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Boys & Girls Club names 2018 Utah Youth of the Year

Jeniya McCullar, 16, of the Capitol West Boys & Girls Club, was named the 2018 Utah Youth of the Year during an awards breakfast at the Utah Capitol on Thursday, Feb. 8, 2018.
Jeniya McCullar, 16, of the Capitol West Boys & Girls Club, was named the 2018 Utah Youth of the Year during an awards breakfast at the Utah Capitol on Thursday, Feb. 8, 2018.
Todd Curtis

SALT LAKE CITY — Jeniya McCullar, 16, of the Capitol West Boys & Girls Club, was named the 2018 Utah Youth of the Year during an awards breakfast at the Utah Capitol Thursday.

Youth of the Year is the highest honor a club member can receive, and Jeniya competed for the title against candidates from other Boys & Girls Clubs across the state. He will receive a $5,000 scholarship and will represent Utah in the Pacific Region Youth of the Year competition later this year.

Jeniya, who is a junior at the Salt Lake Center for Science Education, has been a member of the Capitol West club for 12 years. Raised primarily by his great aunt and adoptive parents after substance abuse and violence separated him from his mother, Jeniya found a second home at the club.

“Ever since I could remember I’ve always had the Boys & Girls Club there to support me and teach me the value of morality and knowledge,” Jeniya said in a statement. “I know if it wasn’t for the club I wouldn’t have been able to connect emotionally with my adopted parents. The Capitol West Club helped me learn how to socialize with adults there. This without a doubt changed my life for the better.”

Upon graduation in 2019, Jeniya plans to attend the University of Utah and study astrophysics to pursue his goal of working in aeronautics.