of the Year and Sportsmanship Award.

In addition, last year’s Youth of the Year Award winners Miguel Lopez and Maliah Watson – she also the 2012 recipient – were on hand to lead in the Pledge of Allegiance and provide an update on life after the Boys & Girls Clubs.

Watson was accepted to Fresno State while Lopez has been playing basketball at Modesto Junior College and entertaining the thought of trying out as a high jumper for the MJC track team.