Manteca continued its winning tradition at the annual California State Youth Accolades Scholarship Competition.
Three Manteca residents, Carolina Gutierrez, Charlie Priest and Myklyn Balmut, all placed in the top five for their age division. The prestigious scholarship competition, sponsored by Youth Focus Inc. of San Jose, took place recently at the Santa Clara Convention Center.
Gutierrez, Miss Manteca 2013 earned third alternate to the title of Miss California State and a $350 scholarship. Gutierrez, a graduate of East Union High now attending Delta College, received a Victory Award for her highest score in the area of Academic Achievement.
Balmut, a former Miss Manteca 2012, competing as Miss Los Angeles County earned the top prize of $3,000 and the title of Miss California State/ California State’s Young Woman of Achievement 2014. She is the fifth young woman from our community to earn the top title. Balmut, a graduate of Manteca High, is now attending the University of Southern California, received a Victory Award for her highest score in the area of Community Service. She received a perfect score in this phase of competition and also earned the Joe Escobar Memorial Community Service Award. As the top place finisher in the upper division for girls, she also received an iPad mini. Her platform this year is to raise funds and awareness for the Lupus Foundation of Northern California. Diagnosed with the disease in 2012, Balmut has spent the past two years recruiting participants and raising funds for the foundation’s annual 5K walk. To date she has raised $2,000 and has plans to double that this year.
Priest, a former Young Manteca City Ambassador 2007, competing as Manteca’s Young Man of Achievement, became the 12th young man from Manteca to take home the top prize as California State Ambassador/ California State’s Young Man of Achievement. Priest, a graduate of East Union High now attending the University of California at Davis, received a Victory Award for his highest score in the area of Personality Interview. As the top place finisher in the upper division for boys, he also received an iPad mini. For his platform, Priest will spend the year speaking out on the topic of sports safety and concussions. As a former football player for EUHS, he knows firsthand the dangers inherent to full-contact sports and will work with coaches and athletic directors throughout Northern California to help raise awareness for athlete safety.
Balmut and Priest, are the third duo from Manteca to serve together as state titleholders and will spending the ensuing year as the official host and hostess for California fairs, festivals and celebrations and the California State Fair in Cal Expo. Their duties include traveling to various communities throughout California in support of the fair industry.
Over $10,000 in educational scholarships were awarded in the competition. Other top prizes went to 1st Alternate & Golden State Ambassadress, Giovanna Mitchell, of Santa Clara and 2nd Alternate Ivanna Rose of Susanville. Contestants age 16-21 compete in 6 phases of competition including community service, academic achievement, personality interview, stage arts, community advocacy speech and impromptu question. The competition is open to young men and women from all over California and is an open competition with no previous title or experience required. Youth Focus Inc. also offers similar state programs in the junior and teen divisions for ages 10-12 and 13-15 respectively. For more information about Youth Focus Inc., contact Shim Lacy, Central Valley Field Director, at (209) 518.3915 or email email@example.com